"After a long wait, Twilight Princess has arrived and succeeded in being one of the better GameCube games"

Easily one of the most anticipated games of all time was Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Did it live up to the hype? Nope. But with a game with so much hype, that was to be expected. There was no way Twilight Princess could hope to live up to the hype. Regardless, Twilight Princess is actually a pretty good game. For starters, it absolutely stomps on Ocarina of Time in pretty much every way. Ocarina of Time has really been overthrown and reduced to rubble. Twilight Princess is most comparable to Ocarina of Time. You'll notice that the cell-shading is gone. That's because Wind Waker was overall viewed as a disappointment and the cartoonish graphics failed to really hook any new people into the series. Many things in Twilight Princess are throwbacks to OoT but the downside to that is that you'll be thinking “Haven't I done this before?” This is of course not a good thing. Throwbacks are nice but Twilight Princess did really saturate this and the result was a lack of originality at various points in the game.

Twilight Princess starts off really bad in the same way Kingdom Hearts II started off really bad. In the beginning you're a simple farmer person named Link. Link hasn't changed much. He's still a boring, personality-less generic hero with a sword. I still can't figure out what the appeal in him is. Oh well. Link will be forced to endure many stupid fetch-quests ranging from herding goats to interacting with irritating children. Epona is back and available at the very beginning. After spending a while wasting your time, the game does start to pick up. The King of the Twilight Realm has begun to expand into the Light Realm. This affects Link, who has been chosen by the goddesses. The people in the twilight zones have turned into spirits and the only way to free them is to restore the light spirits. The storyline actually isn't that bad, it's a little more than previous Zelda games. It isn't that complicated and it fits well with the new themes introduced. As for the characters, the only one that really stands out is Midna. Midna is somewhat of the Navi for this game except she isn't really annoying and she has a vital part to the story. Midna is actually the first good Zelda character ever. She has a personality, she has some development and she's likable.

The actual game play to this game is an improvement over Ocarina of Time but still was underwhelming. When Link is using his sword to fight enemies, it still feels slow and clunky. Maybe this was acceptable on the N64 but the A mashing isn't anything impressive for this game. On the bright side, there are some additional abilities you can learn such as the Back Slice and Finishing Blow. These skills become very useful in defeating some of the more tougher enemies you will encounter. Besides that, the traditional Zelda items make their return like the bow, the bombs, the clawshot and the iron boots. In addition to this, there are a few additional new items like the Spinner which are really good. The Spinner was easily one of the best items ever. Like other Zelda games, your health is measured by the amount of hearts you have. You get extra hearts by defeating the temple boss but you can also get them by collecting heart pieces. In this game, five heart pieces make an additional full heart. Why they changed it from four pieces to five pieces, I don't know. As I said earlier, Epona is back in this game and while they hyped the horseback combat to be absolutely amazing, it really wasn't. Epona ran out of energy way too easily and swinging your sword around on horseback wasn't nearly as cool as it seemed. But the combat on horseback was definitely an improvement from OoT.

A cool feature to this game is the ability to turn into a wolf. While you're a wolf, you can do several things that you couldn't normally do. You can't use your items but you can activate your senses which will allow you to see spirits and other hidden things. You can also learn the scent of something; usually a person and you can then follow the scent trail to go to your next destination. As a wolf you'll also be able to dig into areas and dig into the ground for rupees and hearts. Combat-wise, the wolf can be amusing by biting an enemy but with the help of Midna, you can create this barrier to do a quick lunge combo thing. That's always fun to do.

This game has very good dungeons. To start, there are no stupid tutorial dungeons; the first dungeon in this game is a real, genuine dungeon. At about the fourth dungeon is where they turn from mediocre to great. I was very impressed with the dungeons of this game and Twilight Princess probably has the best dungeons out of any Zelda games. The only problems is that a few parts are rehashed from previous games. This game has some great, epic bosses too. The bosses are actually probably on par with the bosses of Metroid Prime… well, they could be except for one problem. The pathetic difficulty. The bosses still manage to be fun but what holds them back from truly being epic is the lack of difficulty. N matter how awesome the concept is when fighting a boss, if there isn't a challenge then the fun will be reduced. But despite this, there were a few times where I got stumped in some of the dungeons and I still stand by my claim on how good the dungeon designs in this game were.

Graphically the game is good, very good actually, but it is not top-notch. The graphics in this game will not cause you to be blown away like Ocarina of Time did back in the N64. Hyrule is a much better place and all I can say is that I'm thankful for the warp option you get later in the game. The camera is also great in this game. This was a flaw of OoT and MM but they fixed it in this game. Good for Nintendo, listening to their fans. However, quite possibly the most problematic aspect of Twilight Princess is the weak soundtrack. I really can't understand how such a highly acclaimed series such as Zelda can't really produce much that is memorable. I was really hoping that Twilight Princess could produce a soundtrack that was above average but nope. Some of the boss themes are good but that's about it. Thankfully Twilight Princess kept some of the old classic Zelda tunes but there isn't much to say about the soundtrack besides the fact that it was a disappointment.

Scoring Breakdown:

Storyline/Characters: 8/10
Game Play/Dungeon Design: 9/10
Graphics: 9/10
Soundtrack: 6/10
Difficulty: 6/10

Overall: 38/50 = 7.6 (Rounds to 8… but barely)

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a good game but it does have several flaws that can't be denied. On my first playthrough, I clocked 37 hours. Admittedly, I didn't do a few of the sidequests, but that's because they're lame and unrewarding. This game was supposed to be 80 hours long. Now I know nobody actually thought that but Nintendo had to make a big deal about it being 80 hours. It's one thing to lie about how long a game takes, most companies do that, but it's another thing to hype up a lie. On the flip side, Final Fantasy XII was hyped up to be about 40 hours long and I ended up clocking 70 hours in that game at the end. Regardless, Twilight Princess is the best 3-D Zelda to date. It especially stomps on Ocarina of Time. The epic bosses, great dungeon design, improved game play and a fairly good storyline outweigh the lack of a good soundtrack, the rehashes, the pathetic difficulty and the lies about how long this game takes. Plus there's no Tingle in this game. Or Navi. Hooray!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 01/02/07

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