Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity's Zelda is very different from the first Hyrule Warriors game. If you enjoyed playing as Princess Zelda in the first Hyrule Warriors, you might be disappointed to see how she's been changed for the prequel.
Princess Zelda is one of the mainstays of The Legend of Zelda franchise; after all, her name is right there in the title. With the announcement of the Breath of the Wild prequel Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, some players were surely looking forward to playing as Princess Zelda again. What we've seen today, however, shows a very different side of the Princess than what we saw in the last game.
Check out Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity's Zelda in action as part of today's Nintendo Treehouse presentation, starting at 4:48:
How is Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity's Zelda Different From the First Game?
If you've never played the first Hyrule Warriors, it may not be obvious how different Zelda is in the new game. Her capabilities from the first game are best described in the fan-run The Legend of Zelda wiki:
Princess of Hyrule, Zelda: The princess of Hyrule, who leads her army against Cia's. She is very dignified and beautiful. She uses a rapier and a bow in battle as well as having a unique mechanic where she summons orbs of light in order to enhance her attacks, but can also use the Baton, which lets her use music as a weapon. Through DLC she can go into battle with the Dominion Rod to summon and control statues as well as attack with the rod and the orb of magic on top.
To put things into visual terms, you can see how Zelda player in the previous Hyrule Warriors game in this E3 2014 trailer (starting at 0:36):
Zelda in the first Hyrule Warriors utilized a rapier and a light bow to execute high-speed, devastating attacks on the hordes of enemies you faced in the game. As her power accumulated, she was able to utilize powerful area-of-effect attacks to carve out a huge chunk of enemies on the battlefield.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity's Zelda does appear to keep many of the same capabilities to cause massive area-of-effect damage. However, her use of the rapier and light bow are no more; instead, this version of Princess Zelda hangs back and uses runes to summon devices from a distance.
Why is this version of Zelda different? While Link's characterization has remained relatively consistent over the last three decades, Princess Zelda has had many different interpretations of her character. Zelda in the first Hyrule Warriors looked and acted more like a warrior princess and on her design appears largely based on her appearance in Twilight Princess. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity's Zelda, however, is based on her appearance in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild; this version of Princess Zelda is less a warrior and more a scholar, so it makes sense that these differences are represented with her gameplay.
Although the changes to Zelda may be disappointing to some, there are plenty of great characters that will still be available to play in this upcoming game; new characters include the lightning-fast Gerudo Champion Urbosa who was also revealed as part of today's Nintendo Treehouse presentation. You can pre-order Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity for the Nintendo Switch for $59.99 or your regional equivalent; it launches on November 20, 2020.
What do you think of the changes to Princess Zelda in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity? What's your favorite version of Princess Zelda? Let us know in the comments below!