There are undoubtedly few gamers who have never had the pleasure of playing a Zelda game in their life. Personal opinions and experience aside, there are very few who would recognize the overall quality that Nintendo typically places within their franchise. To that end, Link (or whatever the player may happen to name him within the game) is among the most recognizable game characters, standing with other memorable characters such as Mario and Samus. Like the Super Mario Brothers, The Legend of Zelda has seen numerous games, spread over all of Nintendo?s systems and it seems only fitting that Link should grace the Wii system with his presence at launch.
As with other Wii games, players will have a varying experience while playing with the Wii?s motion sensitive remote. Difficulty keeping the remote steady will create headaches for players and the inability to perform clear gestures with the nunchuck will cause Link to perform the wrong move. While the real sensitive parts only involve aiming for Link with his Bow, Clawshot, Slingshot, or other items, even basic swordplay requires the player to swing the remote to make Link to swing his sword. Sword play is still somewhat simplistic with the remote. While running around any swinging of the remote will cause Link to swing his sword, but while utilizing the ?Z-Targeting? that the Zelda franchise uses, a vertical swing of the remote causes Link to give a vertical cut, while a horizontal swing causes a similar horizontal sword swing from the hero. Other attack techniques require a combination of button and gesture commands and some even need to be unlocked before they become available to the player. Actual combat within the game is still simple and user-friendly. The necessary controls can be quickly and easily performed, ignoring misunderstood gesture commands. Weapons that require manual aim can still be fired with out aiming while in Z-Target mode; Link will automatically aim for them, though a moving target will cause him to miss with the slower weapons. While using manual aiming, the Wii remote must be pointed at the screen and a crosshair will appear to help the player aim.
Despite the numerous games in the Zelda series, Nintendo has managed to keep Twilight Princess interesting, filling it with new content. While weapons have been consistently reused from the previous games, such as the bow, new weapons, like the ball and chain, offer a new method for Link to defeat the forces of evil. The newest feature in Twilight Princess, however, is Link?s ability to switch between Wolf and Human form at will, allowing for a combination of offensive and defensive tactics. Some monsters can only be defeated while in Wolf form by using its special animal senses, a mode that allows Link to see spirits and buried treasures. Using this ability, Link can dig up items or even dig tunnels to reach areas that have been barricaded against him. While general regions of Hyrule consistently vary throughout the games, with simple examples of the positioning of Kakariko Village on the opposite side of Hyrule Castle, the general flow and plot points of The Legend of Zelda franchise are comfortably predictable.
This game starts out in a quiet little village where the hero works as a rancher with his horse. The day before he is supposed to deliver his village?s gift to the castle, the town is raided and, as he races to save the captured children, he becomes trapped within the realm of shadow as a wolf. From that point on the game becomes a quest to restore Hyrule to light, restore the order of the Kingdom of Hyrule, and to defeat the villain behind the whole mess, with Midna as the game?s version of Navi the Fairy
The graphics and sound found in Twilight Princess are surprisingly good for a launch title. While a game?s graphics are often meant to be flashy and awe inspiring as a display of a system?s capabilities, Twilight Princess? graphics are solid enough to have been used in a game published a year or two from now and not draw criticism for mediocre graphics. Some textures, such as rocks and walls, can be somewhat lacking, but character features, such as their faces are simply excellent. Light effects, especially for a game involving light and twilight, isn?t as strong as one would expect. These effects are somewhat simple, like the unrealistic blob-like shadows, and do not carry a resemblance to their owners. With what the game lacks in character voices (using grunts, laughs, or some other sound effect when they ?talk?) the music makes up for by adding a great sense of ambience.
The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess should take quite some time to complete, which is thankfully what every gamer expects for their dollar. Some of the puzzles will inevitably take more time to solve than others, but just simply playing straight through the main quest will keep the player busy few quite a few hours; though that is hardly the way to fully enjoy the game. Players should remember the sheer breadth and depth of the side quests which, in the case of Twilight Princess, involve not only trying to find all of the pieces of a heart to max out Link?s life bar, but a pit of challenges, like collecting Poe?s (evil spirits), finding all of the golden bugs, buying a set of magic armor, and maxing out some of Link?s items such as bomb bags and arrow quivers, just to name a few. Finally, what Zelda game would be complete without fishing? Players who take the time to complete the side quests will not only get more from their game, but also make the game easier and more fun.
Players who are familiar with the Zelda franchise may already be aware of the spiritual environment. For newer players there are quite a few elements to address. Multiple goddesses, magic, and fairies are involved with the very nature of the franchise. Within the world, there exists a sacred relic, the tri-force, which bears its mark a few chosen individuals while the artifact itself resides within the Sacred Realm. The quest for such power often involves a grand scheme that takes a heavy penalty on other people. The search of such power (the power of the gods) is evil and bound to have consequences, which in this case is that a few righteous individuals will rise up and resist.
As is typical with Nintendo, the language and imagery found in Twilight Princess is clean. While violence is obviously present, Link after all uses a sword, there are also numerous other ways to wreak harm in the world of Zelda if so chose; however no actual blood is not present, just plant and insect ichors.
Despite the sheer number of Zelda games in existence, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess offers players a solid experience that not only brings to the table new and refreshing content, but also the familiarity of traditional Zelda titles that players have grown to love. Those new to the Zelda world will have no problem adjusting to the game environment and with the addition of Twilight Princess fans of previous Zelda titles will also find much enjoyment in this spectacular addition.
» By James Tench, Plain Games. Published 1/22/2007 11:31:10 PM.