After years of anticipation, and a system change, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is finally here. Twilight Princess (TP), the latest in Nintendo's popular series, pits the main character Link against massive dungeons, cool enemies, tons of NPC's, and sweet boss fights. This game was originally made for the Nintendo GameCube (and is still coming out for it next month), but this review is strictly for the Wii version.
TP starts out in typical Zelda fashion. Link is just minding his own business, when all of a sudden, something bad happens, and he is forced to go on an epic quest. However, the narrative in this Zelda game is one of the best in franchise history, with excellent cutscenes that help tell a good tale. It is a shame, however, that there still isn't any voice acting. Now, I know Link will never talk, and he shouldn't. However, there have been plenty of games where every character but the main character has a voice. Grand Theft Auto 3 and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic come to mind. Those games were still able to get around the fact that your character had no vocal chords, and I really hope the next Zelda does the same.
A few years back at E3, the first trailer of this game blew us away. We were expecting another Zelda game with the visual style of Wind Waker. What we got was a very realistic looking take on the Zelda universe. However, that was years ago. Technology has advanced since then, and TP is no longer the best looking game out there. The graphics still shine in some instances, but I often found them a bit watery for my tastes. However, once you hook your Wii up with component cables, the visuals get drastically better. Until then, though, TP's visuals look extremely dated, even though I realize that the Wii isn't a graphics powerhouse. Perhaps I was just spoiled by last week's Gears of War (360)…
As for the sound, other than the disappointment with the lack of voice actors, I have no big problems with it. I don't agree with the fact that the main Zelda theme once again wasn't used in Hyrule Field, but the music that is used is pretty good. You will also find a ton of remixed tracks from previous Zelda titles, like the Goron theme, and the Kakariko Village song. All in all, the music is well-done, and definitely adds to the epic feel of the game. When a boss shows up and you hear the score, you'll know that you are in for a battle. When you are walking around town, talking to villagers, you will feel at peace with the soothing tracks that are used. The other sounds in the game, such as the various bangs and clanks coming from your equipment, is about what you would expect. The speaker on the Wiimote is used very efficiently, as it handles the sounds that your bow (among other things) makes, and even makes a noise when you sheath your sword.
Of course, what everyone wants to hear is how the game controls. Nintendo has said that the Wii is not a next-gen system. Rather, they wanted to take the immersive experience of gaming to the next level, by introducing a console that has motion sensing technology, and a remote-like pointer. Since this announcement, the gaming community has been pondering what these games will be like. After playing through TP with this controller, I can safely say that Nintendo may have gotten it right, as TP controls very well, especially for a game that wasn't originally slated to be released on the Wii. You use the Wiimote's pointer to aim your slingshot and bow, and swing your sword by…swinging the Wiimote. Meanwhile, the nunchuck's joystick moves Link around, the C button lets him look around, and the Z button locks on to various enemies and NPC's. The nunchuck's motion sensing technology is the best feature in the game, if you ask me. By shaking it a little bit, you perform Link's patented spin attack. I've done it a thousand times, and it's never gotten old. The pointer, which is used for aiming your bow, is as close to a mouse as I've ever experienced on a console (which is definitely a good thing). After experiencing this, I really don't know if I could ever try out the GCN version of this game. Not only is it cool to swing the controller around to attack, but it also makes some things painfully easier, such as aiming the bow while riding a horse. Those of you who were worried about the new control scheme for Zelda can rest easy. If this is what Nintendo can pull off with a Zelda game that wasn't even originally planned for this system, imagine what they can do with one that is built for the Wii from the ground up.
During some points of TP, Link turns into a wolf. While I would have loved to just have stayed as human Link the entire time, I actually had fun playing as the wolf Link. It's certainly better than playing as Goron Link in Majora's Mask (although not as cool as Zora Link in the same game). Riding a horse this time around is just as fun as it was in earlier games, so if you liked it then, you will like it now. One new thing about horse riding this time around, though, is that you can actually swing your sword while you are riding, which allows for some really cool battles on horseback. The only problems with these battles is sometimes the Z targeting doesn't target the enemy (or friend) that you want. Now, I'm not expecting it to read my mind, but it would have been nice to have had a better interface for that kind of thing.
All in all, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a great game to start your Wii library with. It's arguably the best launch title ever, and could definitely win the game of the year award. If you are a Zelda fan, or just want a great game for your brand new Wii, you owe it to yourself to pick this gem up.
Gameplay- Z targeting issues aside, this game plays great. The controls are as perfect as a port could possibly be, and never get in the way of your quest. – 9
Graphics- Visuals which were stunning a few years ago now look watery, but if you have the right setup (with component cables) you won't be too disappointed. – 9
Sound- I would have handled some of the music choices differently, but I can't complain. The staple Zelda sound effects sound better than other, especially the ones that you hear right next to you through the Wiimote's speaker. – 9
Value- Tons of dungeons? Five pieces of heart this time around (rather than the usual four)? A huge overworld? Yeah, you will get plenty of value out of this game. – 10
Curve- When it comes to adventuring, Zelda is second to none. – 10