We’re just over a week out from the release of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity and its quickly become one of my top game releases of the year. Between the satisfying combat, the unmistakably Zelda feel to the world, and some really creative uses of the storyline we know so well from Breath of the Wild, its been well worth diving into for fans of the Legend of Zelda series.
A hallmark of the Dynasty Warriors games has always been the roster of characters who join you as you battle through wave after wave of enemies as you fight to reach the next boss fight or plot development. Age of Calamity is no different, with plenty of familiar faces joining the crew to help Link and Zelda fight against Calamity Ganon.
But who is the best companion in this game? Who is able to bring the pain? We’ll take a look at some of the characters you can play as and let you know what we think.
Quick note: We’re still avoiding spoilers here, so we won’t mention anyone who you will unlock later in the game so you can read on without ruining anything.
Age of Calamity Fighters Ranked
Hestu is the keeper of the korok seeds in Breath of the Wilding, rewarding you for finding the tricky little guys by giving you more weapon and shield slots to work with. Hestu takes a more direct role in Age of Calamity, fighting the forces of darkness with their signature maracas and enthusiasm.
While they does bring some interesting ideas and their summoning of their korok companions has some fun visuals, I found Hestu a bit clunky and slow without the satisfying power to back it up. It says a lot about the game’s balance that Hestu was the only character I actively didn’t enjoy playing with, as opposed to simply preferring others over them.
The Great Daruk has the power to protect himself from blows that would shatter lesser creatures and he uses it to great effect in Age of Calamity. While he is slow, unlike Hestu he is able to pack a significant punch in every attack. The key to mastering Daruk is clever utilisation of his magma activation abilities. Certain strong attacks will cause pillars of burning rocks to jut from the ground around you, which Daruk can cause to explode for extra damage.
Our Rito friend might the second biggest jerk in the game (after Calamity Ganon), but he is also a very fun character to play as in Age of Calamity. His ability to fight on the ground as well as in the air gives him the ability to move around the battlefield quickly, avoiding enemies and getting the distance needed to use his legendary bow effectively.
Some of his combos are a bit repetitive, though they remain effective at pinning enemies down. His multi-arrow attack can take out a whole mob without much difficulty and is easy to perform. Revali’s only downside is that his lack of power can make the inevitable boss fights feel like a slog at times, but his mobility and speed almost make up for how much of a douche he is to everyone he comes across.
Everyone’s favourite shark waifu, Mipha is one of the faster characters in the game and her ability to cause jets of water to erupt from the ground and then use it to launch herself into the air to string together an impressive combo is very satisfying to pull off. She doesn’t pack a strong punch but her healing ability and speed mean she is a solid choice to send into battle.
We encountered Impa in Breath of the Wild as an old woman, but in Age of Calamity we get to see her fighting alongside the other champions. How does she fight, you ask? Well, if you’ve seen more than a few episodes of Naruto, you will get the idea. Impa uses symbols she absorbs from enemies to create shadow clones of herself which allow her to take on more and more enemies at once by spreading the damage out over a substantial area.
She even throws in a few hand signs and some good old fashioned Naruto-running to really bring the similarities to a head.
Impa’s shadow clones take a little bit of getting used to, but once you are able to reliably summon them as part of a combo, there is a lot of satisfying damage that this young ninja can do.
I have been clamouring to be able to play as Zelda since my first article with Rice Digital and it turns out it is exactly as satisfying as I hoped. Zelda doesn’t make any physical attacks throughout the game, instead using her mastery of the Sheikah Slate to beat her enemies into submission.
She gets some of the most fun uses of the runes in Age of Calamity, particularly her Remote Bomb attack, which summons a giant bomb that spider walks its way through the enemy while shooting out smaller bombs before exploding.
Zelda is a little clunky at times and won’t be easy to string together long combos with, but her utility keeps her fun and interesting throughout.
Link is the first character you get in the game and is a good all-arounder. His combos are easy to pull off and satisfying to watch while his runes are immediately recognisable to anyone who played Breath of the Wild. Age of Calamity assumes you’ll use Link as your standard and compare him to other characters you unlock.
Where Link really shines is his ability to take on large groups of enemies with his signature spin attack. Figuring out how to work it into combos will allow you to string multiple combos together and really pile on the pain.
Its almost not fair to compare Urbosa to anyone else in Age of Calamity. In Breath of the Wild she was already one of the most fun Champions even in the small bits we got to see her in. Getting to control this master of lightning is just as much fun as you would expect, really.
Urbosa is able to charge her lightning attacks by hitting enemies with her sword or by just raising it in the air like a living lightning rod, though this leaves her vulnerable to attack. Once charged, she can wield it to add to her devastating strong attacks, shooting it through the ground at enemies or firing it as a beam weapon, depending on the combo it is used in.
These are fun to use and all, but Urbosa gets the top of this list because her devastating Urbosa’s Fury ability, which summons powerful lightning to cause massive damage to foes in a wide area. It is not only effective at clearing out space or knocking bosses to their knees, it is an absolute treat to watch every single time.