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Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Review

by: Finn Orfano ; edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom ; updated: 5/25/2012 • Leave a comment

One of the titles to launch along with the Nintendo Wii in North America, some say Twilight Princess is one of, if not the, best Legend of Zelda games of all time. Is it worth the hype? Find out with this Legends of Zelda Twilight Princess review.

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    Some say that the game Legends of Zelda: Twilight Princess for the Wii is the best Zelda game of all-time. Are they right? We look to answer that question with this review.

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    About the Game

    In November 2006, Nintendo launched their latest console, the immensely popular Wii, and alongside it the latest game in the popular Legend of Zelda series, Twilight Princess. In addition to being the first title in this long-running action/adventure series to ever launch alongside a new console unit, this follow up to the cartoony Wind Waker was a darker, more mature title that became the first of these games to earn a rating of T for Teen from the ESRB, who cited fantasy violence and animated blood as reasons for the rating. Furthermore, it was obviously also the first Zelda game to utilize the Wii's motion controls, and thanks largely to all of this innovation, it also managed to become one of the first quality core-gamer titles for the Nintendo Wii.

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    Graphics and Sound

    The darker environments and more realistic character designs found in Legends of Zelda:Twilight Princess for Wii are a far cry from the bright, colorful and highly stylized look present in its predecessor, The Wind Waker. That's a definite plus in my book. While there's nothing wrong with the graphics in Wind Waker, epic fantasy games cry out for more serious looking inhabitants, fearsome beasts to combat and locations that accurately depict a world in turmoil. The soundtrack is, as always, a true highlight, mixing classic Legend of Zelda tunes with some new compositions that manage to capture the atmosphere wonderfully. That said, the fact remains that this is essentially a port of a GameCube game, so it probably doesn't look or sound quite as sharp as a next gen game should.

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    Gameplay

    Of course, it's not all about aesthetics, and fortunately, Twilight Princess features solid gameplay as well. As in Wild Waker and Ocarina of Time before it, this game features the solid sword-swinging, dungeon-exploring, evil-slaying play that fans of this classic series have come to expect. There is a vast overworld to explore and countless caves and other levels to investigate, including a volcanic one and an underwater one, for example. As always, different items and objects that Link finds throughout his journey can be used to overcome different obstacles and solve a variety of puzzles, and familiar enemies return as well, albeit with a different look. New for this edition, however, are the motion controls, as well as the ability to turn into a wolf. In his wolf form, Link can use his senses to help him out, and he has other abilities that, learned over time, will give him a tremendous boost against the forces of darkness. The real highlight here is the interactivity, as provided by the Wiimote and Nunchuck controls. Swinging the sword, firing off bows and arrows, and using your claws to fend off monsters feel immensely satisfying. Of all the Zelda games I've ever played, none has been as fun as this one, and it's all due to the game's wonderful, highly responsive motion control schemes.

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    Story

    Of course, I also have to admit that I quite enjoyed the plot and the way it unfolded as well. As with other areas of the game, Nintendo set out to create a darker tale in Twilight Princess, and for the most part, they succeeded. Shortly into the game, Link and his friend / romantic interest Ilia are ambushed by the forces of something called the Twilight. After he awakens, Link tries to track her and the other missing kids from his village, and winds up being pulled into the Twilight, a shadowy realm that is sort of like an alternate version of Link's homeworld of Hyrule. He winds up transforming into a wolf and is imprisoned until an imp-like woman named Midna (one of the game's most endearing and entertaining characters) helps him to escape. Together, they set out to find a set of items know as Fused Shadows and stop the encroachment of the Twilight into Hyrule and put an end to the schemes of the evil wizard Zant. There's obviously a lot more to it than that, and it takes a few interesting twists and turns as well. For the most part, the story is immensely entertaining, although there are some confusing moments and some scenes that, well, just don't make a whole lot of sense. Fine storytelling on the whole, though.

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    Images

    Twilight Princess cover
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    Overall Rating

    I must admit that, on the whole, I'm not the world's biggest Legend of Zelda fan. Don't get me wrong -- I recognize that they are quality, well crafted titles, but on the whole they're not my cup of tea. That is, except for Twilight Princess. I enjoyed the time I spent playing this one. The story was quite intriguing, and I appreciated the more epic feel and serious tone of things. To me it felt more like a "grown-up" Zelda than most of the other games in the series, especially Wind Waker, The Minish Cap and Phantom Hourglass. While those were all decent games, in my humblest of opinions, they just don't quite measure up to what Nintendo has been able to create with Twilight Princess. On top of that, I found the motion controls to be far more enjoyable and user-friendly than the more complicated, multi-button approach normally used by games of this series. To me, this is the closest a Zelda game has gotten to perfection. All in all, Twilight Princess is a solid four-star effort that just barely misses our highest rating due to underachieving visuals and a few minor plot issues.