Review by EJRICH
"Let the Wolves Howl"
Hey all, welcome to my review on none other than the Legendary Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess! There will be NO spoilers in this review, other than the first hour of gaming at most. I gave it some time before I reviewed this game for one big reason, that being that I just wanted to let the game sink in enough that I would have a firm grip on what I was reviewing. The final product of that will hopefully be enough to allow me to give you all a firm understanding of how the game works, as well as giving my personal opinions. I definitely hope you enjoy this, as a ton of work was put into this review as a whole by me that can't be regained :P. If you have a comment, please leave it, and if you have a review that you would like me to critique, then please drop me a Pm with the Url. I have written officially 35 reviews now, so that means a lot to me. Pictures were taken from gamespot.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
What can anyone really say when they play a game and truly have an excellent experience with it? What can anyone say when they truly will be remembering that experience for a long time to come? What can anyone say when a game that they have played ranks among the best that they have ever bothered to pick up and experience? I'll tell you right now that any comments that someone could give you would be very slim, if any at all. Games don't really give a quality experience these days for two reasons; one being lack of ingenuity, and the other being a faked experience. What those people fail in though, this game excels. I'll be really blunt with you; I'm not a fan boy of this game. I never was, and I never intend to be. I waited a full month after its release to pick this game up for the cube, so any hype that I did feel was sorely annulated by the time I picked this up. That led me to say those comments that I said because of what I felt, not because of some hype. This game truly does excel. Like almost every Zelda game before it, this game miraculously brings something new to the table, something that everyone should experience before they give up gaming.
A common misconception when playing games is that a player can't really get into a game; otherwise they will miss out on some things that they normally would have picked up. You can chuck that theory out the window, as this game allows you to fully immerse yourself in it like never before; to a level that almost frightens me to pieces. The WII controller is insanely efficient in what it does, and to be quiet honest I'm almost sorry that I picked my copy up for the cube instead of doing what my friend did and just wait to buy it when he got his WII. The differences that occur between control schemes is brilliant, almost making you feel as though you are Link, and not vice versa like many other games have done before this. Few games have even had the ability to immerse you such as this, and it just shows you how much technology has progressed. Even though I couldn't play the game fully with the WII, I still enjoyed it with the Cube; you just won't get that experience that you would have had if you just played the WII.
Once again setting a foundation for success, Nintendo decided this time to make a story that would pan out instead of heat up immediately. I really liked this scheme, as they truly pushed the logical reasoning behind which I thought this game could flourish. Don't get me wrong; I would expect nothing less from Nintendo in terms of this franchise being as though this is basically their most popular one as of late. But one thing that you have to look at is how they decided to pan this out. Let's take a look at ocarina for a second; you start the game in a small village, but not a half hour into the game you are already on your grand adventure. You basically know how the story is going to go from the second you start the game. This is no different in terms of that, but one thing that I truly liked was that they decided to actually not open up the entire plot to you in that quickly of a manner. Sure, it still happens pretty quickly, but they put it on a much more realistic term of thought this time that could actually follow a logical stand point. Not to say that anything in this game is logical, quiet far from that, it is just that it seems more life like this time around.
I promised to give a spoiler free review, and I'm going to stick to that, so bare with me. The things that I am about to say are what is in the manual itself, in my own words of course, but still in it. The story basically revolves around a young shepherd named Link, something that you might see from the Bible story, David and Goliath. This young man basically is just that, a timid youth who is destined for greatness. Fait has its ways though in a lot of people, and the same holds true for our hero. Link is slowly swept into a tale of heroism that ultimately leads to Hyrule's victory. You see, twilight has beset the land of Hyrule, and it is due to that slow corruption that many are suffering. A murderous villain is behind it, and it is up to Link to stop it. See, no spoilers :P.
I'm not surprised about how the story went; it's been used before on occasion. Some parts are unexpected, others aren't. Some characters are developed more than others, which kind of gets annoying when they don't do it to someone in particular. I mean, why not? For those of you who have played the game and want to comment on this, please just do it in a cryptic manner this way no spoilers are given. I don't want to get in trouble for it :P. Anyway, I really liked how they did develop some characters, as it added a plethora of options to the story that would not have been otherwise obtainable. Some may disagree, as the game really is meant for one sole purpose, but I don't. I actually find it as a nice subtlety to see something like this develop.
In all of the previous Legend of Zelda games, link has always been in one way or another a South Paw in combat. For those of you who don't know what that means, it basically means left handed in battle. In order to accommodate the vast majority of WII right handers, they changed it so that Link is a righty. Thankfully, they made sure they kept him as I've always known him in the Game Cube version. You'd be surprised at how much being different handed in battle effects things, and to me that is the biggest change is just how combat evolves from it. Enemies who carry swords will now carry them with the opposite hand, and vice versa. I'll be blunt with you; the cube version is much easier than the Wii version. Why? Because there is a huge difference between control schemes. You can help but notice it. On the cube version, a simple button press allows you to take a strike at an enemy, and to me that simplifies things rather than having to swing a remote to swing your sword. Granted, it is fun for innovation, but it also is harder. Whether or not you wish to put up with that is up to you, but I found it fun either way.
The enemies in this game have changed more or less from the previous incarnate of the series. They look much darker this time around, complementing the tone of the game much better than if they had kept things light to the mind. Enemies range from what has been seen in the past, to a couple of new enemies that took up residence in the Twilight Realm and beyond. The Twilight Realm the place that you will be spending a good portion of the first half of the game in, and even more in the second half. The one thing that plagues this game in that respect is the wolf segments. Some may be saying that I'm wrong with that, but let's think about it; how long do you have to wait to get out of one of those sections? Do your abilities change much throughout the game? Usually, in my opinion at least, those sections are regulated to fetch quests; often forcing you to find a bug that is hidden in who knows where. The enemies in that area don't make it any easier and that often forces you into some mistakes, bad mistakes that should have been avoided. Luckily for them, it was kept at a level that at least made it partly interesting, albeit boring, but still partially interesting.
The dungeons that everyone loved from OOT return in this game with vengeance to make this possibly one of the best Zelda games ever or not. What started out amazing really screws up in the second half of the game, making it feel as though more of the same ideas that were employed during that beginning time period were used again. Now, don't get me wrong, the scenery is different, it is just that the basis of the dungeons could have been different to make things better as a whole. It felt as though they took so much time on the first couple of dungeons, than utterly ditched the last few in a mad rush to try and get the game out on time. Possibly the saving grace of this though are the weapons, some of the most truly innovative pieces of art that I have seen grace a Zelda game in quiet some time. I couldn't help but notice that some of the ideas that they used were excellent, raging from weapons such as a long time series staple boomerang, except with a tornado like twist to it; a bow and arrow that shoots out bombs, claw shots that resemble hook shots except for a wicked twist, and much more. All of these things were implemented excellently in each dungeon, and that made everything that much better. I personally can't tell you how much I loved each and every weapon, as it showed me yet again what tad bits of innovation can do to a game that is struggling in some areas that it usually wouldn't. Weapons such as the claw shot looked as though it would just be another hook shot like weapon, but that was proved different to me when I started playing the game itself. When they can effectively make you have a surprise when you play the game, you know you have something good. Everything in a dungeon culminates into a massive boss battle that really ties it all in. From the lava demon in the Lava Dungeon, to the final battle, everything played out perfectly to a tee.
Our beloved steed Epona once again returns in this game for some horse riding mayhem. I knew that they would include him more likely than not, because from what I saw initially from the game in terms of vast open fields, it would have been murder to make a player cross it on foot. Let's face it, if you had a choice between a fast horse, or your feet, what would you choose? That's a pretty stupid question if you ask me. By allowing Epona to return, they cut back on the travel time that would have otherwise screwed this game over in so many ways. Not only that, but you also can fight while on horseback, ranging from swords to arrows. I really had fun this time, much better than OOT's horseback fighting. Back in that game, it was limited to just arrows, nothing more than a useless diversion from the main game. In this game, they fixed it and made it better as a whole. Not only that, but you'll find it a necessity to use the horse in some situations ..
Simply put, the graphics on the game cube version of this game are probably the best that I have ever seen. I'd expect it too from this system, as they have had several years to perfect it to a science. Everything from Link's body to the rural landscape of Hyrule looks perfect, aside from some minor problems which I'll be including here. You know that darkness that plagued the first games dungeons, well, it comes back here. Not as bad, since they did include some lighting this time, but it still is a nuisance in my humble opinion. By shading the areas in darker rooms, they really cut your vision. I don't know it was meant to do that, but if it was, then shame on them. Some dungeons feel light and airy. Dungeons like the ice one especially hold that true in my opinion. Don't mind me missing out on these names, it's to protect from spoilers. I can't imagine what it would have looked like if they had decided to use that darkened landscape, as that would have truly screwed with it. They can say all they want about why they changed it, but that was the reason. By making it look lighter, they opened it up more. Not only that, but they still made a mistake to it. By doing what they did even with that, they made it too light. By that I mean saturating it to the point of annoyance. Now, there are usually two sides to a light spectrum, and although I don't want to start a complex science lesson, I have to give it here. In science and the visible spectrum of lighting, two shades exist. One is clear, and the other is black. Those colors are made up of shades of blue, red, and green. By placing those pigments at specific intervals, they can create different shades of lighting in order to extricate the different tangible portions of our eyes. That is why some areas look different than others; they are using an effect in our eyes to do it. The game itself can only take it so far, the rest has to be done by our eyes and how they react.
Now the second thing I'd like to discuss was the cell shading. What started out great turned into a nightmare in my opinion. By using bits of cell shading, they made it look less realistic than what it should have been done like. I personally hated it in some of the monsters, as it took the very realistic parts of the game and contracted them miserably with un-realistic parts. Whether that shines different, I don't know. What does matter is that they did do it, and they have to do it better in the future.
What can I say; some tunes are fantastic, while others are too subtle for my liking. Some parts I was happy; others parts I wanted to shoot my TV speakers. Why though? Why did they have to induce that feeling? Simply put, the music in this game couldn't be more pronounced at segments, while still having such a low scale in others. It is like what they did before; they made some segments stink royally, while shining in others. It is mistakes like that that can doom a franchise, as instability is something you just wouldn't expect from this. I am afraid that instability was a trend in this game, and it just translated all over. Like I said previously, some sections of the game can be fantastic, sporting remixed tunes of beloved Zelda classics that everyone in their right mind loves. I personally learned how to play some, they are just that good. Then, they have the new garbage. Some tunes look like little broken pieces of game music, while still yet others look like they aren't even there. Why would they make a mistake like this? Isn't music supposed to set the feel of the game? Apparently not in their eyes, which is unfortunate.
Guide or No Guide
Know what, guides are there for a reason, and this is no different. You should get a guide if you need help finding all of the heart pieces, all of the bottles, and what not. Know what though? You can just look up a guide on gamefaqs if you need something so badly. That is the simply, plain truth. Guides these days are useless with the invention of wireless laptops that you can put on your bed while you are playing or some other place. Plus you have the option of getting it for free, instead of blowing fifteen bucks on some useless papers that will be useless in a couple of months. People take a lot of time to save you money, so take advantage of their work.
There is on dungeon in this game that is so infuriating that I almost ripped the hair out of my head. It isn't a story dungeon either, so take that out of your head. For spoiler purposes, I won't spoil it; all I'll say is that it is fifty floors of madness. Overall, the game itself could have used a boost in difficulty, although it was pretty good in most dungeons. Bosses as a whole were a ton of fun to fight, harkening back to what I liked so much about OOT.
Replaying this game is an option if you want all of the items, but I had no need for it, possibly in the future I will, but for now it's a no.
This game is definitely teen for a very good reason, mainly because of the darker tones that it sports. There isn't blood, but what that makes up for in terms of other departments is pretty bad. Some problems that I won't go into here, but just take that warning, not for kids.
Buy or Rent
This basically stems from the fact that do you want everything or not. If you do, then buy. If not, then don't.
This is a great game; it just is plagued by some things that it shouldn't have been plagued by. Let the wolves howl is my phrase, as will it be for many years to come.
Good in most segments, bad in others.
Game Play: 8/10
Inconsistency cost it a perfect score by a mile. Still great action though.
Darkening hurts it overall.
More inconsistency hurts this.
Guide or No Guide: No Guide
Use the internet.
Do you want to do it again?
That fifty floor dungeon did it for me.
Family Friendly: 5/10
Teen for a reason.
Let the Wolves howl.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/20/06
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