Review by Oliwam
"Another fine Zelda adventure, though it just doesn't feel complete."
The Legend of Zelda series is a long series that has made great achievements. From the first game, it showed fun open gameplay. Then came OoT, a revolutionary Zelda as it took Zelda into 3D. After that one, changes have been made. Majora's Mask, a very unique and original Zelda. Wind Waker, a fun cel-shaded game that focused on sea exploration on a boat. The last two were great Zeldas, but not all the reactions were great. OoT got the best reaction. So it's natural for Nintendo to try to make another "OoT" like game. That's what they did. Though OoT was released 8 years ago. Can the nostalgia last that long in Twilight Princess?
Link, a wrangler who lives in Ordon Village, was asked by his sword instructor Rusl to go into the Hyrule Summit in his stead. As Link was just about to leave, monsters appear and take the children away. Link was knocked down, so he could do nothing. Then he chases the monsters, only to find himself standing in front of a large dark door. Then a monster reaches out and captures, him pulling him into what was Faron Woods, though now is the Twilight Realm. This Twilight is quickly covering Hyrule, and if somebody doesn't stop it, it will consume all of Hyrule. When a person enters the Twilight, they become a ghost. However, Link is special. Instead, he turned into a wolf. That leaves him to be the one that must save Hyrule before it plunges into eternal darkness. With the help of a mysterious imp called Midna, he sets off to find a way to get rid of the Twilight. That is your plot right there. It features twists and turns as you progress throught the game. Yet as long and more in depth it is, it does have a few areas that just aren't so great. There are times where you will be asking, "Why; what is the point?" The ending could've been more as well. It wasn't a bad plot, just that it doesn't feel like it helps the whole series' overall progress, like Wind Waker did.
The characters in this game did not feel that lively. There were characters that felt like they had life and that had good development, but there's were only a few like that. Overall, a lot of the characters in this game felt like they were just there. Many of them felt like they had no life. They were just figures with a few words to say. In other Zelda games, some characters felt like they had personal lives, like they had a purpose to live (or didn't have a purpose to live). It felt like there was more to those games. In Twilight Princess, you feel almost none of that. As for the sidequests, there were not great at all. It feels like all the focus is on the main quest. All the extras are a bunch of things thrown out there for you to collect. Running around a huge world trying to find bugs or poes is not fun. there are extra mini games, which is a bonus, but they don't serve that much purpose. Overall, this is a game that feels like it's a straight line mostly. In fact, especially at the first third of the game, it is a straight line. This is the most linear Zelda game yet. There is not much extra room for your to travel around for about a third of the game, as your will be going just straight ahead. Then after this game does open up, and you can do whatever you want, it feels like there is not much to do between dungeons. It's just find the next dungeon, and go to it. Plus with the lack of real sidequests, that's what you will be doing.
The mechanics of this game are very good however. The combat system may not be originative, as it feels just like a modification from Wind Waker's system with some extra moves, though you will find some of the combat to be fun. Especially horseback combat. That's another addition to this game. Riding horseback feels far more epic than sailing a boat on an abyss of blue waves. The items in this game are awesome. There are some new items added into this game, while there are variations for the older items. Only problem here would that many of the items you'll find will be under-utilized. Especially those awesome newcomer items. That'll have you slightly disappointed, as some of the items in this game were really great. The controls are fine in this game. There are some changes from previous Zelda games (especially when in Wolf form), but overall, it's basically the same. They are easy to manage and use. There are also some new things you can do in this game as well, and there will be events in this game that will keep you on the edge of your toes. Yet, even with a lot of these new gameplay mechanics, it will still feel like your original OoT-like gameplay.
The dungeons and their difficulty are a definite step up from Wind Waker. The dungeons are well designed, and most of them feel like a completely new dungeon, adding their own challenges. Some of the puzzles in this game will require you to use some logic, as some of them are certainly challenging to a degree. The combat is not that hard though. Most of the combat in this game is fairly easy, though at least a lot of it is action packed, and some of the battles are finely designed. The bosses and minibosses are not difficult, but as mentioned, they are very well designed, and are certainly more challenging than Wind Waker.
The graphics are spectacular in this game. In fact, that will be the very first thing you'll note when you play this game. The scenery is beautiful. When your ride along Hyrule Field, even though a lot of it is pretty empty, at least it's nicer to look at a well designed landscape than a wide open blue sea. The cinematics are very impressive, and are without a doubt the best we've seen in a Zelda game yet. The choreography is right on, which is something new to Zelda, believe it or not. There are a few rough edges, with some blur and bit of slowdown in a few areas. Though overall, the graphics are certainly marvelous.
The sound in this game is good, but it certainly could've been better. Some of the music in this feels really great. Epic, exciting, mood-fitting. However, some of the music, especially that in the Twilight Realm, is just bad and annoying. The sound effects are well made, and fit in well. However, the one thing that this game really lacked was voice acting. I know that this is a Zelda game, I've been into the series for a long time. Though in a game like this, full voice acting would've done so much. The grunts are fine, and they were very well done. Though it was not enough. The cinematics were there, the choreography was there. All it needed was some good voice acting, and it would've felt more complete. Though overall, the sounds of this game were good.
This game is a long adventure. For the average gamer, it would take about 35-40 hours to run through the game. That is a long time for an action-adventure game, and it is the longest in a Zelda game yet. However, once you beat the game, there is not much to do. As mentioned above, there is a serious lack of real sidequests. There is extra stuff to collect, and it could add on a bunch of extra hours to find everything, but that's only if you seriously want to get a 100% for this game. Cause there certainly is no motivation inside this game for you to do it. That means that once you finish this game, there is not much left for you to do after. Though it's a good long Zelda adventure that should satisfy you upon completion.
When you play through this game, you will find many similarities to previous titles, mostly OoT and ALttP. That can bring bring out some good old nostalgia. However, the nostalgia doesn't last. Instead, you finish the game feeling that it lacks that "special" feeling that you might've had in other Zelda games. The storyline of this game was good, but it could've been better. The gameplay mechanics were really good, they had some really fun moments. Though some of it feels under-utilized. As for the graphics, those were certainly spectacular. Probably the best thing about this game. The sounds were good, but they could've potentially brought out a better experience. A lack of voice acting was fine in the past, but now it's really starting to show what the series is missing. The whole overall adventure feels good, long, and somewhat satisfying. Though it feels like you're running in a straight line, cause there is not much outside of the main quest. In the end, this is really another fine Zelda adventure that Zelda fans should certainly play, while a good spin for newcomers. This is overall a very good game, though it does feel like it could've been more. That's why it certainly is not a perfect game. Though that doesn't mean it's not a great game.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 01/02/07
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