Review by jsnake9
"The greatest thing to happen to gaming since 3D graphics"
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (here on referred to simply as Twilight Princess) is the latest installment in the award winning Legend of Zelda franchise. After the cartoony graphical style of Wind Waker and having been accustomed to the realistic visuals of Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, many fans were clamoring for a new Zelda to bring the series back to its semi-realistic looks. But above all, the fans wanted a successor to Ocarina of Time (the game frequently hailed as the greatest game of all time). A game that could take the throne as King of Zelda. Nintendo answered the fan's pleas, and delivered Twilight Princess in December of 2006.
Twilight Princess' story line is the best story thus far in a Zelda game. As with all games in the Zelda franchise, the story revolves around a young man named Link who is destined to save the world from the ultimate evil.
Link is a young boy in his late teens doing his job herding goats in his home village named Ordon Village when his life is changed forever. When Link's friends have been kidnapped by evil Moblin marauders, he sets off to save them. After not going too far in his quest, Link encounters a large shadowy door. Soon after, a large hand emerges from the mysterious door and pulls Link into the other side.
When Link regains consciousness, he finds himself barred in prison with chains and all. But that is not all... Link finds that he has been transformed into a wolf! This is when Link meets Midna, an imp from the Twilight Realm. Midna explains that Link was pulled into the Twilight Realm, and that this evil realm transforms whoever wanders into it to the form that most represents them. Midna also explains that Hyrule, the land where everyone in the game resides, has been cast into twilight.
Normally, the Twilight Realm is a land completely separate from Hyrule. But the evil King of Twilight has plans to cover the entire world in Twilight. That is when Link's quest to defeat the King of Twilight and save Hyrule begins.
Final thoughts on the story:
The story of Twilight Princess is far meatier than the story of past Zelda games. Highly cinematic scenes help bring the characters to life more than ever, and the vast amount of plot-twists keep the game interesting even when you're nearing the end of your journey. Although Twilight Princess has a relatively weak story compared to games such as Final Fantasy, the story gets the job done and it should hook players that normally only play games for their story.
Final score for the story: 8/10
Twilight Princess adheres to the typical Zelda formula just as much as the previous games in the series. That is, you control Link through the massive adventure, guiding him through all of the game's massive nine dungeons and pitting him against the servants of evil. Throughout the game, you will encounter nine dungeons. The dungeons have always been the meatiest part of the Zelda franchise and the Zelda games would be drastically different without their dungeons.
In these dungeons, the player will guide Link throughout their whole entire complex. In all dungeons, Link will always be barred entrance to some areas in the dungeon because he lacks an item that is needed to proceed. About thirty minutes or so into each dungeon, Link will encounter a mini-boss of sorts and prize is, you guessed it, the item needed to proceed further into the dungeon. After the player has found this item, the whole entire dungeon opens up and it turns into a massive exploration-filled segment.
Every single dungeon also houses a boss which grants the player an item tied to the story (also needed to progress the story, and finish the game) upon defeat. To gain access to the boss' chamber, the player must search the dungeon for the Boss Key which unlocks the special lock mechanism installed onto the boss door. The bosses are the most epic enemies in Twilight Princess and probably the most exciting creatures ever encountered in a Zelda game. The player will usually find themselves up against a boss that has a particular weak-point. To exploit this weak-point, the player must use the previously gained item in the respective dungeon. Other times, the player will find that the boss can be defeated by simply repeatedly slashing it with your sword.
When Link isn't exploring the massive dungeons of Hyrule, he is exploring Hyrule itself. The land of Hyrule is presented in an extremely large field that takes forty-five minutes to traverse one side to another. Hyrule Field is also home to a massive number of treasures. From extra heart pieces which grant the player more life energy to Rupees which are the main currency of the game. Players will find all these treasures and more as they take the time to explore every nook and cranny of Hyrule Field.
And then when players aren't exploring Hyrule Field or traversing the dungeons, they will find themselves turned into a wolf. Yes, the main plot-twist of the story also serves as an integral part of the gameplay, and it really adds a new layer to the Zelda experience, albeit a rather non-enjoyable layer.
The wolf (here on referred to as Wolf Link because it is Link transformed into a wolf) is really simply there to be controlled for an incredibly tedious part of the game. Fortunately, this particular segment only takes a half-hour or so, but it is an incredibly boring half-hour. The segment in question involves the player looking for Tears of Light while in wolf form. These tears are the key to ridding Hyrule of the evil twilight (the rest of the game is about defeating the King of Twilight). The player must use their enhanced vision and sight powers while in wolf form to find the invisible Tears of Light. Fortunately, the game's map outlines the location of the tears. However, the tears are so far apart from each other that it takes an extremely long time to find them all.
After the Tears of Light have been found, the game pretty much scraps Wolf Link except for vital parts of the story. Wolf form is still used in some parts of the game, but these parts are so insignificant that it seems that Wolf Link is really only a plot device which is a shame because controlling Link as a wolf has a lot of potential, and it's sad to see that potential go to waste.
Twilight Princess also suffers from an extreme lack of combat difficulty. The game is extremely hard when it comes to puzzles and figuring out what to do, but when it comes to combat, the game's difficulty is dramatically decreased. Enemies, at the most, deliver only two hearts (life energy) worth of damage, and this is when you are fighting the most formidable foes in the game. The player can really get through the game with only the amount of heart containers the game has lying in plain sight which means that exploration is not really needed to get through the game unlike past Zelda games. Speaking of exploration, the game doesn't really reward players for extensive exploration. Most of the time, players will stray off the beaten path, and merely find a treasure chest full of Rupees. When this happens, the player feels cheated for the effort they just went through thinking they may have gotten an extra heart container or something more useful.
However, despite these short-comings, Twilight Princess delivers an amazing adventure full of top-notch gameplay.
Final thoughts on gameplay:
Twilight Princess' gameplay suffers from a few flaws. Mainly the lack of rewards for extensive exploration, and the tedious-ness of the Wolf Link segments. However, Twilight Princess still has the most depth and overall enjoyment of the Zelda franchise. And for that, its gameplay should be given a score of...
Final score for gameplay: 9/10
Twilight Princess has the greatest visuals of any Gamecube game ever made. Nintendo really pushed the Gamecube's five year old hardware to the limit to produce the amazing graphics of Twilight Princess. The lighting is highly realistic as Link's sword and shield gleam beautifully in the morning sun, and light reflects off water surfaces to make the game highly immersive. Nintendo gave an amazing attention to detail when they made Twilight Princess and it shows that in every character model, every texture, and just plain everything.
The sound and music however is a mixed bag. Well, rather the music is a mixed bag. The classic Zelda tunes are all there. From the classic discovery tune that plays when you discover a secret passage, to the sound that plays when you acquire a new item. Small voice-overs are also played when you talk to an NPC or slash your sword. Nintendo made sure every sound-effect is top-notch, but the music is iffy.
Music consists of MIDIs (albeit, very high-quality MIDIs) instead of full orchestra like all the fans were clamoring for. Classic Zelda music which strikes nostalgia into Zelda fans everywhere have absolutely no showing in this game. Rather, all the music is completely new music. That's not really a bad thing, per se, but when the music isn't as great as the original music... Well, that's a different story.
The music fits each and every area perfectly however from the eerie music of Arbiter's Grounds to the cheerful and up-beat music of Ordon Village. Everything fits... It just doesn't sound that great.
Final score for graphics: 10/10
Final score for music/sound: 7/10
Twilight Princess has a lot to offer in terms of replay value. The main quest itself takes upwards of forty hours, and that's if you rush! But for perfectionists, finding every single heart container/item, and exploring every nook and cranny will take over one-hundred hours. Twilight Princess is also so amazing that you won't be able to play it just once. Like Ocarina of Time, you'll find yourself wanting to play Twilight Princess over and over again.
Final score for replay value: 10/10
Final thoughts on The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess:
One word: wow. That is the only way to describe Twilight Princess. Nintendo went all out and created one of the finest games in history. Twilight Princess is a game that everyone should play. It is the greatest thing to happen to gaming since the invention of 3D graphics. That is all there is to say.
Final score for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: 10/10
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 01/22/07
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