Title: It's easy to come up with titles when it's just: Twilight Princess: Third Impressions
Posted: January 07, 2007 (12:38 PM)
(Spoilers below, in case it's not obvious. Read at your own risk.)
21 hours in. Just past the 4th Dungeon/Temple/Whatever...
It's kind of surprising how much nostalgia Nintendo's trying to put into this game. It's almost like it's the Legend of Zelda: Greatest Hits version. I don't know whether to laugh or cry about all of it. Actually, I guess I kinda do. When it's done well, it's great. When it's not, it deserves an eye-rolling. And I think the key here is subtlety. Subtlety and not being gameplay related. The Master Sword sequence is a perfect example of both kinds. When I first entered the clearing, my jaw dropped. It was absolutely beautiful, a stunning scene. And I'm guessing I know where the artists got their inspiration: the LttP artwork. The scene was reminiscent of the artwork at the front of the instruction manual, and reminding me of it brought a smile to my face. Subtle. Effective. Good. And then I pulled the Master Sword. And the haze gave way to a bright sunny day. Oh puhleeze. Talk about a blatant copy of LttP. There wasn't anything subtle about it, and so it was bad. Well, not bad, but certainly enough to make me roll my eyes. Fortunately, so far it seems like there's more of the former than the latter. The howling stone songs. The photo of the fisherman with the loach. One of the statues of the goddesses back near the beginning of the game. I like that sort of stuff. And I'm not going to complain about this game being a "greatest hits" if there's more small stuff like that.
Level 4 was ok, but nowhere near as good as the Water Temple. I liked the individual rooms enough, but the overall design was just... ennh. Very, very linear (unlike the Water Temple). However, I loved the atmosphere. The bugs freaked me out immensely the first time I saw them. Great use of both your wolf and human form. And those mini-stalfos are just so cute! The spinner's pretty cool too. It doesn't feel very Zelda-ish but, well, neither did the hookshot back in LttP. So who's complaining? It made for a rather interesting boss fight, that's for sure. The one really large negative here was the blatant OoT Forest Temple ripoff. Remember when I said references are good if they're subtle and not gameplay related? Yeah... I don't think I even need to mention what I'm talking about. I'm sure everyone who's played through this point knows it. C'mon Nintendo, this is about as blatant as some of the ripoffs in Majora's Mask. Couldn't you find something new?
Overworld-wise, the game is really starting to open up. And I'm loving it. Indeed, it's starting to feel like a Zelda game. There are places I've been to that I can't figure out how to continue on. There are objects that I can't interact with. There are random things I notice that cause me to make detours. There are a ton of pieces of heart (I've got 14 so far!), and lotsa poes (I'm at 13, I think). There's actually stuff to spend your money on (considering your wallet is perpetually full, this is a good thing). There are minigames to play. There's more areas where you can simply relax and look around. I think it really hit me after Midna was healed by Zelda. I wasn't being pushed along anywhere. I can actually do what I want! It was such a massive breath of fresh air, a feeling akin to stepping out of Hyrule Castle Town the first time after becoming an adult. It was Zelda.
That, more than anything else, is important to me. And these past 7 hours or so are far, far more interesting than the first 7. It's still not Ocarina of Time. But it's a far, far cry from Wind Waker. Yay!
One other complaint though, even if it's only a minor issue and at only at one point. The puzzle right before the Master Sword was the most mind bogglingly stupid thing they could have done. Let's face it, Zelda relies on a certain amount of immersion, and this is often one of the defining moments in the game. Consider what happens immediately before and after you grab it in Ocarina of Time if you don't know what I'm talking about. Or Wind Waker for that matter, where even haters like me think it's an absolutely stunning part of the game. And here, the buildup is great. You get that wonderful cut scene just after the Water Temple, and another one after meeting Zelda. You reach a previously inaccessible area. You go through a somewhat eerie romp through the woods. You see the ruins of a statue. And then you... have a stupid puzzle? What?!? Talk about taking you out of rhythm. It's as if Nintendo's daring you to consider this as nothing more than a videogame, as opposed to a true immersive experience. It makes no sense plotwise and doesn't fit gameplay wise. It's just out there, absurdly placed, completely breaking the mood. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe Aonuma and Miyamato could make such a stupid, obvious mistake. It's just... absurd. Who thought that stupid idea up anyway?
Like I said, it doesn't affect the rest of the game, but it's still stupid.
And one other thing... remember what I wrote last time? "And when do I get to turn into a wolf at will? ...After I get the Master Sword? Which should be almost immediately after this Zora Temple. And if that's so, these games are getting far too predictable." Yeah...
But still, impressions are slowly getting more and more positive. Awesome.
(Heh, writing my review ought to be easy after this. All I need to do is cut and paste!)
Posted: January 07, 2007 (08:41 PM)
I'm not going to read that because of the spoilers, so is it good so far?
Posted: January 07, 2007 (10:11 PM)
Ha, I wasted like 30 minutes to figure out that Master Sword puzzle. I bet it was one of those things they added with the Wiimote in mind like the whole flying on the bird thing before the 3rd dungeon.
Posted: January 08, 2007 (03:10 PM)
Yes, it's good. Nowhere near as good as Ocarina of Time, perhaps, but nowhere near as bad as Wind Waker. And so far, other than a few minor quibbles that don't affect the rest of the game, it's been steadily improving (except in dungeon design, which seems to be all over the place. Still better than WW on that front though), which is also a good sign.
Anything in particular you'd like to know, or have compared to WW/OoT?
Genj, how would the Wiimote even help that puzzle? I'm thinking it was just added as an excuse to make the game longer. Or something. Actually, I have no idea what they were thinking. It's just stupid.
Posted: January 09, 2007 (12:06 AM)
It wouldn't help it, but the set up makes me think it was designed for a remote. You know, like you'd jerk the remote in the direction you wanted to jump. I dunno, but it definitely feels tacked on since like like the bird mini game and the other mini game you'll soon "enjoy" before the next dungeon, it doesn't feel like a normal Zelda thing.
Posted: January 09, 2007 (12:32 AM)
the bosses are too easy in this game with the exception of the Fire temple boss. nonetheless, they are still entertaining though. you're right about the puzzle before getting the Master Sword, it was pretty damn annoying. i understand the reason for the statues being there. they could have made it into an engrossing boss fight with the statues rather than a puzzle. the story in Twilight Princess is a little wonky though and i don't find it as intersting as Ocarina of Time. still a very good Zelda game. even though it borrows alot of concepts from every Zelda game(yeah, it's nice to see a river rafting from Link's Awakening brought to 3D!), they manage to make familiar puzzles(lighting torches etc.) feel fresh again by doing things a little differently.
Posted: January 09, 2007 (10:40 AM)
As far as Zelda goes I liked the original (probably in my top 5 favorite games of all time), Ocarina, and Link's Awakening. I thought the Game Boy color ones were ok, didn't care for A Link to the Past and hated Majora's Mask and Wind Waker. Never played the second one for the NES.
There's nothing in particular that I want to know, except whether it's another Wind Waker or a better game. I hated WW because sailing was lame, it was short and easy, and quite frankly, a boring game. I'm not expecting the next Ocarina and will probably play it eventually since it appears to be better than the weaker games in the series.