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The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii) artwork

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii) review

" History was made when Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda internationally in 1987 for the Nintendo Entertainment System. A vast world, open-ended gameplay, and a battery autosave function made it one of the most advanced console games of its time. Thus began a franchise with no end in sight. "

History was made when Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda internationally in 1987 for the Nintendo Entertainment System. A vast world, open-ended gameplay, and a battery autosave function made it one of the most advanced console games of its time. Thus began a franchise with no end in sight.

Link.. the most underappreciated hero ever. Never the same man twice, hardly known for his world-saving deeds, and never gets the girl or the Triforce. The goddesses of Hyrule are lucky they didn’t select me as their hero, because I would have stayed in bed.

This time around, Link is a ‘Cattle Herder’ in the town of Odin. The children look up to him, the town idolizes him, and his closet hates him. The game opens with him wearing what is quite possibly the worst outfit design in the history of gaming, with combinations of skirts, tights, shorts, sandals, vests, and one-sleeved shirts. Luckily, you won’t be wearing that outfit for long, for the land of Hyrule is in trouble again, and it will soon be time for Link to dawn those green tights we know and love.

The land is being merged with the alternate universe of the Twilight by an evil-doer named Zant and it’s up to Link, yet again, to take down a maniacal, power-hungry, psychopath.

For anyone who is keeping count, this is the 12th time Hyrule has almost bit the dust. That officially makes it the worst vacationing spot in existence. Why haven’t these people moved yet?

This time, however, you won’t have to do it alone. You’ll travel with a companion named “Midna”, a twilight dweller whose intentions aren’t very clear at first. She’ll refer to you as her slave, ride you like a horse, she’ll stalk you as your shadow, yet for some reason, you’ll put up with it.

After Link enters the twilight the first time, he’ll be transformed into his pre-ordained beast form. Not only is this one of the coolest scenes in the game, it is also the most painful-looking transformation I have ever seen, as he screams at the top of his lungs in excruciating agony. Much like Wolverine’s claws though, he’ll soon get used to the transforming process. As a wolf, you’ll be able to use your heightened senses to see things not normally visible by the naked eye including scent trails, hidden items and dig spots, the undead, and the true forms of spirits. You will also be able to talk to animals including your horse, Epona. However, this does not come without a price. You won’t be able to use any items, climb ladders, vines, or nets, or talk to humans. In fact, humans will be afraid of you.

The greatest improvement on its predecessors is the darker tone the story has taken. Link doesn’t just drown, he gasps desperately and reaches for the surface of the water. He doesn’t just fall into lava, the lava sizzles as he sinks toward the bottom with his hand outreached. Our hero also learns ten new moves along the way, including a violent downward stab through the chest of a fallen enemy, after which he back flips off the carcass, just to twirl and flip his sword before sheathing it. It’s undeniably awesome to see our childhood hero grow up to be such a badass.

You know the franchise is changing when Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is reminiscent of the Silent Hill series. Seriously, you know what will happen when you stick your head in that dark hole in the wall. There’s a fine line between curiosity and stupidity.

The environments and dungeons have a spookier, doomed aura to them. In particular, the Arbiter’s Grounds was a wonderful surprise to me. Traps are in place to release swarms of scarabs, which will crawl all over you, not to mention suffocate and slow you down. The image of Link covered in jittery scarabs will haunt my nightmares for weeks. Another great example is in another room, Link will walk as if he’s being weighted down. It took me a bit to figure it out, but if you transform into a wolf and use your heightened senses, you’ll see yourself covered in ghostly, undead rats, gnawing at ever inch of your body.

Oh, I get it.. Instead of lighting all four torches to open this door, I’m supposed to put all four out with my boomerang. Ingenious….

The biggest downfall to the game is the gameplay itself. It’s the exact same thing as this franchise’s successors. If you have beaten Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, or Wind Waker, than you can easily decimate this game with very little trouble. All of the puzzles are the same as those found in previous installments, with a few new twists thrown in, just not enough of a twist to make them challenging in any way. In fact, I can only recall one puzzle that made me think.

This game is definitely the longest in the series, finishing out in about fifty hours. A few new mini-games, and a few wiimote-heavy sequences help add some much needed uniqueness to what seems like a cookie-cutter franchise. Sequences like piloting a twilight demon bird, kayaking, fishing, and snowboarding.

Twilight Princess is also the finest looking Zelda in the franchise, paying extra attention to the facial expressions of each character. You can tell the emotion they feel at any given moment, and the game has the innate ability at times to project that feeling onto you. I’m man enough to admit that there were a few scenes where my eyes started to tear up a little bit, especially when Link saves one of the children from an ogre. The environments have been wonderfully rendered as well, with waterfalls and forests looking as beautiful as ever. However, the graphics just don’t live up to what the other platforms are doing. This game is flawed in the same way all of the Wii games will be flawed; it looks about as good as the best looking GameCube game. Adding to the downfall is the HUD. The control pad, A, and B icons are huge and take up more space than they should. You’ll get used to them, though, about ten hours into the game.

The musical scores throughout the game go well from scene to scene, yet none of them stand out enough for you to hear it in your head later. Some scenes are done better than others, for example, the transformation into wolf form, or the final boss battle in the game, however they are few and far between. They had some high standards to reach when compared to The Ocarina of Time, and they just didn’t reach them. Just as in every Zelda game before it, Twilight Princess doesn’t have spoken dialogue. Instead, it has bits and pieces like “Hey!”. Your companion, however, does have spoken dialogue, albeit in a non-existent language.

With a story and gameplay that makes up for its mediocre graphics when compared to other consoles of this day and age, this is easily the best Zelda game yet. While it may not make major leaps and bounds like the original did, it takes the well known formula of past Zelda games, and adds a darker tone, a lot of hidden items to collect, mini-games that use the controls of the Wii to its fullest capability, and over fifty hours of gameplay. So, if you’re a fan of the franchise, then you shouldn’t let this one pass you by. However, if you didn’t like any of the other games in the franchise, then avoid this one, since it’s basically a rehash of its predecessors. In the meantime, I have some advice for Link. Next time, just stay in bed and let those lazy Hyrulians solve their own problems for once.

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Community review by remylabue (February 10, 2007)

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