|System: Wii, GC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Nintendo||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov 2006||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|Review by Adam||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
Longtime fans of the Legend of Zelda franchise have been treated to several of the best video games in history. Most of these fans consider the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time (N64) to be the pinnacle of the long-running series. Since Ocarinas release, Nintendo has made two more console Zelda titles, Majoras Mask (N64) and The Wind Waker (Gamecube). Majoras Mask with its odd time limited gameplay and The Wind Waker with its cel-shaded look and short length both failed to thrill fans who were waiting for a true successor to Ocarinas throne of excellence. As a longtime fan of the series myself, I am happy to say that Twilight Princess is the Zelda game that we have all been waiting for.
This game is epic in every sense of the word. To achieve full completion of this game, consisting of completing all sidequests and collecting every piece of heart, could take you over sixty hours. This may seem extremely long but while you are playing it, the hours just seem to fly by because the game is so enjoyable. Besides the standard combat and exploration present in every Zelda title, this game gives you a huge variety of other things to do. A few examples of this are canoeing, herding goats, bug collecting, sumo wrestling, and of course some good old-fashioned fishing. While many fans will recognize the fishing from Ocarina, it is now immeasurably more intense and involving. Players can now use the Wii remote (Wiimote) to cast their line. Once a fish bites, you will need to reel it in using the nunchuk attachment. This does make fishing more tiring but it is immensely more satisfying. After a long struggle with a fish, you actually feel a real sense of accomplishment when you finally pull it out of the water.
Fans who were worried about how this game would control with the new motion sensing Wiimote can put all of their fears to rest. I can honestly say that at no point while I was playing this game did I ever wish that I was using a Gamecube controller instead. Actually, I was quite impressed with how much better the game controlled because of the Wiimote. As I mentioned with the fishing, the motion sensing controls work very well and actually help heighten the players overall experience with the game. Whether youre swinging a sword or shooting a grappling hook, Twilights controls are extremely responsive and incredibly intuitive. Getting used to this new control scheme takes virtually no time at all. Before the end of my first hour of play, I already felt very comfortable with the controls. The biggest winner with the new controls has to be the slingshot/bow. Players now have incredibly precise control over these ranged weapons. You will aim them using the Wiimote to move an onscreen reticle and then fire them by pulling the B-trigger. This allows for deadeye accuracy, even at great distances.
The sword combat in Twilight Princess is incredibly diverse and is one of the best surprises in the game. Link is equipped with all of the standard attacks that players will remember from Ocarina. In addition, you will be able to learn seven secret sword techniques that are hidden throughout Hyrule. These moves give you a plethora of choices as to how you want to dispatch your foes. This adds a huge amount of depth to combat and it lets you decide which attacks are best for your various enemies.
Besides the controls, many fans also questioned the Wiis graphical capabilities. If this title is any indication of what we can expect graphically from the Wii, then I am one ecstatic Wii owner. Twilight Princess is simply visually stunning. Items and character models are beautiful and full of details. The lighting effects produced in the game are also incredible. The Twilight realm in particular is quite gorgeous and has a very unique feel. My only complaint with the games graphics comes from some of its ground textures. While not bad, they are visibly not on par with the rest of the games graphics. Still, they dont really detract from the game in any significant way.
The sound in Twilight Princess is also very good. Sound effects are crisp and help to immerse you in the game. Many of the games weapon based sound effects actually come from the speaker located on the Wiimote instead of from the television. While this sounds like a great idea on paper, the actual execution is not as good. I believe the Wiimote speaker is just too small to provide the sound that is required for this to work. Many of these sound effects tend to sound cheesy being pushed through the little speaker that couldnt. The lower you set the volume for the speaker, the better these effects will sound. This is really unfortunate because it is actually an excellent idea.
Twilight Princess is an incredible marvel of game design. Many of the activities that you perform early on in the game may seem like pointless tasks. Later in the game, you eventually realize that it was actually teaching you an essential skill that you require to progress to your next objective. A good example of this occurs when you have to stop a charging goat that escapes from its pen. When it happens, you may not really see the point of it but you later use this skill to stop rolling Gorons so that you can reach the Goron city.
The dungeons in this game are also incredibly amazing and complex. Every dungeon is filled with head scratching puzzles that may test even the most cunning of intellects. Some of these dungeons are so cleverly put together that once you have completed it, you really feel like youve accomplished something. Twilight Princesss bosses are just like walking manifestations of the dungeons puzzles. Players must ascertain a bosss weakness and then exploit it to be victorious. Each boss has its own unique look, feel, and method of defeating it. All of these bosses look both gorgeous and imposing at the same time.
To Wii or not to Wii?
That is the question that has been on every Zelda fans mind since Nintendo announced this title for both the Wii and the Gamecube (GC). While it is impossible to directly compare the two versions until the GC version hits the shelves, a general decision can still be reached. Firstly, the Wii version will most likely be prettier than the GC version because of its more powerful hardware. Secondly, the precise and immersive controls provided by the Wiimote will not be possible with the GC version. Lastly, you will also have to wait almost a month to get your hands on the GC version. The only advantage that I can see with playing the GC version is that Link will remain left-handed. For serious diehard fans, I can see this as an issue, but for most people it wont really matter. If you have the money for a Wii, I would definitely suggest that you get the Wii version. If not, Im sure the GC version will still be good, but it will lack many of the things that make this game so great. Either way, there is certainly one conclusion that can be agreed upon. There is a new king on the throne of Hyrule, and his name is no longer Ocarina of Time.
CCC Freelance Writer