Before Tears of the Kingdom: A Must-Play Zelda Game You Can’t Miss

Discover the Underrated Zelda Game You Need to Play Before Tears of the Kingdom

With The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom just a month away, now is the perfect time to revisit Breath of the Wild. Whether you have unfinished shrines or haven’t defeated Calamity Ganon yet (don’t worry, we won’t judge), this might be your last chance to complete the story before diving into Hyrule’s next chapter. But here’s the thing: Breath of the Wild isn’t the only Zelda game you should finish before May 12. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is a must-play that deserves a spot on your prelaunch checklist.

Age of Calamity: A Prequel That Expands the Zelda Universe

Age of Calamity is an action RPG in the style of Dynasty Warriors, serving as a prequel to Breath of the Wild. Set before the Calamity, it delves into the story of Link, Zelda, and the four champions as they fight to prevent Ganon from conquering Hyrule. In a way, it’s like Zelda’s version of Rogue One, where heroes struggle against a fate that players already know is inevitable.

While Age of Calamity received positive attention at launch, it did divide fans to some extent. Musou gameplay tends to be hit or miss with mainstream audiences, so the hack-and-slash combat wasn’t for everyone. However, it was the story that truly polarized players. Age of Calamity takes creative liberties with the Zelda timeline, crafting more of an alternate history rather than a straightforward prequel. Some may see this as a “cop out,” but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss it entirely. Age of Calamity offers valuable lore and character development that adds depth to the upcoming Tears of the Kingdom.

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Unveiling Hyrule’s Past: Age of Calamity’s Narrative Impact

Despite not being considered “canon,” Age of Calamity expands the world of Breath of the Wild in significant ways. History plays a crucial role in the latter game, as Link strives to uncover what transpired before the Calamity. While unlockable memories provide glimpses into the past, Age of Calamity allows players to experience that era firsthand and spend more time with characters who were previously shrouded in mystery.

One of the game’s standout features is the exploration of Hyrule’s champions, the four heroes whose tales have become legends by the time Link awakens from his long slumber. Breath of the Wild left players yearning for more information about characters like Revali and Daruk. Age of Calamity goes beyond featuring them as mere hack-and-slash characters, offering valuable insights into who they were before the Calamity struck. Through full voice acting and high-quality cutscenes, this action RPG provides a deeper understanding of the real heroes of Hyrule’s past.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The divine beasts in Breath of the Wild also receive significant attention in Age of Calamity. These massive machines were quite mysterious at the beginning of the game, and players were told of their importance in defeating Ganon. However, their true power remained largely unexplored. Age of Calamity changes that. Through a series of thrilling missions, players can actually pilot the divine beasts and unleash their might upon thousands of enemies. These awe-inspiring musou action set pieces not only provide the ultimate power fantasy but also emphasize the true nature of these colossal weapons. They are not mere mobile dungeons to conquer, but weapons of mass destruction that should not be taken lightly.

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Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Zelda Takes Center Stage: A Character Journey Waiting to Be Explored

Age of Calamity excels at delivering moments that deepen our understanding of Breath of the Wild, even if they don’t perfectly align with its story. One example of this lies in its treatment of Zelda, the series’ titular character. For decades, Zelda has played second fiddle to Link as he heroically saves the day. While Breath of the Wild presented a richer version of Zelda, she remained somewhat absent throughout the adventure.

In Age of Calamity, Zelda takes the spotlight as the main character. The game tells a self-reflective story, exploring Zelda’s struggle with constantly being seen as a sidekick. Here, she learns to unlock her true potential, establishing her significance in a series that bears her name. This character journey has completely changed my perspective on the series, leaving me excited to see how she continues to grow in Tears of the Kingdom.

Though the hack-and-slash combat of Age of Calamity may not appeal to everyone, skipping over it and jumping straight into Tears of the Kingdom would be a mistake. Consider it an optional side story that enriches the Breath of the Wild experience. Age of Calamity pays homage to its predecessor while delivering its own fulfilling spinoff. Plus, what else are you going to do for the next three grueling weeks?

Editors’ Recommendations

  • The best games of 2023 so far: Tears of the Kingdom, Resident Evil 4, and more
  • Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is almost perfect, but it could use these tweaks
  • Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’s new update removes item duplication glitch
  • Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’s sequel should go full Death Stranding
  • Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom players are creating an industrial revolution
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OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

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