Review by Nightmare827

"On a second playthrough, it's still great, but horribly overrated"

Howdy. Welcome to Nightmare827's review of what could be the best Zelda game to ever grace the planet. Of course...keep in mind, I've been a huge Zelda fan since I was a wee little boy of about 3, so pardon me if I sound a bit biased.

Gameplay: 10/10

Zelda (thank the deities for this) is one of the (very few) game series that originated in 2-D gaming, but made the jump to 3-D marvellously, unlike SOME 2-D mascots (*cough* Sonic *cough*). And out of those few series that HAS done that, Zelda is just about the only one that hasn't had to change one thing since it's FIRST foray into three dimensions.

Okay, so they had to change a FEW things. Who cares? As long as it works.

For those who don't know, Twilight Princess's engine is basically a tweaked version of the amazing Wind Waker engine, which is basically a tweaked version of the sublime Ocarina of Time/Majora's Mask engine. As you can see, Zelda's 3-D gameplay has changed very little.

But it doesn't have to. That's how GOOD it is.

Link's newest adventure has him using some new items, as well. The Clawshot...think of this one as an awesome combination between the Hookshot of previous Zelda games and the Switch Hook of Oracle of Ages. Upon obtaining a second Clawshot, Link can hook onto a target, hold on to said target, and shoot at another one, giving Link a Spider-Man web-slinging feel. It's awesome.

Not all the new items are that great, however. The Spinner (which I think earns the award of "Least Creative Name for a Zelda Item EVER") is nearly useless. Outside of the dungeon you get it in, you'll use it about 3 times (however, I must admit I loved the boss fight against Stallord where you're constantly using it. I applaud Nintendo for that one). The Dominion Rod is basically a new Command Melody (circa Wind Waker), but I suppose you use that one a bit more than you do the Spinner. The Gale Boomerang (combination of a normal boomerang and the Wind Waker's powers) and Slingshot are only used for about 1/20th of the quest (if that), and then fade into obscurity. Yes, I know the Slingshot was only implemented to get players used to shooting with the Wiimote.

My favorite upgrade to the engine is the implementation of new sword techniques. Now Link, besides traditional "Vertical Slice", "Horizontal Slice", "Stab", "Jump Attack", and "Spin Attack", Link can learn seven (7) additional sword techniques, and trust me: you'll have used every one of them at least 10 times before the end of the game. Most of them (Like Helmsplitter) are wicked-powerful and awesome to see and pull off.

If you get sick of dungeon after dungeon, go play some minigames. The game has throngs of mini-games and side-quests for young Link to undergo. Hunting down Golden Bugs, Poes, Sword Techniques, and Heart Pieces, as well as the three (!) bomb bags and the four bottles will give Link a lot to do outside of the main quest.

Graphics: 9/10

I think 90% of people will agree with me when I say that these are easily the best graphics on the Gamecube. Sure, there's no FMVs, but there doesn't have to be. Everything looks flawless. Take the beauty of Ocarina of Time, and multiply it by about 10. That's how good these are.

However, on a second playthrough, I find myself missing Wind Waker's cheeriness and cartoony feel. The game tries to be so classicly artful that it ends up making it look somewhat dry. It's kind of annoying, honestly. I'll be waiting for Phantom Hourglass to deliver that to me, but if you're looking for a work of art, this is a great game to play.

Sound: 8/10

Out of everything in this game, I'd say this is the most disappointing. It took me a while to get used to Link's new voice (although I must say I like it). My main complaint is that Link doesn't make as much noise. I loved it when I pulled a jump attack and Link would scream his head off. Now it's just a mild, "Ha!". Some sound effects just sound out of place, like Link's sword swish.

Many people complain about the fact that most of the music is synthesized. I say who cares, as long as it sounds good! It's not bad, but some tracks get annoying after a while (Ooccoo's theme song). Also, I know everyone else complains about this, but I think it's time for Zelda to step into the new millennium and get some voice-overs. Midna's gurgling and blabbering is annoying.

Story: 10/10

Before anyone (who obviously hasn't played this) says, "Well, what's the difference between the Twilight Realm and the Dark World from A Link to the Past? They just recycled their old storyline." No. False. The Twilight Curtain is a veil of darkness that has transfigured Hyrule into dark world. There is very little so-called Light World left.

Aside from that, the adventure is possibly the most plot-driven Zelda game yet. You'll find out more about Hyrule than ever, and if you had any continuity theories before, it might just mess them up a little. Hyrule is definitely a hard video-game world to keep tabs on, but it's its mystery that keeps us coming back.

Replay Value: 7/10

Zelda's newer adventures tend to have a lot of sub-quests and collectibles. There's no nostalgic trading sequence, but, as I said before, there are tons of collectibles, and tons of upgrades, more than some other Zelda games. You'll get bored after a while, and unfortunately this game doesn't really garner enough attention for tons of playthroughs like its predecessors did.

Many people ask, "Is it better than Ocarina of Time?" After much consideration and re-evaluation of Zelda, I will say this: It's not the best 3D Zelda. Ocarina is good. Twilight Princess is good. If you consider yourself a fan of video games in any way, play both. However, they're both tremendously overrated and are definitely not worth the worship they are given. They're arguably two of the best video games to grace Earth, but people build them up to be some sort of "super games", the both of them. In terms of rent or buy, I would buy it and enjoy it, but don't expect to be glued to it for months upon end, like some other Zeldas. It's a fantastic adventure, but if you expect it to be a god-game, like most people do, you're going to be disappointed.

In short, it's no Majora's Mask, but I'll take it.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/05/07, Updated 08/06/07

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