Review by general531

"Another instant classic for the Gamecube"

About once or twice a year, I play a game that makes my jaw literally drop to the floor. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is one of those games. I can tell you right now this game is just perfect. Every little thing is done just right. When you play this game, you will have to agree that you are playing one of the best video games EVER.

Beautiful, splendid, and thought-provoking are at best understatements. I just can't come up with the words to describe just how gorgeous the graphics look. The visuals do a great job of pushing the Game-cube hardware to its limits and the motion capture, as well as the scenery, is rich in quality. Most of Link's motions are life-like and make you feel that you are looking at real-life individuals instead of computer-generated images images. Speaking of the character appearances, almost every character and every creature is completely re-designed. The visual effects are finely tuned and does not over-exaggerate the action. The visuals inside the caves and dungeons are fitting for the mood inside of them. The lighting effects are also perfectly done. The only minuscule flaw to the graphics is that some of the textures are a little dated, but they are hard to see anyway and when you engage in combat, you won't care at all. Overall, the graphics are just lovely and pushes the Game-cube to its limits. In fact, I didn't know the Cube was capable such graphic beauty.

The controls of the past 3-D Zelda games were fine-tuned, and Twilight Princess is no exclusion. In fact, Nintendo improved on them. The aiming is more precise in this game and the camera stick rotates the camera a little slower so you can get the angle you want without having to swing back.

The controls of wolf Link are intuitive and easy to master. You can, as a wolf, attack and bite your enemies, you can dig up rupees and hearts. Wolf Link call also call-up his partner to help leap from pillar to pillar over deep chasms. Wolf Link can also create an energy field. Any enemies in that field will meet a sad fate.

Speaking of skills, Link learns new sword skills. Some of which include the back-slice and the finisher. All of the new moves Link learns are easy to master and will be second nature.

The controls of Link's horse are also intuitive, but horseback combat will take some time to master. The jump control is nicely done.

Overall the controls are just perfect and when you get everything mastered, enemies better start praying now.

Game Design:
The Zelda formula that worked for so many of its games returns in Twilight Princess. Exploring every nook and cranny in towns, all of the countryside, and the dungeons will take hours, maybe even months of your life. In fact, Nintendo put a stronger emphasis on the exploration. You will need to find five pieces of heart to make a full heart container. You will need to find golden bugs to find larger wallets. You will need to acquire poe souls to free a man from his curse. Nintendo not only stayed with the winning Zelda formula, but also expanded it.

The terrain has been completely redesigned and each province will have its own special terrain feature. One province will have hills and prairies, while another province will have a giant chasm. The terrain does have an effect on exploration and combat, pending on which province you are in.

Now the key of the game, the Twilight Realm. I have a good feeling that this is what the Dark World in "A Link to the Past" would have looked like. The realm will give you a sense of fright.

The secondary screens have also been altered. Case in point: the Item Screen. No longer do you have to pause to access items. You press up on the D-Pad to bring up your items. You can either cycle through your items or directly select them.

Speaking of items, many of your items return but you will find new ones as well. Some of the new items include the Gale Boomerang, which will put out fires, necessary for solving puzzles. Another new item is the Water Bomb. Unlike regular bombs, these work underwater.

Just like it was with Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker, music plays an intricate role. Link will encounter howling stones in this game. These stones will howl a melody. Wolf Link will need to howl back the tune. This is done with the A button and the control stick. The purpose is to find golden wolves to learn new sword techniques.

Many of the new items are executed perfectly, the terrain is varied and vast, wolf Link fits the game play just fine. Nintendo designed this game beautifully and I didn't expect anything less. In fact, it was more than I expected.

Once again, the audio in the Zelda games doesn't disappoint. The sound effects are spot-on and doesn't overemphasize. The sound of metal clanging with metal, the bubbling of lava, the hooves of your horse on the surface, whether it be on grass, dirt, or rock, is executed perfectly.

The voice acting is also one of the games very scant and minuscule flaws. Don't get me wrong, though. The voice acting is satisfactory; there just isn't enough of it. You will get to hear Link's grunts, but there is no spoken word of dialogue. You do get to hear voices of other characters to get a sense of emotions, though.

The music is just stunning. The orchestra outdid itself with the soundtrack. I think the soundtrack should be available at retail. That is how good it is. Many new tunes are introduced in this game but Zelda veterans will recognize older ones. The music fits well in certain environments and locations, In other words, the music represents the environment and situation. My only gripe with the music is the lack of the original Zelda theme. I love the over-world theme in this game, but I want a nostalgia trip sometimes. Nevertheless, the soundtrack is majestic and one of the best in video game history.

The story is deep and features plot twists. I found myself playing the game frequently just to find out what happens next. If you put an emphasis on story, this game is a great choice. I am glad to tell you this because the Zelda franchise usually focuses on game-play more than the story. The storyline is engaging and will keep you playing constantly.

I am just floored with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. The graphics are life-like, the control is easy to master, the terrain is vast and varied, the plot is well-written, the audio is well-done, and the overall design exceeded my expectations. Twilight Princess was worth the numerous delays and is a fitting finale for the Game-cube. There is no reason not to buy this classic gem, either for the Game-cube or Wii. Everything is fine-tuned and you are given vast amounts of territory to explore, hone your combat skills, ride your horse, and to look at the beautiful scenery. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is just a magnificent game that Nintendo perfectly crafted and should be considered one of the best games ever.

Rent or Buy:
Buy this game. Doesn't matter which version, just buy it. You will not be disappointed I assure you.

Which version should I buy?
It depends on you. The Wii version has better aiming precision with the Wii-mote, but sword combat will take time to master. The aiming isn't as precise on the Game-cube version, but the sword combat is easy to master. Outside of the controls, there isn't much difference between the two versions, but the graphics are reflected from each other. For example, if you have to go east at a point in the Wii version, you will go west in the Game-cube version. Either way, both versions are worth buying

Score: 10 out of 10 and my highest recommendation

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 02/09/07

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