Zelda: The Twilight Princess


So my big pre-Christmas game was Zelda. There is nothing like sitting down at Christmas time and visiting Hyrule once again.



Nothing much has changed to the age old Zelda concept. Get the master sword, save the princess (Zelda), slay bosses in innumerable dungeons oh and then defeat Ganon. But the neat thing is all the new twists Nintendo have introduced to these familiar concepts. There is again a two world situation going on this time the twilight and the real ones and Link must navigate between them. Unfortunately for him he is transformed into a wolf any time he enters the twilight world (well at least at the start of the game).



Wil a similar layout to the classic Ocarina of Time, Hyrule plays on your nostalgia (the Gamecube version has the same layout as Ocarina, the Wii version is mirrored so that Link is right handed), the crumbling temple of time being a particular favourite of mine. Walking in there for the first time sends a shiver down your spine.

Again you can navigate Hyrule by horseback and now you can fire arrows and sword fight while riding!. There are some great Boss moments using this, one of which takes place on a bridge and is pretty intense the first time you try it.



Having only played the Wii version I cannot comment on which ones controls are better Cube or Wii but I suspect it would be the Wii version (if the Cube controls are the same as in Wind Waker). Being able to finally aim your arrows, hook-shot, sling-shot et-al by pointing makes the game so much more immersive (and potentially a little easier to pick off guys in the distance). Combine this with some smooth sword fighting controls and you have a winner of a system.



So many dungeons and so many items, each one adding more to your arsenal of abilities. Most are familiar but there are many new ideas too. Double hook-shots being a favourite, hook-shot from place to place without touching the ground! The spinning cog is a nice idea but not really utilised enough for me.



This is where the game lets itself down. Wind Waker had such stunning graphics, animation and characterisation that Twilight Princess feels a little stale in comparison. While the world is indeed beautiful the attempt at realism makes if feel too close to Ocarina for my liking (I mean in a I’ve seen all this before kind of way). The colour palettes and textures for most of Hyrlue look very familiar and reduce the feeling of excitement when you reach a new area mainly because you feel used to it. The only exception to this is the twilight realm, the palette, blur and neon glows really make these areas stand out and make it more of a shame that the rest of the game could not have had a similar treatment,


The characters also feel a little stale in the face of the exuberance of Wind Waker. The only stars of the show are Midna, dark, brooding and very cool; and the children (particularly the little one who ends up running the shop, so cute, funny and twisted). The rest, of which there are many, have very little character and emotion a shame as the story can be quite dark in places.



A much darker game than other Zeldas which is great right up until the end, which I was expecting to be more tragic given the previous 40 hours. The graphics and emotion are a let down but the gameplay is as good if not better than ever. I would have to say that its the best game on the Wii at the moment but Wind Waker is still more enjoyable and beautiful.



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