The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is considered by many as the most anticipated title of the year for any platform. Trailers shown by Nintendo at E3 2004, GDC 2005, and now E3 2005, have put gamers in a frenzy to play the latest and most realistic Zelda ever created. This is the Zelda every gamer has always wanted, and it is playable on the show floor.
There are four separate demos of the game that attendees are able to play. First is Link on Horseback. Anyone who played Ocarina of Time will be able to quickly and easily pick up this portion of the game. Link once again rides Epona over a Hyrulian field, but now with one big improvement, sword fighting on horseback. As shown in the trailers, Link can now fight foes by hitting the “B” button and swinging away at nearby enemies. It’s only fitting that the boss battle for this demo ended up being a jousting match: Link on Epona, and the boss on his boar.
The next demo, Taoru Villiage, featured Link as common village folk. This is clearly when Link learns all his abilities just as how Ocarina of Time used Kokiri Forest. As with the first demo and all the demos in fact, the controls mirrors that of the gameplay we are familiar with when it comes to Zelda. During this demo you are given small tasks to be performed around the village, and at the same time, learn all your abilities.
The third demo is the Forest Temple dungeon level. Here, Link must navigate through a series of separated areas while vanquishing enemies on the way, but he doesn’t do it alone. With the aid of monkeys, Link is able to navigate to unreachable doors and eventually open a treasure chest to find the Gail Boomerang. This isn’t the same boomerang we’ve seen in the past however. This boomerang can carry objects, such as bombs, to other areas by locking them on target. It works as a type of homing weapon and mirrors that of a FPS using the right trigger to select your targets.
The last demo featured the boss for the Forest Temple and like every Zelda boss, there is always a specific method to defeating them. While it took me a little time to figure out the right process, it quickly became a matter of execution. Keeping with the animal theme, another monkey (maybe it was a baboon) swings over the boss like Indiana Jones and is essential in defeating the enemy. The animal theme is obviously very strong in this game and is apparent from the demos. Link may not control all the animals, but he’ll need them to accomplish his goal.
Overall, the game is everything I hoped it would be when it came to control, gameplay, and innovation. Everything that has worked and what we are familiar with is still in the game, but new elements are added to innovate. However, the game is still in development which creates some shortcomings. First, all the demos are in standard 4:3 aspect ratio, that’s right, no widescreen. Second, the game doesn’t look as polished graphically is it could be. The visuals just didn’t quite live up to the trailers we’ve seen. Lastly, none of the demos were shown in progressive scan.
I’m almost certain that Nintendo will remedy all the faults I’ve listed by the game’s release later this year. There is still some time before its release and a lot of work to be done, but so far, the game is living up to its hype and gamers are more excited than ever to get their hands on the final release version this winter.