The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is the 13th instalment in the Legend of Zelda videogame series, it was both developed and published by Nintendo for the Gamecube and the Wii.
It is a much darker and serious take on the series compared to its predecessors and can technically be considered the third game in the Hero of Time trilogy.
The game was remade in HD for the Wii U in 2016, the three different versions vary, both the GameCube and Wii games are mirrored while the HD remake follows the maps of the GameCube and has slightly improved visuals and Gameplay, the mirrored maps are instead included in Hero Mode in the HD version. I tend to play the Wii version myself but all are so similar any will do nicely just note the original GameCube game can fetch a high price these days.
The plot follows the adventures of a young farm boy named Link who is dragged into a twilight realm after trying to rescue the village children from goblins.
Since he is no longer in the light world Link is transformed into his spiritual counterpart, he takes the form of a wolf and is rescued by a cursed princess of the spirit realm Midna, they escape his prison cell and find Princes Zelda who explains that her kingdom had been taken over by Zant the King of the Twilli and she tasks the two heroes with restoring the light guardians and bringing peace back to the realm.
One thing this game does incredibly well is how after the main tutorial area you have free reign to explore Hyrule to your liking, the Kingdom is quite expansive in this game so the fact that you are given a horse immediately is great, I love unlocking the horse in previous games but I think it was a good decision to just let the players use her immediately to traverse the larger areas.
The game does help you a little bit by trying to point you in the right direction but you are not expected to just follow a linear path, the majority of secrets, upgrades and even additional moves are hidden throughout the world with no hints of their whereabouts, if you want to find them “without reading them up online” then you will have to explore and that is exactly how a Zelda game should be.
The temples and dungeons are very challenging as well, this game takes second place for most annoying water temple in my opinion but that’s not a bad thing, you want to get lost and have to figure out where you went wrong in games like this, the previous title Wind Waker had very linear dungeons and in my opinion that took away from the Zelda experience for me.
For me the issues with game begin with the wolf sections, the majority of time as the wolf is ok, you are able to see spirits that cannot be seen in human form and you able to wipe out groups of enemies in as little as one attack but what I really dislike is when you are forced to collect the light of spirits, while this only needed to access three of the in game temples, the sections feel unnecessary and can affect the games pace, a similar issue can be extended to the entire world map, while it is large and impressive large portions of it are empty and can take a while to traverse.
The temples in this game really stand out not for just being challenging like earlier titles in the series but they are some of the best in terms of creativity, while the majority are quite standard with the themes of forest, fire and water the second half are really memorable for taking place inside of a giant mansion, a city in the sky and an ancient tomb.
The new items in this game are fantastic and in my opinion some of the best in the series, highlights are the ball and chain which can take out some larger and armoured enemies in a single hit, the dominion rod which can control statues for puzzle solving and finally the double hookshot allowing you to easily traverse across large and expansive areas.
The 3D Zelda games are known for having great side content along side the main plot and this is no exception, I never did everything in the game and to be honest I never do with Zelda, I only really stick with what I enjoy and in this one it was collecting all of the bugs, discovering the howling stones to get new moves and funding Malo’s shop. You can also collect all of the Poe spirits but I found this a little tedious so I didn’t bother doing this myself.
I have mixed feelings on the visuals here because while it really cool to see a realistic Legend of Zelda game I feel they could have added more colours while still keeping the realism, the game mostly looks depressing with its muddy colours and dark atmosphere and by giving it a little more life I feel it could make it more pleasant to look at and in turn more fun to see and explore.
The music is outstanding even for Zelda which has always been known to have fantastic melodies for each part of the game, the composer Tori Minegishi did a phenomenal job creating such an atmosphere and choosing to use a variety of different instruments to suit various environments and scenes, my favourite track in the game is near the beginning when Link meets Llia at the water, its a very beautiful song which lifts my heart every time I hear it.
So with all of the praise I have given Twilight Princess it might surprise you to know that it is my second least favourite game in the franchise, don’t get me wrong I do think this is a very good game but I think it takes itself a little bit too seriously, the realism actually takes away from the experience for me because there just isn’t much in the game that is memorable outside of the main quest. Apart from the bugs there are no side quests that really stand out when compared to its predecessors even the characters are quite boring with the exception of Malo and the guy who runs the cannon, everyone else is just cookie cutter normal people, The Goron elders are fairly interesting and of course the Yeti couple at the mansion stand out as some of the best in the game but they are part of the main quest, its everything else which I feel is missing a lot of the charm the series is known for. Apart from this it has an outstanding soundtrack, very cool visuals and a great plot, I do like this game but I don’t ever feel like I cannot wait replay it and that really sucks for me. 6/10
I realise my opinions here are controversial considering how beloved this game is but please remember it only my opinion and is not fact, the amount of fans this game has goes to show that many feel differently than I do so please don’t let my feeling put you off trying the game for yourself.
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