Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is the second game to marry the lore and cast of the Legend of Zelda franchise to the hack-and-slash gameplay of Dynasty Warriors. But unlike the 2014 predecessor Hyrule Warriors, Age of Calamity is firmly set in the Zelda canon.
Set 100 years before Breath of the Wild, Age of Calamity lets you play with a diverse list of characters; from fan-favourites like Link, Zelda and Impa to newcomers. The unique abilities, combos, strengths and weaknesses lend to unique play styles to smash the hordes of enemies. But it can also be daunting for some. That’s where we come in with our characters guide to Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.
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Note: The guide contains the 14 characters unlocked as you make progress in the story. There are four specials that can be obtained by completing specific challenges and quests, but we have omitted them in case you want to find them on your own.
The long-beloved protagonist is the starting character and the perfect all-rounder to jump into the game. Link can wield most weapons and has no apparent weaknesses. His one-handed attacks will be available from the beginning, and you can unlock two-handers and spears if you find them during a mission. The best combo, however, remains the fabled Master Sword coupled with a shield.
You may know her as the wise sage from BotW, but the Sheikah warrior comes into her own here. Unlocked after the completion of Chapter 1, Impa has the ability to summon duplicates of herself which mirror her movements and can immensely increase her damage. Playing as her is for the long run, as her moves can be a little complex but mastering them could make her a one-woman army.
Also unlocked after Chapter 1 is Zelda, the princess of Hyrule herself. Zelda also has several unique abilities, like the Sheikah Slate with which you can activate runes placed around the battlefield. However, she becomes a damage-dealing machine after Chapter 6 when you unlock the Bow of Light. With it, you also unlock her Luminescent ability to demolish. Her range comes at the cost of her movement speed, and players will have to take care of their positioning.
After completing Chapter 2, you unlock Link’s childhood friend and an effective healer. Extremely mobile, Mipha can create whirlpools around the map for you to blink and leap into the air from. Her water attack is a strong attack that also heals allies nearby. She can also force weak-points from enemies but has a short range.
Chapter 2 also nets you the Goron hero who can summon magma pillars and ramps after a regular attack. Once summoned, Daruk can explode the structures with his unique action. His strong attacks are devastating and he has an invincible rolling ability. But mobility is his weakness because Daruk’s most effective skills require him to be standing.
The second unlock upon Chapter 2 completion is the Rito warrior who rules the skies. Revali’s unique ability lets you soar above, and along with his movement speed, makes melee attacks easier to dodge. The X button lets you grab enemies and pressing it again launches a strong attack. Revali does come with noticeable weaknesses. His aerial prowess also makes him vulnerable on the ground and his low-powered attacks make taking on strong enemies hard.
Lastly, completing Chapter 2 unlocks the Gerudo chief. Lady Urbosa is all about the lightning; you fill the gauge and use the magic by repeatedly tapping the X button. The area-of-effect lightning attack lets her clear swathes of enemies but she is decidedly weaker when taking on individuals, especially bosses, because of the limited range.
After you free the Korok Forest in Chapter 3, you get Hestu. But that’s largely about it. While his unique ability lets you summon multiple Korok allies, Hestu is the weakest of the characters. He is massive, which means not only is he slow but he is also vulnerable. His range and combos are underwhelming, and playing as Hestu is only for the adventurous or bored.
Timing is the name of the game when using the Zora prince. Unlocked after Chapter 5, Sidon can use his unique ability during a strong attack. If timed right, you can increase the damage dealt. His sweeping attacks are quick, and while he himself lacks mobility, you can use the attack speed to defend against interrupting attacks.
Also unlocked after Chapter 5, Yunobo the Goron can increase the strong attack damage by eating a rock roast. His unique skill — Daruk’s Protection — also prevents damage but that’s the only good thing. Like Hestu above, Yunobo is also massive and slow. But unlike Hestu, he has to stand still to launch attacks, which makes him a bad pick.
The Rito warrior is unlocked after Chapter 5 and is an area-of-effect cleaner. With the unique ability to charge up an arrow attack, which increases in power the longer you charge. The range can further be utilised by launching a flurry of arrows. But like other horde-cleaners, Teba finds it tough to take out an individual power-hitter.
Dubbed the Child of Lightning, Riju is available after Chapter 5, and at her disposal is Patricia the Sand Seal. You can romp enemies across the map, increasing in speed each time. But with a move set built all-around mobility, Riju severely lacks on the damage front. Riju on Patricia is not easy to control and while you can take out weak foes, she isn’t as effective against tough bosses.
The Yiga warrior is unlocked after Chapter 6 and can get a little, ahem, stressful. Kohga has a stress gauge that fills with strong attacks. The corresponding unique attack is devastating against shield-bearers, but if you don’t launch it before the gauge fills completely, Kohga starts throwing tantrums and you’d have to snap him out of it by moving the left joystick back and forth. Eating a banana can help prevent tantrums, and as long as you monitor his stress gauge properly, you can deal massive damage.
Unlocked after Chapter 7, the former King of Hyrule is a pure brawler. The unique ability lets him switch between his “Guises” which work as different stances for light and heavy attacks. Switching during a strong attack will lead to another, making him a devastating damage-dealer. But he lacks on the range front, and you have to get in the enemies’ face to be truly effective.
There you have it, the guide to the diverse list of heroes in Age of Calamity with which you can rule Hyrule and smash thousands of enemies. Some may suit your playstyle, some absolutely won’t. There’s one surety, however. You will definitely find one right for you.