What can be said about the Zelda series? It is a timeless classic in the gaming community, always considered one of the greatest pillars of video entertainment. It has won hundreds of awards throughout it’s near generation of existence, and has created a standard that is so high, that calling any game in the series would be considered blasphemous.
With so many positives over a Zelda game, people were amazed by the grades the newest edition to the series bared. The Legend of Zelda, Twilight Princess is getting critical acclaim from 9 out of every 10 publishers, reviewers, and gamers. This is a feat that few franchises can boast about; even established ones like Halo and Super Mario cannot gain these numbers. 9 out of 10 is very good, but one makes you wonder where the lone gunman is coming from.
That gunmen this time was Game Revolution, as well as other established reviewers. They had the “audacity” to rate a game, which nearly the entire community hails as the perfect game, a B+. It takes balls to do that, plain and simple, but perhaps they have seen something that many of us did not. Perhaps there was somwhing wrong with the game, which warranted it’s B+. While the review here stands alone as a testament to the high standards that Game Revolution created, perhaps that this time, the lone gunmen is more right then you think.
Graphically the game is perhaps the strongest Wii title in the entire library of launch games. The graphics remind me of a surrealist artwork, kind of like paintings done for Lord of the Rings. Fine textures, bright colors, very vibrant and detailed and with a certain energy to them. The in game cutsenes share this quality, truly a marvelous sight. If Link was real, that is what I would see him as. While the graphics are a slight step down from the high range of motion that was seen in Wind Waker, they are breathtaking.
That being said, the trend of “next generation” graphics rears it’s ugly head. The game, while beautiful, are not as detailed or as realistic as games like Gears of War, Dead Rising, Oblivion, or Resistance. Many casual and hardcore gamers will gripe about this, as it is clear the graphic capabilities of the Nintendo Wii are limited. Sacrificing good controls should make up for this, if Nintendo is to survive this generation of console wars.
Final Score- B+
The Wiimote is a very powerful tool. You can walk, talk, target, strike, shoot, aim, swim, pick up, sniff, dig, fish, and even grab with the motion controller. Fighting with a sword (despite link’s right handedness, which is a minor nitpick of mine) you can use a limited amount of moves to battle opponents. Thankfully, Nintendo kept it simple, and the motions you make do not reflect the screen exactly, but are on time and spot on to the action that happens on screen.
Another improved motion is aiming with the bow and arrow. While it loses the realistic view that we saw at E3, it is less cumbersome and definitely more fun. Pinpoint accuracy has never been easier, and whether it’s a bow, a clawshot, or a slingshot, aiming has become a great sensation. The same accuracy needs to be done with fishing, which could honestly be marketed, as it’s own game if you wanted to. The control scheme for that is simple, flick the wiimote, wait for the lure on the screen to submerge, feel a rumble on the wiimote, and then pull it up with the nunchuck to attempt to catch a fish. After hours of practice, you can become a professional fisherman in no time.
Moving around and riding a horse are a little more awkward, but players would get used to it after a while. Thankfully the first few hours of the game introduce you to the new control scheme, and you quickly catch on to them in no time. Soon you’ll be crawling through the various dungeons and possibly hundreds of hidden grottos, visiting local towns and shops, and fighting off evil as link and as your new form, the Wolf.
Being a wolf is perhaps Twilight Princesses greatest advancement. The controls as a wolf are slightly different, but provide more of a challenge. You move faster, and are more aggressive and straightforward in attacks, plus you have the imp of shadow, Midina, to help you with the various enemies you will fight. You can also use your wolf senses to find hidden items by digging, which in itself is another fun mini-game if you think about it.
Despite the spot on controls, the new additions, and the impressiveness of the graphics, Twilight Princess lacks one thing. Some originality. I was very nostalgic when playing, as many bosses, enemies, events, even areas were reminiscent of Ocarina of Time. The story, while understandable as to the direction that Nintendo wanted to go for this, was clichéd and any plot twists you would think, with the exception of maybe 1-2, were seen from miles away.
Final Score- A-
Twilight Princess has a great orchestral score, one that rivals Ocarina of time. The sound effects, from the fluttering of wings, to the whizzing of arrows, to the galloping of Epona, are also very spot on and add to the mood of the game. The major problem is not only a lack of voice-overs, which I expected, but also the serious problem with the wiimote speaker. For a long time the speaker worked well for me. After a while, the sound effects heard through it were coming in more distorted then anything else. It is a great annoyance after a while, and I hope Nintendo can make better quality speakers in the controller next time.
Final Score- B
I am probably the biggest Zelda Fan out there. I loved Twilight Princess, and I wished it was the perfect game, the Holy Grail it should be. The controls make up for the graphical shortcomings, but in the end, you cannot hide the fact that we have played parts of this game before. That was Twilight Princess’s biggest flaw. The game, with it’s great Wii graphics, superb control scheme, and gorgeous presentation, does not stand on it’s own, as it has it’s older counterparts take most of the credit for it’s success. This time, the lone gunman was correct, and that the grade it deserved is what it got, at least on Game Revolution.
In the end, the very same sentence that I began this review with comes back to haunt the rabid fans of Zelda, what more can be said about the Zelda series? Since A Link to the Past, they have borrowed ideas and improved on them time after time. This is the only time it was blatantly obvious, why I don’t know. Perhaps because of the near untouchable status Ocarina of Time has? Or perhaps the standards are set so high from that game, it is near impossible for another Zelda game to not only achieve it, but also surpass it.
Regardless of this, Twilight Princess is one of the best games ever made, surpassing games like Gears of War, Halo, Metal Gear Solid, and even Oblivion, in almost every department. The flaw in the game may be it’s redundancy and recycled content, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad game at all. Play it as soon as you can, whenever you can, and enjoy yourself on another Hyrule adventure.
Final Score- B+
Overall Score- B+