reviews\ Nov 20, 2006 at 7:00 pm

The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess - WII - Review

Link spent his youth training, and has spent his life fighting to protect Hyrule. He's seen demons in rainstorms and watched his world turn to darkness. He puts others before himself, hunting for the pieces that can restore the world to its original form time and time again. He doesn't do it because he likes danger, though I'm sure that's why players keep coming back. Link does these things to save the one who this legend is really about: Zelda.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess debuts on Nintendo Wii as an upgraded, gameplay-enhanced port of a GameCube title that has yet to be released. Originally slated for Nintendo's previous console (and shown in playable form on GameCube at E3 05), Twilight Princess is a sequel to and partial remake of The Ocarina of Time. "Partial" – expect the expected. Hyrule will forever be Zelda's magical kingdom. "Sequel" – an amazing and highly inspired adventure that diminishes the need for GameCube exclusivity. In fact, it might've eliminated the need for a 'Cube version altogether.


Sword Play

The biggest question mark surrounding a Zelda game for Nintendo Wii is whether or not you'd able to use the remote to attack. Would Link swing his sword by the motion of the player – or by the motion of your thumb pressing a button?

Twilight Princess meets those ideas somewhere in the middle. You can swing the remote to attack! Light swings are all that's needed to strike, allowing you to execute each move with a flick of the wrist. This feature is not as innovative as if the remote had reacted to your every move, from nearly every angle. It is, however, an extremely intuitive and surprisingly satisfying way to play.

Swing the remote once for Link's basic strike. Swing it a few times consecutively and he'll perform a combo similar to the one used in The Ocarina of Time. Hold Z and press the A button to perform Link's jump attack.

The nunchuck attachment also comes into play. Swing it a couple of times to execute Link's trademark spin attack. This can be done either mid-combo for a quick spin that merges right into the other attacks, or it can be done while standing still. The latter means having to wait for Link to gain momentum before he'll spin.

The idea of flicking a remote to attack didn't sound like much fun. Then again, I didn't think The Wind Waker would be a masterpiece. The Zelda series has a way of misleading gamers, but in a good way. Expectations for this series are higher than for any other first-party game. For three sequels running it has come up with a way to fulfill those expectations in a way most players did not expect.

Could she be the Twilight Princess?

Target Precision

Link is quite handy with a slingshot, and after running through a couple of pre-action chores, Link will be rewarded with his first major weapon. Return home and you'll see a spider climbing on the ladder to Link's room. Press the B button to make him draw the slingshot, and then use the remote to aim.

This, like the remote flicking aspect, is not really innovation. But it is a huge improvement over the stiff and tiresome analog controls. With the Wii remote, I can point directly at the target and fire. No object is too small to be hit – no enemy is too fast to take down.

Fishing is another motion-controlled feature that goes a long way to immerse the player a little deeper into the game world. Cast by whipping the remote forward. Shake to get a fish's attention, and once you have it, pull the remote toward yourself and hold it into place. You'll want to shake, tug, and fight the fish to the finish – but you don't have to. Fishing is more interactive in Twilight Princess than in previous Zelda games, but it is not a re-creation of the real thing. Thus, you don't need to act like you have real-world skills to accomplish the task.

Other Wii remote-specific surprises are waiting to be unearthed, but it is better that you discover these on your own. Avoid reading the manual and explore the game thoroughly. If a puzzle or objective doesn't make since, there's a good chance you missed something.

Aside from the content that's been altered or designed exclusively for Wii, Twilight Princess's controls are nearly identical to The Ocarina of Time. Enemy targeting, evasive techniques, auto-jumping, and communication are all the same. Weapons and items are dispersed a little differently due to the new button layout, but the concept of having items locked in for quick selection has not changed.

You'll apply items to the D-pad and execute them by pressing B (the button underneath the Wii remote). The Z button is attached to the nunchuck, and even though the controller is made of two separate pieces, you won't feel like you're using something foreign or unnatural. It feels like Zelda. And there are few things in this world that are as satisfying as that.


I Don't Remember Seeing This Breed In Nintendogs

Link won't step into a dungeon without first equipping his trusty sword and shield. He's never without his lantern, or jars full of potion.

What would happen if Link were no longer himself? What would he do with all those items should he be transformed into, say, a relative of the canine?

For the time being he'd forget about his items, make like Amaterasu (star of Okami) and take a literal bite out of his enemies. Brought on by a curse not unlike the one that plagues Okami's world, Link will have to accept the transformation temporarily to cure the cursed area. Attack execution does not change for the player – you will still flicker the remote, hold Z to target, and auto-jump as normal. In wolf form, however, Link cannot wield a sword. His attacks are significantly different, using a lot of lunges to get started, and clawing and biting to develop combos.

Playing Okami led to constant thoughts of Zelda and how it led to that game's creation. Now Twilight Princess has led me to think of Okami. There are times when you'll be trapped in a small, circular area with enemies that must be defeated before the barrier can be lifted.

Capcom and Nintendo have collaborated before, but there has been no announcement to indicate that was the case here. Nonetheless, if you love one of these gamse, you will definitely love the other.

(Which brings me to my plea: Capcom, please bring Okami to Wii!)


Classically Introduced

The Ocarina of Time is regarded by many as the best Zelda game. Knowing this, Nintendo kicks off Link's adventure in a place that should be very familiar to the fans. His friends are different, and he does not start the adventure as a little boy. But you'll see some memorable faces, including Epona who can be controlled almost immediately. The story developments are similar to the previous games, as are the preliminary environments.

In the beginning, it’s not as much of a sequel as it as an alternate saga to the ongoing Zelda universe. Part of this is great, nostalgic enjoyment. Another, smaller and less significant part of me wonders why, eight years after The Ocarina of Time was released, we're facing similar scenarios in a game that's come two generations later.

This is a minor complaint, and will be long forgotten by most players as soon as the world turns to darkness. I just don't understand why the developers insisted on having a long and peaceful intro. The first thing I wanted to do was grab my sword and jump into a dungeon. As with The Ocarina of Time, I had to wait. The Wind Waker was a little faster, but not by much. Not since the original Zelda have you been able to get right to the action – and go almost anywhere you wanted – without delay.


Twilight Till The Sun Comes Up

Enter the world of Hyrule and you will never want to leave. Twilight Princess delivers the perfectly addictive, never-sleep-again gameplay that made The Ocarina of Time a colossal hit eight years ago. The retro and revitalized gameplay are everything a Zelda lover could hope for. It's a Tri-force of entertainment – the kind of game that’s worth at least three full play-throughs.

Review Scoring Details for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Gameplay: 9.6
A semi-innovative masterpiece in the style of The Ocarina of Time. Twilight Princess excels in every area that counts. The Wii remote controls are an excellent mix of the past and present. During the first 30 minutes you’ll swear you are playing a remake. Then a few bombs are dropped as you’re pushed into one of Link’s most expansive worlds. Tools and weapons are differentiated from Link’s past via motion-triggered attacks. Rumble and aural feedback are delivered through the Wii remote, the latter of which consists of thuds, classic jingles, and sword swipes.

There are camera imperfections (Twilight uses Ocarina’s auto-view), but they’re no more damaging than before. Despite Wind Waker’s superior, user-controlled camera, most preferred The Ocarina of Time’s darker and more grown up worlds. Regardless of your favorite, Twilight Princess has all the pieces necessary to make the Tri-force complete. In other words, this game is golden.

Graphics: 8.9
Twilight Princess is a gorgeous game designed with older hardware (GameCube) in mind. Despite this, there will be plenty of moments for your jaw to drop. From the large dungeons and real-time lighting to the vigor and fluidity of each character’s animations, players looking for something next-gen will not be blown away, but they will be very impressed.

Sound: 9.0
Another interpretation of Zelda’s classic themes, Twilight Princess doesn’t just sound like a winner – it is one. The music is fueled with depth and inspiration. Sounds, jingles, and other treats are pumped through the Wii remote’s speaker. Voice-overs are strangely absent, but why bog a game down with something that wouldn’t have improved the gameplay experience?

Difficulty: Medium
About as challenging as The Ocarina of Time. Most of the puzzles require thought and revision. The solution is usually simple but not necessarily obvious. Battles, however, range from cakewalk to cake-crushing. It’s nothing too challenging, certainly not for a Zelda fan. But it’s not all that easy either.

Concept: 8.9
Motion controls, new dungeons and puzzles, a revised storyline, revised music, old and new villains, and countless other treats you’ve come to expect from this franchise.

Overall: 9.5
Every Nintendo console has launched with a game that stayed in our systems long after release. I still play the original Mario (NES), Mario World (SNES), Mario 64 (N64), and Pikmin (GameCube). The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is that game for Wii. It’s the game you’ll play through multiple times. It’s a lengthy, massive adventure that, no matter how long it takes you complete, will still be met with the response, “I wish it could’ve been longer.”

That’s because Zelda, along with Mario, Resident Evil, and a few others, belong to a category (not a specific genre) of games that obliterate all other forms of entertainment. I said it in my review of The Wind Waker and I’ll say it again about Twilight Princess: cherish every moment.


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