+ The Wii controls work very well for this game... it feels almost natural
+ Link looks fantastic in this installment
+ Darker storyline compared to past titles
+ Controls don't change from human to wolf form
- It takes a little time before you actually obtain a sword
- Simple Wii-mote action linked to the Gale Boomerang
- Still no voice acting (a little would be nice)
As with every Legend of Zelda title in the past, you assume the role of the green tunic clad hero, Link. As with every other Legend of Zelda title in the past, you are on a quest to save the land of Hyrule from impendning doom. In this particular installment, Link starts out as a young man in Ordon Village with very simple tasks - herd cattle, save baby cradles from monkeys, and show children how to use a slingshot. Simple enough, right? Well, Here is where the story starts to unfold. Link is asked to deliver a special tribute from his home village of Ordon to Hyrule Castle. Before he can start out on his quest, he is assaulted by a group of goblins on boar-back. The goblins make off with the children of the village while Link is laid out in a spirit pond. When link finally sets out towards Hyrule Castle, he is sucked into an alternate dimension where Hyrule has been decimated and the Princess Zelda seeks out the one who will restore her kingdom. As Link arrives in this strange new world, he is transformed into a wolf and is under the supervision of a strange female creature known as Midna. As well as every Legend of Zelda title in the past, you must destroy huge bosses in a variety of temples before meeting up with the franchise's most popular bad guy, Ganondorf.
The screen layout this time around is fairly easy to comprehend. At the top left, you have your life meter, which is gauged by hearts. You begin the game with 3 but by exploration and defeating bosses you can earn up to 20. The bottom left portion of the screen houses the Minimap. On the bottom right, you will be able to view the total number of monies you currently have in your purse (known as rupees in the Zelda series). The top right portion of the screen is laid out with a direction pad format. Here you can place items in your inventory to respective buttons for easier access in a particular area. One item can be assigned to each direction. Just below the direction pad you will find an illustration of the controller's A and B buttons. B will be used for sub-weapons and items while A serves as an action button for inspecting and other such actions.
Controlling our hero has never felt better than it does on the Wii console. This particular game makes use of both the standard Wii-mote and the Nunchuck extension. With the Nunchuck extension you will perform such moves as Walking/Running, Swimming and Jumping all by moving the extension's analog stick. A standard roll, sidestep or backflip can be performed with the A button on the Wii-mote and the Z button on the Nunchuck, depending on which direction is being executed on the analog stick. The Z button on the Nunchuck extension is also used to target enemies or villagers, as well as defending, all depending on the situation. The infamous spin attack that started out in A Link to the Past also makes it's return to the series. It can be executed by simply waving the Nunchuck side to side. Now for the best part... the Wii-mote. As stated earlier in this review, A is basically used for actions during exploration as well as some attacks. The basic attacks however are executed by waving the Wii-mote side to side. This will cause Link to perform a series of sword slashes if done properly. Link's horse Epona is controlled via the Nunchuck extension. Basic movements are mapped to the analog stick while galloping is done by pressing A on the Wii-mote. Wolf transformation attacks and defenses thankfully do not change from the button mapping for Human-Form Link.
Graphically, Twilight Princess has shapped up to be quite impressive. Link has taken on the look he was given in Ocarina of Time and Majora's mask - a much more realistic look than he was given in the cel-shaded Wind Waker installment. (Not like that is a bad thing) There is a lot of detail that is immediately noticable with Link's signature green tunic and matching hat as well as the rest of his garb. Environments look amazing even far off... a feature that wasn't exactly the best on the Nintendo Gamecube. Particle effects from detonating bombs and falling rocks look astounding this time around and give the game a far more realistic feel than any of the previous entries. Lighting and shading is also very well done on the Wii version.
Twilight Princess' soundtrack is something you'd expect from the Zelda series ever since the release of the original Legend of Zelda in July 1987. The trademark theme is also in this installment, but has been given a bit of a remixed sound to make it a little more fresh and not so outdated. Sword slashing sound effects and the infamous "You've uncovered a secret" tone heard through the speaker on the Wii-mote also sound very good, providing you don't have your controller volume turned up past the halfway mark. I picked up Twilight Princess on launch day and tried it out briefly. I picked it up again a few weeks ago and actually decided to start a serious file. While I was kind of irritated that it took so long to pick up a sword, I was quickly amazed at how well the Wii-mote handled the motions and reflected them onto the screen. I have noticed at times the camera can go in directions you're not exactly intending it to go, but is otherwise pretty responsive as well. I have found it better to locate my sensor bar above my television for the best results on this title. Legend of Zelda has always been an astounding series and bringing it to the Wii as a launch title, I feel, was a huge draw on Nintendo's part in getting the console out to the public. I especially like the added feature of upgraded moves learned from the Stalfos Knight at different times throughout the game. It certainly gives you a little initiative to find all 6 of the scrolls and learn the attacks. I'm also hoping that this game will end with a good sword battle against Ganondorf. There is one thing I am certain of and that is the fact that a Zelda title has never looked for felt better than Twighlight Princess. If you're looking for a fairly dark story and lots of swordplay the this title may just be what you want to check out. On the downside, however I must say that the first 30 to 45 minutes of the game may have you second guessing it's value... seeing as how you haven't been given a sword to hack at enemeis with at this point, but it's well worth the time to play afterwards. I would've liked to see a better motion action for the Gale Boomerang - maybe a side-arm flinging motion with the controller to simulate throwing a real boomerang? (The DS title, Phantom Hourglass boasts full control of the boomerang via the stylus). I'm also hoping in future installments to the series, Nintendo considers giving Link and it's 'big role' characters a voice of their own. I don't mind the reading... but I think an extremely popular franchise could use some voice (I don't personally see how it could hurt them any)
SCORECARD: (via www.enterthezombiegod.com)
FINAL SCORE: 9
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