Never have I ever played a Musou game. I have just never had much interest. I mean, those Dynasty Warriors games looked slightly mindlessly fun when I saw Seth Cohen playing them on The OC. But meh. I can remember spin-offs coming out with popular licenses. There was a Fire Emblem one. And maybe Dragon Quest? I don't know. And then there was the original Hyrule Warriors, which I bought on Wii U and then never played.
But when Age Of Calamity was announced, it was this whole other thing. I was actually excited. Why? Because instead of being some random spin-off, it was actually a cannon prequel to Breath Of The Wild. And suddenly, making a game like this a Musou game made sense! Yes, the war that was referenced in BOTW - the war that tore Hyrule apart and left it in the quiet shambles of BOTW could be witnessed first hand.
Sidebar: I adore the two Kill Bill movies. They fit together like a glove. We've watched them back to back as a double feature. Of course, this was before we had a child. But what makes them brilliant is that they're two totally different movies, tonally. The first one is all action and blood and guts and loud music and vibrant colors. The second is slower, more dialogue, more backstory and somber.
I bring this up because that's exactly how Age Of Calamity and Breath Of The Wild work off of each other. The prequel is all war all the time... huge epic battles, with magic being cast in dizzying bursts of color and allies shouting out for help with bodies flying everywhere. And yet BOTW itself is lonely, quiet, moody and sad.
Yes, this is a very different game from BOTW proper. But it makes sense! It fills out a part of the timeline. And while I'm still early in (just a couple of hours now, about a fourth of the way through Chapter 2), I feel like this proposed trilogy of BOTW games will go down as maybe the best and most varied run of Zelda games on a single console ever. Maybe.
Anyway, I'm having a great time but in a very different way than with BOTW. And that's one of my favorite games EVER. So this... this prequel means a lot to me.
I've now conquered two of the four Chapter 2 quests. Which means I've got two new characters and awakened two of the divine beasts. These quests are fairly long, by the way. Each has taken me 30-40 minutes, which means that I'm sort of approaching this game with a kind of "one or two quests a night" mentality. But that's fine. I like clear progress. I like manageable chunks.
The battles are epic. And I must say that this game ONLY works for me as a part of the bigger BOTW whole. Which is to say, I don't think I'd care about this game had it been just another stand-alone Hyrule Warriors game. It's the fact that it's part of the BOTW story that's making it so compelling. It's revisiting locales and seeing familiar faces.
One thing I don't care for is the segments where you control the Divine Beasts. They feel clunky and tacked on. Luckily, they're brief.
Okay, I've got three of the four divine beasts now, so Chapter 2 is almost over.
The more I play, the more I understand how to use the characters. Link is still my favorite as I'm starting to get my head around using his skills in-battle. Throwing bombs or freezing enemies can be huge when you're up against bosses.
Meanwhile, Impa is insane. Now that I understand her ZR power, it's nuts. You basically lock on to enemies, and then absorb their energy creating clones of yourself. It's unreal to see a bunch of ghost Impas blasting extra damage at waves of foes like they're options in a shmup or something.
The bombast of this game is fantastic.
I'm still making my way through Age Of Calamity. I'm almost out of Chapter 3. I'm having a good time... but I think I feel the need to play something else right now.
Not because I'm not having fun, but because this game felt sort of like my Christmas game. And now that the new year is here, and everything, I just feel like I'm out of that mode. It's the same way I felt about DQXI after my holiday vacation was over. Like it fit that time, but when that time was over, I was done for now. Which is to say, I'm sure I'll pick both of these games back up again at some point. But right now, I want to start SOMETHING else.