There is absolutely no excuse for you not to have The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess right now. It would be a crime for you to have bought a Wii without it. It’s out now for Gamecube as well, and if you don’t have one of those you could probably buy the game and console for under 100$. So if you don’t have this game, then you are part of the problem.
Sliding the golden disc in to the non-illuminated disc slot, sent me back to the days of Ocarina of Time. With the oddly shaped N64 controller in hand I moved Link around Hyrule. Things hadn’t changed much. But I still had an uneasy feeling inside. In every other Zelda game I’ve played (most all of them), there has been a point where I get stuck beyond help. Even with guides, it’s been too hard to figure out. Truth is, I’ve never finished a Zelda game in my life.
But I was determined to break my curse with this one.
By now you know all about the controls of the Wii version. Swing the Remote to swing your sword, use the pointer to aim your bow, shake the Nunchuk to spin attack, and some other things like throwing pots. The controls are simply amazing. If you want to swing your arms around like a madman, feel free to, the sword will swing just the same. But if it’s been a long day and you don’t want to hurt yourself, feel free to slightly shake the remote for the same effect.
I love games with story (see: 40 hours in Trace Memory), and of course Twilight Princess delivers. Sure, the Zelda games have been rich with story, but this is downright epic.
Living as a farmboy in the small town, Ordon, our hero spends the early part of the game exploring his hometown. (Just to clarify: our hero is a different Link than the ones from previous games; it takes place roughly 100 years after Ocarina of Time). Link is called to take a special delivery to Hyrule. Before he gets the chance, he gets pulled into a mysterious realm, full of monsters unlike any we’ve seen in previous games in the series. Welcome to the Twilight Realm. When in the Twilight Realm Link, through circumstances elaborated later on in the story, is forced into a different form.
Within moments of waking up in a jail cell (if I realized that I had become a wolf I would have passed out too), you are introduced to Midna, a small little twilight creature that wears a stone crown on her head, and has a single fang. In exchange for helping you bust out, Midna joins you on your quest. She leads you up through a certain castle to meet a certain princess, and that’s when the bulk of the story begins. I don’t want to turn this review into a spoiler heavy post (because you have to experience most of this stuff on your own for the full experience).
Graphically, it is still a Gamecube game, but that is not a problem. The way I figure it is if launch games are already looking this fantastic, things can only get better. One of my favorite aspects, graphically, is the inclusion of facial feature animation. It makes a return from Wind Waker. Let’s say you are talking to an Ordonian(?) lady who is telling you the dangers that you will face in Hyrule field. Instead of just the mouth moving, the lady will look worried for you by showing fear in the eyebrows, but then will try to reassure you by nodding and changing the eyebrows to relaxed. It’s a subtle thing but when revisiting games like Oblivion where the characters mouth is pretty much the only thing to move, you come to appreciate the feature.
In recent years I have come to appreciate video games soundtracks. Sure back in the day I would hum along with Super Mario Bros. but now I have began collecting the Orchestral Soundtracks to games. With Zelda, it hurts to play it knowing that the soundtrack is not out yet. Sure there is a sampler from Nintendo Power, but I want the whole thing. The music in Twilight Princess is superb from the second you put the disc in the console. The mini intro on the Disc Channel has a choir performing a snippet from the original Zelda. You get to hear the full thing when you watch the full intro. Since this is still technically the Ocarina of Time world, you’ll hear some music that’s familiar with a new spin.
Although I do have a small gripe with Audio, specifically the speaker on the remote. It’s pretty cool how you get to hear the classic Zelda chime on the speaker, but is it really necessary to hear every freaking sword slash? It would be one thing if Nintendo had more than 3-4 sword slash sounds, but in the event you are fighting a ton of enemies at once the sound gets pretty annoying.
All in all Twilight Princess is one of the best games I’ve played all year, and it is the killer app that the Wii needed. I even beat it! 44 hours, and 14 minutes. The final boss is simply epic, and it will make any Zelda fanboy weep tears of joy.