Review by Khmai_Knight88
"Ocarina of Time 2?"
Introduction (GameCube version review)
Twilight Princess is one of the most anticipated games on the Cube. The hype of this game was enormous from what I remembered. This is the Zelda game that many fans were waiting for since the first trailer was shown in 2004 (for Wind Waker haters, since the launch of the GameCube). It was scheduled to be release in 2005 and then it was delayed to 2006 due to the fact that they were creating a Wii version to coincide with the launch of Nintendo's next gen system the Wii. The Cube and Wii version are pretty much the same except the controls obviously and that they are mirrored of each other. So, is TP the second coming of Ocarina of Time? Read on...
Story - 7/10
The game starts off slow with Link, a 16 year old-ish farm boy who herds cattle for a living. He spends most of his time helping out villagers and playing with the children. Then out of no where, all the land are covered in darkness(Twilight) and Link is engulfed in it. It's pretty much common knowledge that the Twilight is the reason why Link transformed into a wolf so it's not a spoiler. Then he meets a mysterious creature by the name of Midna and from that point, they have to work together to get rid of an individual that is responsible for spreading the twilight realm. I won't go into more details since I don't want to spoil for those who haven't played it yet.
The story for me is a mixed bag really. There some parts that I like and others that I don't like. Most of the time, it's predictable and not surprising at all. For instance, anyone can guess how many dungeons it would take for Link to beat to get that all mighty weapon. There are some plot twists but nothing that would wanna make you say "whoa". The character development is lacking and the only character that has it is Midna. Zelda is not known for having a complex and engrossing story like in other series such as Final Fantasy so don't come in expecting to be blown away by the story since it's the same formula used over and over.
Graphics - 9/10
It's easily one of the best looking games on the Cube, no doubt. It not as pretty as Resident Evil 4 but if there is a top 5 rank, it would be on there. The trees, the lakes, the temples, the characters and cutscenes are all very well done here. Some of the more interesting level designs that caught my eye include the Goron Mines, Lakebed temple, and the sky temple. You can see it for yourself. The day/night effects of Hyrule looks fantastic. The Twilight realm looks better than what it was originally suppose to be which was in the color of white and grey. There are a few minor issues with "jaggies" and blurry textures but other than that...
this game is like it's Ocarina of Time on steroids. :)
Gameplay/Controls - 9/10
Another high point of the game. Like with every game in the series, you go through dungeons or temples solving puzzles along the away and battling the boss at the end to receive an important item. The biggest feature added in this installment is perhaps the wolf gameplay. This is similar to Majora's Mask in a way. With wolf Link, you can do the things that Link can't normally do for instance, sensing spirits or a trail of a person's scent. Wolf Link can also do this force-field barrier attack with help from Midna. He can also dig into places that Link can't get into. Other than that, his combat moves are limited to biting and pouncing. It' a nice addition but it can get a bit old later on especially after going through the tears of light hunt. This brings me to my next point. The tears of light hunt is a part of the plot so you'll have to do it. Basically, as wolf Link, you have to search and kill these invisible insects to retrieve the stolen tears of light before transforming back to human form. It's okay for the first time but it starts to wear off a bit after.
Horseback riding is back and it's better than ever. Unlike Ocarina of Time, where you can only use a bow and arrow, here you can finally fight with a sword. You can slash at your enemies as well as do the patented spin attack while riding on Epona (horse). You can still use the bow and arrows but it's not recommended in tight situations like when you have a gang of bulblins chasing after you. Another interesting thing with this is that you can steal a boar that the monsters were riding. It's kinda like GTA without the auto. Anyways, the boars can charge down wooded fences and towers that Epona can't do which adds to the gameplay. At a certain part of the game, you will get to joust with one of the boss which I thought was cool.
There are a few new items to be found here in TP. Some you will use a lot while others not so much. For instance, you will often have to use the clawshots in almost every temple while others like the spinner have seldom uses. What is the point of having the slingshot when you get the boomerang or bow/arrow later? The only time I remembered using it was to knock down a bee's nest at the beginning and that was it. The horse call was useless as well. The lack of item balancing is definitely a problem here.
The sword combat in this game is like that of WW with a few new moves added. You start off with a limited amount of sword techniques but you'll learn a couple more once you meet with the glowing wolf. This adds to sidequest time which I will get to in a bit.
The controls are pretty much the same from the last game except that instead of three buttons for item placement, you only get two now. The z button is used to call Midna and the control pad for item selections. It's a minor issue for some but you'll get it over with.
Well, that covers most of the gameplay here but I gotta say, the new additions/upgrades to this game are nice but it doesn't really make that big of an impact like the other games in the series. The transforming aspect and horseback riding are concepts that's been done before. The formula is getting a bit stale for me and Nintendo needs to find a way to mix it up a bit with something new and refreshing.
Sound - 7/10
It's good but not great. Most of the music are recycled from previous games but that's the case with the Zelda series. Some people were disappointed that Nintendo chose not to incorporate more orchestrated music and it really is. The tunes are instead in MIDI format. The music is not as memorable as previous games like OoT or WW but it's not terrible either. It's slightly better than average if you ask me.
Like all Zelda games to date, there are no real voice acting to be found here. This is a little disappointing since I hate reading text-boxes to be honest. Instead of hearing real dialogue, you get grunts, yelling, and giggling. Midna's Twili language is extremely annoying. Link, once again has no speech (only yelling/screaming/etc.) in this game yet other characters understands him fully. Well, I do understand what Nintendo is trying to do here with wanting gamers to put their own interpretation/imagination/whatever into the characters but can they keep this formula going in future installments...
Sidequests/Replayability - 8/10
Lots of things to do here. There is bug hunting, collecting poe souls, fishing, and of course gathering all the heart pieces to increase your HP. The fishing mini-game is expanded in TP and for the heart pieces, instead of four pieces to make one full heart, you'll need 5 now. The sword techniques adds more time to the sidequests like mentioned earlier. There are other mini-games that you'll find once you get to Lake Hylia.
On my first play-through, it took me around 60 hours and I completed every sidequest in the game. There's no new game save like there was with Wind Waker which is disappointing. Once you beat the game that is it. The lack of difficulty is once again a problem here. The game is too easy but not to the extent of WW. Those looking for a challenge will be disappointed once again.
Although I'm a bit disappointed with the latest installment, it's still a fun and enjoyable game. People wanted a OoT-like Zelda game with updated graphics and this is exactly what Nintendo gave us. If this game came out in place of WW back in 2003, I probably would have rated this game higher. It's just that it's a point in time now for Nintendo to make some changes and come up with some refreshing new innovations to the series. Adding motion controls is a start but from what I read in reviews or heard from friends, (never played the Wii version before) it's a mixed bag at best. Now that the Wii is here for a good two years, we can now wait to get a Zelda game built from the ground up.
So to answer my earlier question in the review, is this the second coming of OoT? Yes and no. To some extent, this game is an updated version of OoT. But what set both games apart is that OoT revolutionize and took the series to the next level at that time. If you have played the previous installments, Twilight Princess will give you a "a been there done that" kind of feeling. Despite all of this, TP is still worth your time and money and a 'must play' game for any Zelda fan.
Story - 7/10
Graphics - 9/10
Gameplay/Controls - 9/10
Sound - 7/10
Sidequests/Replayability - 8/10
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/21/08
Game Release: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (US, 12/11/06)
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