The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was a vital launch game for the Wii that showed it could produce dark, adult, epic adventures all the way through it’s lifespan. For many people, it was the game of choice at launch – and it certainly didn’t disappoint. This is my favourite game of all time, and let me tell you why…
A Link of Two Forms
Twilight Princess tells a delicate, emotional story that is one of the most mature Nintendo has crafted. It is a wonderfully woven tale about light vanquishing an all-conquering evil that has fallen over Hyrule. You start as a villager who likes to see his friends, look after his horse Epona, and help the villagers. Of course, this quickly changes, and you soon encounter trouble as you are captured by beasts from the shadows…
At this point, you meet one of the most interesting new characters – Midna. Midna serves as your companion and guide, and your relationship with her is one of the most absorbing in the game. This isn’t the most light-hearted of encounters, however, as you have been transformed into a wolf and are trapped in a dark, gloomy prison cell. Escaping serves as a challenging tutorial of how to operate as a wolf, and it certainly introduces several different gameplay mechanics. As Wolf Link, you rely on your senses and physical ability instead of tools and weapons, which Link often relies upon so much.
Wolf Link is implemented well, and adds variety to the game. I found controlling Link to be much more enjoyable when not in Wolf form, so the fact that Wolf Link is not overused is vital. Each form of Link gets their chance to shine, and the contrast between the dark, shadowy Wolf Link sections and the other (usually) bright, inviting sections serves as an extension of the moral of the story Nintendo tells.
Point It Out
While Skyward Sword outdid the extent of Twilight Princess’ motion controls 5 years later, it had superior technology to help it. Considering the relative inaccuracy of the original Wii Remote, the motion controls implemented in Twilight Princess are a great achievement. It would have been easy to shoehorn in too much motion control and ruin the epic feel of the game. Instead, the motion control feels intuitive and makes Link feel like an extension of you (a lot like Mario in Super Mario Galaxy) – you barely realise you are flicking the Wii Remote to slash your sword or use your fishing rod.
The controls are very easy to get to grips with – the Nunchuk’s control stick controls Link’s movement, and the motion control controls the use of your equipment. The buttons on the Wii Remote and Nunchuk are used for equipping items, asking for advice from Midna, using the map… and so on. At no point do the controls feel gimmicky or forced – and this would have been very easy to do.
Through Any Obstacle
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess contains a lot of the series’ trademark: dungeons. Combined with the large amount of content in between these areas and the many side quests, this game will keep you going for a long time. This doesn’t mean that it’s quantity over quality, though – far from it. The dungeons are all fabulous designs that will challenge you in different ways with the puzzles they contain. People will differ in opinion about which are the best, but the general quality of the dungeons gets better as you progress through the game – you will find some unique and truly brilliant designs. In my opinion, Twilight Princess has the best dungeon design of any Zelda game.
When you aren’t being challenged in a dungeon, you are enjoying the diverse range of experiences waiting for you in the large overworld – and it is truly vast. This is an expansive version of Hyrule, and galloping across Hyrule Field on Epona is a stirring experience, even after you have done it countless times. The world is packed with secrets, with Heart Containers, shining bugs, armour, and more to collect.
Riding Through Twilight
While the Wii does lack the graphical grunt of the PS3 and Xbox 360 of the generation, Twilight Princess proves that the Wii can play games that are visually large and realistic. The graphics are the modern take on Ocarina’s visuals, and give Zelda fans the epic game that they wanted.
There are places where the textures look blurry and edges of objects look a bit rough – but these are mainly hidden in areas where you don’t often look, like corners of mountains and dark rooms. The graphics in important, enthralling cutscenes always look gorgeous, and this makes the game great visually. Character models all look fantastic and realise the well-known Zelda cast in this darker take on the franchise.
The aforementioned massive overworld looks great in widescreen mode, with Death Mountain in the distance and the lush grass of Hyrule Field all around. This game is the realisation of many fans’ dream for an epic Zelda game with visuals of a more realistic vein.
Sounds of Hyrule
The Legend of Zelda is known for having great soundtracks, and Twilight Princess does not break this tradition. The music is emotional and always complimentary to the situation you are in, whether it is buying items from a shop or slaying shadow beasts. Twilight Princess’ soundtrack is one of the best in the Zelda series yet; you’ll find me listening to it even when not playing the game! The moment you load up the game, one of the best pieces of music from the game is the first thing that hits you. You see Link riding through Hyrule, with an emotional, epic soundtrack in the background. This opening cutscene assures you that you are about to start an amazing, rollercoaster ride through Hyrule (or continue it, I guess).
Place in History
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is, for me, the best Zelda game and my personal favourite game ever. It feels like a sequel to the classic Ocarina of Time, with it’s massive, scenic areas to explore, absorbing plotline, and characters you truly invest in. Ocarina of Time is still regarded as one of, if not the best, game ever made – so the quality of this game is shown when it feels just as good, if not better, to play.
If you are looking for a huge, emotional, gripping adventure that will hold you in for a good 40-60 hours (including side quests), Twilight Princess is brilliant in that regard. This game can be defined simply with one word that you may have noticed me using multiple times in this review: epic.
The truth is, I have barely scratched the surface of this game in this review. The plot is long and contains many unexpected twists and turns, but it never feels overworked – you always want to find out what will happen next. The dungeons and puzzles consistently challenge you throughout the game, forcing you to get better with your skills and improve as you play the game. There are many combat techniques to learn that add depth to the combat, and items that open up ways of solving problems you hadn’t even thought of. I haven’t said much about the plot on purpose – you really have to play this game first-hand, without any idea about the breathtaking moments that you will experience as you play. In short, this is a game that anyone with even a passing interest in games needs to have played – Twilight Princess is truly breathtaking.