The Wiire

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

By Shawn White / November 16, 2006
Article Index
Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Stage 2: Analysis
Stage 3: Evaluation
All Pages

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has seen a great deal of drama over the course of its development. Planned originally for Nintendo GameCube, it has since been turned into Wii's flagship first-party title. Beyond the soap opera, though, does Twilight Princess have what it takes to earn the title of "Best Zelda Ever?" Well, that question can't truly be answered until the end, but all signs point to yes.

Be forewarned: Twilight Princess is an enormous game, which may be one of its greatest strengths and faults alike. Longtime fans should find themselves wholly satisfied with Link's lengthy journey, while casual gamers could be turned away if the time just isn't there to finish the title. As a point of reference, it took me more than five hours to clear the introduction areas and first dungeon, though I admit to dallying with the initial set of side-quests, one such being an addictive fishing mini-game. Players could likely twiddle away hours in Twilight Princess merely fishing; flick the Wii Remote like you would an actual rod, wait for the fish to nibble, yank and reel with the Nunchuk, then watch as your dinner grows cold.

You can waste hours here, I kid you not

Twilight Princess' control scheme is very intuitive and easy to learn, mostly because the game cleverly trains you through a series of tasks around Ordon village (the game's starting point). By the time you've been taught how to move, fish, communicate and swim, you'll step up to weapon handling, which has been far refined from earlier versions of the game. Items like the slingshot require you to point with the Wii Remote and look with the Nunchuk's analog, while your sword only requires flicks of the wrist (or more intensive movements, if you'd prefer), though more skillful abilities will be unlocked as the journey progresses.

The biggest (and only) criticism leveled against the controls - in particular, aiming - actually has nothing to do with Twilight Princess itself, but where you position the Wii's sensor bar. When using the Wii Remote, you are essentially pointing at the sensor bar, not the television, so fiddling with the settings and the bar's position below or above your television is vital to ensuring a smooth experience in Twilight Princess. However, some people may unfortunately not be able to find the perfect position depending on the dimensions of their play room and television.

This is easy if your sensor bar is adjusted properly

Realistically, fatigue while playing isn't a concern. The Wii Remote and Nunchuk are just heavy enough for you to feel satisfaction in holding and using them, yet so light that they seem to melt away in your hands. The freedom in hand position offered by the two-handed configuration only accentuates that feeling. However, this comfort is best not taken for granted, as Twilight Princess hosts a difficulty level that exceeds its predecessors. Not that you should expect to continually die in frustration, but the higher enemy count and heavy damage even some common ones can do if given just a brief opportunity means you may find yourself gripping your light little controller tightly at times.

Twilight Princess' wolf mechanic, which occurs when Link is pulled into the consuming Twilight Realm, is a mixture of human Link's basic controls and your horse's speed with the additional power of Midna, a creature of the Twilight that aids Links so long as he gives into her whims (I'd like to note that Midna's level of wit and attitude feels fresh for the Zelda series). Wolf Link also possesses a digging ability and animal senses for puzzle solving and treasure hunting. For anyone worried that the wolf gameplay is clunky or gimmicky, rid yourself of the thought. It's easily as enjoyable, if not at times more so, than playing as human Link.

Midna has a big attitude, but it's not a problem

Those expecting Twilight Princess to be a visual showcase won't be disappointed. While some of the textures seem bland, the game's utter vastness makes this aspect a forgivable fault. The characters are all uniquely designed, and the lush detail contained in the overall environment is quite inspiring. On the topic of characters, you won't find full voice acting in this Zelda, but it hardly detracts from the experience as the animations, especially facial ones, are incredible and give each character a sense of truly being alive and harboring a personality that one can't help but like.

The music presented in the game's first few hours is already worthy of The Wiire's audio award. While only a song or two was actually orchestrated and/or used a live choir, the soundtrack was entirely fitting for each area or scenario, particularly adding to the drama of the first few cutscenes, which are presented with a level of cinematic quality not only above and beyond any Zelda game to date, but arguably rivaling the emotional impact one might find in a series like Metal Gear Solid.

All of the elements presented through just the first dungeon hint that Twilight Princess will be bigger, bolder and deeper than any Zelda game before it. For all three of you not convinced this latest Zelda should be in your Wii library, stay tuned for Stage 2.

Evaluation Scores Game Awards
Presentation 29 / 30
Gameplay 30 / 30
Value 28 / 30
Tilt +2 / ±10
Final Grade
Audio Award
Editors Choice Award
Eye Candy Award

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