Review by PaperLink

"Not perfect, but a great game and launch title."

So, the Wii has launched and Twilight Princess, which had been delayed for over a year and then reworked for the new console, has also launched. The main questions: Does having motion-sensing controls interfere with the classic Zelda gameplay? How about horseback battles? Is Wolf Link a confusing new element of this particular Zelda game?

For the motion-sensing controls, not exactly. Not to say it's completely perfect, but it works rather well for this game. You have your usual cascade of items with some new twists to them and all your equipment, all easily managed with the pointer functions of the Wii Remote. You assign items with the D-pad, and use them with the B button. It's a bit confusing at first, but about 15 minutes or so, it'll be a breeze to manage. The pointing functions work wonders for projectile weapons such as the Slingshot, providing pinpoint accuracy whenever needed. However, the Wii Remote is very sensitive, so there will be those times when the pointer disappears, causing the game to prompt you to point the Wii Remote on the screen again.

Swordplay and fishing is done with the Wii Remote's motion-sensing controls as well. The fishing is done well, you can pull hard on the Wii Remote to grab a fish on the line, and with certain rods, you can use the Nunchuk as a reel to reel in the fish. It's quite vigorous, so those who get tired easily need not apply.
Bobber fishing is simple, once the bobber goes down about halfway, you simply hold the Wii Remote up until you catch the fish. Sword fighting on the other hand is where the Wii controls feel tacked on. You flick the Wii Remote in any direction in order to swing Link's sword. However, it doesn't really feel like you're actually swing the sword, as a slice in any direction will only register as a normal slice. Swinging the Wii Remote multiple times will result in combos, but it feels a bit clunky and would've been done better if it were assigned to the B button or so. A nice touch to the series is that you can now swing your sword on horseback and while moving, so you can protect yourself on horseback and cut enemies and grass faster on the ground. There are also special sword moves you can learn over the course of the game, most of them providing extra ways of defeating foes, like the useful Ending Blow.

Wolf Link isn't too different from Link's normal form, except you can dig in certain spots, sense spirits or enemies, and use a major attack by pressing and holding the B button. Until the halfway point of the game, Wolf Link is used in 3 fetch quests that require you to kill bugs to earn Tears of Light. It's a bit tedious to keep looking for these tears, when Nintendo could've spent just a bit more time designing more dungeons or a few side-quests. Later on, the wolf form can be used for certain puzzles and warping around the massive land of Hyrule. Ultimately, it just seems to be a different way of controlling Link by the end of the game. It's a nice touch to the game, but it could've been fleshed out a little more than just being used to kill bugs and warp around Hyrule.

Like any Zelda game, Twilight Princess has dungeons, 9 of them to be exact. They are massive dungeons, certainly bigger than the dungeons seen in previous Zelda games like Ocarina of Time. All of them follow a central theme and they are very well-developed and fleshed-out. The puzzles in each dungeon can go from easy to solve, like in the first dungeon, to real brainteasers, (I'm looking at you, Dungeon 7...). The dungeons follow the typical Zelda formula: Explore the dungeon, find the map, fight the mini-boss for the special dungeon item, use said item to solve other puzzles, find the compass, find the big key, and then progress far enough into the dungeon to face the dungeon's usually huge as hell boss. The main difference between these dungeons and previous Zelda dungeons, is that these dungeons are massive in size, certainly much bigger than others in previous games. You'll spend a good amount of time going through the dungeons, trust me, this is a good thing. The only complaint I have against these dungeons is that some puzzles are far too easy and the bosses/mini-bosses, which look imposing, are rather simple to finish off.

The main overworld of Twilight Princess is absolutely massive, it would take quite some time going through the field on foot. It's also packed with enemies, Twilight Princess ups the difficulty from Wind Waker by stuffing in more tougher enemies and higher encounter rates. There are a fair amount of items to collect throughout the game, so you'll be busy with this game for a long time. Mini-games also play a role in the game at times, but mostly serve as addicting time sinks whenever you get tired of the adventure.
RollGoal (which is incredibly frustrating), herding goats, fishing, taking a row down the Zora's River while practicing with your arrows, sumo wrestling, and even snowboarding are some of the mini-games scattered around Twilight Princess's world. Some are required to progress through the game, but others are there simply to earn optional prizes or serve as time sinks. Rest assured, you won't be blazing this game in less than a day.

Twilight Princess is a beautiful game to look at....on the GameCube. The Wii version is a direct port of the GameCube version, but there are no graphical improvements in the game because of the new hardware, so it does look a bit dated compared to other games available on Wii or other next-gen consoles. Regardless, it does show off what the GameCube was capable of, and with the addition of 480i support being on the Wii, this game certainly is a looker. Barring some frame rate issues at certain areas, Twilight Princess runs very fluidly with almost no loading times at all. Some details, such as the ground at certain areas, look a little blurry perhaps because this game was originally being developed as a GameCube title before being ported over to the Wii. Other details, such as enemy designs and environmental effects look incredible. This game is a graphical powerhouse, but it doesn't use the Wii's power to full potential since it is a GameCube game at its core.

What the Wii version lacks in comparison to the GameCube version, is the lack of camera control. Some may think this is a bad thing, but Twilight Princess's camera is pretty well-designed so any camera problems besides hordes of enemies crowding you is practically non-existent. There are times that the camera may make things difficult, but that is solved with Z-targeting on the Nunchuk attachment. Using the C button, also on the Nunchuk, gives you a first-person perspective to look around the area. This works fine, but the pointer often interferes with the view of the camera, often causing to move when you don't want it to. It's a bit of a headache to deal with, but this is a consequence of having the pointer functions on the Wii.

The game's soundtrack is a mix of classic tunes from previous games and a slew of new tunes for the dungeons and new locales. They are pretty well-done, with many of the songs heard throughout the game being references to other games in the series. None of the music is orchestrated, but with the resources used, Nintendo did a pretty good job with Twilight Princess's soundtrack. Hyrule Field gives way to a booming tune, while the Twilight Realm has that strange and spooky mood with its music. Most of the dungeon themes are very quiet, but it does fit the mood very well.

This game is a classic, barring a few of its minor problems. The main game is quite long, you won't be finishing this game in a day. As for replay value, it is a pretty lengthy quest, so after finishing it the first time, you might want to put it down for a while. Those mini-games such as fishing and RollGoal do manage to consume a lot of time though....

So, is it better than the GameCube version? Not really, they're both the same game just with different controls and mirrored maps and other minor differences. In all, it comes down to a matter of preference. For those looking for a new experience, pick up the Wii version of Twilight Princess. Otherwise, you can still purchase the GameCube version. Regardless of the system, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a fantastic game, and is a recommended buy for anybody.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 12/26/06

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