Review by Arnzillazor

"Yet again Nintendo shows us what they are truly capable of."

The Legend of Zelda. The name of a series so well-known, that oftentimes people only need to know a new Zelda game is coming out for them to pre-order it or want to buy it, knowing nothing or next to it about the game itself. This is not undeserved, especially for the latest entry into the series, Twilight Princess. Let me to tell you why.

The Legend of Zelda games usually have a fair bit in common, the most prominent being the exploration of a multitude of different dungeons to acquire a plethora of treasures that allow you to advance in the game. When you hear someone talking about the "tried-and-true Zelda formula," this is most likely what they're talking about. It is a very engaging system that to me, doesn't get old, but better each time.

I really don't want to elaborate on the story too much because I don't want to give anything away. The game is too good for that. I'll try to keep it simple.

The game starts out with the main character, Link, in his home of Ordon Village. After the game really gets going, Link has more than a very large quest in front of him: he has paws, and a new companion. The story's premise is to find out the mystery of the twilight that covers Hyrule, and do whatever you can to save your beautiful world. To do so, you'll need to travel to many different areas, meeting numerous new friends — and foes. I've already said too much. Go out and buy the game to see what really happens to Link, his friends, and Hyrule…

The controls are very basic, but nearly flawless. Everything is top-notch, and you can really feel the level of quality that went into the game's controls when you finally get a controller in your hands. The learning curve is short — maybe 30 minutes. And if you've played Ocarina of Time or Majora's Mask, then you're all set, because the controls are very similar. Since this game was originally designed for the GameCube, then ported to the Wii, there has been a very large debate over which version is better. Having played a little of both versions enough to compare their controls, I can say that playing one over the other will hardly detract from your Twilight Princess experience. Both have their ups and downs, but I'd say to try out both first if you can. In the end, it's preferential.

A very important aspect of a 3D Zelda game is its combat system. Namely, how the swordplay works. This is where the quality of the controls will really shine. You press the B button to pull out your sword. You can also press L to L-Target, which will target the nearest enemy. Holding B or spinning the analog stick 360 degrees, then pressing B will let you do a spin attack, attacking all around you. New to Twilight Princess are sword techniques, but I'll let you discover the mystery behind them...

As with all Zelda games, throughout most of your adventure you'll be going through various dungeons. Each dungeon will generally have a theme, and along with it, a fairly specific way of getting through it. They are filled with puzzles and new types of enemies, which always keeps things interesting; there is a pretty good balance between puzzles and combat within the dungeons.

What really makes this game enjoyable above all else, is its diversity. You are not going to go from one dungeon to another and feel that it is so very similar to the previous one. Each dungeon is going to provide you with a whole new area to explore, new puzzles to solve, and even a new item that will help you progress further in that particular dungeon — and the game. There are so many items in this game, that by the time you reach the end you'll wonder how they fit on your item select screen. There's the bow, which you can aim in first-person view, bombs, and many other treasures that I refuse to spoil for you. When Link opens a chest that contains the dungeon's treasure, you'll be dying in anticipation to know what the item is.

There are quite a few puzzles within the dungeons, as I've said, but they certainly aren't limited to dungeons. You'll find some puzzles that might even take you a little while to figure out. It's neat, because while you're often rewarded for getting through a puzzle, sometimes just getting through it or being allowed to progress is reward enough.

Twilight Princess is filled with mini-games. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least 6. There is fishing, canoeing, and even some unique games that make use of items you have found. All of them provide a fun little dose of escapism from your quest, and you might just get something if you play them enough.

The gameplay in Twilight Princess is some of the best you will experience in a console game. Whether it is riding your horse around the beautiful world of Hyrule, battling a group of enemies, or solving a puzzle in one of the game's expansive dungeons. It's all very enjoyable. The game as a whole isn't too hard, but there are some parts that might rattle your brain for a little while, as I've said.

Calling this game beautiful, gorgeous, or anything synonymous to those words does not do it justice. And while it's no Resident Evil 4, this game is a completely different art style, so in a way I think it is just as nice. On more than one occasion you'll likely stop yourself from whatever you're doing just to kick back and admire the scenery. There are some textures that aren't without flaws, but they don't take enough away from the game to admonish its graphics in general. I've not played this game in progressive scan, either, and I'm pretty impressed with its graphics.

My only real complaint within this game lies with its music. Some of the songs are very memorable and delightful to the ear, but what they are lacking is quality (and I'm referring to format and bitrate here: nothing else). Because of Nintendo's choice to use 1.8 GB discs, they simply can't have a large amazing world and equally amazing music. The audio is compressed to a level where you can tell it is not as good as it could be. Hell, maybe it's just the audiophile in me, and you can ignore this. Either way, it really is not a big enough deal to hurt your experience too much. This is Zelda, people.

The sound effects on the other hand, are pretty nicely done. From sword clashes, to wails of rage during an attack, to Link's footfalls while he's running, you're in for some nice sounding stuff. If you have a surround sound setup that works with Dolby Pro Logic II, that's compatible with Twilight Princess and sounds very nice.

Again, the music is good — no, great — but the audio compression (and therefore lack of quality) is a real shame.

The game can be beat in about 30 hours. However, if you're someone who likes to do everything you can possibly do and literally explore everything, expect to throw a good 70-80 hours into this game — the GameCube's "swan song," to quote IGN. Once you've beaten it and done everything, you might want to start a new game to experience it all over again, though it obviously won't be as compelling as your first time through. Then again, maybe you'll want to beat it without getting as many Heart Containers, or perhaps you'll want to purposefully neglect the use of certain items to challenge yourself. Either way, it's a lengthy adventure the first time through, and one epic enough to warrant a purchase.

Your only excuse for renting this game is if you can't afford it. Even so, save the money you'd have used to rent it to start a Twilight Princess fund. It is worth every penny to pick this game up and enjoy it at your own pace; not feel like you need to rush through it because you rented it. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is one of the best games ever made. And that's really all there is to it. This is one to own, folks.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 01/12/07

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