This isn't the first time Princess Zelda has been a playable character, but the chance to take Zelda into the battlefield is still a welcome surprise.
From its first announcement Nintendo has not been shy about the fact that Hyrule Warriors sits comfortably alongside Dynasty Warriors. After spending some time, this is certainly true, but it has some Zelda touches, allowing the game to stand on its own.
As Zelda, I ran into a field crawling with moblins modeled after the version seen in Skyward Sword. I used Zelda's dash and melee attacks to move my way through the crowds. Impa, in another section of the map, was calling for my help so I began to make my way towards her. Before appearing to help, I had powered up my special attack and Zelda unleashed a gigantic light arrow taking out a huge swath of enemies all at once.
Before finding Impa, I found a cave with a treasure chest inside. Familiar Zelda music played as Zelda opened the chest to reveal bombs. I now had bombs at my disposal, and they were infinite. I used them to defeat enemies, and to break apart a collection of boulders to finally make my way to Impa.
Just as I found Impa, a King Dodongo boss enemy appeared and began rampaging toward the castle I was tasked with defending. I immediately began attacking the beast from the back and sides avoiding its fiery mouth, building up and unleashing my special light arrow attack, but I was still barely making any progress on its health bar.
It didn’t occur to me that Zelda boss fighting mechanics would come over to Hyrule Warriors, which in retrospect was short-sighted. After fighting the boss for far longer than I expected, I finally decided to throw bombs in its mouth – much like I did when I originally fought the boss in Ocarina of Time – and I dispatched very quickly, complete with a high-flying finishing move.
Hyrule Warriors feels a lot like Dynasty Warriors for better and worse. I found myself mostly mashing away at the melee button, but there were enough Zelda touches, like minor puzzles and, of course, Zelda characters and enemies, that kept me interested and excited. I also, generally, felt like I was moving faster and defeating more enemies than I typically do in a Dynasty Warriors game. In general, the pace was faster, which was welcome. Also, the opportunity to finally bring the fight to the moblins as Zelda was extremely exciting.