Review by FlyinTonite
"Doesn't quite live up to the hype"
The year's of waiting have finally come to a climax, the next-gen consoles have arrived and in the dust are the consoles like the gamecube. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is regarded as the last great game for a console that was regarded as dead in 2004. After years of delays Shigeru Miyamoto has finally delivered perhaps the most anticipated game in the past few years. It is the story of Link, alongside Mario as one of the most familiar faces in video game history, and his quest to save his beloved Hyrule, from the forces of evil.
Zelda: Twilight Princess, hereby referred to as TP, is the next installment in the Zelda franchise. One that is by far one of the most popular. This game was promised to boost over 80 hours of gameplay with tons of side quests and massive dungeons. Did Nintendo deliver? Well, yes and no.
TP is a weird game story-wise. The reason I say that is because the story is cool to start with. Essentially a man named Zant appears and seeks to engulf Hyrule in perpetual twilight. Link is caught in the middle when his friends are kidnapped and he is sucked into the realm. Midna, a strange imp-like creature, finds him and they become buddies, well more like partners. Why Midna helps you is revealed later.
The story is a lot darker this time around as their is more death and doom and in some spots it almost made me want to cry. That aside the way the story was presented made it feel a little weird to me.
The main reason I say that the story is weird is after a certain point in the game the story is completely dropped. I mean you can litterally go hours on end without any new plot development.
I feel the characters had no real depth to them except for Midna, she was a character that had a lot of secrets. Besides her I found Zelda extremely one-dimensional and the rest of the cast was lacking as well. Most had only one personality trait throughout the game.
When the story does get picked back up I almost felt like it was rushed at me, believe me the last few hours of gameplay reveals so much you'll be gasping for air. I found it to be a horrible way for the plot to be furthered because by the time the story begins to click it is near the end of the game, and prior to that you pretty much were searching for pieces of the mirror with no real indication as to why this needed to be done.
Old school Zelda charm is about in TP. There is so much to do at first that it overwhelms many gamers. In fact I didn't reach the first temple until about six hours in. The dungeons themselves are massive, with so many puzzles and niches that you could be lost for hours. This was what Nintendo promised and they delivered.
Sadly the game actually gets worse from the second dungeon on. The dungeons get shorter and shorter, so much so that you could literally be in and out in an hour. I was so disappointed by this. Plus there is no filler between the dungeons after the third one. This is largely due to the fact you no longer have to seek out things, seriously, I went from dungeon five to dungeon six in a span of about twenty minutes.
Side quests and mini-games were supposed to make up a large portion of the game, for the most part they succeeded in this aspect. The poe and heart piece quests take hours to complete as does the bug fetching quest. However, I find the mini-games to be lacking in fun-factor and difficulity.
Speaking of which, the AI is some of the worst I've seen in a game, the enemies, especially the bosses, behave in a horrible way. Essentially they don't react well, you could run in and kill ten enemies without being hit once. They don't gang up on you nor do they really defend themselves.
The bosses I found especially disappointing as they had simple patterns that could be figured out in a few minutes and could be defeated without losing a single heart. What the heck Nintendo?
As for the control aspect of the game, it is rock solid; the gamecube controls like the wind waker and the ability to control the camera is a huge plus. Moving around is easy and combat is even easier, and the menu is very easy to navigate.
The wolf form handles ok, I found the wolf to be a tad unresponsive at times, especially when jumping needed to be precise. Other than that, no real problems here.
This game is gorgeous, the water effects are suburb and the character animations are well done. The temples look fantastic and the twilight realm looks like it should, creepy.
There are some faults in the graphical representation. The textures are a bit bland and I found no real variety in the enemies. This is just nit-picking stuff, nothing real major. I did find the collision detection to be a bit off, Link could literally walk through trees in one part of hyrule field.
The towns themselves are well-designed. Each has its own theme, like one town is a western-style area and one other town is a waterfall.
The weather effects are well done as well and the twilight realm, like I previously mentioned looks awesome. Everything looks pretty much like it should.
Going back to the character models, they look great. They definitely have been given new life in a game with a darker undertone than previous Zeldas. I feel that their motions and body language give off a lot more expression than the previous Zelda, the Wind Waker, which was regarded as the most expressive of the Zeldas character wise.
Now, I'm not saying the sound isn't good, it's just not great. The orchestral music has been replaced with MIDI which isn't a bad thing but the music choice is something I find problematic. Remixes are abound, but their not good remixes either. In some spots the music even skips.
One thing that I like is when you are in the field and you get into battle the music quickly changes into something more dramatic. Again, this is probably why MIDI was used instead of the orchestral music.
No voice acting in the game, many people are mad about this but I am not. As a nostalgic gamer I prefer games without voice acting unless they hire the big names in the biz. The characters instead make whimpers or moans instead of talking, but I think this adds a little more to their personality as it helps you figure out the mood of their speech. Poof no voice acting necessary.
TP will probably go down as the last great game for the cube but that's ok. It is a good game and one of the best for the gamecube. But for me, the additional years of waiting caused me to expect more than what Nintendo delivered. The story isn't really that engaging and the music isn't quite up to snuff. On the other hand the graphics and gameplay are great. This mixture makes this game feel a bit unpolished to me. I truly believe that the delays were unnecessary as the final product we received years later is probably only slightly better than the game that was demoed two years ago.
I love Zelda, and I usually recommend all the games to my friends but I'm a bit hesitant on this one. I'm disappointed on how unpolished the game feels and how easy it is. Zelda fan boys will chew this game up, but for the gamer that is more into a good experience, like myself, you may want to rent this to see if this is a game your willing to spend fifty dollars for.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 02/20/07
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