The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess - Staff Review  

A Wii-ly Fun Trip Through Hyrule
by Jordan Jackson

30-45 hours


Rating definitions 

   Since the early days of Nintendo systems, the Legend of Zelda has always been a fan favorite with its seemingly eternal struggle for the Triforce. Regardless of when or where the game takes place, players always assume the role of Link, a green-clad youth with uncanny sword skills. For many, it has been the dream to take up sword and shield and actually be Link himself, and now on Nintendo's newest console, players can do exactly that as they try to purge Hyrule of the shadowy twilight in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

   Like all the recent console Zelda games, the action takes place from a third person perspective except for when using certain items. But unlike other iterations, this time the bulk of the fighting is done using the Wii's motion sensing controller and nunchuck attachment. Regular sword swings are handled with the Wii Remote, and spiral slashes and some special attacks are executed by moving the nunchuck in various ways. Link's wolf form handles much the same way as his human form with the ability to use items traded for enhanced mobility and sensory perception.

   As for the controls themselves, they are much smoother than they were when the game was playable at the Wii booth at E3, but they still manage to feel tacked on. Twilight Princess also makes use of the Wii Remote's ability to point at objects, but it is somewhat of a double-edged sword. On one hand, aiming is much faster with the pointer, but unless you have the steady hand of a surgeon, you'll have your share of missed shots. Even worse, item selections from the menu often result in whatever is right next to what you were going for. This inconvenience is somewhat balanced by the joy using the Wii remote to target an enemy before unleashing an arrow of death. But if the pointer isn't your thing, it can be turned off. In that case, weapons aiming and menus navigation is handled with the thumb stick on the nunchuck. Both have their advantages, so it just comes down to whichever seems to be the most comfortable.

Caption An Epic Battle

   Twilight Princess has graphics that are on par with games from the GameCube era of gaming, but that's hardly surprising considering it was originally intended for that system. For what it's worth, the visuals are pretty, and each dungeon has a unique look and feel to them. Those expecting the graphical prowess of the PS3 or 360 will be slightly disappointed, but component cables can help a little.

   The music is very well done, but sadly, Nintendo opted for synthesized music over an orchestrated score. Despite this, the music is one of the best aspects of Twilight Princess. Fans of the series will also recognize many familiar tunes remixed throughout the game, and the new songs are just as good. As good as the music is, the sound effects leave much to be desired. They seem completely recycled from Ocarina of Time, and Nintendo uses the built-in speaker on the Wii Remote far too much. Though the idea seems good in theory, in practice, the little speaker reduces every grunt, bash, or weapon firing to a tinny, almost horrid sound that cannot be turned off.

   Overall, Twilight Princess has a pretty solid script with the usual occasional short voice clip thrown in. It would have been nice for full voice acting, but considering that bad voices can all but ruin games, it seems like Nintendo opted for the safer route. And with the exception of Midna, Link's constant companion, there's not much dialogue anyway.

Caption Four-Legged Fun

   As for the plot, it's typical Zelda fare, but the series has never really been story driven. Also, Link's lupine form is a nice addition to the mix, but players that have played other Zelda games will find that too many of the dungeon locations are similar to past excursions through Hyrule. The game attempts to make up for this by putting new twists on some of the items, but in the end, some change to the formula would be appreciated.

   Speaking of dungeons, though they are relatively long, exploring the various palaces throughout Hyrule is quite linear. Each one will have you looking for a small key to continue to the next area. Usually, backtracking is only needed should an item like the boss key be missed, something that is sometimes easy to do. Also, the puzzles the series is known for can range from overly simple to perplexing, only to find the solution was actually quite simple. Most bosses tend to be on the easy side, but all are significantly large with quite epic battles. In fact, the boss battles are probably the best part of the game. It's easy to wish there were more dungeons just so there would be more boss battles.

   In the end, Twilight Princess is a fun game that will keep players busy for a while, and those wishing to be completionists will find much to collect, from Poe souls to golden bugs to pieces of heart. Though it's not quite the masterpiece some may be looking for, if you enjoyed Ocarina of Time, you'll find more to love. It's certainly the must-have launch title for the Wii.

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