Revisiting Twilight Princess Post Skyward Sword
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a great game. We can all accept that, right? Sure, it was originally meant to be a GameCube exclusive, and sure, it was ported to the Wii with tacked-on motion controls. But when you look past that, we really got a wonderful Zelda game with beautiful environments, impressive dungeons, a good story, and yet another excellent soundtrack. Twilight Princess was a new chapter in the Zelda series in 2006, and it was both lovely and brilliant.
Of course, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has launched, and many gamers argue that it is the true Zelda experience for the Wii. While that may be so, we're not here to address that. Instead, let's just see how much of the magic in Twilight Princess remains intact now that we've played Skyward Sword. Boasting fantastically colorful graphics, an orchestrated soundtrack, and one-to-one motion controls, Skyward Sword definitely gives Twilight Princess a run for its money.
When I first played Twilight Princess back in 2006, I fell in love with it immediately. The game just evoked some wonderful emotions in me, it challenged me, and it really gripped me to the point where I couldn't stop playing. Twilight Princess had some great side-quests, colorful characters, interesting towns, and some of the biggest and best dungeons in the entire series. And at the time, even though they were technically tacked-on, I still thought the controls were pretty good.
Then I played Skyward Sword, and you know what? Only a few things have changed as far as my opinion goes. For starters, Twilight Princess certainly feels fairly older than its successor. The animations and physics definitely show their age, making it apparent that this is indeed an early generation Wii game, or rather a GameCube game ported to the Wii. Link's movement is more stiff than in Skyward Sword, and even though it's most certainly functional, it's tough to ignore just how much smoother everything in Skyward Sword feels.
Then there are the game's controls. Twilight Princess traded button taps for flicks of the Wii Remote. It was simple and intuitive, and it pretty much replaced a push of the A button for sword swings with a very simplistic hand motion. But hey, it worked, didn't it? It may not have been the most outstanding change for the series, but it was fun and it was novel. Skyward Sword really manages to outdo Twilight Princess as far as controls are concerned because everything is more immersive. You really need to swing that Wii Remote properly if you want to defeat foes; puzzles rely on twists of the wrist; and a lot of Link's weapons require a steady hand. Unfortunately, not every action is carried out successfully in Skyward Sword, and at times, the motion controls can be slightly problematic.
The dungeon design of both games is also exponentially different. Twilight Princess is a lot like older Zelda games in that its dungeons are bigger with more rooms and more floors. Skyward Sword moves away from this dungeon design and instead goes for smaller dungeons that are more focused on motion-heavy puzzles and combat. Because of this, Twilight Princess has an older Zelda feel, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. And given just how impressive the dungeons are and how daunting some of those puzzles can be, there's no denying that Twilight Princess has some clever elements that really challenge you throughout the game's entirety.
As far as the visual presentation goes, Twilight Princess is really showing its age these days. When the game launched, it looked pretty impressive. There were a few blurry textures and low-res spots, but the lighting effects and art design were absolutely superb most of the time. After playing Skyward Sword, though, it's hard to return to the world of Twilight Princess without noticing how much more amazing Link's latest adventure looks.
Thankfully, the sound in Twilight Princess doesn't suffer from these same issues. Yes, the game's soundtrack is completely MIDI-based, but who cares? The music in Twilight Princess is excellent. With beautiful new versions of favorites such as the Zora's Domain and Lost Woods themes, there's no denying the amount of brilliance and nostalgia that shines through. No, Twilight Princess doesn't have a snazzy orchestrated soundtrack like Skyward Sword, but the music is as lovely as ever.
For the most part, Twilight Princess manages to retain a lot of the magic that it first exuded back in 2006. Yes, the game feels significantly older than Skyward Sword, and if you were to argue that Link's more recent adventure on the Wii was the better game, you'd get no disagreement from me. In almost every way, Skyward Sword is better than Twilight Princess. That said, Twilight Princess is still a remarkably amazing experience with a wonderful cast of characters, an emotional story, practically flawless dungeon design, and yet another great soundtrack.