Malik (12/27/06)

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii)

From Nintendo

Good: Solid control scheme that ideally shows what the Wiimote can do, wonderful graphics, largest Zelda game with the best Zelda plot to ever grace a console, amazing and deep game play, and most of all this game is just very fun.

Bad: The only complaint at all is that money is a joke...a very sad joke...

It was over two years ago that Nintendo first announced there was going to be a final chance for Zelda to grace the GCN. However, it didn't take long for the delays to kick in. Then it didn't take much longer for further delays to be announced as the game shifted from being a GCN exclusive to being a Wii launch title with a later GCN release.

Typically, when this type of behavior occurs, the games seem to become less appetizing with time. For example, the idea of playing as Link while waving a remote control shaped controller through the air was enough to make many fans think of another case of Wind Waker (in which the visuals served as a major turn off for supposedly avid Zelda fans).

In the end, Zelda finally came out last month, and...this month. Ok. It came out for the Wii a month ago and the GCN release did follow a month later. So, the real question remains; is this a great Zelda game, or does the supposed limitations (read: non-HD visuals) hurt the game or is it still Zelda at it's heart? Also, does the Wiimote add anything, or is it another gimmick?


The plot of this game does follow many of the usual Zelda trademarks. Princess Zelda is in trouble. Link, who is just an outsider to the big city life of Hyrule castle (the location of Zelda's throne...for those new to the series), is about to embark on a normal and minor quest for his home town, but it will soon turn into an epic quest to stop the forces of evil and to restore peace to all of Hyrule...while saving the girl, of course.

However, this is where most Zelda games stop. There is a supposed Hyrule timeline (or ten...depends on who you ask), but most games in the franchise can be seen as completely stand-along games. That is not quite the case in Twilight Princess. In fact, this game takes place (depending on who you ask) somewhere between a few decades and a hundred years after the events of Ocarina of Time (the N-64 classic that first brough Zelda to the third dimension).

Hyrule has been at peace for many years (decades or a century...) since Gannon, the master of all that is evil to Hyrule, was stopped by Link. Gannon was sealed away by the Sages of Hyrule, and order was restored. However, as the times passed, a new threat recently emerged. A dimension that's opposite, yet tied in to Hyrule, has broken into this peaceful world. This would be the Twilight Realm. A home to the Twili, a race of people who's descendants were banished from Zelda for committing great crimes against Hyrule. In particular, the king of the Twili has come into Hyrule and has taken control of the kingdom.

On the other end of this world is Link (or you can enter whatever name you want), a young man who is seen as a role model to the children of Ordon, his home hamlet. He is a normal and everyday sort of person in a small and sleepy village. However, one day the children of Ordon are kidnapped by evil goblin-like creatures. So, naturally, Link steps in to be the hero. However, it doesn't take long for the forces of evil to expand into more than just goblin like marauders...the evil of the Twili appears.

When Twilight infests the world, all people are turned into spirits, with the exception of Link. Due to heroic powers in his veins, he is instead turned into a fierce and powerful wolf. He also meets up with Minda; a small and bitter little impish creature of the Twilight. Whether he wants to or not, Link is thrust into a quest to cooperate with Minda to save the world from the king of Twilight and to restore balance to the two different realms.

In the end, this is the deepest plot to ever touch a Zelda game. While the plot is still lacking in some details, characters do evolve, plot twists occur, and for once it will not just be the game play that keeps bringing you back for more. Most of all, this is a great continuation of the Ocarina of Time plot, as you get to see what happened after that Link's victory over Gannon.

Game Play

This game plays almost identically to Ocarina of Time or Wind Waker. In other words, it's another example of 3D adventuring at it's best...well, except for a few camera issues.

To start off, you still have the basic breakdown of the game. You will spend time in villages, vast open world locations (forests, plains, lakes, and mountains), and the meat of the game still occurs in large and unique dungeons. Towns will give you a chance to learn of what you must do next, play a few mini games, and to restock your supplies with your over-abundance of rupies (money). The open areas, like plains and the like, will still be your main travel pathways to reach your next goal, while still offering some side events and diversions. Then you will explore dungeons, while solving puzzles and battles beasts (both great and small) in order to accomplish each of your main story quests.

While previous Zelda games have offered a fair number of unique and challenging puzzles, Twilight Princess does tone down the challenges of dungeon exploration a bit. On one hand, the puzzles are farther between, and on the other hand, they are usually a bit easier (with a couple of exceptions). The only real challenges in dungeon puzzles are found in trying to find the big key, that is needed to open the final area of each dungeon. Beyond that, most puzzles will either cause no problems, or you'll be kicking yourself for neglecting a simple solution and trying too hard on a simple problem. This, in itself, is not a problem. While these puzzles are less challenging, they are still addictively fun to accomplish (especially in the first word for you; MONKEYS!).

However, the meat of the game is found in battles. Each dungeon will have plenty of unique and interesting creatures to battle. Each set will bring into play a different set of skills and strategies to defeat them. While early enemies typically rely on simply swinging your sword, later ones will make you think about defense and how to overcome their solid defensive abilities.

This will require, of course, new items and skills as the game progresses. While you start the game with a sword, you soon will add a shield, boomerang, bow, slingshot, bombs, and all of the typical Zelda toys. Also, a couple of new tools are introduced in Twilight Princess that really give a nice addition to the series. Most noticeable of these is the top spinner. Basically, it's a top (like the old fashioned toy) that Link can ride around on to clear certain obstacles. This is in addition to a series of hidden skills and techniques that will allow Link to kill enemies quicker with his blade.

Most importantly of all, the bosses of each dungeon are still big, impressive, and fun to challenge. The only downside is that these bosses can become past Zelda games, each boss will require creative uses of the tool you find in a dungeon and will take approximately three hits to kill. However, there is enough fun to be found in these bosses and enough of a wow factor from their sizes and visual characteristics to make them incredibly fun to fight.

The basic game will still cover the Zelda staples of needing to find a series of items (no longer are they triforce pieces) that each boss guards. However, you still have the classic mini-games to keep you entertained in the meantime. These include games using flight skills, bow skills, bombing skills (the combination of bombs and arrows, first usable in Link's Awakening, are back), and some nice chances to fish. You'll also still have Epona (Link's horse, first seen in Ocarina of Time) to ride for quicker travel and for some unique missions and battles (jousting, anyone?).

The big new change to this game is the wolf form that Link will use for half of the game. While a wolf, you lack your basic defense (shield) and you assortment of toys. However, you get a few unique attacks, and increased land speed, and some fun abilities. These include being able to track by scent, dig for treasures and hidden areas, and the ability to climb large obstacles with the help of Minda (who plays the role of Navi from Ocarina...but with less annoying of characteristics).

The big part of this game that is different is the Wii controls. You have the sounds of sword swinging, bow firing, and the familiar notes of finding treasure coming from your hand. Also, you have some fun new control formats to get used to. While it may seem unusual to swing your hand to swing your sword, it soon become second nature and makes it hard to go back to the old controller methods of previous Zelda games.

The controls that require motion come down to a few main areas. You swing the Wiimote to swing your sword, the nunchuk to do a spin attack, and various motions (like thrusts) to pull off sword and shield trusts. You also can use the Wiimote to throw objects and bombs (but the A button does a better job). However, the best uses of the Wiimote come in the firing of projectiles (aim like with a light gun) and fishing. In fact, fishing is a blast as you hold the Wiimote like a rod, and use the nunchuk to reel in your catch. Yes, you'll look like a spaz...but you won't care.

Overall, the controls are intuitive, responsive (with a few a shield bash can often times result in a spin attack if you get too carried away with your movements), and very easy to learn.

So, Twilight Princess does a great job at building off of the Zelda staples. It may seem very familiar to begin with, but it will end with a very rewarding and worthwhile experience. Plus, with 40+ hours of things to do, this game is more worth the price of admission than any Zelda game before...and that's saying a lot.


The visuals in Twilight Princess seem to be a major point of contention within reviews.  It all comes down to one main "issue" with the Wii; the Wii is not HD, so obviously, neither would be Zelda.

Well, once you get over the fact that this game is specifically designed to run on last gen hardware (it is a GCN game at heart) and the fact that it's not HD ready, then you can get to the meat of the visuals.  That is also when you start to see how fan-freakin-tasktic this game looks.  It may not be HD, but it is still a damned sight better looking that the last several Zelda games (ok...a hell of a lot better than any Zelda game ever before...except the Space World video from nearly a decade ago).

The visuals, more than anything, are great because they look right for the game and for the settings.  When you're in the Twilight infested areas, the game is great at supplying the classic "dark and stormy night" feeling.  When you're in the normal Hyrule fields, the game feels epic and alive, like all past Zelda games.  When you enter a dungeon, you feel, from the visuals, what the theme of that dungeon is meant to be (mountain, manor, temple, all comes through).

Most of all, when the game is really being appreciated in live action, the game just feels smooth and uncomplicated.  The visuals all do come through in a very interpretable way, and the motion is smooth and always a pleasure to behold.  In reality, there may be two ways of looking at the visuals, but the side that's obsessed with HD just needs to get over it already; the game looks amazing no matter what generation you think the game belongs to.


Once again, this comes down to technology.  If you're used to using an optical cable to deliver the best in cutting edge sounds, then you're in the wrong place.  I don't just mean you shouldn't be playing Zelda...I mean you shouldn't be playing Nintendo.  You could say that you've outgrown Nintendo...but it's more that you and Nintendo both outgrew each other.

Now, if you're ready to enjoy the game without the overly complex modern console audio and video technologies complicating things, then you'll enjoy what you hear.  The sound track, besides one very annoying song (the Sky City theme) is very Zelda-esque.  In other words, it's epic and memorable.  There's also a nice blending of some of the old Zelda musical scores with a nice touch of some new music.

The most obvious feature of the sound from this game, however, will be from the speaker in your hand.  Once you've calibrated the volume on your Wiimote (by default, it will probably sound like shit by just being too loud for it's own good), the Wiimote speaker adds a lot to the party.  Many of the classic Zelda staple sounds (the tone you hear when you discover a secret, the "ching" of picking up rupies, the metallic sounds of your blade being unsheathed or swung, and many others) will be coming from that little speaker.  While the sound quality on the Wiimote speaker is not the best, assuming the volume is set at the right level, it's a nice little added feature.

On the other side of the sound system, the other sound effects are the same quality you'd expect from any other Zelda game.  While some of the technology going into this can seem a little dated, the actual effect is far greater than the sum of it's parts.

Last of all, there is almost nothing to say about this game's voice acting.  Thankfully, Nintendo has kept up the tradition of not including voice acting.  Afterall, after so many decades of not hearing Link, the last thing we need is to have the illusion crash down around us.  Also, while there is Minda occasionally shouting for your attention, you definitely don't have anything as annoying and unbearable as the infamous Navi "HEY!" of Ocarina of Time.


Yes, this game is actually a GCN game that just premiered first on the Wii.  Yes, the visuals are not HD.  Yes, the sound cannot be true surround sound.  Most of all...Yes, this is Zelda.

The visuals and the sound, which could be seen as the weakest part of this game, are absolute non-issues.  They could be of higher quality if the game was released on the 360 or PS3 (or the Wii was HD), but that's not an issue when this game is able to carry over the feel of Zelda and continue giving us gamers exactly what we would expect from this epic franchise.  Additionally, the use of the new Wii controls and the addition of a few new abilities (from spinner to wolf form) gives this game an edge over the past Zelda entries.  Most of all, Twilight Princess offers something we've never seen in this level from a Zelda game before; an epic and involved plot...not just a backstory.

So, with all that this game brings that we haven't seen from any other Zelda, plus so many features that still invoke that classic sense of nostalgia, I have to give Twilight Princess a 10 out of 10.  True, some things could have been slightly better...but then again again it just wouldn't be Nintendo with HD and voice would it?