Video Game: Hyrule Warriors

The Legend goes to war.

Hyrule Warriors is a Spin-Off of The Legend of Zelda produced by Nintendo in collaboration with Tecmo Koei, and developed by Dynasty Warriors developer Omega Force, with some help from Ninja Gaiden developer Team Ninja. Announced by Nintendo during a Nintendo Direct on December 18th, 2013, it takes the gameplay of Dynasty Warriors and gives it a Zelda theme. It was released on the Wii U on August 14th, 2014 in Japan, on September 19 in Europe, and on September 26 in North America.

Generations ago, Hyrule almost fell into a state of chaos, when a hero in green saved the day. The hero separated the evil force into 4 separate pieces, with one piece sealed away in the Master Sword, while the 3 other pieces were sent into the depths of the space time continuum in hopes this would prevent any possible return. Ever since then, a sorceress has watched equilibrium of the Triforce through a special crystal. Now, the delicate balance of the Triforce has been disrupted. Cia, the sorceress of this generation, developed feelings for a young knight trainee named Link, but those feelings turned into jealousy when she saw his close relationship with Zelda, the Princess of Hyrule. Her jealousy made her succumb to the dark power that she was supposed to watch over, and her spirit was corrupted. Now, Hyrule Kingdom is once again being torn apart by the dark power unleashed by Cia.

The game received several DLC packs over the six months following release. Each DLC comes with new maps, new weapons, and three of them come with new characters and new gameplay modes. One pack is based on Twilight Princess, while another is based on Majora's Mask. It also has functionality with Nintendo's amiibo figure line, with the Link or Toon Link Super Smash Bros. figures unlocking a Spinner weapon and all figures (including Links, once the Spinner is unlocked) granting random items (with Zelda series characters giving better items than the others).


This game contains the following tropes

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: The default level cap was the usual 99, but it was bumped up to 150 with the 1.4.0 update, even further up to 200 with the 1.5.0 update and finally to 255 with the 1.6.0 update. However, while most of the basic Adventure Mode map can be completed with level 30-50 characters, the additional DLC maps and a select few of the level 3 weapon stages on the basic map can still be difficult with levels around 60-70. Although it's safe to say that once you do reach 255, most of the game will pose little to no trouble.
  • Action Girl: Team Ninja is helping, so this is to be expected. Of the game's ten playable hero characters, eight of them are female. Impa, Zelda herself, Midna, Sheik, Princess Ruto, Agitha, Fi, and newcomer Lana. An update adds Cia while Downloadable Content adds Twili Midna.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • As if he wasn't awesome enough, Link's moveset has been seriously upgraded to accommodate the Dynasty Warriors style gameplay. His child-version also gets this treatment, using the Fierce Deity Mask in combos.
    • Zelda is usually a non-combatant. She kicks a lot of ass here.
    • Impa uses Iaijutsu with a zweihander.
    • Midna now attacks with full Twili power instead of hiding behind Link.
    • Even weirder is Agitha, a non-combatant who collected bugs.
    • Fi was an assistant in her game, but now she can turn into the Goddess Sword and use the Sacred Flames offensively.
    • Ruto was in need of rescue in her game twice, and now enters the fray.
    • Though Ganondorf has been proven to be a badass before, this game turns him from a Captain Falcon clone into a sword-wielding, magic-flinging Lightning Bruiser, much more faithful to his own series.
    • Zant's swordplay in Twilight Princess was a case of Unskilled, but Strong. It gets upgraded into a full on Confusion Fu moveset in this game.
    • Midna's Twili form, who never exhibited any major combat ability or power in Twilight Princess, has been added as a DLC character.
    • Tingle joins the fray as of the Majora's Mask DLC set and can take out just as many enemies despite many of his attacks causing (cosmetic) harm to himself.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • King Bulblin was a unique individual from Twilight Princess who was the leader of the Bulblins and a Recurring Boss. In this game, not only are there multiple copies of him, they're Elite Mooks at best. Ends up getting subverted as of the Twilight Princess DLC pack. It turns out the others weren't King Bulblin, they were just particularly large elite bulblins. The King Bulblin appears in a few of the new Adventure Mode missions as a major NPC. He's bigger than the common versions, with much more HP and damage potential, and almost always comes with a duo of elite henchmen.
    • In most Zelda games, Darknuts are some of the most dangerous Elite Mooks. Here, if anything, they are weaker than the other captains such as Moblins.
    • For pragmatic reasons, The Imprisoned only appears in its base form, without its arms or tail, and fighting it here is much more straightforward than it was in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
  • Allegedly Free Game: Cia, Volga and Wizzro were made playable by a free update to the game. However, all of the missions involving them are in the Master Quest DLC pack, including the missions to unlock their 2nd and 3rd level weapons, and heart containers. You can play as them for free, but without buying the DLC they'll never have a decent health bar or a weapon with more than 120 attack power.
  • Alternate Continuity: Confirmed by Aonuma, who says Hyrule Warriors is more of a "celebration" of the Zelda series than a proper entry in it. He uses "different dimension" to describe it, but his main point is that it's not part of Zelda's canon timeline. The game exists in a separate dimension to the various branches of the current Zelda timeline; the premise being the antagonist opening portals to different eras of the Zelda-universe, and bringing various heroes and villains together. Thus, the story is not non-canonical in and of itself; rather, Eiji Aonuma compares it to The Avengers.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: For the majority of the story, it follows the exploits of the Hyrulean Forces dealing with the threat brought about by Cia. Then just as everything seems to have been cleared up, the game switches to following Ganondorf and his forces as he basically establishes himself as the actual antagonist of the game.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: A number of Palette Swap variants of each character's main outfit are unlocked either through beating the respective level on the Master Quest DLC map or unlocking the reward maps by collecting enough Skulltulas to finish the picture and then beating those levels.
  • Another Side, Another Story: The Master Quest DLC pack adds a new campaign to Legend Mode that allows you to play as Volga, Wizzro and Cia during their initial assault on Hyrule, how Cia recruited the four other main villains to her side, and ultimately ending shortly before her demise.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The developers have eliminated or relaxed a number of less-than-desireable features with each patch: you can now turn off all character intro cutscenes in Adventure Mode, there's an option to restart the mission right away if you make too many mistakes, the amount of damage you've taken during the mission is now shown directly in numerical form in the pause menu and you can now remove unwanted weapon skills and check what the locked skills actually are without having to go through the trouble of unlocking them first and finding out they're not the ones you want.
  • Anti-Grinding: Specifically, Anti-Leveling-Your-Characters-Exclusively-Through-Training-Dojo: the higher levels get prohibitively expensive to buy this way and leveling a character from 1 to 255 this way would cost several times the maximum amount of Rupees you can hold, which in this game is 9999999. Also, you can only use the training dojo to train to the level of your strongest warrior.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Playing Co-op Mode makes it easier to accomplish your objectives quicker and rack up the rupees and knockouts. However, the performance optimization that's required to allow two players makes it harder to completely clear an area of all enemies because they don't appear all at once and will only register onscreen, within the player's reduced "draw distance", after the first few have been eliminated. The draw distance limitations can also make enemies suddenly manifest in single-player, but it's much less frequent (most often on "Rack up KOs" missions.
  • Army of the Ages: Both sides of the conflict consist of characters from different eras of the Zelda timeline.
  • Ascended Glitch: Characters that can use multiple different weapons can be glitched into using weapons belonging to other characters entirely, essentially making them behave like the character that their swapped weapon belongs to: not only was this glitch not fixed in any of the multiple updates for the game, but in some of the missions in the Master Quest DLC Adventure map, you can also run into characters who use a different characters' weapon and moveset.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • "Hey, listen!" Expect to hear that whenever you see a tutorial message. With a new recording, no less.
    • The 8-bit Wooden Sword's summary mentions that veteran Zelda fans know it's dangerous to go alone. Impa also shouts "It's dangerous to go alone! Take me!" in one mission... to Zelda.
    • One Adventure Mode mission's description tells Fi (and Ghirahim in the Master Quest) to "go alone, despite the danger". Also doubles as a Stealth Pun; Link was told to take a sword because it's dangerous to go alone, but Fi and Ghirahim are swords, therefore going alone is safe for them.
  • Asteroids Monster: In the DLC Twilight map, the "Stop the divisive plan!" levels feature fights against shadowy versions of the playable characters that will subdivide when they take enough damage. Fortunately, they can't recombine, nor can they divide additional times should the enemy healers give them more health (that said, Shoot the Medic First).
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Lana can summon up a gigantic Cucco to devastate the battlefield.
    • Which you can unlock as a playable character in the Ganon's Fury mode.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The Captains seem to be the only mooks that are capable of attacking and defending.
  • Badass Princess: All of them. Zelda, Ruto and Midna are three princesses of defined kingdoms who are not afraid to fight on the front lines, risking life and limb to save their world. Agitha, whilst not of royal descent, is the self-proclaimed Princess of the Insect Kingdom, and she too is willing to get her hands dirty to save Hyrule.
  • Ballistic Bone: The Stalchildren "archers" use bones as projectiles.
  • Betty and Veronica: Zelda and Cia for Link, respectively.
  • Big Bad: The witch Cia at first. Ganon turns out to be the true main villain in the end.
  • Bigger Bad: Demise, who had been established as being responsible for Ganon in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, also makes an appearance in his Imprisoned form.
  • Big Bulky Bomb: One power-up temporarily replaces the character's bombs with giant bombs bigger than them.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the Temple of Souls, Link is trapped in a room with several Dark Links. Lana comes in to aid him however even with her, they are still at a disadvantage. Just when things are looking dire, Darunia, Midna, Fi, and Impa appear to save them.
  • Book Ends: The first and final missions both take place in Hyrule Field.
  • Boring but Practical: While the common reaction to depleting a WPG on giant bosses is to do a Weak Point Smash, it's actually more practical to stand outside of the circle and spam ranged attacks at them. Giant Bosses will not move for over 40 seconds after their weakpoint is initially exposed and take much more damage when they're stunned, so you are free to whittle down its health for a while before going for the WPS. This can especially make The Imprisoned MUCH easier to deal with.
  • Boss In Mooks Clothing: Upper tier Elite Mooks in later Story and Adventure Mode missions have golden auras that increase their health/damage resistance by something like ''4x or even more''.Applied to a monster with tricky Weak Point Smash openings (Moblins, Dinolfos) and you'll be in for a slog battle more draining than a good number of story character commanders in the same map. Goes double for Twilight Princess Adventure Maps, where they'll be inflicting more damage than most commanders too.
  • Boss Rush: Aside from the few Adventure Mode missions where you fight two or three bosses one-by-one, completing the Boss illustration naturally unlocks a Rewards mission that reenacts it. Except instead of fighting them all one at a time, you fight them three at a time, with each one replacing the last.
  • Boss Subtitles: Per classic Zelda tradition, bosses are introduced with a descriptive phrase followed by their name, like "Fire Breathing King Dodongo," usually the same as in their original appearance.
  • Break Meter: Depleting an enemy's Weak Point Gauge allows a warrior to deal major damage to that enemy and those surrounding it.
  • The Bus Came Back: As this game takes place in multiple eras of the timeline, many Zelda characters, hero and villain alike, get to make a return.
  • The Cameo: This game is full of them, naturally. A notable example that affects the gameplay is Bow-Wow the Chain Chomp returning as a weapon.
  • Cannon Fodder: Everyone that is not above the rank of Captain won't last for long on the field.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: If Ghirahim is helping you fight large bosses in Adventure Mode, don't expect him to be helping you for very long.
    Ghirahim: Oh, my head was swimming for a moment there. I could have sworn we were enemies. Very well. I shall give you my undivided attention.
    • He even has the gall to suggest that you're the one getting in his way afterwards (although he gets extremely frustrated if you take your attention off the bosses and beat him down as a result).
    • Wizzro also gets this in the Master Quest DLC storyline. He betrays Cia twice, once immediately after joining her, and again when Ganondorf attacks her just before her demise.
  • Colony Drop: The Moon from Majora's Mask returns. It's summoned by a Great Fairy to aid the heroes in knocking a large boss out of the sky after the hookshot and two sets of magical chains fail. Though it turns into a mass of normal fairies after it does its job. It's also a normal attack when using the enhanced hookshot and she uses it as her Special when you play as her.
    • The moon also appears as Young Link's focus spirit finisher. Namely, Skull Kid throws it at him, he puts on the Fierce Deity mask, and cuts it in half.
  • Co-Dragons:
    • Wizzro and Volga to Cia.
    • Zant and Ghirahim become this to Ganondorf.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Comes naturally with the territory. The very numerous Mooks go down in droves, whereas the more infrequent Elite Mooks and bosses take longer to bring down.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Zig Zagged, as there are some things only you can do and some things only the AI can do.
    • When the AI is taking bases, they don't need to deal with keep bosses. All they need to do is reduce a base's keep meter to nothing and it's theirs. On the other hand, you also have a bit of an advantage as when the enemy takes over a base its keep meter is set to only half, whereas when you take one it gets set to full.
    • AI characters can use any of their attacks at any time without having to worry about building combos, or filling a special attack meter, or entering Focus Spirit. On the other hand, the enemy is incapable of performing Weak Point Smash attacks. Also, the AI can not use attack items like the bow or bombs. Some characters also have other attacks they're not allowed to use as well; for example you'll never see an AI Zant use his spin move, or an AI Darunia use his special attack.
    • Another inversion: the AI characters don't get a Last Chance Hit Point like you do.
  • Continuity Porn: The game has tons of references to the main Zelda series, and not just in the major stuff like characters and places. There's also small details, like the loading screen being a classic 8-bit Link defeating an Octorok and obtaining the Triforce, the classic Item Get jingle and animation, the Game Over and Boss Clear tunes from Ocarina of Time
  • Continuity Snarl: With the release of the Cia's Path DLC, some things that were mentioned in-game or Word of God have been disproven.
    • Volga sold his soul to Cia to be stronger. Volga wanted nothing to do with anyone and Cia had to brainwash him into servitude.
    • Cia turned Midna into her imp form. Midna was already an imp fighting against Zant when Cia appeared.
  • Critical Failure: You can interrupt most of the Elite Mooks' super attacks (the ones where they glow blue and white with wisps of energy surrounding them) by using the correct subweapon (Bombs for Moblins, Boomerang for Darknuts and Stalmasters, Hookshot for Aeralfos & Fiery Aeralfos, Bow for everything else) on them during their windup. This will result in a Magic Misfire, when involving either actual spells or fire-breathing. It will hit surrounding enemies and leave the enemy captain stunned with its weakpoint exposed for an extended period of time.
  • Damage Over Time: Water based attacks can leave a DOT on enemies. It takes the form of a bubble of water on their heads, and drowns them for the next few seconds.
    • Barriers keeps will drain your hearts over time unless you have captured the fairy to that keep or defeated the keep boss. Interestingly, instead of dealing a quarter-heart worth of damage every few seconds, the barrier is actually rapidly depleting HP from the hearts, as there is 100 HP for every quarter-heart, which explains why the numbers in the "Damage Taken" ranking can be in the single digits.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Golden Aura Elite Mooks in adventure maps with them as the primary targets have upwards of quadruple health, and in DLC maps they're even beefier.
  • Dark Action Girl: Cia after her Face-Heel Turn.
  • Death Mountain: The Trope Namer appears as a stage.
  • Decapitated Army: In many cases, the current condition of the battlefield doesn't matter - should the keystone captain fall in battle, that side automatically loses. Frequently a moot point for the enemy squad (as the enemy base won't fall until said captain is defeated unless said captain strays far from the base), but potentially a worry for the player - it's quite possible for a player to lose because they couldn't keep an allied captain alive, even though they've conquered most of the map's bases and they haven't been hit once.
  • Dem Bones: Stalchildren with their Ocarina of Time design appear as regular mooks. The larger weapon wielding Stalfos, which likewise sport the Ocarina of Time design, appear as Elite Mooks. The four armed Stalmasters from Skyward Sword also appear as Elite Mooks as well.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything:
    • When playing a chapter normally in story mode, certain character roles will be switched depending on the character chosen to play it. For example in the second Valley of Seers instance, Zelda at one point goes to the Great Fairy fountain with a contingent of soldiers. However if she is chosen to play as for the stage, Ruto takes up her role instead. A short list of replacements: Ruto appears if Zelda, Sheik or Darunia are chosen on missions where Zelda or Darunia have a story role. Agitha appears for Midna, and Fi for Impa. The Temple of the Sacred Sword Highlights this, as each of the statues can be activated by two members of the cast, but each default member is playable after the Mission is cleared with Link.
    • Zelda and Sheik in the main story are Mutually Exclusive Party Members for obvious reasons. They normally never appear in game together.
    • The first chapter of story mode requires obtaining the bomb sub-weapon in order to clear some boulders blocking the entrance to a keep. In replays of said chapter wherein the player now has access to bombs, the boulders can be cleared right away from the start. The other entrances of the keep pass the boulders however will remain locked even if the keep is secured by the player. This is to prevent Sequence Breaking through the chapter early on.
    • In the Adventure mode, if the path between 2 squares doesn't have a valid connection as determined by the original Zelda 1 map used in the mode, the on-screen character will teleport between them in a puff of smoke instead of walking there.
    • Certain characters have specific lines in Adventure Mode depending on who they're working with or fighting with, rather than generic battle quotes. Link and Impa, for example, have personal dialogue for when they're working with Zelda, and Midna and Zant have special dialogue for when they're facing off against each other.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: King Dodongo from Ocarina of Time is seen in the teaser incarnation, complete with a Rolling Attack.
  • Disc One Nuke: The Master Sword. While high star rank level 3 weapons will surpass its raw power they're not unlocked until the player is deep into Adventure Mode. The Master Sword, on the other hand, gets unlocked about halfway through Legend Mode, and using it makes the rest of the story much easier, especially once it unlocks the ability to shoot Sword Beams. It does become something of an Infinity–1 Sword, however, until you get all other non-DLC weapons and 25,000 KOs, unlocking the Evil's Bane ability, which increases the sword's power to 500, 50 points more than any other weapon can ever get.
    • The Spinner and Epona for Link, and the Dominion Rod for Zelda if a player buys the Downloadable Content or necessary Amiibo early on, as all three of these weapons come already fully unlocked. That means based on luck, a player could randomly get their hands on a Level 2 or even a Level 3 version of this weapon right at the beginning of the game (and have a weapon roughly twice to three times as strong as anything else they should have in the game at that point).
    • To a lesser extent, characters received via Downloadable Content, meaning Twili Midna, Tingle, and Young Link, also come with all three tiers of their weapons unlocked. This is much less useful as far as Story Mode goes, since these three never appear there, but they can be very useful in Free Mode and Adventure Mode, since they (along with Link and Zelda) will be the only characters with stronger weapons already available.
  • Double Entendre: Cia makes taunting remarks towards Link which seems like usual behavior for a villain. But given the fact that she's a Stalker with a Crush who really WANTS Link...
    Cia: Link, stop wasting your time with petty brawls! Come show me what that sword can do...
  • Double Unlock: The Master Sword's locked skill, Evil's Bane, requires 25,000 kills to unlock. But before it even starts counting your kills, you must unlock every non-DLC weapon first. The correlated Legendary skill takes it a step further since it waits until you unlock Evil's Bane to start counting kills, making it a Triple Unlock.
  • Downloadable Content: Several packs are being made available:
    • Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf have alternate costumes giving them the appearance of themselves from other Zelda games as bonuses either in the Collector's Edition or given for preordering, depending on the region. They were later made available separately.
    • A free day-one update adds Challenge Mode and an 8-Bit weapon for Link's sword and shield moveset.
    • Another free download lets you play as the three Original Generation villains. The paid Master Quest pack released alongside them includes an alternate story mode scenario for them, a new Epona "weapon" for Link, Guardian of Time costumes for Lana and Cia, and an Adventure Mode map with further unlocks: the three villains' weapon upgrades, 8-bit weapons for several other characters' movesets, as well as an additional alternate costume for everybody (most notably; Zelda, Darunia, and Ruto get reskins based on Alternate Dimension counterparts from A Link Between Worlds and Majora's Mask).
    • The Twilight Princess pack has Twili Midna as a new character, a Dominion Rod weapon for Zelda, a Postman costume for Link and an Ilia costume for Zelda, and another Adventure map with more 8-bit weapons and another set of recolor costumes (including battle-damaged Ghirahim, Skyward Sword Impa, and Darunia and Ruto as their Twilight Princess counterparts). A free update alongside it adds amiibo functionality, raises the level and inventory caps, and adds more potions.
    • The Majora's Mask pack adds Tingle and Young Link as playable characters, Ocarina costumes for Sheik and Impa, a Skull Kid costume for Lana, and yet another Adventure map with its own set of "costumes" - in quotes because these are each simply the regular character wearing a mask. Like the other DLC, it also comes alongside a free update; this one raises the level cap again, adds more materials and weapon skills, allows you to sell weapons and remove and appraise skills in the bazaar, and puts in a quick restart option and lets you see how much damage you've taken in one battle.
    • The Ganon pack adds a Boss Rush mode and another mode that lets you control Beast Ganon, which then unlock a handful more recolor costumes in boss colors and the ability to play as a giant Cucco. The accompanying free update raises the level cap further, add the ability to record scores for each battle, more potions, medals, and challenges, and fix the bug from the last update that caused longer load times.
    • And buying the Season Pass for all four paid packs throws in a Dark Link skin for Link.
    • In addition to the various DLC packs, the Link and the Toon Link amiibo figures unlock the Spinner weapon from Twilight Princess for Link to use. (Other amiibo figures grant random items and weapons, with Zelda series characters giving better items, but nothing exclusive.)
  • Dub Name Change:
    • In French, Agitha is known as Machaon, in Japanese as Ageha, in Spanish as Maripola and in Italia as Xenia.
    • In the Japanese version, Wizzro's title translates to the Magician of Darkness. In the US version, it is Twisted Wizard.
    • In the Japanese version, Volga's title is 灼熱狂戦士 which translates to Scorching Berserker. In the English version, his title is changed to simply Dragon Knight.
    • In the original Japanese version and the European version, the fairy that asks Sheik and Impa is simply a generic unnamed fairy. In the North American version, the fairy is identified as Navi in the cutscene as somewhat of a bonus.
    • In the Japanese version, the desert ruins stage that Cia occupies is identified as the Lanayru Gorge. In the English version, it is identified as the Valley of Seers.
    • In the Japanese version, the name of Cia's Stalker Shrine of a mansion translates to the Palace of Souls. In the English version, it is called the Temple of Souls.
  • Dying as Yourself: Some clarity appears to return to Cia as she lay dying after being defeated by Link.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In the first level, it's possible to run up to meet with Wizzro before his official story introduction in the second level. He's only identified as the Dark Wizard, and he runs away almost immediately.
  • Easter Egg: In the Legend Mode mission The Water Temple, after encountering Fake Zelda inside the Water Temple King Dodongo is summoned to attack your allies. At this point Darunia and Ruto appear to fight the monster, telling you to stay where you are and finish the mission while they take care of it. If the player chooses to disengage with the boss and run back to fight King Dodongo, they realize that rather than the usual yellow Dodongo that appears everywhere else in the game, this mission (and only this mission) uses the black-scaled version with large crystals on its shoulders, which appeared in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
  • Eldritch Location: The Temple of Souls is a twisted palace existing in another dimension. It is a reflection of Cia's own corrupted mind what with it being basically a large Stalker Shrine as it is littered throughout with various statues of Link. One room in particular is plastered to the brim with pictures of him.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Agitha's alternate costume from the Master Quest DLC, which trades out her bright colors for black and grey to match her level 2 weapon. The Twilight Princess DLC gives her a pink version instead, to go along with her level 3 weapon.
  • Elite Mooks: Comes in two groups.
    • The lower group of Elite Mooks have more health and are less numerous than the regular Mooks, but still don't put up much of a fight.
    • The higher group of Elite Mooks have far more health, have a variety of attacks, and can can actually block your attacks, forcing players to fight more strategically when facing them.
  • Enemy Summoner: Among the numerous hordes of enemies, there are a few capable of constantly summoning others until defeated.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: In terms of troops, the Dark Forces have a slew of different monsters that their armies can mix and match for a variety of different army setups. In contrast, the Hyrulean Forces just simply use Hylian and Goron soldiers as troops.
  • Escort Mission: Sometimes, a linchpin character (one who explicitly is mentioned in the level briefing to cause a defeat if they retreat) is under threat (either because they make an advance or the enemy is advancing on them), and they need you to cover for them. However, unless they already took plenty of damage from other sources, these usually aren't too difficult. More problematic are ones where you have to accompany your army's version of a Elite Mook to a certain location; while these missions generally don't result in defeat if they're failed, the escortee is much weaker than you and can't do as much damage against foes. If such an escort is announced and you're on the other side of the map from the escortee, you can practically write off that mission immediately.
    • In the Twilight Princess Adventure Map there are missions where you need to escort one or more giant Bombchus to an enemy keep that is invincible to every attack except being blown up by one or more Bombchus. These missions normally boil down to having to beat three to five Elite Mooks, although this can become more problematic if there are multiple Bombchus on completely opposite sides of the map.
  • Everything Fades: As is tradition for Zelda games, enemies flail around for a bit, become desaturated with color, and explode in a puff of smoke with a *PAF* noise. Giant Bosses turn black and explode with a much more glorious effect.
  • Evil Counterpart: Every character has a "dark" palette that makes their skin, clothes and equipment completely black and gives them glowing red eyes, but only Link's is freely useable and then only if you buy the Hero of Hyrule DLC combo pack. In the Boss Pack, this palette also doubles as a Superpowered Evil Side of sorts for the giant bosses: their dark versions can't be stunned with properly-used subweapons and you can't use Weak Point Smashes against them, but they take much more damage from any attack by default, meaning you can fight them like any other enemy but there's no way to interrupt any of their attacks.
  • Fake Difficulty: The game is ridden with Artificial Stupidity, fortunately on the side of your allies as well as the enemies. The Twilight Princess Adventure Map is especially noticeable with fake difficulty in that the enemies are not actually smarter, but simply hit you for a lot more damage than they usually would, even on high-leveled characters.
  • Fake Longevity: While the Adventure Mode is largely optional if you only care about the story, completing it tends to take disproportionately long: this is mainly due to the fact that most stages take 5-10 minutes to beat at their shortest, there's 128 of them and any of them with Skulltulas in them need to be beaten at least twice to collect both of them. Combine this with the fact that you often need to beat an additional stage or 2 in order to gather the items to make the enemies visible and/or reveal the stage reward and you'll need to beat most stages 2-3 times on average even if you manage to somehow A-rank them on the first playthrough.
  • Final Boss Preview: The group meets Cia in person early on, but she defeats them, takes the Triforce pieces, and opens doorways to the other eras of Hyrule.
  • Final Exam Boss: For his first phase, Ganon uses the attacks of the other 4 Giant Bosses, and has the corresponding weaknesses while using them. When an attack is countered with the proper item, Ganon cannot use that attack any more.
  • Finishing Move: When you evade a strong attack from an Elite Mook or use the corresponding weapon correctly on a giant enemy, a hexagonal gauge appears on top of them which you need to deplete with repeated attacks: do so, and you'll follow up with a Weak Point Smash that does major damage to the said enemy.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: There's also Light and Dark, but Fire, Water (often represented by ice), and Lightning are the most common.
  • Fisher King: In the first stage, under Zelda's rule, Hyrule Field is lush and vibrant. In the final stage, after Ganondorf takes over, it's a hellish landscape pierced with many a building-sized greatsword.
  • Foreshadowing: Notice how Lana and Cia, to an extent, have opposing hints of Fashionable Asymmetry? (most notably in the shoulders).
  • Floating Continent: The Land in the Sky stage which is based on Skyloft and the various other islands from Skyward Sword.
  • Forced Level Grinding: This is one of the downfalls of the Boss Pack: since Ganon can't use the bazaar, can't get stronger weapons, is a huge target and many enemies do a ton of damage to him per hit since he starts on level 1, the only real way to deal with some of the harder levels is to level him up beforehand.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Midna, Ruto and Darunia are technically nude, though their lack of human features lets them get away with it.
  • Giant Mook: While not outlandishly huge, the Lizalfos and Dinolfos Chieftains in Cia's Tale are noticeably larger than their basic Elite Mook counterparts.
  • Good Morning, Crono: A tradition in the series. Except in this case, it isn't Link who the games starts with waking up, it's Princess Zelda.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Lana shouts "Se no!" when performing her finishers, and Agitha exclaims "Sore!" when attacking.
  • Guide Dang It: Characters can immediately break into a run by holding down the dodge button. All materials and weapons in the field are automatically collected at the end of a mission. Neither of these things are ever mentioned in-game.
    • Some of the Hard Mode Skulltula clues can be misleading, as well. The clue for the final stage says you have to defeat ??? (Ganondorf) before ??? (The Castle Keep) is recaptured. This may lead you to believe that you have to capture the Castle Keep and defeat Ganondorf before his forces reclaim it, but you actually have to defeat Ganondorf while the Castle Keep is still in his possession, then capture it.
  • Hades Shaded: Cia, who is much darker-skinned than her good counterpart, Lana.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Cuccos have this, even more so than in the other games. Some Adventure mode maps will have two cuccos fighting for territory in a random base. Interrupt and the base gets sealed off, with you asked to "survive until the cuccos calm down."
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Apart from the knight-like Darknuts, a few of the soldiers from both sides of the conflict are outfitted with more armor amongst their less armored brethren.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Even before getting the hero garb, Link didn't wear the helmet of the Soldier uniform.
  • Heroic Mime: In keeping with Zelda tradition, Link does not speak. Instead, Proxi serves as his proxy and speaks for him.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Ganondorf winds up being the True Final Boss of the story. As per the norm. Given the nature of the game, this is kind of to be expected, considering how he is an antagonist in a game with multiple villains. However, despite this not being surprising, this game does win extra points by letting you play as him when he performs the hijacking.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Several.
    • Zelda, with the Wind Waker, a magical conductor's baton.
    • Lana's primary weapon is a book.
    • Agitha's Parasol of Pain counts.
    • Sheik's Harp weapon. (It's actually a lyre.)
    • Midna, who fights with Prehensile Hair and magic wolves.
      • Twili Midna one-ups her imp form, fighting with a mirror, a bridge, and her own tears.
    • Tingle's weapon is his balloons. He also smacks foes with a sack of rupees.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: Argorok from Twilight Princess who appears as a boss in the stage inspired by the game.
    • One of Lana's weapons is a a Summoning Gate — a ring through which she can summon smaller versions of the games giant enemies. She can summon Argorok, and ride on his back as he deals devastating damage to enemies with a constant stream of flames.
    • There's also Volga, who is able to transform into a dragon. He's playable.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: In Legend Mode, the mission in the water temple tasks you with saving Ruto, who gets trapped inside a room in the middle of the temple. To get to her, you have to find flood gates to drain the water blocking the way to the room... except the water in this case seems to be only about chest deep at most, so there's no reason you couldn't just wade or swim there. Becomes even worse after you open the first flood gate and most of the water is drained away, leaving two ankle deep streams that you could easily jump over, or wade through but which are treated as insurmountable obstacles.
  • Item Crafting: Materials collected from enemies can be used to create badges and mixtures from the apothecary. Badges work as a Tech Tree where each badge offers passive effects such as additional attacks and the ability to use a healing potion. Mixtures affect the quality of weapons found from Random Drops such as power and number of skills, but they only last for one battle (although if you fail a mission and retry it, you can keep using the mixture until you beat it or quit out of it) and only one can be active at a time. The 1.4.0 update also added 3 mixtures with direct gameplay effects: one of them lets you break enemy guards with every hit, another gives you permanently powered up subweapons and the final one gives you a constantly filling SP gauge, but they're far more expensive to make both price- and materialwise than the mixtures that just increase specific types of drops.
  • Jiggle Physics: Lana's and Ruto's chests bounce quite a bit in their idle animations, though for the former it's more noticeable in her DLC costume. Cia's chest bounces a bit when she's in motion, as well.
  • Killer Rabbit: Cuccos are this, in an interesting upgrade from Video Game Cruelty Punishment. Find a cucco in Legend Mode and attack it, and it'll summon more Cuccos which, while no longer invulnerable to attacks, are many times more powerful than normal enemies. Eventually this attack culminates in the appearance of an even more powerful Golden Cucco.
    • The full extent of the Cuccos' Bad Ass nature can be seen in Adventure Mode. Some maps have Cuccos fighting alongside the player. In some others you'll receive side missions telling you a Golden Cucco is feeding; let them go for too long and they become ungodly strong. In a few other maps you're told that two Cuccos are fighting for territory; fail to break them up and the winner will capture a base, then spread out and steamroll the rest of the map unless you defeat them.
    • Lana's Summoning Gate weapon allows her to summon smaller versions of the Giant Boss monsters. Her Special Attack, the strongest of these, summons a massively upsized Cucco instead, which then flattens anything in its path. It's further Played for Laughs in Lana's victory animation for said weapon, where she is terrified and runs away screaming as she's chased by a horde of cuccos popping out of her gate.
  • King Mook: Wizzro and Volga. Volga is basically a combination of the Dinolfos, Lizalfos, and Aerolfos - enemies that are Elite Mooks at best and Red Shirts at worst - only scaled up to the power level of the playable characters. Wizzro is an even better example, as he even looks like a Big Poe, the Elite Mook he's based on.
  • Lag Cancel: The ending animations for many attacks can be canceled by dodging. This is especially useful for characters that just show off at the end of their attacks like Ghirahim.
  • Last Chance Hit Point: Any attack that would otherwise kill you will instead leave you with 1 HP, as long as your health is above that number, although your health will be displayed as one quarter of a heart (while health is displayed as hearts in traditional Zelda form, damage is actually measured in HP, with 400 HP for every heart).
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Several of the characters' bios in the loading screen tips go into brief detail about their backstories and roles in their original appearances, leading to quite a few of these.
    • That Sheik is actually Zelda, and that Midna is the ruler of the Twilight Realm are casually revealed by the story mode.
    • The fact that Ghirahim is a living sword like Fi is kept hidden until the very end of Skyward Sword, but he utilizes his true forms as part of his moveset, as well as having it mentioned in his bio.
    • As far as DLC, an alternate costume for Ganondorf spoils his appearance in Twilight Princess, and Midna's true form is a playable character.
  • Lethal Joke Item: The 8-Bit Wooden Sword. It looks ridiculous (the hilt is wider than Link's hand!) but is incredibly powerful, being equal in strength to Link's level 3 sword.
    • The Master Quest DLC adds similarly ridiculous (and equally powerful) 8-bit weapons for other characters. Impa's Giant Knife gets the blade of the 8-Bit Boomerang, Ghirahim wields a wooden arrow, Fi turns into a silver arrow for her attacks, Sheik plays the 8-bit ladder like a harp and Zelda wields the 8-bit White Sword.
    • The Twilight Princess pack continues this silliness with a candle in place of the Fire Rod and Ganondorf's swords being replaced with keys. Agitha gets a RUPEE on a stick as a parasol of all items, there are more boomerangs for Zant, the actual 8-bit Magic Rod replaces Lana's spear and Midna's shackle is replaced with an 8-bit Red Ring.
    • The Majora's Mask pack ups the ante by giving Darunia an 8-bit bait (ie. a piece of meat) on a stick, giving Lana an 8-bit compass for her summoning gate, replacing Ruto's Zora Scale with an 8-bit clock and turning the entire Great Fairy 8-bit, complete with an 8-bit Link in her bottle.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Eldin Caves stage.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: After Cia brings forth the multiple areas from different eras to the main world, the Hyrulean Forces split up into three armies to deal with the problem on three separate fronts. The armies are initially led by Impa and Sheik for one, and Lana and Link respectively for the other two.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Midna's entrance starts with her already at war with Cia, but due to a misunderstanding on the battlefield, she assumes Lana and Agitha are part of Cia's forces and attacks. When Cia retreats, it leaves Lana to defeat Midna and sort out who's on whose side.
  • Level Up Fill Up: Get your experience bar filled up, and all of your health and special gauge is restored.
  • Limit Break: In true Dynasty Warriors fashion, each character has super attacks which they can use to wipe out enemies. In general, there's 3 varieties for each character/moveset: the normal one that takes 1 bar of Special gauge to use, the Focus Spirit finisher that's used automatically when the bar runs out and a different variant that's triggered when you use the special during FS which also has a secondary property of instantly stunning giant enemies and opening them up for a Weak Point Smash.
  • Lizard Folk: Lizalfos and the more stronger Dinolfos relatives appear as Elite Mooks. Aeralfos, the winged versions of the Lizalfos from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, appear as Airborne Mooks, along with the new Fiery Aeralfos.
    • There is also the Lizalfos and Dinolfos chieftains who are larger and tougher than their regular counterparts.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: Not as bad as other examples, but the 1.5.0 update introduced a bug that significantly extended the load times for each mission. The 1.6.0 update timed with the Ganon DLC Pack thankfully fixes this.
  • Lost Woods: Two different versions of the Faron Woods serve in two different stages. The Skyward Sword iteration is part of the "Sealed Grounds" stage. Then there is the aptly named "Faron Woods" stage. While it resembles the Twilight Princess iteration in design, it is actually a completely new original version for the game as it contains a giant Great Deku Tree which serves as the stage's centerpiece and a Tree Top Town built around it.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Cia's feelings for Link is what corrupts her into villainy, although not directly; her feelings and the doubts they inspired in her opened the door for Ganondorf to influence her.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Some Adventure Mode missions have an event where two cuccos appear in a random base and start fighting. If you try to stop them you'll get locked in the base with them and risk taking tons of damage until they calm down. If you ignore them they'll take over the base and head out to steamroll other bases. The mission to get Ruto's third level weapon has this event happen three times and the mission's difficulty changes significantly depending on how nice the game decides to be with where the events happen. If they're all on the north end of the map where the enemy bases are (or even better, an event occurs in a base that was already lost to the cuccos) the mission will go fairly easily, if they all spawn on your side of the map... good luck getting A rank.
    • The Festival Of Cuccos mission in Adventure Mode has the same problem, if not even worse. It is entirely possible for the two cuccos event to happen directly in the path of the cucco chick you have to escort, making the escort all but impossible and practically guaranteeing you'll face the mama cucco's Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
    • The Manhandla Stalks Event. Stalks of the plant boss, Manhandla, appear randomly, dispersed among the keeps, where upon they will attack your keeps (typically your base) from a distance. They could all end up in the same keep, which is great, or they could end up on opposite ends of the map. Bonus points if the enemy is already attacking your base when this happens (which is more common than you might think).
    • Occasionally a Hylian soldier will appear and get wounded, and if you don't escort him to the base he'll die and reappear as a hylian ghost that curses your forces. The problem is that if he doesn't appear right near you he'll die before you have a chance to help him.
  • Main Characters: Link, Zelda, Ganondorf, and in this instance, Lana. Link and Zelda being the series' staple protagonists, Ganondorf reprising his role as Big Bad also plays an influential role, and newcomer Lana becomes a temporary lead role as she becomes the bearer of the Triforce of Power.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Deku Babas, which spew a circle of poison to protect themselves and hinder characters.
    • Also the plant boss, Manhandla.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: The game brings together several characters and elements from different The Legend of Zelda games thanks to Cia twisting space-time. According to Eiji Aonuma, he likens the game to being similar to The Avengers.
  • Mêlée à Trois:
    • When Midna is first encountered, she is in command of a third faction which proceeds to fight both the Hyrulean forces and the Dark Forces.
    • In the midst of the battle in the Temple of Souls between the Hyrulean forces and Cia's, Ganondorf bursts in with his own army to fight them all.
    • In the Master Quest DLC, Cia's attempt to recruit Zant finds her arriving in the Twilight Realm in the middle of a civil war between Midna and Zant, and she decides to take one down and recruit the other. What this translates to is "beat them both" though you can do so in whichever order you wish.
  • Mickey Mousing: Attacking enemies' weakpoints causes a musical sting, with a single larger music note hit when you perform the massive attack at the end.
  • Mirror Match: There are stages in Adventure Mode where a specific character is required, and has them fight a copy of that character at some point of that stage.
  • Mirror Self:
    • There is a Zelda imposter who sows confusion and discord between the main Hyrulean forces and Darunia's Gorons in order to get them to fight one another. It's actually Wizzro in disguise.
    • Cia herself is capable of summoning several Dark Links to do her bidding.
  • Mordor: Ganon's Castle, which is Hyrule Field transformed into a hellish version of itself. It also serves as The Very Definitely Final Dungeon of the game.
  • Mummy: The ReDead Knights and Gibdo which appear as Elite Mooks. They have shouting attacks that temporarily stun opposing characters as well as spew out poison.
  • My Future Self and Me: The Master Sword and Fi; Ganondorf and the Imprisoned; Link and Young Link.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Tutorials are accompanied by a voice clip of Navi's infamous "Hey! Listen!" The Game Over music is also taken from Ocarina of Time.
    • The Fairy that accompanies Link in this game, called Proxi, occasionally starts a point with "Hey, listen!"
    • The official artworks for Link and Zelda's alternate outfits, based on their appearances in Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword, are in the same pose as their artwork from those games. The artwork for Zelda's alternate skin from Ocarina of Time uses the same pose as Young Zelda from the Ocarina of Time remake.
    • Zelda goes missing at one point of the story, and during that time, Sheik appears. Hmmm...
      • Sheik is also part of the army detachment that rescues Princess Ruto. In Ocarina of Time, when encountered after the time skip, Ruto mentions she was saved by Sheik.
    • During the cutscene telling of the sorceress who guarded the Triforce, silhouettes of characters from Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword can be seen. In the OoT scene, Ganondorf's silhouette is seen holding the sword he had in the SpaceWorld 2000 GameCube Tech Demo and Super Smash Bros. Melee.
    • At the beginning of Ruto's character trailer, she is seen being carried like she was in Ocarina of Time.
    • Some weapons are named after items throughout the series, like the White Sword, the Magical Sword, the Magical Rod, the Magic Hammer, the Megaton Hammer, the Giant's Knife, the Biggoron's Sword, Silver Scale, Gold Scale, Water Dragon's Scale, the Sol, and the Twilight Sword.
    • Adventure Mode and the Master Quest DLC are set on exact replicas of the NES Zelda overworld, complete with unlockable rewards hidden in the same places as that game's secrets. Some references are even more specific:
      • All of the keep-taking missions that end with a boss being summoned are in the same places as the original nine dungeons in each quest. Further, the mission corresponding with the final dungeon has a fight with Ganon at the end.
      • You find the Magical Sword in exactly the same map tile as in the original, and even unlocked by pushing the same grave.
      • Wizzro's level 2 ring is unlocked in a Master Quest mission that, while being one of the dungeons in the NES Master Quest, was also the location of the blue ring shop in the regular game.
    • During the second fight at the Valley of Seers, Zelda has to get to the Fairy Fountain. Impa calls out to her with: "It's dangerous to go alone! Take me with you!"
    • Manhandla is weak to the Boomerang, like in Oracle of Seasons.
    • The upside-down Lorule Triforce can be seen during the final battle against Cia's forces.
    • The alternate costumes released for Zelda, Darunia and Ruto in the Master Quest pack make them take the appearances of Hilda, Darmani and Lulu, respectively.
    • Ganondorf says Cia is his "favorite puppet yet."
    • Darunia's victory dance is based off of his dance to "Saria's Song" in Ocarina of Time.
    • Darunia's use of the Megaton Hammer is a mythology gag and a development gag. He bemoans not having the hammer before trying to face Volvagia in Ocarina but in Majora's Mask in early Beta Goron Link's default weapon was supposed to be a hammer before it was changed to fisticuffs.
    • Link's "Gauntlets" moveset contains many elements from the handheld Zelda games: One move has him burrowing underground with the digging mitts, the third-tier version replaces the Ball and Chain with Bow-Wow the Chain Chomp, and the fact that they have the Lightning Element may be a reference to the Magnetic Gloves. And, while not exactly very useful in this setting, they do allow him to pick pots and Bomb Flowers up over his head.
    • If you do well enough fighting against King Bulblin on the Twilight Map, he may join your side, impressed by your strength, alluding to his actions in Twilight Princess. If you are playing as Midna, she'll even reprise her "he... he spoke..." line.
    • Strafing Stalfos Knights and Stalmasters were a good way to get around their stubborn defenses in their respective games, so if you do it to them in this one it dazes them, instantly revealing a weak point gauge that empties twice as quickly as normal.
    • Young Link's Focus Spirit Special involves Skull Kid calling down the moon while Young Link puts on the Fierce Deity's Mask and cuts it in two. The sword master in Majora's Mask claimed that he would do just that.
  • Never Say "Die": Zig Zagged.
    • Played Straight: Being a Zelda game death is mostly just implied and words like "defeat" are used a lot, and being a Warriors title the "K.O." counter makes a return here too.
    • Averted: The villains will make it perfectly clear what they plan to do with you and your allies if you lose. Wizzro in particular likes to talk about all the slaughtering he'd like to perform. Even the heroes will use the word "kill" a few times when referring to the Giant Bosses.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: After Cia absorbs the power of the first three fragments of evil, the heroes retrieve the Master Sword to fight her, weakening the seal on the fourth and final fragment.
  • Ninja: The Sheikah tribe, lead by Zelda's retainer Impa, once again qualifies as the Hyrulean version of these. Sheik's moveset in particular is very reminiscent of a stereotypical Ninja, and her dodging speed allows her to bypass attacks like no other character can.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted; the Master Quest DLC adds 5 levels centered around the Original Generation villains to Legend Mode. Not to mention the levels where you get to play as Ganondorf attempting to conquer Hyrule.
  • No Damage Run: Some missions in the Master Quest DLC map have this as a special condition, where any hit will knock you down to 1/4 of a heart. To compensate, the game adds a clock item that will temporarily freeze nearby enemies, but it doesn't stop the missions from being hard to beat, let alone A-rank.
  • No Fair Cheating: A minor example: while you can use a single Compass item as many times as you like in Adventure Mode by opening the Home menu and quitting the game right after you use one but before the game is saved, it doesn't work with skill apprisals in the Smithy since the game saves right after you pay the required number of Rupees.
  • Non Humans Lack Attributes: Midna, Ruto, and the Gorons are all technically naked but lack visible naughty bits due to being different races than the more human-like characters.
  • Off Model: The DLC costumes from Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword for Link, Zelda and Ganondorf. The models are recycled from their original games (In the case of the OOT costumes, they come from the 3DS version), with the exception of the faces, which come from the regular model. The difference shows.
  • One-Hit Kill: In any Adventure Mode battle where "All attacks are devastating," every attack is an instant kill against all enemies. Subverted for attacks against the player due to the Last Chance Hit Point.
  • One-Man Army: Every playable character gets to wipe out hordes of enemies en masse.
  • Original Generation:
    • While mostly a Massive Multiplayer Crossover to the Zelda series as a whole, there are some original characters, namely Cia, Wizzro, Volga, and Lana. On a related note, Link, Zelda, Impa, Sheik, and Ganondorf are new incarnations for this game rather than particular incarnations from previous games. Volga is, in fact, a reincarnation of the spirit of Volvagia of Death Mountain.
    • The game introduces new enemies that aren't present in the main Zelda games called Fiery Aeralfos and Icy Big Poe.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Poes, whose design resemble that used in Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Bokoblins with their red Skyward Sword look feature as regular enemy mooks. Bulblins with their green Twilight Princess look also serve a similar function. Moblins with their pinkish red overweight Skyward Sword look also appear.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Argorok the Wyvern-like Twilit dragon from Twilight Princess is a boss of the "Palace of Twilight" stage.
  • Palette Swap: Fiery Aerolfos are Playing with Fire red-versions of Aerolfos, Icy Big Poes are An Ice Person blue-versions of Big Poes.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: The "Rack up your KOs" maps in the Master Quest Adventure map are essentially these: they pit you against a large number of enemies with no allies to worry about and give you a constant stream of Magic Jar captains to kill so that you can keep your Focus Spirit active for extended perioids of time, which not only allows you kill stuff quicker in general and to murder the normally time-consuming giant bosses in record time, but it also gives you large boosts to EXP given and rupees dropped. The hardest one of these at the lower left corner of the map is especially effective for this: in normal gameplay, you can expect your characters to level up once every 3-5 full-length maps played or so, but depending on how high your level is, how long you can stay in Focus Spirit and whether you're equiped with a weapon that increases experience gained, you can expect to gain anywhere from 3 to 8 levels.
    • "Rack up your KOs" missions are also great for grinding silver and gold materials from Elite Mooks, as almost every challenge will include one or two particular kind easy to farm. Trying to fill out a character's badge chart? Just go to the correct "Rack up your KOs" mission and you'll likely have a couple dozen of the material treasure you need by the time you're done.
    • Thanks to the EXP-increasing mixture added in the 1.5.0 update, you can now expect to gain 5 to 10 levels per playthrough if combined with an EXP-incrasing weapon and Focus Spirit bonuses. Which is basically the minimum acceptable amount considering the now-doubled level cap.
    • Finally, if you're not opposed to abusing glitches, you can also focus all your leveling efforts into a single character and then use the rupee glitch listed on the YMMV page to essentially bypass the Anti-Grinding restriction listed above and get all your characters to maximum level in record time.
    • Once you hit the Twilight Princess Adventure Map you can start fighting Dark-versions of characters (Dark Impa, Dark Agitha, etc.) which will normally split into four versions by the end of the mission (while fortunately, splitting their remaining health as well). While not conducive to gaining experience, this is a fantastic way to farm for normally hard to come by treasures, as each split-off dark character has their own drop, and by the Twilight Map most boss characters are dropping double treasure anyway.
  • Play Every Day: Downplayed with the amiibo functionality: they can be used to receive a random reward each day (rare materials, weapons, or a random amount of Rupees), but there is no real punishment for not bothering.
  • Playing with Fire: One of Link's weapon choices is the Magic Rod. Due to it primarily attacking with flames, it was initially mistaken for the Fire Rod, though it can also transform into a large axe, as well as having a few ranged attacks that aren't fire-based. The first iteration of this weapon tree is the Fire Rod; however, more powerful versions exist, ending with the Magical Rod. All versions use primarily fire attacks.
    • Impa's Naginata is fire-elemental and has some flame pillar attacks.
    • Lana's Summoning Gate can shoot fire as well, although this only happens during a Weak Point Smash.
  • Plot Hole: When we meet Midna for the first time in the original Legend Mode, she says that she hates Cia because Cia turned her back into her imp form. But in the Master Quest storyline, we see that Midna is already in imp form when Cia first meets her.
  • Pre-Order Bonus: Link and Zelda have their appearances from Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword available as pre-order bonuses at select stores, as well as for members of Club Nintendo. Ganondorf just has his appearances from Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess. All of these pre-order sets have since been made available for purchase on the eShop. Dark Link from Ocarina of Time is also available as a Season's Pass preorder bonus palette swap.
  • Princesses Rule: A number of the playable Hyrulean Forces characters (at least Zelda, Midna, and Ruto) are princesses.
  • Product Placement: The Majora's Mask DLC was released a week before a Majora's Mask remake hit the 3DS. Downplayed since Nintendo hasn't done any cross-promotion of the two games, but the timing lines up too nicely to be a coincidence.
  • Promoted to Playable:
    • The developers were excited to say this might be the first time some people can play as their favorite characters. To explain, previously it has only been possible to play as Link, although Zelda and Midna were partially playable in some games. In this game, you can play as a vast range of heroes and villains, including complete extras such as Agitha from Twilight Princess and even the Great Fairy herself through an unlockable weapon for Link. The Great Fairy isn't really a weapon, it lets you play as the Great Fairy, while she carries Link in a bottle.
    • And now you can play as Ganon himself. And a giant Cucco.
  • Punny Name: Link, our silent hero, quickly finds a fairy companion called Proxi, who decides that she can do enough talking for the pair of them. Link conveys his thoughts via a Proxi.
  • Random Drop: On top of the series' tradition rupees and hearts from cutting down foes and grass, this game features materials for badge crafting as well as random weapon pickups after every battle.
  • Rank Inflation: The battle rankings for Adventure mode in the Japanese version of the game are S, A and B, as expected. Averted in the other versions of the game, where the ranks were shifted down to A, B and C.
  • Rare Random Drop: Materials dropped by enemies come in bronze, silver, and gold rarity. Silver items are rare drops from Elite Mooks while gold items are rare drops from bosses.
  • Red Shirt Army: Link is joined by the knights of Hyrule for the first time. They're nowhere near as powerful as Link, so he still has to do most of the work.
  • Retraux: The Adventure Mode, which has a grid map similar to the very first Zelda game.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Implied between Link and Zelda. Notably, this is the first time Link has explicitly been stated to be a reincarnation of the Spirit of the Hero.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: In some Adventure Mode missions a mama cucco and cucco chick will appear, and you're asked to escort the chick to its mama. If the chick gets killed the mama cucco goes crazy, gets the highest powerup status possible, and starts attacking both sides.
    • Also in Adventure Mode, you will occasionally be tasked with escorting an injured soldier back to base. If you fail, he comes back as a vengeful ghost. While his rampage isn't as physically devastating as the mama cucco's, he can lay some nasty curses on you if left sitting around too long, like dropping your allies' morale, forcing some of your troops to flee, or even stealing your rupees.
  • Rocket Tag Gameplay: "Watch out! All Attacks are Devastating!" missions in Adventure Mode, where everything on the battlefield is a One-Hit-Point Wonder, both you and the enemies. (Well, technically you're a Two Hit Point Wonder due to having a Last Chance Hit Point, but the point still stands, especially since you still need to finish those missions without getting hit to A-rank them.)
  • Role Reprisal: Akiko Komoto, Ayumi Fujimura, and Anri Katsu reprise their roles as Midna, Fi, and Ghirahim respectively.
  • RPG Elements: This is one of the rare Zelda games to have Character Levels and a Skill Tree.
  • Scarf Of Ass Kicking: Link has a blue one in this game in addition to his usual attire, which has been spectacularly well received by the fandom. The scarf is an accessory worn only by Hyrulean Army Commanders, presented to Link by Impa as they search for their missing princess.
  • Schmuck Bait: Some out-of-the-way keeps function as traps with no real way to tell them apart from the regular variety beforehand: if you clear them out in hopes of uncovering a treasure chest, you'll be trapped inside and need to kill off some Elite Mooks to open the doors. If you don't know about them beforehand and time it poorly, getting trapped inside one at a bad moment might cause you to lose the entire level.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The legendary hero separated the evil force into four pieces, sealed one in the temple of the Master Sword and sent the other three into the depths of space-time.
  • Second Person Attack: A few of the characters' victory cutscenes do this. Notably:
    • Zelda's victory cutscene with the rapier has her swinging it at an angle that, if the camera were a person, she would be aiming at his throat. The sword doesn't seem to actually hit, though so there is that.
    • Wizzro has one of his shadow fish drool purple slime onto the camera, before he grabs the camera with his giant hand. The scene ends with him cackling as the camera struggles to escape.
    • Link's victory scene with the Magic Rod summons a giant fiery dragon (the same one from his special attack) which rushes the camera and engulfs it in flames.
    • Cia's victory scene has her order her Dark Link servants to attack the camera, damaging it and causing everything to go white for a moment.
    • In the cinematic that plays when Sheik is encountered as an enemy in Adventure Mode, she's seen playing her harp in a tree, before throwing a Deku Nut and disappearing. The camera looks back and forth for her, only to have her rush into frame and threaten the camera's tripod mounting with a knife.
  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: The majority of the female heroes of the Hyrulean Forces revealed so far are sensibly dressed. The sole exceptions are Midna and Ruto, who are technically naked but get a pass since both lack certain human attributes and the latter's Ocarina of Time 3DS design makes her look like she's wearing a dress of sorts. Cia on the Dark Forces' side though, is dressed in a very Stripperiffic outfit.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The Valley of Seers and the Gerudo Desert.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Several of Link's moves from his guest appearance in Soul Calibur II, particularly the Cyclone Slash, make an appearance.
    • Link's gauntlet special attack where he flips the world with his ball and chain is similar to an attack used by Whitebeard in the One Piece Pirate Warriors spinoff. Likewise, some of Ruto's moves are reminiscent of Jinbe's from the same game.
  • Shown Their Work: The way each character opens a chest with a sealed weapon, heart piece or a heart container inside of it accurately reflects their personality: Link, Impa, Zelda, Sheik and Darunia open it normally (ie. first popping the lid open to peek inside of it, then throwing it open) Midna and Fi throw it open right away without peeking inside, Ghirahim pops it open with a single finger flick before throwing it open and Ganondorf kicks it open instead.
  • Shows Damage: Dark Beast Ganon, during the first part of his battle. Hit his bomb weakpoint and his left bracer breaks in half. Hit his arrow weakpoint and his right bracer breaks. The hookshot weakpoint rips off the tip of his tail and breaks one of his tusks. The two boomerang weak points break his horns. Once all of his weakpoints are broken he Turns Red and enters the second, more dangerous half of the battle.
  • Silicon-Based Life: Gorons, which are rock based rock eating characters from the other Zelda games, appear as regular grunts for the Hyrulean Forces.
  • Silliness Switch: The aforementioned 8-bit weapons, which threaten to become available for all weapon types. Not that anyone's complaining.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Before a battle starts, the battle music can be customized to a tune other than the normal one. Setting the Bazaar theme to play makes the battle a considerably different experience.
  • Stalker with a Crush: By the end of the day, that's Cia's flaw. She uses her ability to watch over the worlds to spy on Link and gets a crush on him. The further in you go the more clear it becomes, and the game is making it clear that's what she is.
    • The Temple of Souls clearly makes it more obvious. It's basically a huge temple with portraits and statues of Link and his other incarnations.
    • As a gameplay mechanic, some levels will spawn a Cucco that will follow the player throughout the level. It's neutral at first, but when it takes enough damage (and with the large number of wide-area attacks, it almost certainly will), it turns hostile and starts sending hordes of Cuccos after you.
  • Stripperiffic: Cia's outfit is quite revealing, to say the least. And even moreso is Twili Midna, who is topless and wears nothing more than the sash on her waist and the robe on her back.
  • Sucking-In Lines: King Dodongo does this when preparing to use his fireball, thereby telegraphing the point when you should throw your bombs into his mouth. Argorok also charge up like this for his fireball attack, as does Ganon.
  • Suddenly Voiced: In a first for a Zelda game, there's a fully voiced narrator who recounts the events of the main story between chapters as opposed to a silent one like in other games. Other than that, the rest of the characters follow Zelda tradition wherein they either just grunt, just speak Simlish in the case of Midna and Fi, or just utter short phrases in the case of Lana, Agitha, and Proxi. Link himself doesn't even speak directly, as his dialogue is provided for by Proxi.
    • On another level, this is the first time in the franchise where the Lizalfos speak, even if it's mostly broken sentences. There are also hints that they are an organized society, such as the tribe that was loyal to Volga in the Master Quest DLC, and the monster horde that Ganondorf destroyed in the Gerudo Desert was implied to be a raiding party led by Lizalfos.
  • Super Mode: Focus Spirit mode. After filling up a magic meter, you'll be able to enter this mode by pressing R. While in Focus Spirit mode, your character's abilities will be increased, much like the Style Action from One Piece Pirate Warriors 2: specifically, they attack faster, their hits break enemy guards, and every 20 or 25 (depending on the character) mook kills, they get an additional bonus effect that also slightly refills the magic meter.
  • Swapped Roles: Link's Great Fairy weapon. You actually play as the Great Fairy, while she carries Link around in a bottle the same way Link typically carries fairies.
  • Telephone Polearm: One of Link's special attacks while using the Gauntlets is to pull one of those huge pillars from Ocarina of Time out of the ground and beat enemies up with it.
  • Theme Song Powerup: In the first stage, the Zelda theme starts playing after Link awakens to the Triforce of Courage (and, in doing so, No Sells a One-Hit KO done by Volga).
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Lana sings part of The Legend of Zelda when summoning enemies.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: On certain Adventure Mode maps, a single Cucco will keep following you every way you go until your attacks ruffle its feathers to summon its army against your butt. Yes, it follows you and no one else for that one reason.
  • Throat Light: Along with Sucking-In Lines, this is the second tell that King Dodongo is about to use his fireball attack.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: Bombs are a sub-weapon that can be used by anyone. Several bombs are thrown by default to take out multiple enemies, although they're by far the most inaccurate out of all the subweapons and can't be aimed reliably.
  • Time Stands Still: The "Don't get hit" missions in the Master Quest Adventure map have a rarely-spawning unique item not seen anywhere else, the clock from the original Legend of Zelda: picking it up stops all enemies for a brief perioid of time, which evens the playing field a good deal.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: It's thanks to Cia twisting space-time that characters and elements from different eras and Alternate Timelines, which would normally not be able to interact with each other, are able to do so.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Princess Zelda has, presumably, led her country almost her whole life. But by the end of the events of the game, she has led her armies in multiple high-risk battles, vastly improved her own combat abilities as well as saving her kingdom from the ultimate evil and has gained the experience she needs to be a truly confident leader.
  • Tree Top Town: The "Faron Woods" stage has a town built on the trees adjacent to the Great Deku Tree.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • Prior to her reveal, most weren't expecting Midna to be a playable character at the time partly due to a lack of information before the reveal, and due to early screenshots which led to the speculation that the game would probably take place somewhere around Skyward Sword era thanks to the abundance of that game's enemies. She was also unexpected as she seemed to be just a One-Shot Character who was explicitly written out at the end of her first appearance.
    • invoked According to Aonuma himself, he was surprised at quite a few of the characters to be included in the roster. Another such example soon came in the form of Agitha, a one-shot character who isn't even plot significant in Twilight Princess. note 
    • With the Majora's Mask DLC announced, people weren't surprised to find that Young Link from the N64 games was one of the two characters. The same cannot be said for the second character included in the DLC Pack: Tingle.
    • The ultimate example of this is probably a giant Cucco, who you play as in a set of missions in the Boss Pack once you unlock him via the Ganon levels.
  • Variable Mix: Some levels use different instruments in specific areas, such as the Crystal Caves in Eldin, and the interior of the Temple of the Sacred Sword. Most tracks also add one or two in certain generic situations, such as whenever you're inside an enemy keep, or activating Focus Spirit, as well as playing a toned-down version during the pause menu. You can listen to these variations of the tracks in the Gallery by pressing L or R when the song is playing.
    • The track also slowly dies down as you get close to a Golden Skulltula, which is part of how you find them.
  • Villain Episode: Three of the stages focus on Ganondorf's conquest of Hyrule after the defeat of Cia.. Cia and her cronies are also the protagonists of their own DLC scenario, which focuses on how they met and their own conquest of Hyrule.
  • Villainous Crush: Cia has a thing for Link. The reason she turns evil was because she wanted Zelda out of the picture.
  • Where It All Began: After your journey across time and space, you end up back in Hyrule Field to take on Ganon.
  • World of Action Girls: As stated above, the game primarily focuses on ass-kicking, strong, and powerful heroines. There are only two male heroes, with eight female heroines.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Lana has this to a T, while Cia and Impa have Mystical White Hair.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: A shorts variation on Zelda, of all people.