The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was a vital launch game for the Wii that showed it could produce dark, adult, epic adventures all the way through it’s lifespan. or many people, it was the game of choice at launch and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
Twilight Princess tells a delicate, emotional story that is one of the most mature Nintendo has crafted. Twilight Princess is a wonderfully woven tale about light vanquishing an all-conquering evil that has fallen over Hyrule. You start as a villager who likes to see his friends, look after his pet, Epona, and help the villagers. Of course, this quickly changes, and you soon encounter trouble as you are captured by beasts from the shadows…
At this point, you meet one of the most interesting new characters – Midna. Midna serves as your companion and guide through the game, and your relationship with her is one of the most absorbing in the game. This isn’t the most light-hearted of encounters, however, as you have been transformed into a wolf and you are trapped in a dark, gloomy prison cell. Escaping serves as a challenging tutorial of how to operate as a wolf, and it certainly introduces several different gameplay mechanics. As a wolf, you rely on your senses and physical ability instead of tools and weapons, which normal Link relies upon so much.
Wolf Link is implemented well, and adds variety to the game. I found controlling normal Link to be much more enjoyable, so the fact that Wolf Link is not overused is vital. Each form of Link gets their chance to shine, and the contrast between the dark, shadowy Wolf Link sections and (usually) bright, inviting normal Link sections serves as an extension of the moral of the story Nintendo tells.
While Skyward Sword outdid Twilight Princess’ motion controls 5 years later, it had superior technology to help it. Considering the relative inaccuracy of the original Wii Remote, the motion controls implemented in Twilight Princess are a great achievement. It would have been easy to shoehorn in to much motion control and ruin the epic feel of the game. Luckily, the motion control feels intuitive and makes Link feel like an extension of you (a lot like in Super Mario Galaxy) – you barely realise you are flicking the Wii Remote to slash your sword or use your fishing rod.
The controls are very easy to get to grips with – the Nunchuk’s control stick controls Link’s movement, and the motion control controls the use of your equipment. The buttons on the Wii Remote and Nunchuk are used for equipping items, asking for advice from Midna, using the map…and so on. At no point do the controls feel gimmicky or forced – and this would have been very easy to do.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess contains a lot of the series’ trademark dungeons. Combined with the large amount of content in between dungeons and many side quests, this game will keep you going for a long time. This doesn’t mean that it’s quantity over quality, though – far from it. The dungeons are all fabulous designs that will challenge you in different ways with the puzzles they contain. People will differ in opinion about which are the best, but the general quality of the dungeons gets better as you progress through the game – when you really get into the game you will find some unique and truly brilliant dungeon designs.
When you aren’t being challenged in a dungeon, you are enjoying the diverse range of experiences waiting for you in the large overworld – and it is truly vast. This is the biggest Hyrule yet, and galloping across Hyrule Field on Epona is a stirring experience, even after you have done it countless times. The world is packed with secrets, with heart containers, shining bugs, armour, and more to collect.
While the Wii does lack the graphical grunt of the PS3 and Xbox 360, Twilight Princess proves that the Wii can play games that are visually large and realistic. The graphics are the modern take on Ocarina’s visuals, and give Zelda fans the epic game that they wanted.
There are places where the textures look blurry and edges of objects look a bit rough – but these are mainly hidden in areas where you don’t often look, like corners of mountains and dark rooms. The graphics in important, enthralling cutscenes always look gorgeous, and this makes the game great visually. Character models all look flawless and realise the well-known Zelda cast in this darker take on the franchise.
The aforementioned massive overworld looks great in widescreen mode, with death mountain in the distance and the lush grass of Hyrule Field – this game is the realisation of many Zelda fans’ dream for a realistic, epic Zelda game.
The Legend of Zelda is known for having a great soundtrack, and Twilight Princess does not break this tradition. The tracks are are emotional and always compliment the situation you are in, whether it is buying items from a shop or slaying shadow beasts. Twilight Princess’ soundtrack is one of the best Zelda soundtracks yet, and some of the music is good enough to listen to on its own.The moment you load up the game, one of the best pieces of music from the game is the first thing that hits you. You see Link riding through Hyrule, with an emotional, epic soundtrack in the background. This opening cutscene assures you that you are about to start an amazing, rollercoaster ride through Hyrule (or continue it, I guess).
Place in History
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is at least one of the best ever Zelda games. It feels like a sequel to the classic Ocarina of Time, with it’s massive, scenic areas to explore, absorbing plotline and characters you truly invest in. Ocarina of Time is still regarded as one of, if not the best, game ever made – so the quality of this game is shown when it feels just as good, if not better, to play.
If you are looking for a huge, emotional, gripping adventure that will hold you in for a good 40-60 hours (including side quests), Twilight Princess is perhaps the best out there. This game can be defined simply with one word – epic.
The truth is, I have barely scratched the surface of this game in this review. The plot is long and contains many unexpected twists and turns, but it never feels overworked or boring – you always want to find out what will happen next. The dungeons and puzzles consistently challenge you through the game, forcing you to get better with your skills and improve as you play the game. There are many combat techniques to learn that add depth to the combat, and items that open up ways of solving problems you hadn’t even thought of. I haven’t said much about the plot on purpose – you really have to play this game first-hand, without any idea about the breathtaking moments that you will experience as you play the game. In short, this is a game that anyone with even a passing interest in games needs to have played – ignore the occasional minor flaw, as this is a truly breathtaking game.
Final Score: 10/10
Twilight Princess is a beautifully crafted game. Not only was it a great last title for the Nintendo Gamceube but it was also the perfect game to have as a launch title for the Nintendo Wii. Its dark, its mature and its even somewhat confronting at times, but that’s exactly what puts this game above all other games of the genre. The orchestrated score is memorable and recognisable but definitely not cliché, if anything it feels very nostalgic. The controls have nearly no faults and playing as Wolf Link is no setback. Twilight Princess is a good example of a mostly story-driven game that I would have no issues with playing again. This game may be highly praised by critics and fans alike, but I honestly believe it is underrated. Ocarina of Time is considered not only the best Zelda game, but also the best Video Game of all time, I beg to differ, to me Twilight Princess takes the cake (and no the cake is not a lie). Twilight Princess is a perfect game, and therefore deserves a perfect score, even with its few faults.
Matts Score: 10/10
DISCLAIMER: This entire review was written by William Robinson. Matthew Crethar did however write his Verdict and Score. Aside from Matthew Crethar’s verdict, William Robinson deserves full credit for this review.