Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity Character Guide

Published: Friday, November 20, 2020 - 08:00 | By: Andrew Stretch
Hyrules Heroes: Link, Impa, and Zelda

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is in everyone's hands now. This Warriors-style prequel to 2017's hit The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild tells the story of the great Calamity Ganon's attack on Hyrule that leads the lands into 100 years of darkness. As it's a Musou title, there is large-scale combat, flashy attacks, and plenty of characters to get your hands on.

If the leaks are to be believed, by the time you get to the end of the game, you should have access to over 15 characters from the Breath of the Wild universe. As this is such a large list we're going to be breaking up these character profiles into different pages.

 
 

Koei Tecmo has gone to amazing lengths to make sure that not only are each of the characters unique but that each of their attacks and abilities lends so well to the characters that we know from the game. Chances are if you're a fan of Breath of the Wild and know the different characters, you'd already be able to make a strong guess on how you should expect each character to play.

During this series of guides, we'll also be assigning each character a difficulty rating on how easy or hard it is to pick them up. This isn't to say that you shouldn't play a character with a 5-Star rating as soon as you can; it's just a way to gauge whether you'll be able to get by mashing your attack button, or if you'll need to understand extra mechanics related to how that character can deal the most damage. The different levels will be detailed as such:

★☆☆☆☆     Normal Combos
★★☆☆☆     Complicated Combos
★★★☆☆     Some kind of management system to be aware of
★★★★☆     Complex meter/power management
★★★★★     Complex meter/power management with penalties for not using optimally


Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity - Link

Unlock Condition: Start Chapter 1
Weapon Type: One-Handed Sword and Shield

Link is the basic fighter of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, but that’s not a slight on Link at all. His combos are made up of a series of sword slashes, and the odd shield slide. If you're a fan of Legend of Zelda games—why wouldn't you be?—then you're going to be very at home playing as Link.

Quick sword slashes make mincemeat of enemies as you make your way through the land. A lot of Link's combos, transitioning from light attacks to heavy attacks, deal with crowd control, and there's a lot of options for it. Heavy attacks include a slashing uppercut, a large spin attack, and even a rising spin attack.

You're going to do your best to be in the middle of the action, it might mean you're more likely to be hit, but you just need to make sure you get those quick, high-damage attacks out as soon as you can.

Hyrule Warriors AoC Shield Surf
Move bokoblin, get out the way.

Link also has a lot of interesting attacks that double as traversal methods. Perfectly borrowed from Breath of the Wild is Link's Shield Surf. You can do a high-damage version of the shield slide by performing a 2x light attack into a heavy attack, or a weaker but faster-to-use version can be used by getting Link into a run and then hitting the heavy attack button on its own. While not doing as much damag,e as long as you keep your finger on the thumbstick, you can chain the dashing Shield Charge one after the other with no limit. Not only will you make your way across Hyrule faster but you'll have a constantly active attack bowling through everyone on your journey. Whether you're fighting a large group of foes or one-on-one against a special Moblin or Lizalfos, you're going to be able to do good work.

How difficult is it to play as this character?: ★☆☆☆☆

 

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity - Impa

Unlock Condition: Chapter 1
Weapon Type: Short Sword

Impa is the first character that isn't just about hitting the attack buttons. Age of Calamity has leaned hard into the Shiekah's ninja aesthetic, building her character around the creation and management of clones. Impa on her own has an interesting array of attacks; her normal combo manages to deal OK damage but is somewhat limited to what is directly in front of her. She even has a cool move that raises her into the air on a glider for faster world traversal, but when she's on her own, she leaves a bit to be desired.

You can press ZR to make an enemy with a Symbol, after dealing enough heavy attack damage to that monster, you'll claim the Symbol and create a new set of clones. With only one Symbol absorbed, two clones spawn. Two Symbols yields four clones, and at all three Symbols, you're looking at eight Impa clones.

Hyrule Warriors AoC Impa Clone Army
*Chuckles* They're in danger.

Combos immediately shift from OKto chaotic as each of your clones attack in time with you, lined up like a rugby team. Regular attacks lined up begin plowing through all kinds of fodder enemies, and special attacks hold a new terrifying power. The difference between two clones appearing among enemies and exploding, and the eight exploding definitely puts the Switch through its paces.

 

You need to be constantly monitoring these clones though as they time out quite frequently. At any time you can check the top left of your screen and see which Symbols are active, and can use the speed of their flashing to know when your clones are about to be dispelled. When managed well Impa will deal impressive damage, and her range currently can't be beat, even if you need to continuously reapply the status of the clone.

It's really easy to get Symbols from the generic enemies that you're fighting, but from playing, it seems when you're against any of the more powerful monsters like the Moblins that appear in Outposts or special monsters on the map, it will take more to get the Symbols. This means if you get to the fight and your clones power down, it's gonna take a lot more work to get back to full power. It's definitely worth taking a bit of time to let your clones disappear, reapply them, and then head into any big fight; chances are, you'll get it done in record time with that many clones.

How difficult is it to play as this character?: ★★★☆☆


Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity - Zelda

Unlock Condition: Chapter 1
Weapon Type: Shiekah Slate

Zelda uses the Shiekah Slate to call up more specific versions of each of the different Runes that you're used to in Breath of the Wild. Her attacks use a variety of Round Remote Bombs, Magnesis, Stasis, and Cryonis. Even her normal combo has her pull up a metal box in Magnesis, create a Cryonis platform that shatters, and lash out at enemies with Stasis chains.

Immediately, you know you can sit a bit further back and take on enemies from afar. The AoE of each of these attacks does leave a bit to be desired. Chaining light into heavy attacks can allow Zelda to swing the iron box more and create a giant rolling bomb that can be triggered at will.

Hyrule Warriors AoC Zelda AoE Setup
The setup is always worth the punchline, you've just got to get the timing right

The real focus of Zelda's power is setting up all kinds of Runes and then detonating them all at once. Whether it be the Cryonis pillars or Remote Bombs, you have enough time to get at least two out in the open before any of their internal timers go off.

The Cryonis pillars appear so perfectly in front of Zelda to have two positioned at each side of her, with enough space to 7-10 split the Rolling Bomb between them. Triggering all of these to explode at once can deal an impressive amount of damage at a range that Link wishes he had. In a one-on-one fight, Zelda has some serious drawbacks, like not being able to use any combo to get into the air, but in a large group, she's deadly.

How difficult is it to play as this character?: ★★☆☆☆


Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity – Mipha

Unlock Condition: Chapter 2
Weapon Type: Trident

We'll start with the Zora princess, and emotional heart of the Champions, Mipha. Much like the first Hyrule Warriors' own Zora champion Ruto, this fishy friend can summon jets and balls of water with her combos, hitting large swaths of enemies. This makes her great for overlapping damage on bosses and splash damage (sorry not sorry).

Hyrule Warriors AoC Mipha
Zora swim upstream in order to kick tail

But Mipha has a few quirks to her name. The first is that her strong attack creates a water jet. Once it is placed, hitting ZR will cause Mipha to warp to that jet with a rising launch attack which you can chain into an aerial combo. It's a decent trap to lay for enemies and to get critical hits on bosses, but the warp and the launch attack seem to have no I-frames, so time your warps carefully.

The other ability lies with Mipha's special attacks. Unlike any other fighter in the game, Mipha's special attack doesn't just clear the immediate area of enemies with a flashy attack, it heals nearby allies. If you're playing in split-screen mode with an overzealous partner, it's not a bad idea to keep Mipha on hand as a support.

How difficult is it to play as this character?: ★★☆☆☆


Hyrules Warriors: Age of Calamity – Daruk

Unlock Condition: Chapter 2
Weapon Type: Giant Sword

Moving on from water to fire, we have the boisterous boulder biting brute, Daruk. Fitting his attitude, Daruk's combos aren't exactly flashy, but they pack a punch. Chaining attacks between light and heavy will make him call up rocks, which can range from tiny rocky spikes in the ground to ramps of molten rock. His more advanced moves lean on Daruk launching and then slamming into the ground, which can take a bit of practice. Overall, these combos feel more geared to hitting large targets since Daruk's attacks don't have the best range.

Hyrule Warriors AoC Daruk
We will we will rock you!

Calling up rocks is important since it ties into Daruk's movement and magma abilities. Once you have summoned a rock with the end of a combo, hitting ZR will cause created rocks to heat up, damaging nearby enemies. Hitting ZR again around these hot rocks will cause them to explode. As for movement, since Daruk is a Goron, he can roll around like a high-speed wrecking ball. Holding down the X button will cause Daruk to rev up until he finally spins out, steamrolling anything in his way. What's even better is you can use the rocky ramps summoned by certain combos to launch Daruk at bosses with this deadly charge, letting him hit critical areas with his bullrush.

Overall, setting up these ramps and combos are tricky. The ramps can be misaligned, certain combos don't end with ramps being made, etc. But with enough practice, Daruk can make the very earth itself work to his advantage.

How difficult is it to play as this character?: ★★☆☆☆


Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity – Revali

Unlock Condition: Chapter 2
Weapon Type: Bow and Arrow

Taking to the skies, we have the fork-tongued Rito archer, Revali. Since his signature weapon is a bow, all of his attacks are focused on ranged attacks. Either a rapid-fire barrage shot at a single target or several fired in wide arcs, every time you shoot you are going to hit something...

Of course, what's the point of having wings if you can't fly. By hitting ZR, Revali can take to the air, which opens up another string of light and heavy combos. These are more long-range attacks, perfect for covering the arena with arrows and pelting bosses with bombs from above.

Hyrule Warriors AoC Revali
Time to line up that bulls-eye...

Overall, staying in the air is fantastic. You have a wider selection of combos to pull off and they are stellar at crowd control. Furthermore, your Sheikah Slate abilities and your dodge roll still work while airborne. The only problem is if you are hit, you'll be knocked down and vulnerable for a while.

Revali might be the most agile of the Champions. All of his attacks and animations are chaotic and constantly in motion. There were a few times I lost track of his model through all of his quick strikes and arrow barrages. He doesn't have too many potent attacks aside from his bomb arrow combos, but when it comes to doing death of a thousand cuts, this Champion will suit you just fine.

How difficult is it to play as this character?: ★★☆☆☆


Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity – Urbosa

Unlock Conditions: Chapter 2
Weapon Type: Scimitar

Finally, we have the warrior woman of the desert, Urbosa. At first, it feels like Urbosa's moveset is no different than Link's sword and shield. There are long and quick slashes chained together into some nasty electrical blasts, which are great for slicing through hoards and paralyzing tougher opponents.

But Urbosa's lightning can be powered up even further. Holding down ZR will let you charge up a power gauge. Once the gauge is filled, mashing the X button at the end of a combo will overcharge the attack. Depending on how you end the combo this can lead to giant electric rays meant for crowd control or cycling columns of lightning chipping away at a boss' health.

Hyrule Warriors AoC Urbosa
You got the touch. You got the powaaaaaaaaah.

This bar can be filled by pulling off combo attacks, but it's faster to charge it manually. It's just an extra detail to keep in mind if you want to get the most out of this particular champion.

How difficult is it to play as this character?: ★★★☆☆


Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity – Sidon

Unlock Conditions: Complete “Water and Fire” in Chapter 5
Weapon Type: Trident

We'll start with the Zora heartthrob, Prince Sidon. Mipha's younger brother is a much more aggressive fighter. His dash animation has him riding a giant shark made out of water, he dual-wields tridents into battle, and juggles hordes of monsters like he's tossing a salad. Like Mipha, he does use his water control powers in battle, but is far more direct about it, calling forth jets of water at the end of combo chains to slash through the opposition.

Hyrule Warriors AoC Sidon
No one hits like Sidon, no one's swift as Sidon, no one makes people blush around fish like Sidon.

But you can't completely check out and just mindlessly mash away on your controller. While you can end a combo with a strong attack and watch Sidon shoot out streams of water to give his tridents an extra nasty slice, what you want to do is pay attention to a circular gauge that pops up while he's winding up the attack. Hit ZR at the right time, and that strong attack becomes much stronger. Think of them as optional but highly encouraged quick-time events.

Trust me, you'll want to get the timing down because the payoff is worth it. These can range from simply a stronger finishing blow or an uppercut that chains into another combo that ends with a ground slam. You can even tap ZR by itself to make Sidon send out a water pulse that pulls enemies towards you, which is great for closing gaps. Put in the work to get bonus combos and with enough practice, you'll be casually throwing whirlpools around with the kind of might that only Sidon knows how to bring.

How difficult is it to play as this character?: ★★☆☆☆


Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity – Yunobo

Unlock Conditions: Complete “Water and Fire” in Chapter 5
Weapon Type: Rock Roast

On the opposite end of the charisma spectrum is the timid but well-meaning hero, Yunobo. On the surface, Yunobo just plays like a bargain store version of Daruk. He punches and rolls around, but he doesn't have a giant sword or the ability to summon lava rocks and then make them explode with a fistbump. Furthermore, the reach and impact of these attacks are underwhelming.

Instead, Yunobo gets... a hunk of rock roast. It gets more confusing since the game doesn't really explain it all that well.

Hyrule Warriors AoC Yunobo
Well, that is one way to throw a rock.

By hitting ZR, Yunobo will take a bite out of the roast, which will give him an energy barrier. The tutorial says this is a protective barrier, but this is a lie. The idea is that depending on the color and appearance of the barrier, it will overcharge a certain combo chain or strong attack. Get a yellow electrical barrier? Just hit X, and instead of Yunobo just chucking a rock out of the ground he'll throw a giant molten javelin crackling with electrical energy. Is your barrier dark red and spiky? Do the X X Y combo and watch Yunobo do a more powerful steamroll attack pulsing with fire energy.

The rule of thumb is if you see a Strong Attack prompt flash up while a barrier is active, that's the combo the barrier is meant to enhance. Yunobo is a serious case of don't judge a book by its cover, but he might be the biggest poster child of “practice makes perfect” with this unconventional fighting style.

How difficult is it to play as this character?: ★★★★☆


Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity – Teba

Unlock Conditions: Complete “Air and Lightning” in Chapter 5
Weapon Type: Bow

Next up is Teba, the far more humble and softspoken Rito hero compared to his more prideful predecessor. Much like Sidon, Teba seems like a palette swap of Revali. Both warriors fight with bows and fly around after all. But while Revali had an entire moveset dedicated to aerial dominance, Teba focuses a bit more on the ground level. He does have several combos that end with him in the air firing powerful shots at his enemies, but most of his attacks will be coming from the ground level.

Hyrule Warriors AoC Teba
KA-BOOOOM

Thankfully, his special ability makes up for this lack of air control. Holding down ZR, Teba will start charging up a powerful attack. This attack has multiple levels of strength, with little sound effects cluing you in to how charged the attack is. Release the button and Teba will unleash a powerful charged shot at his target. The fully charged version of this attack has Teba shooting a barrage of bomb arrows in an arc, blasting away any poor fools in the way, and fires several bomb arrows into the sky. After this attack goes off bombs will fall from the sky at random, causing chaos everywhere. These bombardments aren't really guided, so if you want to tear through bosses, it'll be better to just spam maxed charge shots.

The only downside of this charged shot is that you lose it if you're hit, but that will come with practice. If you want more explosions in your levels and are willing to lose a bit of air superiority, Teba has you covered.

How difficult is it to play as this character?: ★★★☆☆


Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity – Riju

Unlock Conditions: Complete “Air and Lightning” in Chapter 5
Weapon Type: Sand Walrus

Finally, we have Riju, the chieftain of the Gerudo, and her adorable sand walrus, Patricia. Keeping with the theme of opposites, Riju feels like the most extreme when compared to her counterpart. Urbosa dances around the battlefield with grace and swiftness, channeling lightning at just the right time. Riju is a ball of manic chaos, barreling through enemies while holding on to her rampaging pet for dear life.

Yes, you read the description above correctly. Riju's entire moveset revolves around either getting Patricia to pounce and strike enemy hordes, or getting slung around like a giant human yo-yo. As a result, Riju is tailor-made for getting somewhere fast and for dealing with crowd control. Don't be surprised if you can't entirely follow where her attacks will land, I'm pretty certain she can't either.

Hyrule Warriors AoC Riju
Jane, stop this crazy thing!

As if things couldn't be more bonkers, hitting ZR will make Patricia go on a rampage. Holding down ZR will turn Patricia into a living battering ram, zooming through the map while Riju hangs on to the leash. Pressing any attack button afterward will trigger a strong bull rush attack. Generally speaking, you want to use the standard attacks for mobs, hold down ZR for traversal, and mix some rampage attacks with your combos against bosses.

Overall, Riju and her sand walrus bring what you expect to the table: straightforward unbridled animal insanity. If you can keep in mind these little quirks, this Champion can pack a punch.

How difficult is it to play as this character?: ★★☆☆☆


Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity – Hestu

Unlock Conditions: Complete “Freeing Korok Forest” in Chapter 3
Weapon Type: Maracas

Remember Hestu? The goofy dancing, maraca-shaking support character that rewarded you with poo if you completed a certain infamous side quest in Breath of the Wild? Well, he's playable in Age of Calamity, and he's still an excitable goofball.

At first, Hestu feels more like a joke character than a legitimate threat. His maraca attacks don't have the best range and his juggle game isn't the best. But if you start to dig a bit more into his moveset, there's some nastiness tucked away.

Hyrule Warriors AoC Hestu
Fly my pretties, flyyyyyy!!

First and foremost is Hestu's unique ability. By hitting ZR, you summon a swarm of koroks to your side who fight alongside you. Generally speaking, they'll extend your strong attacks with more strikes, wider range, and a much longer area of effect. This can lead to you performing multiple overlapping strong attacks with the koroks performing death of a thousand cuts.

This does mean you'll need to get more familiar with Hestu's combo chains to avoid repetition. The pay off is having your own miniature army bopping around the battlefield.

How difficult is it to play as this character?: ★★★☆☆


Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity – King Rhoam

Unlock Condition: Complete “All Hyrule, United” in Chapter 7
Weapon Type: Giant Sword/Giant Axe

Next up is the king of Hyrule. Zelda's father might not seem like much, but he might just be my favorite straightforward warrior in the entire game.

The reason for this is his ability to switch weapons and playstyles mid-fight. By pressing ZR, King Rhoam switches from his noble attire and giant greatsword to a more covert hermit outfit and battleaxe. Not only is the hermit outfit a fun nod to Rhoam's mentoring Link in Breath of the Wild's prologue, it's a great way to let you know visually what style Rhoam is using.

Hyrule Warriors AoC King Rhoam
The might of a King in action, everyone.

And the two weapons have very distinct styles. The regal greatsword is slow but has an absurdly long reach and solid power behind each swing. The battleaxe is shorter but is faster and chains together spin and twirls for crowd control. It all just comes down to your personal preference and what the situation calls for.

What makes this more than a cute gimmick is that these style switches can be done mid-combo. Much like Sidon's strong attack enhancing QTE's, hitting ZR at the end of one of Rhoam's combos will cause him to switch to the other weapon with a devastating opening attack. These attacks change depending on which combo chain you end on. Better yet, if you can keep switching these weapons without getting hit, you can effectively combo forever. This can make short work of minor bosses and is just fun to do.

How difficult is it to play as this character?: ★★☆☆☆


Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity – Master Kohga

Unlock Conditions: Complete “Relentless as a Waterfall” in Chapter 6
Weapon Type: Sickle

Next we have the boisterous and childish leader of the Yiga Ninja Clan, Master Kohga. What was once a minor boss battle in the main story eventually fights for Hyrule's future against Calamity Ganon. In theory, this should be a moment of growth and redemption for the character leading to a more thoughtful moveset.

Except in practice, he ends up being the most complex fighter in Age of Calamity. Let's start with Kohga's Temper gauge. As you perform combos or get hurt, the gauge will increase. The more charged it becomes, the stronger Kohga's attacks will become. Once that bar is maxed out, pressing ZR will cause Kohga to unleash all of that rage into a powerful laser beam, cutting through enemies.

Hyrule Warriors AoC Master Kohga
WHERE ARE MY CHICKEN NUGGETS!?!?

The downside to this system is that if that gauge is overfilled for any reason, it resets to zero and Kohga flops on the floor and starts throwing a giant tantrum like a child. This stops you dead in your tracks and opens you up to getting punished by the enemy.

You do have ways to offset this. Some of Kohga's combos raise the temper gauge faster than others, so keeping an eye on that will help keep the ninja master's anger under control. Also, just hitting the X button while standing still will make Kohga eat a banana which freezes the gauge for a while.

It's a lot to keep in mind while using the character. It doesn't help that his combo chains are erratic mixes of bizarre slapstick – Kohga likes to summon ninja clones to do his dirty work – and spastic flailing of ninja tools. But if you can keep an eye on that temper gauge and know when to drain it for an angry light show, Kohga can be a force to be reckoned with.

How difficult is it to play as this character?: ★★★★★


What do you think of the characters so far? Which character have you had the most fun playing as? Are there any other reasons each of these Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity characters stands out from the rest?


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Andrew Stretch TechRaptor
Events Editor

I have been playing all kinds of games for as long as I can remember with a particular interest in action adventure and platforming titles. While I am primarily an Xbox gamer I also spend a fair bit of time on the PS4 and on my PC in VR.