There are only a few select video game franchises that have reached legendary status. There's Halo, Final Fantasy, Grand Theft Auto, Mario and of course Zelda. So has The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess lived up to its legacy?
The answer is yes; a definite yes!
This new tale that unfolds in the kingdom of Hyrule, begins with a new reincarnation of Link living a simple, carefree life as a ranch hand near the small town of Ordon, which is filled with a colorful cast of characters. But after Link is instructed to deliver a gift from the village to the royal family, he finds himself under a surprise ambush of monstrous (literally) proportions.
After waking up from his encounter, Link finds himself in a strange place, chained to the floor, and then discovers that he has become a wolf. From there, he’s freed by an odd being who places herself on your back, helps you escape and ultimately, both of you fight to save Hyrule from evil.
Gameplay/Controls:: The gameplay featured in Twilight is very similar to its predecessors Wind Waker and even more so like Ocarina of Time which shares many story elements, weapons and enemies. Just like in those games, you start out with only a meager amount of health and work your way to becoming stronger through fighting, solving puzzles, objectives and more. But with every new Zelda title created, new ideas form and are sprinkled throughout it.
This is especially true when you’re the wolf whose gameplay style shares a lot with Link’s human form but presents a lot of new play mechanics to the series such as a sense mode which will let you follow scents trails, find places to dig, locate hidden objects and more. Midna (the odd being who rides Link) also helps Link a great deal when in his wolf form by letting you warp to certain locations, attack all enemies within a circle outline and guides Link to jump to certain locations that would be impossible for your human form to get to.
But the best new experience in this Zelda title lies in its dungeons. The puzzles, level design, placement of enemies¼ just everything about the dungeon itself is immaculate. They’ve really gone beyond the normal dungeon standards by adding great ideas that often bring a twist to the old. The boomerang for example now has wind power so now it can not only stun enemies but retrieve and repel objects like bombs. This adds a whole new element to the dungeon once obtained. Genius. Oh and it doesn’t stop there as each new dungeon adds on this with each new weapon or item collected making you need to use one or even three different things to accomplish one puzzle making the next dungeon that much better. The only real disappoint is the often anti-climactic boss battle. Once you figure out the boss’ pattern and what to do, the battle’s already won. They really are just living puzzles with no sense of a challenge. I barely even needed to drink a potion most of the time. Thankfully the last boss was tough, but I won’t go any further.
Since the Nintendo Wii’s controller is an all new technological marvel, the style of control is pretty different. Jiggling the wiimote swings your sword, pointing at multiple objects on the TV with various weapons (boomerang, bow, hookshot, etc.) will do different things and the wiimote’s built in speaker brings the revealing a secret theme song right to your hand. It’s all very cool, but don’t be too off put by these new controls: you still use the Z button to target, select weapons the same way with the D pad, move with an analog stick and do multiple tasks from opening a door to talking to someone with the A button. The only real problem that will annoy you at times is the nunchuk’s motion based attacks. The thing’s just not as responsive as the wiimote’s motion based sword attacks. Thankfully, you rarely use these sword attacks that are assigned to it.
Visuals:: Now, the subject of this game’s graphics is a bit tricky since it depends where you come from. Me, I don’t own a Xbox 360 or a PS3 yet and have just purchased an HDTV (This game looks great in widescreen mode by the way) so when I’m playing this game I just have the last generation as a reference point like many other gamers out there. So while playing TP, I kept thinking back to games on the Gamecube which used the system for all it’s worth like Resident Evil 4 and Metroid Prime . That shouldn’t be too much of a surprise though since this was originally (and has a GCN version) envisioned as a GCN title. Does this mean the graphics are awful? No, not at all. If compared to the last generation its up there as one of the most beautiful, but in the current generation it’s just slightly above average. But like I said, it depends on where you’re coming from.
Overall:: So is The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess worth the price of the console and the game’s cost? Yes. Even if you own a Gamecube, this is the version you should be buying because I can’t imagine playing it any other way, nor would I want to.