Review by TwilitLeviathan

"Fan Service, Only Not Done Well."

Let's go back to 2001. More specifically, Nintendo Spaceworld 2001, and the very first trailer of the next-gen Zelda. And fans were outraged. Riots were started, people were fleeing, even entire cities were demolished. People wanted that the Zelda series get more "mature," so to speak, but Wind Waker was a harsh slap of reality for those people. The reality that, in fact, Nintendo was the ones making these games, and they'll make them the way they wanted.

And we all know what become of that. Wind Waker was a major success. Sure, you still have those poor stragglers who are still criticizing it for its kiddy graphics, but on the whole the game was received as a masterpiece.

But take into account the Zelda series' lovely fanbase. Surely after Wind Waker they would have learned that, in fact, Nintendo actually knows best? Haha, no. People were still clamoring for their realistic Zelda. Never mind the fact that you've pumped out 11 perfect games, give us what we want, Nintendo!

Evidently their cries were heard, so a year after Wind Waker was released, Nintendo wowed us with the first trailer of the game we'd been waiting for, Twilight Princess. And fans were ecstatic. The hype for that game was beyond any hype any video game had ever seen. Finally, our fan service Zelda game! There's no way Nintendo's going to mess things up this time!

Let me tell you folks, Nintendo did mess things up this time. Instead of making the game themselves, Nintendo made a compilation of everything we'd been begging for, that Wind Waker failed to give us: realistic graphics (with Adult Link), a huge and engaging story with character development, more dungeons, and make them bigger and better than in pathetic little Wind Waker, a huge world but none of that innovative sea crap from Wind Waker, a more badass main villain, awesome combat sword techniques, horseback battles, have it take place back in Hyrule with all the exact same locations from Ocarina of Time, overall just make it a bigger and more mature version of Ocarina of Time, and for goodness' sake, more items!

And guess what happened? Nintendo listened. But in their struggle to include all that "important" stuff and give the fans exactly what they wanted, they failed to put in the same care and adoration ("magic," so to speak) that they give all their Zelda titles. And all that fan service? Nintendo included it, but it wasn't even done well.

Story
Let's start with the hard-hitter. People so often say, "You don't play Zelda for the story." But this is only half true. You don't play Mario for the story. You play Final Fantasy for the story. I have always thought that the Zelda series is at a happy medium between these two extremes. Zelda games always deliver interesting, enthralling stories, but it's never overdone, and things such as character development are decidedly rare.

But the story in Twilight Princess is just an absolute mess. It seemed like Nintendo couldn't make up their minds while creating this story. It starts out devoid of any big backstory like in most Zelda games, and what starts after a dragged out tutorial is what promises to be a fresh, new story sans all the cliches of the series. Basically, the Light world and the Twilight world exist entirely separately, but Zant, the evil king of the Twilight world has begun to envelop the Light world in the Twilight. Engulfed in the Twilight, everyone is a spirit. The game tries to make it seem like while in the Twilight, everyone is filled with absolute fear and despair, and you'll meet a couple of characters who appear this way. But later, the game says that while in the Twilight, the people are entirely unaware of what's going on.

...What? So the world is being engulfed in evil but no one knows about it? Some threat. Remind me again, what is the point of trying to save the world from the Twilight if no one cares or even knows what's going on?

It's at least explained why Zant is trying to cover the Light world in the Twilight, but not until the very end, in one very brief line that I only just now connected that that was what he was even talking about. By the end of the game the whole Twilight story is just nonsense, shoved on the back burner to make room for some extremely disappointing series of plot points immediately following the fourth and eighth dungeons.

Early in the game you encounter and lift the Twilight three times, and then you never see it again well up until after the seventh dungeon. You then enter the actual Twilight World, which had some unbelievably missed potential. I love the two-worlds situation that the Zelda series is famous for, but evidently Nintendo thought that exploring a differently colored version of the exact same place was good enough to count for this. With Twilight Princess, they had an opportunity to make the entire Twilight World explorable. Obviously not to the extent of the main world, but have at least something! I'll tell you right now, that would have been awesome! Instead, you're allowed in the Twilight World for one extremely short and limiting segment. You enter the Twilight World right at the foot of a small palace (this turns out to be the eighth dungeon), and climb the palace to face Zant, never to look back again. At least, at least have the game end there! But no, make another nonsensical run back to a forced and underwhelming final dungeon and finale.

Here's the situation, at least how I perceive it. Nintendo is having fun with this "darker" concept for the game, so they create a unique story about the world being engulfed in Twilight, with a mysterious Twilight denizen sidekick Midna and a badass villain Zant. But then... uh oh, Nintendo remembered they were under the constraint of fan service, so they tacked on some entirely unnecessary and disappointingly cliche plot sequences that ruin everything they had done up until this point! Like I said, you'll see these immediately following the fourth dungeon (Arbiter's Grounds) and immediately before facing Zant. It's an absolute shame that Nintendo was trying to deliver to the fans instead of continuing with their great idea for the story with Zant, Midna, and the Twilight. But, alas, it happened, and this is what makes the story such a mess.

Graphics
Let me tell you guys, these graphics have aged terribly. Yeah, this game is four years old, but they weren't good when it came out, either. They never were. The only redeeming quality is that they are the "realistic" graphics we'd been waiting for, but even that's not redeeming them any time soon. I know that Gamecube games can look better than this, because I've played ones that do!

The art style isn't even all that great either. Everything looks dull and bland. Not even the water looks that great; heck, even Super Mario Sunshine had better water graphics. Environments are blurry far too often, textures and character models are also often blurry, and the Twilight Realm is eye-straining. Enemies lack any sort of creativity. In fact, this whole game does. It's depressing seeing Nintendo painfully have to leave out anything that looks fun, just to please the fans.

Atmosphere
In addition to the bland environments, the whole feel the game gives you is just sort of cramped. Despite a huge world, you aren't given a whole lot of freedom. Why? A few reasons.

For starters, there's almost nothing to do. There are six main areas of Hyrule Field, and they function no more than as the hub to everywhere else. But that's okay, I mean, there was nothing to do in Ocarina of Time's Hyrule Field either, right? Wrong. There wasn't a whole lot to do in Ocarina's Hyrule Field but at least there were some things. Twilight Princess has barely more to do in Hyrule Field than in Ocarina, but therein lies the problem... this Hyrule Field is at least three times bigger! I find this simple: with a size increase should come a directly proportional stuff-to-do increase. You're basically able to climb some cliffs in the Bridge of Eldin section, find some spinner rails in the North and western sections, uncover two or three caves, and find some Poes, Golden Bugs, and two or three Heart Pieces. That's it. I just listed everything there is to do in the entirety of all six sections of Hyrule Field. Oh, and you can move some statues around. What were they thinking? Was Hyrule Field supposed to be the time to gawk at the magnificent landscapes and gorgeous graphics? That would be fine, if there was anything worth looking at!

How about Hyrule Castle Town? It's also bigger than in Ocarina, but suffers an even worse problem. There are heaps to do in Castle Town in Ocarina, and barely anything to do in this one. You can get your shoes shined for ten rupees. What's that do? It allows you to enter a high-class shop with prices too high to buy anything. Well, that was a waste of ten rupees. There's a ton of people but you can only talk to less than half of them, if that. If Nintendo put them there to mask Castle Town's emptiness, why not at least give them a purpose? Did Nintendo learn nothing from Majora's Mask? No, because people complained about that game too (although it's since become thought of as a classic and a masterpiece, but that's not what Nintendo was hearing when it first came out). Instead, all the people in the town just makes it seem even more empty and barren.

Back to Hyrule Field, it wouldn't be half as bad if it was all open up at once, giving the feeling of a gigantic world to explore, like in Wind Waker. Instead, you're given a little piece of Hyrule Field at a time, so it becomes more manageable to fully explore. But what it boils down to is that it just decreases the overall scope of the world. When you first enter Hyrule Field, you'll see it is similar in size to the one in Ocarina of Time, only with nothing to do save for a heart piece and two golden bugs. Then it's off to the twilight, and once that's over with, you'll find two more sections of Hyrule Field. One has, again, two golden bugs and a heart piece. The other has four golden bugs and a heart piece. It's ridiculous. Go all or nothing Nintendo, if you're going to give us a huge world, let it all be explored at once, not given in pathetic increments like this. The world isn't too big that it has to be discovered piece by piece. Having it all open up at once would have felt epic, like it did in Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker.

Finally, this game is entirely too linear. Remember in the old Zelda games where you can reach the next dungeon simply after acquiring the item from the previous one? Even Majora's Mask was like this. In many cases you can head straight for a later dungeon without even entering an earlier one. But in this game, Nintendo decided, too bad for you, you're doing the dungeons in the exact order we want you to. There is an event that will trigger each dungeon to become available, and it will open activate once you've completed the current one (and endure useless crap in between). Even inside the dungeons, there is an extremely specific set path to follow. This is made overly apparent by the fact that you'll never have more than one key at a time. There is one spot in the Forest Temple where you can have more than one key, but you'll have to purposefully go well out of your way to get it. Basically, you'll get a key on one side of the room, walk to the other side of the room and open the locked door there. Only two keys in the game are even remotely hidden (one in the Goron Mines under the water, the other in the Snowpeak Ruins under the snow), so there's no sort of exploring to do at all. Bombable walls are absolutely and completely gone. Now you can only bomb boulders.

Music
I've played and beaten this game at least ten times (I used to like it), but I can only remember the music of one single dungeon. I've beaten Ocarina of Time probably around the same number of times, but I can remember each and every dungeon theme in an instant. What's the difference here? Ocarina of Time had good music. Twilight Princess, no. Like the graphics, all the music sounds sort of muffled and bland. Many tracks are reused from older installments, like a watered-down Hyrule Castle theme.

Whereas previous Zelda games are musical masterpieces, Twilight Princess has only a handful of memorable tunes: Hyrule Field (albeit one of my favorites in the whole series), Midna's Lament, Hidden Village, and City in the Sky stand out from its OST, while the rest are from Ocarina of Time, such as the Fire Boss Battle.

This soundtrack should have been fully orchestrated. Or even partially. But as it is, most of the tunes from Twilight Princess just seem "watery," so to speak. Want to play a game with good music? Try Ocarina of Time (or the rest of the series for that matter), Super Mario Galaxy, Final Fantasy VI, or Castlevania Symphony of the Night.

Dungeons
Twilight Princess features nine dungeons, which is the second-most in the series (trailing A Link to the Past, and tied with The Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time, and Oracle of Ages). Five of the dungeons are really long, four are really short.

In addition to having some of the best atmosphere in the series, these dungeons are even good by Zelda standards. Although they are easy, feature all sorts of puzzles that we've already seen before, and are generally linear for the most part, the dungeons are by far the best part of the game, and one of the only times in the game where you'll actually be having fun.

That's not to say we've seen all these puzzles before. In one dungeon you must travel eight or so stories up, and then go back down through the same rooms... while having to maneuver a giant statue down with you. Nintendo did great with that concept and that dungeon, but it should have been much longer. Maybe 10, or even 12 stories instead of eight. In another dungeon you will rarely be on the ground, thanks to a couple of great "new" (though I use that term lightly) items.

The dungeons are so great because they utilize the items you get in them very well. Once you get the Spinner in the Arbiter's Grounds, you'll never want the dungeon to end. After getting the Ball 'n Chain in the Snowpeak Ruins you get to bash all sorts of ice blockades. It's precisely this factor that makes the dungeons so fun and everything else so boring.

Finally, allow me to talk about the ninth dungeon, the last one. Like I said before, I think the game should have ended after the Palace of Twilight and the fight with Zant. That's more story related than dungeon related, but my point is, if you're going to tack on a ninth dungeon, at least make it good, Nintendo! But no, instead we get this unholy abomination. Zelda games always have an awesome and unique final dungeon. Like in Oracle of Ages. Despite being short and consisting of the same round-and-round action up to the top, it was still awesome seeing how it all turned out after seeing it being built the entire game, and culminating into an epic finale (and it certainly helped the music was awesome to boot). Or in Ocarina of Time, seeing all the sages back together, and having to endure each of their specific trials resembling each of the game's dungeons. But this, this is just plain inexcusable. For our "finale" we get a 20-minute bland, gray snoozefest consisting of nothing more than chandelier-hopping and forced fights with non-engaging enemies. Oh, but some characters from earlier in the game show up. Was I supposed to care about these characters in the first place?

Items
Here's more fan service for you. Fans say more items, Nintendo gives more items. I don't even know who was in the wrong here; the fans, for wanting so many items knowing that they would get limited use; Nintendo, for listening to the fans and making so many items; or Nintendo again, for making so many items and giving them barely any use. Well, that's two strikes against Nintendo, so I can only assume it's their fault.

Like I said, this is what makes the dungeons so great. The items are pure fun, and they are used extremely well in the dungeons, but not anywhere outside of the one you get each item in. This is just more wasted potential. The four biggest offenders are the Spinner, the Ball 'n Chain, the Gale Boomerang, and the Dominion Rod. Not-so-coincidentally, the former two are some of the funnest in the game. But no, you can go comfortably through the game with the Bow on Y and the Clawshot on X, and outside of the dungeons you'll rarely have to ever switch one out. And people use having only two item slots as a complaint against the Gamecube version? Please. There's nothing to use there anyway.

This was such a big problem that it's even putting a mark on the whole series' record. How many times have you heard something like, "Following Zelda tradition, you'll never use the item outside of the dungeon you get it in?" No, guys. Was Twilight Princess the only Zelda game you ever played? Because it's the only game in the series like this. Maybe you could argue Minish Cap, but you know they're not talking about Minish Cap when they say that. They're talking about Twilight Princess.

Some items you get outside of dungeons are also useless. Like the Hawkeye. I can imagine only one part of the entire game where this would be remotely useful (in the Hidden Village). The Bomblings are useless too. They'd be fun to mess around with if there were a variety of unique enemies to use them on, but no.

As for equipment, it's disappointing. You get no Mirror Shield, only the Hylian Shield and two different Wooden Shields. They are all exactly the same, only the Hylian Shield doesn't burn. Too bad that after the second dungeon you'll never encounter anything remotely fiery again for the rest of the game, so it's still basically the same as the other two. You get no Sword upgrade past the Master Sword, which is a disappointment. It gets light-powered in the Twilight realm towards the end of the game, but by that point you have only ten minutes left of the Twilight in the whole game, so that's more wasted potential. The armors available are pretty disappointing as well. You'll spend the vast majority of the game in the Green Tunic, because the other two both have downsides. The Zora Armor lets you swim and breathe under water, but looks ugly and you take double damage from Ice and Fire attacks. The Magic Armor is a joke. It drains Rupees every second you wear it, and you'll lose additional rupees when you get hit. As if there's any part of the game threatening enough to even warrant using this armor. Even the Cave of Ordeals is stretching it.

As for the actual items themselves, they are pretty good and fun to use, while they last. The fan favorite is the Spinner, which allow you to ride along specially designed grooves in the walls. Some grooves have faster speeds than others, and the few ones after the Arbiter's Grounds are all the slow type, so the Spinner loses a hundred percent of its value and fun after the dungeon. The Ball 'n Chain could have been used as a combat item given its power, but its clunky and taking down enemies with the sword is much quicker and easier. Maybe if there were more powerful enemies then the Ball 'n Chain could have had its uses, but as it is it's only used for Ice enemies in, you guessed it, the dungeon you get it in. The Gale Boomerang does nothing more than what a regular Boomerang would have done. The wind theme was not capitalized on at all, its only to make the Boomerang look cooler for the fans. Being how it deals no damage to enemies, it become completely obsolete immediately after the first dungeon. The Dominion Rod is used to take control of statues. It loses its power after the dungeon and you have to restore it, and then you use it a few times in a little quest shortly thereafter, and then never, ever take it out again. These items just needed more use! They're great concepts, but terribly executed.

Wolf
When Link gets pulled into the Twilight Realm early in the game, he transforms into a wolf. You play as the wolf in three segments early in the game, once for each section of the Twilight. The objective while in wolf form is to collect the Tears of Light, to resurrect the light spirit and lift the Twilight.

Basically, Wolf Link plays almost identical to human Link, with only a few minor differences. The most prominent of which being, Wolf Link can't use items. Instead, he comes with a built-in Lens of Truth ("sense") and a dig feature. You need to use the sense to see hidden objects; i.e., the little bugs that hold the Tears of Light. Also, Wolf Link can run faster and make longer jumps, and make a series of jumps by targeting Midna and jumping multiple times in a row when prompted. Also, Wolf Link gets a large area attack, in which he instantly kills every enemy within the circle.

Later in the game you get the ability to transform freely between Human and Wolf, and being as how you can only warp as a wolf, this effectively lets you warp at will also. It's at this point when, like the Twilight Realm, the game simply forgets the existence of Wolf Link. You can now transform freely between the two forms, but you'll be playing as Human Link the entire time because it's much more enjoyable playing as Human Link. He's easier to control, fighting with the sword feels better, and most importantly, Wolf Link can't perform Ending Blow, which is annoying. You'll only use Wolf Link at this point for a couple of tacked-on segments, because it really isn't as fun to mess around as Wolf Link as much as Human.

Overall, almost the whole idea of the wolf is gimmicky. It's just more fan service; fans wanted both a crazy but awesome gimmick and a more badass Link, and this qualifies as both. Too bad it wasn't implemented terribly well. If Wolf Link had only handled any differently than Human Link then it would have been much more interesting.

Collectibles
Collectibles are always a major part of any Zelda game, and Twilight Princess delivers... somewhat. Basically what Twilight Princess offers is Golden Bugs, Poe Souls, and the standard Heart Pieces. You can count Fish, Sword Techniques, and Letters if you want, but I don't.

There are 24 Golden Bugs spread across the land, but very few of them are even remotely hidden. After catching one, only one, you receive the first wallet upgrade. And then, collect the remaining 23 and sell them off for a grand total of 1,300 rupees. That's a pretty shallow prize all in all, because tell me, Nintendo, why did you give us nothing to spend all that money on? And the 24th Golden Bug will net you the second wallet upgrade, which is far too small at 1,000 rupees, especially considering you've already made more than that much.

Poe Souls are a similar situation. There are 60 to collect, and they only come out at night or in dungeons. Sound familiar? Could they not have come up with something more unique here? Take a look at the rewards, too... collect them all and you'll get 200 Rupees each time you go in. It's the exact same setup as Ocarina of Time, and not even one we particularly liked. Were you even trying, Nintendo?

There are 45 Heart Pieces, which is the second-most in the series, being as how you now have to collect five instead of four. Which is fine, but the problem is that Heart Pieces are only for completion purposes. You don't need any more Hearts than what you're given for defeating bosses, if even that. The game is too easy to take advantage of the extra health.

Let me talk about Rupees for a second. They got really carried away here. This game hands out Rupees like there's no tomorrow, but gives you nothing to spend them on. I think the Magic Armor costs 598 Rupees, you have to spend 300 to repair a cannon, and 1,200 to fix a bridge for a Heart Piece. That may sound like a lot, but no. That's it. That's all the money you will spend in the entire game. And seeing as you get 1,300 just for the easily found Golden Bugs, plus hundreds and hundreds more from not-so-hidden chests, there needs to be something to at least save up for. It's not like you'll be spending them on Potions or anything. I guess you could use up the Rupees by using the Magic Armor, but that's hardly useful. Oh, and you can't open a chest containing more Rupees than your wallet can hold. That's just an all-around ridiculous idea, but if you're going to implement it, why not at least let us hold 5,000 Rupees like in Wind Waker?

Combat / Enemies
This right here is one of Twilight Princess's biggest mess-ups. And believe me, "mess" isn't the word I had in mind to use right there.

On its surface, Twilight Princess delivers the best combat in the entire series. With Link's responsive and fluid moves, with variation in the form of Wolf Link combat, and seven brand new hidden skills to learn, this should have been just that. But Nintendo hasn't delivered with anything else, why start here?

I should say, it's not the combat that's the problem, it's the enemies. It's like Nintendo focused on the combat so much, they forgot to do work on the enemies! You'd think, that with all these awesome moves and sword techniques that there would be some awesome, tough enemies to deliver an ass whooping to, to utilize these skills. But no! Every single enemy in the game, that you would fight with the sword at least and not the Bow, is killed off by four hits, followed by an Ending Blow. The sole exceptions are Dynalfos and Darknuts, which are rare, boring, and still easy as hell. Enemies do not get harder as the game progresses. You'll be fighting Bulblins and Bokoblins primarily, with some Lizalfos later which are just as easy, and then all sorts of little beast-like enemies such as Mini Freezards, Dodongos, Torch Slugs, and Gohmas. There's no even remotely menacing enemy, such as the Stalfos from Ocarina of Time. The ReDeads in this game are pathetic, instead of freakishly scary like they should have been (and were in Ocarina). In short, the combat was perfect, but there was no sort of way to take advantage of it, aside from the Darknuts, which were designed with the sword techniques in mind, but these are few and far between and are boring fights anyway.

The bosses are a mixed bag. Once again, they're epic as hell, but too stupidly easy! You may be in complete awe the first time you fight Stallord, but are you taking even one heart of damage? No. Like the rest of the enemies, the bosses only take away a quarter of a heart per hit, and you'll rarely get hit.

Also, even these bosses are just more fan service. Consider a more sinister Gohma, a gigantic Morpha, a fire-breathing Helmaroc King, etc. Could Nintendo be any less subtle about their ill notion of how much better this game is than Ocarina of Time? Despite the fact that it's not, why would we want to play the same damn game from 1998 all over again? Anyways, one of the final fights is against a possessed character that you meet twice in the whole game, that Nintendo for some odd reason considers important in this game. Fighting a possessed good guy is not new for the series, it was done twice in Oracle of Ages. But it was done better in that game, and (I can't believe I'm saying this) it was even better in Phantom Hourglass, because both those games made you CARE about the now-possessed character you were fighting. It made the fight all that much harder and more intense. But in Twilight Princess, Nintendo decides what's important, and forces on you a purely fan service-driven fight against a character with no personality, that no one could really care less about. What's the point of that? I don't feel any sort of remorse beating up on this character who I've seen for a total of two minutes in the whole game. What makes it worse is this character SHOULD have been given a bigger role in Twilight Princess, or if not, should have just been left out altogether, along with the tacked-on and unwelcome familiar face you encounter halfway through the game. Even the final boss is a pathetic joke. While I'll dismiss the fact that you can distract him with the fishing rod as nothing more than a little easter egg, the fight is still a complete and absolute joke. Good luck even taking damage during that fight, but if you do, don't worry, Nintendo's got your back. They placed fairies around the outskirts of the arena. You're given fairies. During the final boss. That... is... insulting.

Horseback combat was heavily advertised in Twilight Princess's pre-release campaign, but unfortunately, it's awful. Besides the fact that it's used only three times in the whole game, two of which against the minor antagonist King Bulblin who gets an annoying and inexplicably pointless little story at the end of the game (similar to Jolene from Phantom Hourglass), the fights themselves are just horribly done. You run around a field slashing at King Bulblin, then you slash at him on a bridge, then later you run around another field playing escort to some characters you could care less about, then you shoot King Bulblin with arrows on another bridge, and you're done with all the horseback fighting in the game, until the last boss. It's frustrating, not at all fun. You can also ride Boars, and this was advertised a bit as well, but guess how many times you use it? Once. To smash a fence in that easily could have been climbed over. Fan service, not done well, Nintendo.

Overall
Here's something that seems to be an underlying problem with several of Twilight Princess's problems: the difficulty. The enemies are small and unremarkable, bosses are a pushover, and you can't take advantage of the awesome sword techniques you learn, and it all boils down to the fact that this game is just too damned easy. Twilight Princess is easily the second-easiest game in the series, and it makes it just little fun to play. It's not like I'm some hardcore Ninja Gaiden NES enthusiast that demands his games be insanely and impossibly difficult to beat, but if there's no challenge, what's even the point? To gawk at the pretty graphics? No can do here. To follow the deep and emotional story? Sorry, no. To explore a vast world with many hidden secrets to uncover? Not even that.

Twilight Princess is linear, while not necessarily short, with little to explore and little to do. There is a decent selection of minigames, and a lot to collect, though the rewards are useless and makes collecting everything turn into a chore. Heck, Ocarina of Time is my all time favorite game, and even I have never been bothered with getting much more than 50 Gold Skultullas.

Call me some sort of small-time Nintendo conspiracist, but I truly and honestly believe that Nintendo did not want to make this game. They made it due to fan demand, a sellout that Nintendo should never have undertook. What it all adds up to is a game that feels rushed and unfinished, with part of this being due to the fact that they spent the last year of development porting it to the Wii solely to boost sales.

I have high hopes for Skyward Sword, because the moment I saw the graphics style, and how Miyamoto described it as "impressionist," an art style he was fond of, I knew that the big sellout that is Twilight Princess was a one-time thing. Now, Nintendo's back to doing what they do best, making the games the way they want them made, and no longer listening to all the gripes and complaints and "ideas" from their so-called fanbase. Hey, this method has worked for 13 games out of 14, right? Of course the one missing there is Phantom Hourglass, but hopefully that was a one-time thing too.

Pros
+ The dungeons, or at least, the dungeons excluding the last one.
+ Midna and Zant are great new characters, for the most part.
+ The boss battles are fun.
+ Decent music.
+ Good length.

There's really not much else I could put here, because every other good point is almost completely canceled out somehow. Such as, cool items (you rarely get to use them), great combat (but a complete lack of threatening enemies to use it on), a lot of collectibles (the rewards for doing so are useless), what starts as a unique story (is completely ruined beyond belief halfway through the game), and so on. I guess I could also say

+ Nintendo apparently learned from their mistakes with this game and is gonna make Skyward Sword GOOD.

Cons
- Nintendo sells out and gives into fan demand. If you're going to make fan service, at least make it good.
- Absolutely, totally, and in all other ways inconceivably easy.
- MIDI tracks don't necessarily cut it.
- Story started out great but took a drastic turn for the worst halfway through.
- New items aren't used anywhere near their full potential. This whole game is full of missed opportunities. Like, the opportunity to make a GOOD mature Zelda game.
- Stale graphics.
- Pretty much an all-around boring experience.
- Cramped atmosphere.
- Too linear, not enough exploration.
- Tacked-on wolf segments, horseback battling, and Twilight Palace at the end.
- Fan service just ends up being a bland and unoriginal mess, despite noticeable "improvements" that were all done wrong.

Overall: 5/10
Ouch. For the second time I have lowered my score two entire points. But the fact is, I was being way too generous with my previous scores. I left a bad taste in my own mouth, so to speak. I wanted Twilight Princess to be good, it was all I wanted, it was all everybody wanted. And I believe that like with Brawl, so many people are still living with that pre-release hope that they still fail to see just how bland it turned out. I was like that too. Just one year ago I posted this review with a 9/10 score, despite not really justifying that score in the slightest. Because there's nothing to justify it with! Whereas I can completely justify a 5/10 score. It's a poor game. Average for a game, and horrible for a Zelda game. I think a 5 is a good balance there, and I'm still being a little lenient. There is little fun to be had in this game (read: in the dungeons). Nintendo made too many mistakes, but the biggest and grandest of which was making the game according to the fans, and not with their own sort of magic. There's a reason you're the ones making the games, Nintendo!

Oh, and if you still don't believe me that this game is pure 100% fan service, beat the game, and read the very last line of text, right before the end credits. Then tell me with a straight face that this game is indeed not fan service.


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 01/05/10, Updated 01/11/11

Game Release: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (US, 12/11/06)


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