Tag Archives: dynasty warriors

FGC #559 Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

This article contains spoilers for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. Also: Final Fantasy 7, for some reason. Also also: Rosebud was a sled. Now you know!

WeeeeCan a Zelda game be more than a Zelda game? And can a Warriors game be more than a Warriors game?

Today’s title is kind of special in the history of Gogglebob.com. By complete coincidence, this game was significantly previewed for the first time when I was just starting up that Let’s Play of World of Final Fantasy, and, if you follow that whole youtube playlist, you’ll hear our opinions on what the game could be, what it very much looked like it would be as of the demo/release, and our impressions once the game was officially available in its entirety. And that’s neat! There is an eternal(ish) record of what we wanted to see from a prequel to Breath of the Wild, and you can listen to our frustration as we slowly realized such a thing would never come. Disappointment abounds!

Though I suppose it is worth restating my initial position for the record, as no man, woman, or child should be subjected to hours of meandering World of Final Fantasy gameplay for the sake of a Zelda game. Long story short? The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a sad, sad game, and it feels disingenuous to have a plot take place in this world (timeline?) and have it be… happy? Cozy? …. Survivable? If you somehow missed Breath of the Wild, here is its backstory: everybody dies. A century before the game officially kicks off, Princess Zelda of Hyrule heard of a coming calamity, and amassed an army of killer robots, Zoids, and at least one dick of a birdperson to combat the inevitable invasion of Ganon. Unfortunately, she forgot to update her mechanical masses’ security firmware before the assault, and the majority of her minions wound up working for the bad guys about three seconds into her brilliant plan. Thus, her Champions were bumped off, her kingdom got a fiery makeover, and her best knight bit the big one personally defending Zelda against her own rampaging tinkertoys. In a last-ditch effort to stave off a literal apocalypse, brave knight Link was stowed away to recover in an ancient shrine, Zelda sealed herself in the castle to stave off Calamity Ganon’s freedom, and her last remaining allies scattered around the countryside to hide and maybe become esoteric fetishes (“wears goggles” is too a fetish!). Link finally awakens in a world that has been permanently scarred by the Calamity’s nigh-victory, and must venture around this Hyrule infested with monsters to rally a whole new generation of heroes. He eventually, inevitably succeeds, but the cost is high: Link’s “old world” and friends are dead and never coming back, and, while there is hope for the future, the present still has an unruly number of laser robots puttering around bringing down property values. Also, depending on your speed run of choice, Link may have never put on pants, and that’s going to confuse Zelda to no end.

So, naturally, when a “prequel” to Breath of the Wild was announced, there was any number of theories on how that might go down. After all, the backstory of Breath of the Wild is one that sees literally an entire army of heroes completely fail. There are good times! And more specific spoilers!…

FGC #310 Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below

Always plays that same music...Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below is a fun little game about defending towns, battling hordes, and causing unspeakable existential crises.

DQH:TWTWatBB is a Dynasty Warriors-esque game (wow, I haven’t reviewed any straight DW games in the last 300 entries? Weird) like Hyrule Warriors. In fact, this game was likely partially inspired by Hyrule Warriors, as, after toying with Gundams for a while, Dynasty Warriors now seems to be in the cross over business. The main appeal of Dragon Quest Heroes is that Dragon Quest part of the title, and that you can battle as all your favorite characters (and Kiryl) from the DQ games that actually featured memorable characters. And don’t underestimate how appealing this can be to fans of a JRPG series! There’s an indescribable joy at seeing characters previously confined to menus and text busting out of their battle screens to finally jump kick across continents as they were always meant to do. Even the less dynamic spell casters of the franchise come alive when they’re dashing around dungeons and actually participating in their kasizziles. And those high tension super moves? Nothing more exciting than seeing a real, screen-clearing giga slash. Take that, you blighting monsters!

And, of course, that’s the other fun part of DQH. While Dynasty Warriors or even Hyrule Warriors can only hope for an interesting boss/general after mowing down swarms of unnamed and uninteresting trash mobs, Dragon Quest has literally decades worth of additions to its bestiary. And many of those creatures were designed by Akira Toriyama, the master of transforming inanimate objects and heaps of ripped muscles into beings brimming with personality by adding only two eyes and a mouth (and occasionally some dangerously spiky hair). Why fight ten thousand generic goblins when slimes, dracies, and chimeras are available? Even the more common beasts (Living Armor comes immediately to mind) are more interesting than SLASH!“anonymous guy with a sword and shield”. And is there a more iconic recolor than the humble metal slime? You’ve lost your spot, Reptile. Nobody farms you for experience.

But those monsters are where we run into problems. While I know nobody shows up to the Warriors series for the plot, DQ is a JRPG franchise (and a charming one at that), so there has to be something of a overarching story to the proceedings, and it’s a little better than “angry king wants to rule the world”. Well, okay, it does contain that, but the inciting incident of the piece involves all the previously friendly monsters in the (this) DQ world going haywire at the behest of a dark tribe/dude/dragon. But for monsters to come unraveled, they must once have been raveled, right? Yes, apparently the monsters of this world were universally friendly before the events of the game, and the opening cinematic shows gigantic golems handing out balloons, and potentially malevolent magicians putting on happy elemental shows for kids. This… is confusing.

Come on get happy

Okay, let’s get the obvious out of the way: they’re called monsters. That is not a word with a good connotation, and it’s hard to believe there were centuries of DQ denizens telling their children, “Go out and play with the nice monsters, honey.” Let’s just assume that “monster” is something of a genus in this world, and be done with that line of thinking. Similarly, the more… monstrous of the monsters must have some greater, less-balloon based functions in this DQ’s society. We’ve already seen vicious saber cats used as mounts in other games, and one could argue that creatures literally called Killing Machines are maybe killing deer or cows or other living things that need killing for whatever reason. Slimes and Genie Sanguinis are likely just the hamsters of this universe, and a King Cure Slime or two probably assists in medical procedures. Trolls are just, ya know, trolls. Maybe they eat billy goats, but otherwise they’re just helpful sorts that assist in reaching that top shelf. Gigantes are there when you need to work on the roof.

But while I can forgive walking masonry and sentient puddles running around the place, there’s one monster that always makes me scratch my head.


This is a Walking Corpse. It is clearly a zombie. It is a monster known for being part of the undead class, and traditionally uses “undead” style attacks, with darkness or poison style properties. It is a mobile, rotting cadaver. By all accounts, this is a person that used to be alive, is now dead, but is somehow still up and about. This is a living dead guy.

And what the hell does that mean!?

There are monsters and humans in this world. There is a clear line of distinction between the two. With the exception of Healix the Blessed Heal Slime, every last monster goes crazy at the start of the adventure. Every single one, from wee Man o’ Wars to Marquis de Léon. Conversely, there is not a solitary human that joins the dark brotherhood. It would really help the villainous Velasco to have a human, elf, or dwarf army on his side, but he proves that he’s only capable of controlling monsters and one Lightling (and that only lasts for a chapter or two). In short, there’s an easy way to tell if you’re a monster or human (or approximation thereof) in this world: if you started rampaging the minute a dark dragon said so, you’re a monster. If not, you got a human there, fella. Very simple distinction.

Whippy whippySo what does this mean to our friend the Walking Corpse? If there is a clear line between human and monster, how does a human become a monster? Is this a simple matter of eating a brain before death, and then being cursed to wander as a walking corpse for the rest of your days? But, wait, if monsters are usually friendly in this environment, then… how would that be a curse? Eternal life for the low, low cost of always being smelly and maybe losing an eyeball? Sign me up! But is it consensual? Is a Walking Corpse summoned by a necromancer, and it doesn’t matter if you were a saint or a sinner, your body is part of the undead army now? Or is it a matter of individual spirits possessing individual bodies, once again completely devoid of any consent? Is cremation popular in this universe for that very reason? And what of remaining family members? Do the little ones play with Grandpa Zombie? Are you expected to visit your parents decades after they’ve died just because they have undead mobility? And are we expected to buy birthday presents for creatures that cannot die?

Walking corpses raise way too many questions! And I killed thousands of them over the course of the game! This raises only further questions!

Luckily, they’re the only monster in the Dragon Quest Heroes that…

'Dem Bones

Oh Goddess dammit. I’m just going to let Bjørn the Behemoose stomp that world to paste and be done with it.

FGC #310 Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below

  • System: Playstation 4, Playstation 3, PC, and… Switch? Uh… are we ever getting that port? I’m pretty sure portable would work well with this game.
  • Number of players: One. This is a point of contention.
  • Longest title in the FGC? Maybe. It’s between that and that Adventure Time game.
  • Maybe actually talk about the game for a second: I’m starting to wonder if I really enjoy Warriors-like games. They’re fun for a few minutes at a time (and the levels here are blissfully much shorter than similar stages from Hyrule Warriors), but that quickly wears thin. What’s more, it seems like the only innovation the game can show for various levels is different kinds of escort missions, and whether you’re protecting a wall or a random village, it’s still a damn escort mission. All that said, I am all about controlling DQ Heroes in non-JRPG settings, and would also be down for Dragon Quest: Theatrhythm, Dragon Quest: The Platformer, and Dragon Quest: Ultra Chess. Dragon Quest: Minecraft is a maybe.
  • KICK!Favorite Character: Alena always needed a world where she could stretch her legs, and her wild combat style here does not disappoint. And her accent, like her ridiculous hat, is adorable. Contrariwise, Terry is so terrible that I never want to play Dragon Quest VI again. Shut up about your stupid sword, Terry!
  • Did you know? “Dragon Quest Heroes” seemed to just be the coverall moniker for spin-off Dragon Quest games, like the best DQ game ever, Rocket Slime. However, Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below and its sequel seems to have snatched that title for the Warriors-esque franchise, as any searches for “Dragon Quest Heroes” returns almost exclusively this title. So, long story short, Rocket Slime is again ignored forever.
  • Would I play again: Nope! What? I like this game well enough, but there’s a sequel with… Angelo instead of Yangus? Oh, bullocks, I might never play this franchise ever again.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Town & Country II: Thrilla’s Surfari for the NES! It’s the gorilla my dreams! Or something! Please look forward to it!

Do it!

FGC #098 Bleach: Soul Resurrección

Also: A Dumb NameMy name is Goggle Bob, and I have a problem. I am addicted to mad-libs character creation.

I’m sure there’s a better name for this phenomenon, but it’s probably lurking around TVTropes, and I haven’t gone back there since… the incident. Assuming no one has already done so, I’m coining mad-libs character creation as the term to describe, well, 90% of shonen fighting anime, roughly 60% of JRPG supporting casts, and practically every Power Ranger ever. Speaking of Power Rangers, that’s probably what I would use as the most obvious example of this concept. For instance…

The Red Ranger is strong, possess great leadership capabilities, wields a sword, and drives a T-Rex.

The Blue Ranger is smart, makes all kinds of gadgets, wields a tri-fork, and drives a Triceratops.

The Black Ranger is funky, can breakdance, wields an axe, and drives a Mastodon.

Et cetera forever. Yes, these characters are more than their component pieces (Billy has glasses!), but their cores can still be summarized with brief sentences containing a few variables. This isn’t a bad thing! In fact, particularly for children’s shows, this is a good thing, as it allows the characters to be almost instantly established so we can get to the real meat of the story, which usually involves fighting some pig-head creature. Really, you can squeeze a lot out of these “simple” dynamics (for instance, what happens when The Funky One tries to teach The Smart One how to dance? Hilarity!), and, while you’re not producing Sense and Sensibility, who cares? It’s a fun time for all, and it conserves time for the giant robot fighting time we all know and love.

JRPGs (and games with JRPG plots) are the biggest culprits in the video game world for the propagation of this trope. Where once a cave or fortress would be cleared by simply battling the dragon or a giant skeleton, Does anyone remember that happened?now every boss battle must be significant, which necessitates creating “memorable” bosses, which naturally leads to fashioning a posse for your big bad, which tends to include “noble strong man with axe”, “sadistic brainy guy with unusual weapon”, and “woman (that’s a personality trait, right?) with daggers”. Sprinkle in a few memorable outfits and/or hairstyles, and you’ve got a full villainous supporting cast. If you need a quick, modern example, look no further than Kingdom Hearts’ Organization 13, which, after firing those guys, decided to make a whole new Organization with the same effortless stereotypes but they’re all the same guy.

But the biggest offender of them all, no matter the genre or origin, is the anime/manga Bleach. Bleach, practically from the first moment, abuses basic archetypes to fill out its main cast (noble hero, serious supporting lady, “silly” supporting woman, strong guy, smart guy, whacky dad, mysterious shopkeep, ninja cat [redundant]), and then, after establishing the rules in a mundane “slice of life” environment, takes its “afterlife investigations” premise to Heaven, Hell, and everywhere in between. Along the way, protagonist Ichigo winds up having to fight every creature that so much as sneezes in his direction, and the “supporting” cast is filled out with… let’s see here… 12 Captains, 12 Lieutenants, 8 Visored, 10 Espada, another 10 lesser Arrancars, and a host of whacky Hollows that all have a thirst for human souls. And that’s before we get into the anime filler episodes! If you used a single chapter/episode to introduce each gang mentioned, you’d have a 52 episode season without even trying. Maybe you could use the second season to explain their collective backstory? 500 episodes later, you might get to the “important” plot.

Pick a winnerWhile it’s not quite that bad, Bleach revels in its overflowing cast. One murder mystery takes approximately fifty episodes because practically everyone involved has to be tapped for reactions, and catching the culprit of that caper takes another seven seasons because he instantly amasses an army of outlandish allies. Every hero, villain, and everything in-between has to have a clear motivation, backstory, special skill, and (usually) transformation, so what equates to a milk run in Ichigo’s world takes approximately decades of real-world time.

And I eat that slop up with a spoon.

It’s all because of the mad-libs character creation, too. See, the MLCC system has a major advantage over the more traditional “this is just the smart guy” style of filling the cast: it creates a pattern. In the world of Bleach, for instance, every character has a transformation of some kind. For the Soul Reapers, it’s Bankai, which allows the person to “release” their sword/soul, and gain an incredible powerup, usually something to do with their weapon of choice transforming or melding with the character. With the Arrancar, it’s Resurrección, which generally transforms the villain into a “monster form” that’s good for a few rounds. And somewhere in-between, there’s the Visors who can transform into a sort of Hollow-lite form that… oh, you get the idea. Point is, every character, and I do mean every character, has a unique weapon, weapon magic skills, and transformation that you better believe is going to be showcased before they’re inevitably defeated. Couple this with the fact that the featured good guys and bad guys will, in typical DBZ fashion, transform about sixty times before the grand finale, and you’ve always got a reason to tune in. Sure, the plot is SKULLS ARE COOLmoving about as fast as molasses stuck to a mollusk, but OMG you guys, Cell Aizen is going to achieve his perfect final form this week!

Bleach: Soul Resurrección is a beat ‘em up in the Dynasty Warriors vein, where you’re (generally) a hero attempting to knock over about a thousand mooks per level on your way to battle a boss that, for some reason, doesn’t fall over dead after five sword slashes. The challenge isn’t in the swarms of nameless creatures that are eliminated by generating a strong breeze, the “challenge” is acquiring as many points as possible for the absolutely deranged goal of seeing how many beings you can speedily kill. Wow, you slaughtered 300 sentient beings in three minutes! You’re a monster winner! Bah, Mario does not weep for goombas, and Ichigo pays no mind to defeated hollows, business as usual.

But what keeps me playing this murder simulator is not the action or the bloodlust, it’s that it abuses the exact same appeal as its parent anime. Like many games in this vein, as you progress through the story mode, you unlock more and more characters to utilize. Whether you unlock the character because you play through the story as that character, or if said character was the boss of the level is immaterial, what’s important is that you now have a whole new sword guy to play as in the challenge stages. Yes, Misdirected WooI just unlocked a murderous psychopath that wants to destroy the planet, but, oh boy, he’s got wings! Complete with the final boss unlocking as playable after the final stage, it’s obvious that this game knows where its sword is shined: right there in the character roster. Like the cookie dangling at the edge of the treadmill, you’re going to keep running in place in pursuit of the gooey deliciousness that is a completely unlocked player select screen.

And, like the parent series, there’s so little actual difference between these characters, it’s disgusting. Here’s sword guy. There’s serious sword guy. Oh boy, I just unlocked crazy sword guy while I was trying to unlock ice sword guy. There’s barely any shift in gameplay between these characters. There’s one guy with guns, and aside from that, every character in this game is just using melee weapons of varying length, and were you to tell me they all had the exact same “basic” moves, I would believe you. I’d take the time to discover the inevitable, subtle differences, but every stage is just “hammer square forever” anyway. And it’s abundantly obvious that the designers completely shied away from including the more interesting possible combatants, like Orihime, bulbous blind locust man, and that dinosaur dude, because they might require more than five minutes of effort for new attack animations.

But what cast there is all have different special moves and different bankai transformations, so I keep coming back for more. Ichigo, of course, plays almost exactly the same as “Final” Ichigo or “Entirely Clad in Skulls For Some Reason” Ichigo, but I’ll be damned if those ridiculous palette swaps stay locked away. What is even the point in being alive if there’s a Grim Reaper on the roster and I can’t play as him? I need to unlock King Skeleton right the hell now! No, I don’t care about the game being repetitive drivel based on a license that is, at its core, already repetitive drivel, I need to see that one dude hold a sword with two hands instead of one because that’s really important for some reason! Just hook it to my veins!

My name is Goggle Bob, and I have a problem with mad-libs character creation. I am not currently seeking treatment.

FGC #98 Bleach: Soul Resurrección

  • System: Playstation 3. That’s it? Seems like it’s been a while since that happened.
  • Looks familiarNumber of Players: Just one. You’d think a game like this would be ideal for cooperative play, but I guess no one wanted to figure out how to code those split screens.
  • Level Up: I normally despise leveling in a game like this, as, while it’s always fun to gain more strength, defense, and HP as you go, in a setup like this, the odds are good that your main fighter will be Level 70 by the time you unlock the last character that is just starting at Level 1. Go ahead and try to train him up to conquer the same stages, I’ll wait (no I won’t). That said, Bleach: Soul Resurrección does frame its leveling system in a practically copyright challenging Sphere Grid, so at least it’s fun to move around the “board”. I don’t completely hate it.
  • Favorite Character (in game): Coyote Starrk aka The One with the Guns. He might be the only real change in gameplay on the roster (maybe Byakuya Kuchiki offers a little difference with his dancing flower petal attacks… did I just type that?), and his long range attacks with sweet gun-fu movements make him my de facto choice. Also, I guess he can summon wolves? Or are they supposed to be coyotes? That would make sense…
  • I don’t wanna die: So, apparently, the afterlife of the Bleach universe either involves going to “Hell” and becoming a soul devouring monster, going to “Heaven” and joining the high ranks of Soul Society to fight previously mentioned monsters for hundreds of years, or going to that same “Heaven” and lingering around for centuries in a rigid caste system modeled after feudal Japan. Camus couldn’t imagine something so absurd.
  • Unfortunate Implications: All the “good” Soul Society characters use techniques that are in Japanese. All the “gray-area” Quincy (all two of them) use techniques that are in German. All the evil, soul-devouring Hollow/Arrancar use techniques that are in Spanish. I’m sure Donald Trump would approve.
  • Did you know? Tite Kubo, author/creator of the Bleach manga, has admitted that he just likes creating new and interesting characters, and isn’t too worried about the overarching plot of the series. No $^&%ing duh, man.
  • Would I play again: Unfortunately, yes. Sometimes you just want to recklessly slaughter the legions of Hell, you know?

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Captain Planet and the Planeteers for the NES! Well, I suppose saving the planet is the thing to do, so let’s give it a shot. Please look forward to it!

Go ninja go

FGC #029 Hyrule Warriors

Nintendo has been a little loose with its traditionally tight grip on its characters of late. Presumably thanks to the success of Pokémon Conquest, a “crossover” game that even still seems like some kind of ephemeral fever dream, Nintendo decided to go forward with mashing up a few of its other beloved franchises with new and exciting genres and conventions. Fire Emblem is smashing into the world of Shin Megami Tensei, and coincidently, Paper Mario Sticker Star was created in conjunction with noted SMT star Lucifer, Lord of Lies and Prince of Pain. He really put a lot of effort into that game, and he hopes you all enjoyed it!

Most recently, Nintendo teamed up with Koei Tecmo, creators of the popular Gitaroo-Man franchise, to produce the first harem animé starring a Nintendo mascot. The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Warriors: The Dilemma of Link: Gaiden features the titular Link on his quest to save the kingdom of Hyrule… and maybe get into a few whacky hijinks with those fanatical ladies surrounding him. It’s not easy being the center of attention!

I understand that not everyone is a fan of animé, so, for those of you that are interested in the mythology of the Legend of Zelda series, but don’t want to touch this gobbledygook with a ten foot naginata, I’ll summarize the major players.

SwordbrosLink is your typical Harem Genre protagonist. He’s quiet, generally heroic, and pretty handy with a sword. His personality is a blank slate, which is there so any given viewer can project their own ego onto this hero of war, women, and song.

A necessary conceit of the Harem Genre is that any and all women involved immediately fall for the protagonist and follow him unflinchingly. It’s kind of amusing how this works so… poorly with the fact that the harem hero is traditionally milquetoast like Link here. Yeah, he’s heroic and waving a sword around like he knows what to do, but, come on, there’s about a million soldiers running about the story with the exact same characteristics, and I bet they’re all smart enough to wear a helmet to a battlefield. Normally, it’s not a big deal when the main character is innocuous, but when an entire war is fought over a queen wanting a particular knight to stick his sword in her scabbard, you better draw the damn Master Sword of men. Sure there’s historical precedent for such a thing, but at least Helen of Troy had that power to launch ships from her face or whatever.

More original Zelda hairSpeaking of beauties, Zelda is the classic “first girl” that is destined to be the final “choice” of the protagonist. In stark contrast to Link and his background of who the hell knows, Zelda is very rigidly defined as a brilliant tactician and benevolent ruler of an entire kingdom. She’s also an excellent duelist, gifted musician, supernaturally fast, and possesses the ability to effectively deceive her enemies, a skill rarely seen on any Team Good Guy. She’s pretty much the pinnacle of humanity, and lacking any flaws beyond an inclination toward clothing that is perhaps not war grounds appropriate. Naturally, she’s madly in love with Link, and they will be together forever, despite the fact that this is barely even acknowledged by any actual actions during the series. I guess maybe she likes his scarf?

Okay, this one is creepyLana is Zelda’s rival, and doubles as the villain of the initial story arc. Lana viewed the mechanisms of prophecy over and over again, and, having seen all the daring adventures of Link through the ages, fell for lil’ greeny fast and hard. This causes a rift in her sense of self, and Lana is split into two beings: the benevolent, feisty Lana, and the malevolent, warmongering Cia. Lana decides to sit around and pine, while Cia gathers up an army to conquer all of Hyrule to gain the power to control her crush and hopefully not literally crush the poor kid in the process. All this for a boy she’s only ever seen on the mystical boob tube.

Lana gets off her butt to beat back her worse half, and somehow winds up defending an Ewok village before joining Hyrule’s forces. Lana actually does confess her feelings for Link via a convoluted flashback to the events previously described, and Link, realizing that a colossal war that endangers an entire kingdom and all of space and time was started just to get in his tunic, says nothing and decides to just roll with this whole “gargantuan bloody conflict” thing. He is figuratively the Magical Key to everything, but he’s going to solve this problem with a magic sword. Real healthy communication skills there, bucko.

Ending spoilers and all that, but when Lana finally reaches the point that she acknowledges that Link will never actually love her, she fades from history, because she lives only for the adoration of a dude she met a couple of weeks ago. This warrants an appearance from Link’s frowny face.

Oh, and Cia got her ass killed by her “love” a couple of episodes back. You don’t get a happy ending when you dress like that, little missy.

BadassThey're not twinsImpa is one of the first characters introduced, but isn’t particularly relevant to the overarching plot. Her post is necessary but uncelebrated: she’s the mom/nanny of the group, and maybe a little bit of an “older sister” to Zelda. Her role is to get the ball rolling, and then stand as a pillar of strength when the protagonist is still getting his items together and Zelda is creeping around claiming that you can’t see her. Zelda, take off the stupid bandages, you’re trying to pose as a Sheikah to the leader of the Sheikah, and that’s offensive. Check your princess privilege and knock off the cosplay.

Anyway, Impa is one of the few women that doesn’t exist exclusively to send Link winks, but that’s mainly so she can send Zelda those same winks… just in a more “go for it, girl” sense than a “you like the looks of this giant blade?” thing. Impa also serves the general Worf role of being purportedly the greatest warrior of all time forever and ever and then getting her butt kicked once someone remotely actually powerful makes the scene. It kinda sucks to be the strong one, but not the main character.

Now’s when we get into what makes the Harem Genre the pile of crap we know and tolerate. Pretty much any story can have a love triangle and call it a day; what makes the Harem Genre so… unique is that it tosses the (inevitably male) protagonist any number of girls to “choose”. It’s all a ruse, of course, the real choice is already solidified before the end of the first episode (most of the time, before the end of the opening credits), but the variety does allow for many more female characters to be introduced… a blessing and a curse, really. While the Harem Genre does promote a greater number of female stars than your average piece of media, the Bechdel Test never accounted for the fact that all of these women would be the same paper-thin tropes over and over again. One step forward, two steps back into the hot springs.

BakaLet’s start with Midna, the tsundere. This character type has become its own cliché that stretches to all of animé: we’re talking about the bizarre “grown up” version of the girl that won’t stop hitting (or insulting) the boy she likes. Princess Midna of the Twili fits this description to a T, and takes it so far to be one of the few women to initially appear as Link’s enemy. She quickly switches to the We Love Elves team, though, and proceeds to aid him through the rest of his battles. It’s not because she likes him or anything, she’s just trying to reclaim her own kingdom. And after her people are back in her thrall? Well, ya know, she just wants to help out… because… because… shut-up, dummy! I just made a little extra lunch. Do you want some or not? *blushes*

I'll carry youRuto, Princess of the Zora, is a similar character type, but marginally different from the more overt tsundere. Ruto is more of a “straight” princess archetype (remember that she’s one of three different princesses in this adventure). She is haughty, arrogant, and expects everyone to immediately bow to her will. She’s different from the tsundere type in that she has no problem admitting that she likes the leading man, but she still expects the downtrodden dude to read her mind and do her bidding without provocation. She’ll fight on the battlefield, all right, but she expects to be carried to the skirmish. Not coincidentally, Ruto is the one princess of the piece that markedly needs to be rescued, which provides a handy narrative explanation for why such esteemed royalty would stoop to aid riffraff like these commoners (still mostly princesses).

Crazy Bug LadyAgitha, the not-at-all-a-princess of bugs is the cloud cuckoolander that always seems to pop up in these stories. Her basic purpose is to stand around, be weird, and occasionally interject a non sequitur to generate something approaching humor. Her character type is a sort of reverse of the harem’s usual standards: most of the women are overt (to the audience) about their motivations, and satisfy the male fantasy of having a collection of women that are just champing at the bit to ride the ol’ baloney pony. The cloud cuckoolander, in the context of the Harem Genre, is there for the opposite male fantasy: here is a woman that is “out of it” and “weird”, and only a big, strong man and his magic wand can bring socially sleeping beauty back to the real world of the waking. Another complete lack of a coincidence: Agitha is dressed in the traditional lolita garments, signifying that she’s more of a “girl” in need of aid than the other “women” of the piece. It probably goes without saying, but Agitha is introduced via the hero escorting/saving her and her precious bugs.

100% Chance this is annoyingFi is one of the more modern animé tropes: the emotionless girl. Fi is the spirit of the Master Sword, Link’s most trusted weapon, which makes her even more of an overt object than the rest of the cast. While some stories might try to avoid that comparison, Hyrule Warriors embraces it whole hog: Fi is effectively a robot in her mannerisms, constantly spouting percentages for victory and not crying out for help, but simply noting that her odds of survival are decreasing, would you kindly send some assistance at your earliest opportunity? This creates another Agitha-like situation: this woman is weird/broken, but Man is here to make everything better through boinking. Master, what is this thing I am experiencing called… love?

Oh yeah, she calls Link “master”. All the time. Even I’m going to abstain from bumping off that barrel fish.

Dance you crazy rock guyKinda similarThe only other rooster in this cucoo house is Darunia, the Goron Chieftain. Don’t worry, Link, you don’t have any competition, though, Darunia is just here to be the whacky friend who is taking the asexual friend role to such a new level, he doesn’t even have genitals. Darunia is going to be there to help whenever asked, because he and Link are “brothers” and Darunia, despite being a leader to an entire tribe of people, doesn’t seem to have any hopes, dreams, and aspirations aside from “support Link at all times”. In this way, he’s not unlike the female cast, but his gender separates him and makes this kind of thinking become even grosser. The women live to support Link because they… care about him that much? Okay… and Darunia does the same thing? Is he gay? Why is that an immediate thought? Why isn’t anyone asking why these rulers of vast kingdoms are stepping out of their comfort zones and entire time periods just to help some pointy-eared twerp? Isn’t anyone in Link’s orbit allowed to have a slightly less homicidal hobby?

King of DarknessGanondorf is the big bad of the piece, making the scene after the lovelorn Cia falls. Some harem shows just use the harem or “modern life” as the exclusive source of conflict, but many more of these stories attempt to straddle the genre line and introduce a little fantastical conflict to give the animators something to do besides drawing jiggles. Ganondorf is usually what you see as a “final boss” in these stories: a sort of dark reflection of the affable hero, and a giant, hulking wad of masculinity to boot. Ganondorf wants to conquer and “rule the world” because that’s all he’s programmed to do. This is not a Ganondorf who may lament the searing winds blowing over his desert kingdom, no, this is a big greedy ball of anger that conquers and kills because that’s what he does. This Ganondorf is as manipulative and cruel as Link is transparent and caring. In the end, he loses to the hero not because of a lack of strength, but because Link was able to so effectively rally the skills of his harem and beat back the invading darkness. Also: Ganondorf’s known weakness to face-arrows.

And, because every story needs its share of mid-bosses, there’s Zant, Ghirahim, Wizzro, and Volga. These guys make even less of an impact on the story than the unnamed blacksmith that keeps forging scraps of leather into usable skills for the heroes, so there’s really no use in dwelling on any of them. They’re there because it would be boring to see Link battle 20,000 unnamed mooks before felling Ganon, so we may as well throw in a dude or two who can knock over Impa and claim to be a threat. Hell, we could just call these guys wizard, other wizard, creepy wizard, and dragon dude and be done with it. I guess every animé is required to have a few filler episodes.

Overall, The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Warriors: Oh My Fairy: Another Story R isn’t bad, for the confines of its genre. Yes, it suffers from the adaptation decay you traditionally see when a sprawling, generations long story like The Legend of Zelda is modified to another medium (Much ado is made about unlocking the true power of Link’s Master Sword… while Fi, the spirit of the Master Sword is standing right there). Yes, it changes characters that have traditionally been seen as wizened old ladies to be sexy, audience pleasing badasses. And, yes, the original characters created for the piece seem to have sprung from your deepest fanfic nightmares. But on the whole, Hyrule Warriors is a worthy addition to the Legend of Zelda mythos, and should be at least some fun for any fan of the series.

But… don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to recommend it. I mean, it’s not like I like it or anything.

FGC #29 Hyrule Warriors

  • System: Nintendo WiiU
  • Number of Players: Two, though that “two players” feature gets used a lot more for gaming difficult Adventure Mode maps than anything else.
  • Aren’t you being a little rough here? Even if we ignore the fact that this is a war based on a teenage girl’s crush, and even if we overlook how all of female playable characters have victory animations where they “flirt” with the camera, we’re still left with the fact that Zelda, proud warrior princess and general, only seems to have voice samples that feature her giggling. The bloodiest conflict in Hyrule’s history is happening under my reign, teehee.
  • Japan is terribleMaybe actually talk about the game for a second? The odds are always stacked against you, not in a difficulty sense, but in the sense that if you want to succeed, you need to move quickly, and every other thing the enemy does seems to be a stalling tactic. Get ready to stand around and wait for bosses to use the one attack that allows you to return damage. Your allies are pathetic, and apparently all learned at the knee of the one and only Slippy Toad. Even the mere act of ranking is balanced against the player, as somehow two A’s and one B averages out to a solid B. The “exploration” of the Adventure Mode map is just FAQ-baiting. Probably worst of all, the game is constantly shouting at you to play it the way it wants you to play. A manhandla stalk is attacking the home base, you better go deal with it right now, I don’t care what you’re doing, or you’ll fail the entire mission. And considering the average mission seems to take at least ten minutes, well, failing is just plain punishing. All that said? I’ve probably put a hundred hours into this game, and really see no sign of stopping. Baka.
  • Favorite Character: Zelda, with the rapier, in the billiard room. Every moment that Zelda is slumming it with that harp is like a kunai in my brain.
  • Favorite bonkers plot point: I guess there’s just a tribe of prophets in the Zelda universe that never did a thing to prevent any of the multiple Hyrule disasters throughout the millennia. Someone who has a full view of history finally pops up, and she uses her powers to obsess over boys. And she completely misses how this course of action leads to her utter obliteration.
  • Whole lotta animé in this article: As always, I performed all the screen captures myself. Please don’t ask further questions about how I was able to pull this all together inside of two days.
  • Did you know? A female version of Link was apparently considered at some point in development. While I assume this is a reference to simply a costume swap for our main protagonist, can you imagine how much better this whole plot would be if Darunia was the only male on the side of the angels? Would Lana have been driven mad obsessing over a dude that eats rocks, or have a homosexual crush on the one woman grunt in Zelda’s army? Can you imagine Cia’s castle decked out with Goron hentai? Or a bunch of Aaron Diaz art all over the walls? The mind boggles.
  • Would I play again? This is the first FGC game that I played “for real” for the FGC, like actually saving my game and playing like I’m trying to make progress. I might have been making a beeline for specific captures, but, hey, while I’m playing this level as Ruto anyway, maybe I’ll try for an A rank and earn that heart piece. So, in a way, I still haven’t stopped playing this game to play it “again”. Seriously, with all the content in this game, if you know someone that can only afford one game a year (and has a WiiU), this would be my first recommendation.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Rampage Through Time for the Playstation. Huh, every game this week apparently involves some kind of weird, off-kilter time travel. Oh well, time to make this freshly christened time travel week… history. Please look forward to it!