Review by RagingZangetsu
"Ocarina of Time, you may have met your match."
After the stunning 2000 Spaceworld video, featuring an adult link locked in an epic battle with Ganondorf, the Zelda fanbase entered into a state of enthralled excitement. When it was revealed that the new Zelda game was to be a childish mockery, many fans were outraged. But finally, two years ago, Twilight Princess was announced. The wait has been long, with many delays, but finally, at long last we have been rewarded for our patience.
Gameplay and Controls - 10/10
The controls are little different from past Zelda titles. B swings the sword, A is the action button, X and Y are for items...etc. Z serves a new purpose in this game however, to speak to Midna. As in Wind Waker, the C stick is used to control the camera. L serves as both targeting AND defending, as R is used to execute one of the Hidden Skills. Start now summons up what is called the "Collection Screen," where you can view things like letters, a record of caught fish, collected Poe Souls, and of course your standard equipment (swords, shields, clothing/armor.) You can also save and access the options from this screen. Up/down on the D-pad calls up your items, in a ring menu (something I have never seen outside the Mana series, so this was a nice little surprise :P) while left/right calls up the map. While in your wolf form, Y allows you to dig, X heightens your senses, allowing you to see things you normally couldn't, A is dash (or a jumping attack while targeting) and B is a simple bite.
As for gameplay, you've got the standard Zelda feel here. One major addition is horseback fighting. While in Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask only the bow could be used while riding, now a whole array of items can be used, including your sword. A couple prominent battles, and one major one, have made good use of this feature. The dungeons are all fairly original (although one does take some elements from OoT's Forest Temple...) and the bosses...oh god, the boss battles are brilliant. The most outstanding battle in the game is a tie between the boss of the fourth temple and the final battle. The former is both the most innovative fight I have ever seen, as well as incredibly fun. The later is purely epic, and also has it's own innovative parts.
The hidden skills add a whole new level to fighting. Many of these skills become essential in defeating some of the game's tougher foes. Others, even though they are less useful against the tougher enemies, are just incredibly cool.
There are only a few parts of the game that get obnoxious. Such as filling the light vessels. However, these parts are so few that it doesn't effect the gameplay as a whole.
Story - 10//10
Link is a goat herder. It can't get much cooler than that. Knowing nothing of what's happening in his world, he's rudely dragged into another world, transformed into an entirely different form, and is soon put to work by a strange little imp, who further exploits him for a good portion of the game. Unlike many other games in the series, Link doesn't learn of his importance to the fate of Hyrule until quite a good ways into the game. Much of the story is clouded in mystery for most of the game, and the identity of the final boss can't even be ascertained until the penultimate battle. Fans of the series are quite likely to figure it out much sooner however, but this takes NONE of the thrill out of final chapters of the game. The story overall is very good, and captivates to the end.
Music - 9/10
The music in this game is exactly what one would expect from a Zelda game. Many old melodies make a comeback in this game, my favorite being the Hyrule Castle one. Seasoned players will also notice a familiar song in the later half of final level of the game. ;)
Graphics - 7/10
I've heard a lot of people bash the graphics for this game, but they're all Wii owners, and fail to realize that this game was designed with the Gamecube in mind. So if you're playing this game on your brand new Wii, then yes, the graphics will seem inferior. But as far as Gamecube goes, the graphics are pretty good. Certainly not the best, but far superior to any past Zelda games. For example, the details on Link's tunic and cap for example, are great. You can see the seams that clearly indicate that they've been hand-stitched.
Replay Value - Great
You'll love this game so much that you'll be playing it over and over. But be prepared to spend a good 40-50 hours on your first playthrough, and upwards of 60 if you want a 100% game.
Overall - 10/10
Buy this game. No Zelda fan will be disappointed, and it will surely make new fans. This game was truly worth the wait. It was even worth suffering through Wind Waker. :P
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 12/20/06
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