Review by BloodFalcon64
"Doesn't Come Close to Living Up to the Hype"
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is the long-awaited successor to Wind Waker on the Nintendo Gamecube. With previews of this highly anticipated of this game debuting in 2004, and having been delayed several times, does The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess live up to the hype, and more importantly, expectations of what a Zelda game should be?
The Gamecube is more powerful than most people think. But when looking at this game, I was shocked at how bad this game looks. The graphics are not horrible, but they definitely could have been much better. Everything looks unpolished, and there are a lot of jaggies even in 480p mode, which this game supports. There is a decent amount of detail in the characters and enemies, but the environments could have been much better. When you enter the twilight ream for the first time, you wouldn't even realize it if you weren't being reminded of it constantly. Also worth noting is that this game is running on a modified version of the Wind Waker engine.
Anyone who has played a previous Zelda game will immediately recognize the classic themes that have been included in the game. They have been remixed a little for a new Zelda installment, but remain true to their original sound that they are still the original sound. The main ones that are most easily distinguished are the menu/ fairy theme, the Hyrule Castle theme, and the store/home interior theme.
That just about covers the only good part about the sound in the game. It seems that Nintendo wanted to make every new sound as annoying as possible. For instance, the music that plays when you approach a normal enemy is the same two notes over and over again. A perfect example of the sound being just annoying is in the very first temple, in which you're guided by a group of monkeys who make this squeaking noise whenever they move, even if just a little bit. It's tolerable if there's just one near you, but when you have four or five monkeys following you, it can make you want to turn the sound off.
Also, NPCs do not have spoken dialogue. They follow the trend of previous Zelda games of just making a noise when you begin to talk to them. That is not so bad, but your equivalent of a fairy companion in this game makes a gibberish language noise for each line it has, making it very annoying to read its speech. I get the idea it's still talking, it doesn't need to make that high pitched garble each time I press the A button.
If you have played a Zelda game on Gamecube before, you've played the controls for Twilight Princess. The controls are one of the few things that I have few complaints about in the game. You use the control stick to move Link, A is the action button, B attacks, Y and X are the equivalent to the C-Items of the previous Zeldas. The C-Stick can rotate and move the camera around Link. Z summons your fairy companion to give you a hint although they're never any good, or to perform an action with it (usually ledge-hopping). You target with the Left trigger. The only flaw with this system is that two buttons for secondary items just isn't enough. Having just one more would make a big difference and would have helped me avoid constantly going to the item menu to switch just one weapon. Although it's just a minigame, the fishing controls are very clunky. But that was the Wii version's main selling point so it makes sense that Nintendo neglected this in the Gamecube version. Otherwise, the controls are pretty tight and if you've played a Gamecube Zelda before, you'll be able to jump right in. If you're new to the series, the learning curve is very low and you'll know them quickly.
This probably has the weakest story of all the Zelda games. When you begin The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, all is well in Link's hometown. He learns that he has been chosen to travel to Hyrule Castle to offer a gift from his village. Just as Link prepares to leave, some monsters appear out of nowhere and kidnap two youths you don't know or care about from the village. A major plot hole surfaces at this point when it is explained that the main villain appears and takes over Hyrule, thrusting it into a twilight unless Link can find some spirits of Light that the gods of the triforce entrusted to protect Hyrule.
The problem is that a NPC says this happen in the beginning of the game while you are in the woods for five minutes. When you leave the woods and look at the entrance, the woods are also under the curse of twilight.
This is where the game takes a major downfall. When you begin the game, it will be at least an hour talking to people in the beginning village before there is anything resembling action. You do get to herd goats on horseback, if you consider that action. Depending on your playing speed, the next hour or maybe even two will be spent running around the village looking for rupees, talking to people, and fishing.
You are also introduced to two special types of grass that link can make a whistle with. One can be used to summon a hawk with which you can retrieve items that are out of reach. The other is a horse whistle. You can summon your horse with this.
Combat has not changed much with this new Zelda. Your basic weaponry includes a sword and shield. Most enemies can be easily dispatched by just running up to them and mashing the attack button. The enemies look fearsome and scary, but really aren't that smart or aggressive in combat.
Everyone knows that at points in the game, you take control of Link in the form of a wolf. The controls are basically the same as wolf Link, and besides having a built in Lens of Truth there is no difference between human and wolf Link, except human Link is better, and this game needed some sort of gimmick; (Ocarina had time travel, Majora's Mask had the three day repetition, Wind Waker had the sea).
The temples are actually well designed. Most of the puzzles are simply enough to solve because the camera angle will give a major hint. The temples are unique and varied, and fortunately there are a lot of them. Other than that, the temple enemies are the same as all other enemies, and the bosses, while impressive, are not particularly daunting.
Based on the hype this game was getting, I was expecting a brand new Zelda game of epic proportions. Basically, this formula has been used too many times and with the same flaws to be considered good. I could only see diehard Zelda fans getting enjoyment out of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. For anyone else who wants to play it, I strongly recommend renting it before you make the decision to buy it.
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 02/05/07
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