The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess review
With all the backlash four years ago for The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Nintendo had to do something to bring back the core gamers to their beloved franchise. At E3 2004 Nintendo showed the first trailer for what is now known as Twilight Princess. The game was set for release at the end of 2005, but then further postponed to March 2006, and then postponed again. Finally however, one of the most anticipated games of the last few years has arrived, albeit a bit late. But does it live up to the hype?
Starting in the small village of Ordon, the game begins - much like those before it - by teaching you how to play the game. While fun, this section of the game is fairly long-winded and doesn't really do much in terms of gameplay. On the other hand however, it gives you a glimpse of what's to come. One of the major things 'new' to the series are the cut-scenes. Yes, cut-scenes have been used in The Wind Waker, as well as N64 classics Majora's Mask and Orcarina of Time, but the set up of them in Twilight Princess is much more defined; they are more emotional and stylised, ranging from normal to the completely disorientated, as can also be said about the story of the game!
Moving out of Ordon to the main adventure, via some of those great cut-scenes, you pass into Twilight Princess's major new feature; the twilight realm. It's here in particular that the game's graphics begin to shine... literally! The amount of bloom effects that these sections of the game use is phenomenal, add to this an eerie purple, yellow and blue overlay, some cel-shading effects, and beautiful looking water. Considering all of this combined, it instantly becomes one of last generation's best looking games.
Once you look past the graphical style though, you might have noticed that Link transformed into a wolf. Taming the wolf form is very much the same as that of the human form. To attack, you swing the Wiimote, use the A button for actions, and the D-pad and B button to use your special skills/items. Z-targeting also makes a return to the series, and is very much needed in the dungeons. New, for human Link, is the automatic shield; no longer do we have to hold a button to raise our shield. That's all well and good, but does swinging your Wiimote around just make you look like a fool, or does it add to the experience? In this reviewer's opinion, it does neither; it doesn't take from the "classic" controls, nor does it add anything significant. And you certainly don't have to play like the people on the adverts. There are obvious advantages, such as shaking the Nunchuk to do a spin attack, and point-and-click shooting for things like your bow and arrow. But. to be honest. I personally think they make the game somewhat easier (not that it's significantly hard anyway), which is a bad move. I'm not saying the control scheme is bad, I like it; it's immersive, and its fun. It's just that I think the good points are equalised by the subtle difficulty decrease.
Dungeons in Twilight Princess are grand; much larger than those of the games before it, much harder than the games before it, and in some cases much more confusing than the games before it. Iron boots and magnetic walls, anyone? As with all great dungeons, great bosses are also guaranteed. While the bosses are generally on the easy side, what cannot be denied is how impressive they are, and how much fun some of them are. I won't ruin them for you, but the boss of the "Arbiters Ground" and "City in the Sky" are immensely fun, rather than an immensely challenging. The game has 9 of these dungeons and most of them you'll be lucky to finish in under an hour and a half.
Between dungeons, though, the impressive story fills the game out. Add to this tonnes of side quests, some of them necessary, some of them virtually pointless, but fun, nonetheless. Included in these are bug finding, Poe searching, snowboarding, rafting, fishing, horseback battles, twilight bug hunts, and much more. Back from The Wind Waker is the "Cave of Ordeals"; 45 floors of enemies progressing in difficulty, it's sure to settle your quench for action.
In total, this game should take even the veteran Zelda player at least 35 hours to fully complete, and about 30 hours to reach the final showdown. That's a lot of Zelda gaming. My only problem with the game is its overall difficulty; the game is at about the same level as Orcarina of Time, but it's still too easy. Not once did I die because of actual enemies attacking me. The game seems to be more timing-based than previous titles, as you have to attack at just the right moment to hit most enemies due to their gained ability to block attacks. Hidden skills help to re-adjust the balance in your favour, though, by letting you do aerial attacks and back-slices before the enemy has a chance to defend.
To close there is too much to talk about in the game, so I'm giving it a solid 9/10, or if you're percentage people, 92%. Everything you expect from the game is there (except a higher difficulty), and really there's only one thing stopping it from getting 10/10, and that's Orcarina of Time.