Review by somebody_12_3
"I couldn't have thought of a better way to give the GCN its send-off"
As the last 1st party title for Nintendo's little purple cube, Twilight Princess has a huge resposibility on its shoulders. Not only does it need to end the system on a good note, it must also live up to its massive pre-release hype. If you only read this paragraph of this review, let me put your fears to rest: this is possibly the best game of 2006, and quite frankly, THE Nintendo Gamecube game to own.
Going into this game, I had mixed emotions. On the one hand, I had faith in Nintendo to deliver another amazing Zelda adventure. On the other, I was worried that said game wouldn't live up to the bar set by my favorite game of all time, Ocarina of Time.
Fourty three hours later, I'm finally ready to write my review. So the real question is, is Twilight Princess better than Ocarina? In some ways, yes. Read on as I break down the various aspects of this amazing game.
Of course, in the wake of the PS3 and Xbox360, the GCN's graphical capabilities aren't exactly up to par, but in comparison to other games on the system, TP looks amazing. Granted, there are some cases where graphical glitches exist and the game's relatively high amount of detail contribute to a generally blurry look at a large distance, of which there are many in this huge incarnation of Hyrule.
But overall, the game looks amazing. There are enough little details in the graphics that really make it shine through among other GCN titles. Especially in the Twilight Realm, where the enemies turn into little black cel-shaded squares when defeated, and the entire world has a washed out look that really gives the scenes in that area an epic feel.
This is really the only area where I feel like the game falters. Even though the musical compositions fit every area perfectly, it's still all sample based syths. Which was all well and good...ON THE N64. I'm surprised that Nintendo didn't decide to record all these song with an orchestra, considering how much it shows. Maybe it's cause I play in an orchestra, or was listening for it as I played, but it's enough of a flaw to knock the score down a bit.
One more audio flaw rears its ugly head around the last third of the game: too many sound effects. At points in one particular dungeon, where there is a constant wind noise, certain sound effects, like the clink of the Clawshot's firing mechanism, got lost in the mix. Don't get me wrong, nine times out of ten, the sound effects work fine, it's just that the occasional flaw shows when the game has such a high level of polish.
I really wanted to give this part of the game a ten, simply because of how much fun I had while playing. But there was one major problem that I simply have to elaborate on. L-targeting. Somehow, Nintendo managed to slightly break this time-tested mechanic in this Zelda game. The range for the lock is way too short, and it's broken way to easily. This flaw alone is enough to knock the score down a bit, considering how L-targeting is used in just about every encounter.
Another flaw pervading most of the gameplay is its ease. It's not quite as easy as WW, but still much easier than OoT. I feel a simple remedy for this would be to make enemies do more damage than one heart max, but that doesn't really hurt my enjoyment of the game.
But everything else about the game is just plain FUN. There are nine dungeons, and while none of them are Water Temple material, (thank God) they are all just long and interesting enough to keep you playing. Also, unlike previous games in the series, the gameplay breaks between dungeons at times to expound upon the story, which is quite frankly the best one Zelda has told yet.
I know, I'd like to give this story a ten, but some things aren't explained as well as they could have and certain things could have been done to give the story more punch than it already has. Despite all that, I'm not willing to give it a straight-out nine, so I'll settle for the middle.
Ironically, Zelda, Ganondorf, and even Link himself play a lesser role in this particular tale. The game spends more time trying to get across the feeling that you're actually saving a living world, and it shows. The real main character of this story, however, is Midna, the little imp that frees your wolf form from imprisonment in the first hour of gameplay. Not to elaborate on anything, but her saga serves as the emotional core of this epic.
At times, the story feels more like an RPG style tale, especially in the first third of the game, where you're rushed from one area to the next. It all still manages to feel like Zelda though. You intially enter the story trying to save the village children, and it evolves into something much more, like all great epics do. My main flaw with the story is that the subplot involving the children isn't better integrated into the main story, and that it fades away around the final thrust.
Also, certain events given huge emphasis in other Zeldas seem to be achieved too quickly in this game. It is my belief, upon beating the game, that the reason for this is because this is a different type of story than Zelda games usually tell. Never before has a secondary character to Link had such a huge importance in the plot, and Midna's struggle pushes some Zelda conventions (such as the Master Sword) to the background. While this may be a problem for some, it had no effect on my enjoyment of this particular story, and I loved it every step of the way.
It's also interesting to note that most aspects of this game feel like a bridge between Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker. The game manages to feel like both at the same time, and even though the story makes no overt nods to either, astute players will notice that, on the GCN version (where Link is left handed and everything is the way it should be, direction-wise) most everything is in or around the same place as Ocarina of Time.
Overall, I was greatly satisfied with this game, and Nintendo has ended the GCN's life on one amazing note. This is an adventure that, along with WW and the OoT/Master Quest disk, will ensure that my GCN will get many hours of play in the years to come.
In the end, Twilight Princess is a GREAT game, although it may not be greater than Ocarina. But Ocarina is only great because of the years of memories associated with it for me. Given time, (and more play-throughs) Twilight Princess may yet best my all time favorite game. I certainly hope so, it deserves to.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/02/07
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