Review by Anwes
Another great Zelda game, but not without flaws.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was originally going to be exclusive for the GameCube. However, the game was delayed several times, to be "polished". However, when the Wii was revealed, it was also revealed that they would release Twilight Princess for it at launch, using the new Wii controller. The GameCube version uses the same old controls, and was released a short time after, so it's the same game, but made for two different systems, with fundamental control differences, and the Wii version is mirrored.
Story: Link is a herd boy in the small village of Ordon. He lives a peaceful life with his friends. One day, he and his friends are ambushed by monsters. The monsters kidnap Link's friends, but they can't touch Link, and leave him. Link wakes up, and decides to follow the kidnappers. However, he is pulled into the Twilight Realm that has infested large parts of Hyrule. When he enters the Twilight Realm, he is transformed into a wolf. There he also meets Midna, a mysterious being who joins Link in his quest to save his friend and stop the evil Zant from infesting all of Hyrule with Twilight. The story in Twilight Princess is the best story yet in a Zelda game, but it's still very familiar, go find X pieces of item A, once you find them there's some story development, now you need to find Y pieces of item B, and so on. There's not much to say really, if you've played another Zelda, you know how it works.
Gameplay: The gameplay has improved much in Twilight Princess, but it's still the same thing as before. The sword fighting is pretty much the same as Wind Waker, but with a few hidden moves to improve the fighting, but I think they could've done some more. The first half of the game is very familiar, the dungeons will have a familiar style, the items you find are also familiar. However, the second part is much more interesting, with quite a few new items that are original, at least for the 3D Zeldas. The sad part is that the game doesn't take full advantage of them, you use them in the dungeon where you find them, but after that they are only used once or twice, which is quite disappointing. When you enter the Twilight Realm, you are transformed into a Wolf, and of course, the Wolf is played a bit differently. You won't use the items Link has found, but you can smell things, both specific scents from something you find, or just to smell a hidden treasure. If you've played Majora's Mask, you know how the transformation works and is used. Wolf form is great at first, but later on it just isn't interesting anymore, a few upgrades would've been needed, but instead it's the same thing all the time.
The world is a lot larger than in previous Zelda games, so you can ride Epona, run as Wolf Link, or you can just teleport with the help of Midna. It works pretty well, except that you can't teleport as Link when someone else sees you. There is close to no AI on the NPCs, and therefore it feels quite unnecessary to have such a limitation. However, as always, the best part of Zelda is the dungeons. There are quite a few, I won't give the exact number, but more than Wind Waker. The dungeons are great in this game, I only found one of them frustrating, the other ones were great, or at least enjoyable, but overall there was a very high quality on the dungeons, and the boss fights were even better(!), though easy as usual.
The controls are my main grief about this game. Maybe it's the Gamecube controller, but I don't feel like I have perfect control over Link. He doesn't run in the right direction all the time, and when he climbs, and you can only move up, down, left, right, it's hard to have him move in the right direction from start, which is just stupid. Oh, and by the way, I think it's time to give us a jump button, it just seems silly to have to run in the correct direction over the edge to jump. Another thing that's quite annoying is the hit detection. It just doesn't work too well, sometimes you'll hit the wall when an enemy is between without the enemy being hit, or hit the enemy through its armor when his weak point is on the other side. Usual problems for older games, but this is 2006 (Well, 2007, but the game's from 2006), and I expect more from a game with this type of fighting now.
Graphics: Nothing to complain about here, what the GCN lacks in raw power, Zelda makes up for in style. The Gamecube is pretty much dead, and this game shows what the console could do at the end of it's lifetime. It's no Gears of War, but it still looks great. The only thing is that the design of the enemies are quite dull, I see them, then when they're dead, I've forgotten how they looked. The bosses however look GREAT, and pretty much makes up for it.
Length/replayability: It took me about 30 hours to finish the game, and I didn't do everything, so I guess it's the longest one yet. However, you can tell that they have put in some parts pretty much just to make the game longer, not to make it more fun. It's no big problem, since it's still fun throughout the game, but you can tell they've tried to make the game longer, but it's up to you whether you think it was worth it or not. Beside the main story, there's some collecting, and a few quests. It's pretty much the same as other Zeldas, not much more, not much less, so the replayability isn't too good IMO, but at least there are some things to do if you really want to.
Final Words: For a game being delayed several times, it just doesn't feel very polished, I think they could've improved some of the gameplay more. Improving the controls, better hit detection, funner enemies. Overall, it's the best 3D Zelda yet, it just doesn't live up the the hype and the standards I expect from a game from 2006. If the game was released one year earlier, I would probably have given it a 9, but now it would have to be a strong 8 instead, but I definitely recommend it for all Zelda fans, and if you are new to the Zelda games, this is the one to play.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
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