Review by unclehosh

"A dark and epic Zelda adventure that has something for almost everyone."

The Legend of Zelda series has always enchanted me with its beautiful music, genius level design, and charming visuals. Twilight Princess seems to take the best of every Zelda game and combine it into one amazing game with an astounding amount of content.

Graphics- 8.5/10
Twilight Princess is an incredibly beautiful game. The opening menu is very reminiscent of Ocarina of Time, and the very realistic lighting creates a mood that only Nintendo is capable of creating. The shading and textures are all very realistic, and areas are vast and detailed. That being said, Twilight Princess does suffer from a few nasty looking textures, particularly on stone walls or floors. Also, character models look very blocky. Hair is one big blob on Link's head with two stick-shaped strands for sideburns. Characters' hands are clumped together, and their fingers never separate. In certain areas, Link's arm looks like a skin colored pole with a block attached to the end of it (Look at his arm when he calls in a bird at the beginning of the game with a plant). There is also no upgrade when going from the Gamecube version to the Wii version. Considering the fact that Twilight Princess was one of the first games released on the Wii, the expectations set for it are high. In the end, the graphics can be called solid, but they are nothing when compared to the graphics of the Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 . However, Nintendo does a fantastic job of working with what they have here. Bosses are all very well designed, and will make even the most impassive gamer uncomfortable. Some of the cutscenes are jaw dropping, especially when the gamer considers that this is technically a Gamecube title.

Music- 10/10
The music in Twilight Princess is beyond gorgeous. So many of the themes here, like the Hyrule Field theme, are sure to warm their way into any gamer's heart. With the exception of a few songs, like the three to four note ditty the game plays when Link is fighting an enemy, Twilight Princess again proves that Nintendo is simply one of the best at creating music to establish the right mood for any game. There was not one point in the game where I was left wondering why a song was chosen for a certain area. The biggest drawback is the fact that the music is not fully orchestrated. It is not a huge issue, but there is no use in denying that the music would be better if Nintendo had spent a little more time with this game.

Story- 10/10
Twilight Princess is the most disturbing and depressing game in the Zelda series since Majora's Mask. After losing a war with an evil King named Zant, Princess Zelda is forced to watch as her kingdom is bathed in the Twilight, an oppressive force that turns all the people of Hyrule into ghosts and any creature into a menacing abomination. Link's friends are kidnapped, and he goes after them. When he enters the Twilight, his power prevents him from becoming a ghost. He turns into a wolf, and a mysterious being named Midna decides to help him free the land of Hyrule from the Twilight. Death and violence are a common theme in Twilight Princess, despite the rating. There is not doubt in arguing that this is definitely a game meant for older gamers. Clever writing and brilliant cutscenes allow the story to flow smoothly, without getting boring or far-fetched.

Gameplay- 10/10
The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess offers some of the best gameplay in the entire Zelda series. The implementation of motion controls actually enhance the experience. With a little flick of the remote, Link will swing his sword. The motion bar detects just about every movement, so you will barely have to wiggle it. When aiming certain weapons, like the bow or boomerang, you will have to point at the screen. These sections are not common, so you will not have to worry about your arms getting tired. My only complaint is one of the hidden skills: The Shield Bash. By flicking the nunchuk forward, Link is supposed to hit with his shield. It rarely worked for me, and I ended up avoiding its use. The items in Twilight Princess are fairly typical for the series, with the addition of a few new ones. It is unfortunate that most of the items are only used a few times before being left unwanted in your item pouch. The dungeons are are very cleverly designed, and they test your ability to fight, think outside the box, and use the items in your arsenal. The boss fights are all intense and innovative, but they are shockingly easy. Bosses that are easily twenty times Link's size only take about 6 hits with a sword to finish off. The same goes for regular combat. I never got a game over in the entire campaign, and that is not a typical occurrence for me in other Zelda games. The actual game can take about twenty to forty hours to beat. It is extremely long, and dozens of side quests can easily add another ten to fifteen hours to your play time. Hyrule Field is packed with hidden items and heart pieces. Even after getting everything I wanted, I realized that I was not nearly done with the game. The map in Twilight Princess is absolutely enormous. Going from one end of the map to the other can take upwards of an hour (with the horse!). Warp points make traveling a lot easier, and Epona's handles very well. Similar to Ocarina of Time, Link can use spurs to give Epona a temporary boost of speed. I rarely had any problems with Epona's handling. Playing as the wolf form offers a creative method of exploration. Link can jump to very high places or see where hidden treasures are buried. It unfortunately takes a while before you can switch at will, but the segments in which you play as the wolf are all very fun. In one instance, Link is forced to jump hundreds of feet to escape a pillar of flame coming towards him. After the gut wrenching drop, Link lands safely in the lake below. Instances like this occur often in Twilight Princess. Overall, I enjoyed Twilight Princess. It has some of the best gameplay in the series, and that is saying something.

Twilight Princess is a great game with a lot to do. The easy difficulty is a bit of a disappointment, but a game with so much content is bound to have a few flaws. The fact that so few are present makes Twilight Princess a must own for anyone looking for a truly epic Zelda experience.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 02/27/12, Updated 08/03/12

Game Release: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (US, 11/19/06)

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