The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess - Staff Review  

This Princess Has Been Rescued
by Michael "Macstorm" Cunningham

30-50 Hours


Rating definitions 

   The launch of the Nintendo Wii brought with it the long awaited release of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Though originally created for the GameCube, this title was delayed and eventually became a dual release on both systems with the Wii version getting nearly a month headstart. How did the Wii's first action RPG hold up to the high standard set by past Zelda titles?

   Zelda games have rarely gone out of their way to provide gamers with deep, mind-blowing stories. Twilight Princess stays true to the mark, as the story does not provide much that's not really been done before. The game does contain a few new twists, but the overall plot is far from epic. Generally, Zelda titles focus solely on Link, Zelda, and maybe one other mysterious character as they attempt to thwart the evil of the land. Twilight Princess makes for a slightly different tale as in this world light and darkness are colliding. Link, the hero of legend, gets caught up in the middle of things as usual. Shortly into the quest, he soon finds himself transformed into a wolf and in the company of Midna, a friendly imp-looking creature from the land of twilight. Though they have different goals, both seem to be able to assist each other, so Midna joins Link on his quest throughout Hyrule. This Zelda title does take a slightly different spin on things, but don't expect a ton of new content in terms of story.

Horse DragonEat horse fire!

   The combat setup in Twilight Princess takes advantage of the Wii control style in a way that makes this one of the most innovative gameplay experiences ever. The game is controlled with a combination of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. Link moves via the control stick on the Nunchuk, and all attacking and aiming commands are accomplished with the remote. Sword attacks are as simple as swinging the motion sensitive remote. Bow and arrow usage is just as easy, only requiring a quick point of the remote to move the cursor toward the intended target. Aiming is not always completely accurate due to pointing the remote outside of an area where the sensor bar can detect it. Thankfully, this happens rarely. All other weapons and items offer the same natural feel that make this game fun. Bow and arrow aiming seems realistic, special moves like the back attack are simple to execute, and grappling things with the clawshot couldn't be easier. All of these things working together help to make this a gameplay experience unlike any other.

   Interaction within Twilight Princess is handled rather well, but it's not without minor flaws. The directional pad on top of the remote is used in communication with Midna and as a place to assign items. The problem is that unless the gamer has a really long thumb, distance between the natural hold of the controller and reaching up to hit those top buttons is quite awkward. The Wii Remote and Nunchuk setup offers quick response time for attacks such as the simple swing of a sword to the more precise shield block maneuver. Not to say that there will never be any problems with the controls, but most every move and item are handled efficiently.

Link at the beach Link in his downtime between major releases.

   Considering that Twilight Princess was initially planned as a GameCube title, as the first offering on the Wii, the visuals within the game are still quite impressive. Though it only seems like a small step toward what would be considered as a next generation title, the realistic visuals offer a look unlike any other prior Zelda offering. The game's soundtrack, led by composer Koji Kondo, fits very well within the context of the game, but lacks in overall quality. An orchestral arrangement would have made the music seem much more impressive. Sound effects within Twilight Princess are wonderfully done with not only the normal speakers taking advantage of it, but the speaker on the Wii Remote as well. Hearing a sword swish or an arrow go flying from the remote's speaker helps to add a level of immersion never achieved before. The game lacks any true voice acting, but offers an occasional grunt or groaning sound instead. While this isn't a huge deterrent to the game overall, it did keep the game from stepping up to the next level.

   Though an impressive game with innovative controls, Twilight Princess offers little that hasn't been done before. Being able to transform into a wolf and items such as the the Spinner are the most unique things in Link's latest repertoire. Most everything else has been done before, and in comparison to prior Zelda games, Twilight Princess actually offers less in terms of overall items and abilities. The almost one-to-one control offered by the Wii is the only original feature that truly stands out.

   The Wii version of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess offers one of the deeper stories in the Zelda series, immersive controls, realistic visuals, and some epic combat. The game is by no means perfect, but is one of the most impressive offerings in the area of action RPGs in quite some time. The realization that this title was just the first to take advantage of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk gives the future of the Zelda series a bright outlook.

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