The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2006-11-22 Wii Action/Platform T (Teen) Nintendo

Let me start this review by saying that I have only devoted my time to two Zelda titles in my entire life (The Legend of Zelda and Ocarina of Time) before Twilight Princess came along. Hate me if you will, but I was just never good at them and never went very far in either.

This highly anticipated game has had everyone wondering for a long time, and the release of Twilight Princess now comes to de-mystify any rumors.

The game begins with two characters sitting by a lake. A middle-aged man tells the story of the Twilight Princess, and sitting next to him, listening attentively, is our hero, Link. I personally like how Link has grown into a teenager and you can see during gameplay how he is connected to the townsfolk.

This man has a special sword and shield that need delivered to Castle Hyrule, and he asks Link to take it there.

But obviously, you don't just go and set out to Castle Hyrule. Before you actually leave Ordon Village there is a series of mini-quests to do. The game starts you with a little mini-game where you get to ride Epona and guide a herd of goats into the barn. After completing the menial task, you will be free to explore the village, interact with people, do little tasks for them, and eventually equip yourself to go save the kids who got in trouble. It's a process of getting used to how the controls work.

I wasn't sure how well the nunchuck and remote would work for this game, and it took me quite a while to adjust. The nunchuck analog is used to move Link around, the C button switches to first-person so you can look around, and the Z button is used to lock on targets. On the remote, you use the A button to interact with people and objects, the control pad uses shortcuts for items and talks to Midna, B uses an item, 1 shows the map and 2 toggles the mini-map, while the + and - display menu screens. All these buttons got me really confused at first, but the way you hold both controllers (nunchuck on the left hand, remote on the right) makes everything seem to fall into place after a while.

While fishing, the remote becomes your fishing rod and the nunchuck works as your reel. During combat, both controllers become Link's sword: swing the remote to do a sword slash, shake the nunchuck side to side to do a spin slash. It's pretty cool to see how versatile the controls are for a number of activities.

Now, the whole premise of Twilight Princess is that there is a world stuck in between light and darkness. This is the Twilight Realm, and it's here that Link assumes the form of a wolf. I have to say, Wolf Link isn't as fun to play as "regular" Link. You get a little mysterious helper named Midna, who gives you hints (you can hear the giggles coming out of the remote if she has something to tell you) and a helping hand when you need to jump to apparently unreachable places. It's very clear that she's not helping because she's nice, she wants something from you.

As a wolf, you have limited capabilities (obviously, I mean, you're a beast after all). You have no weapons but you can pounce on enemies and run really fast. You can dig, tug on chains and use your senses to find hidden things. Later on, you gain more combat abilities that make things a little more interesting.

Maybe it's not just the wolf-form gameplay but the way the Twilight Realm looks that makes it seem like such as chore. It's dark, blurry, it all looks very strange. It's a really huge difference to come out of Ordon, a lovely bright town with wonderful people and into this depressing dungeon where you meet Midna for the first time.

It's while playing Link that you can truly experience what Twilight Princess has to offer, and not just in the sword combat with shield offense. Link gets other useful weapons as well, a bow and a boomerang controlled by wind, which becomes an integral part of solving environmental puzzles and defeating certain bosses. The Gale Boomerang is so helpful that it can even transport things to you or another targeted location.

A very convenient save system lets you save your progress anywhere in the game, and considering the proportions of the areas in the game, this "saving whenever you want" feature is your friend, particularly in the vast dungeons filled with enemies, treasure chests and puzzles to solve.

The game has a very unique look to it. The overall graphic aspect is somewhat hazy, soft, like a dream-like state. It's not the crisp, sharp image you would get from Xbox 360 games, but it still looks beautiful. The animated cutscenes are gorgeous, and even if some textures seem a little pixelated, the level designs (particularly in the dungeons) are clearly the result of massive amounts of thought and hard work.

The sound effects are fairly good, but those that come from the remote seem a little odd. Maybe because they sound like the remote is going to fall apart when they happen, it's a sort of vibrating sound (hard to explain). A volume control for the remote would probably take care of this. There is no voice acting so to speak, which would have made a really nice addition, but the text dialogs and story are very well presented.

In the end, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess seems very familiar; it emanates this nostalgic feeling that takes you back to previous titles, but it has a huge novelty factor of its own at the same time. Fans of the series will greatly enjoy it, as will newcomers to Link's adventures and everyone in between.

Special thanks to Allison Guillen and Nintendo for providing a copy of this title.