One thing that is sacred when you’re writing for the internet is the need to protect people from spoilers, so I have been very careful in my writing about Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. It’s a game that I had been looking forward to for months, a game I didn’t know I needed. I went in expecting to know everything there was to know about the plot with maybe a few twists and surprises thrown in.
But I was wrong. So very wrong.
This is my spoiler-filled review of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, so if you’ve not had a chance to play through it yet, this your last warning because after this paragraph, you are going to be hit with some pretty big plot spoilers that might take some of your enjoyment out of the game. Spoilers will commence shortly after this wholesome picture of everyone’s favourite shark waifu.
Age of Calamity: Spoiler Review
Like many people, I went into this game expecting to have an ugly cry as I sent my beloved champions (and Revali) to their deaths at the hands of the Blight Ganons that infested the Divine Beasts. In fact, after the unbridled horror of 2020, I was actually looking forward to it, like watching a sad movie after a bad break up. I was looking forward to the catharsis.
So when the moment arrived and I had to fight my way out of Hyrule Castle, fighting my way through Guardians as well as Calamity Ganon’s forces, I was ready. Up to that point, Age of Calamity had played out very similarly to how Breath of the Wild had trained me to expect. We had recruited the champions I knew and loved (and also Revali) and, aside from the presence of the Baby Guardian from the future, I had no reason to believe that this would play out differently. If my years of playing Chrono Trigger had taught me anything, it was that some fates cannot be avoided.
When I went to rescue Mipha and Daruk, I expected to fail. I expected to see them fall. I watched them stumble against the darkness that I knew we would ultimately be helpless against, ready to cry.
But then another time portal opened and out popped Sidon, the Zora prince and younger brother to Mipha, grown up and pulled from a darker future where his sister had died at that moment. It was one of the few moments in gaming where I was truly surprised and overjoyed. Sidon bought Mipha enough time for Link to arrive and take down the Waterbight Ganon, saving our shark girlfriend and giving everyone that little bit of hope that the future wasn’t set in stone.
It could be considered a cheap move, to have the solution to the plot be time travel shenanigans, and normally I would have agreed, but in this instance it seemed to fit into the overall tone of the game rather than feel like pure fanservice. One of the themes of Breath of the Wild was how, in the fight between good and evil, the line of victory and defeat is often razor-thin. Before the time-displaced Champions arrived, Link and Zelda were mere minutes away from rescuing them. If they had been but a little faster, Breath of the Wild might never have happened.
The fact that these four individuals are enough to turn the tide and altar the course of history in Age of Calamity almost adds to the tragedy of Age of Calamity but also gives hope to those of us fighting for a brighter future in our own world. If these four people can have such a big impact, perhaps any of us can have a hand in saving the world.
My biggest question following Age of Calamity’s twist is if this will lead us into Breath of the Wild 2. I enjoy the confirmation that these characters from Breath of the Wild would eventually become Champions in their own right, but the alternate timeline nature makes me wonder if the eventual sequel will come out from the Age of Calamity timeline or the original. I personally expect them to keep this as a little pocket dimension where everyone got their happy ending but we’ll have to see what surprises Nintendo have up their sleeves.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is out now for Nintendo Switch if you haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet.