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The first thing Link hears when waking up is Zelda’s voice. The Shrine of Resurrection glows around him. When Link finally emerges, he’s treated to a camera pan of Hyrule as it looks now -- one hundred years after he was put to sleep.

"Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" has reigned as one of the most iconic Nintendo Switch games, and possibly one of the best games in the Zelda franchise. Its stunning open-world map offers endless hours of playability -- and that’s before achieving the main objective of defeating Ganon and saving Hyrule. Explore Hyrule as Link and unlock all the different regions, complete the main and side quests, collect equipment and recipes and learn what has happened to Hyrule in the century you’ve been asleep.

In the game, Link is missing key memories after having been asleep this long. Several characters -- including Rito minstrel Kass and Kakariko Village chief Impa -- then inform Link of the events of the past that led to the circumstances of the present. But now, Nintendo, Omega Force, and Koei Tecmo are bringing players back to that fated time a hundred years ago -- to the Great Calamity, when Ganon emerged to destroy Hyrule.

During the recent Tokyo Game Show event on Sept. 26, Koei Tecmo previewed more details and features of the game than seen in the initial trailer. The developers and publishers have been working closely with the Zelda team to reflect plenty of elements from the original "Breath of the Wild game." But with "Age of Calamity" falling under the hack-and-slash RPG genre, much of the gameplay is more similar to the original "Hyrule Warriors" game from 2014. Read on for a preview of how things will work in "Age of Calamity."

"Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity" is available for pre-order for $59.99 on Best Buy, with free shipping for the physical order. The expected release date is on Nov. 20.

Playable characters

Both the original trailer and the live stream confirmed that unlike "Breath of the Wild," players can now opt to use characters other than Link. So far, available playable characters include Zelda herself, Impa, and the Four Champions (Daruk, Mipha, Revali, and Urbosa).

Each character brings a different dynamic to the game, with different skills and weapons. The stream panel stated that the different characters have 'signature moves' or 'special attacks.' The four Champions appear to retain the ‘gifts’ they gave Link in the original game -- namely Daruk’s Protection, Mipha’s Grace, Revali’s Gale, and Urbosa’s Fury. Each is usable in combat.

Each character also comes equipped with a different weapon -- such as Daruk’s Boulder Breaker -- and can pick up more along the way. Players can switch between characters at their discretion.

(Screenshot) Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
(Screenshot) Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity Nintendo

Map stages

The gameplay has deviated from a semi-linear storyline to map stages or levels. Each map contains areas to be ‘cleared,’ with the maps based on existing locations in "Breath of the Wild." There are area bosses to be defeated, alongside seemingly countless minor monsters to clear out of the way (but perhaps not completely exterminate). From the Koei Tecmo stream, it appears stages can be revisited, with a different area boss spawning each time.

There is an experience bar that indicates the player might level up -- and earn benefits or upgrades -- but how the player progresses has yet to be revealed.

Fighting terrain

One of the most interesting things revealed in the stream is the ability of a player to use the terrain to their advantage depending on the characters and abilities they use. Daruk, for example, can explode surrounding magma to attack monsters. Impa attacks her enemies with seals to absorb energy and create shadow clones.

Weapons, too, can be used for terrain advantage. "Breath of the Wild" players will be familiar with the elemental rods picked up from Wizzrobes. Each element affects the terrain in different ways -- ice and lightning rods can be used to target pools of water; fire rods can set the surroundings ablaze. This means players can strategize to use the environment in their attacks when clearing the different stages.

(Screenshot) Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
(Screenshot) Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity Nintendo

Sheikah Slate

A key piece of equipment in "Breath of the Wild," the Sheikah Slate is a little different here in "Age of Calamity." The runes now function as part of the player’s offensive arsenal, and each rune acts differently depending on the character using it. Bombs are bigger now, with rapid fire bombing available. Cryonis no longer needs water as a base. Stasis can freeze large groups of enemies at a time to attack and clear. Magnesis can be used to counter enemy weapons and hurl surrounding objects.


It’s unclear whether weapon durability will affect gameplay in "Age of Calamity." Characters look to come pre-equipped with signature weapons (Link has a bow, shield, and sword, Impa has seals, Daruk has a sword). The elemental rods are available, but repeated use drains the weapon of power; rods can be recharged by defeating the corresponding Wizzrobe. There appears to be room for weapon upgrades as well.

Players can also carry apples in their pockets to replenish health. There are reportedly returning features such as ingredient and material collection, although how that will be integrated is yet unknown.


This, perhaps, is the biggest mystery of the game. "Breath of the Wild" begins with Link awakening in the Shrine of Resurrection, a hundred years past the Great Calamity. It’s clear this game is set up to be “undefeatable” -- as a prequel of sorts to the events of "Breath of the Wild," there’s no way you as a player can win. Many fans are anticipating that last, final stand by Link, Zelda, and the Champions in the face of Calamity Ganon and his army -- and how Zelda saves Link, sealing him away before containing Ganon herself.

It’s exciting times, with the thrill and tension increasing as the release date draws closer. This newest addition to the "Breath of the Wild" narrative already looks to be a hit. But fans who want to know more about the game will have to wait for the release of "Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity" on Nov. 20.

Pre-order your physical copy on Best Buy for $59.99 before release day.

The Nintendo Switch is available with Red/Blue Joy Cons for $299.99. Or get the Switch Lite (in Turquoise, Yellow, or Coral) for just $199.99 today!