widdowson91's The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (GameCube) review

It's a great game, but don't expect anything revolutionary.

The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess an Action/Adventure game by Nintendo for the GameCube and Wii, and is the thirteenth instalment in the Zelda series. It starts off in typical Zelda fashion, with Link living a simple life unaware of his true destiny to save the land of Hyrule.
With Twilight Princess been in development for over 3 years, you may think the adventure will be long, and you're correct. This is by far the longest Zelda game in the series, but that does not necessarily make the game good. Every other Zelda game, once I've finished it, I gotten an urge to play through the entire game again, but I never felt this with Twilight Princess. The only reason I went through this game twice is because I finished it on the GameCube then we got it with our Wii, so I kind of had to play through it again.

I said I never got an urge to play this game again but that is not because of the games length. In fact the length of the game was probably the best thing; I seemed to get more engrossed with the story. It wasn't the gameplay that put me off either, as the gameplay near the exact same as Ocarina of Time so the gameplay is nothing short of Flawless. For me, the problem with this game was the puzzles.
Nearly every puzzle in this game had been recycled from previous Zelda games. It's not that the puzzles are rubbish, but if you're a Zelda veteran like me, you'll breeze through the dungeons without much thought. I mean Nintendo have tried to tweak some of the puzzles slightly, so there not exactly the same as on other games, but you'll notice the similarities and still figure them out pretty easily. The most noticeable puzzle on the game that has been recycled is the Poe puzzle in the Arbiter Grounds. It's the same as the Poe puzzle in the Forest Temple on Ocarina of Time, even down to the fact that the Poe steal fire, which impedes your progression through the dungeon. The puzzle is easier than the puzzle on Ocarina though because you can follow the scent of the Poe when you're in Wolf form so you know exactly where they are hidden. The dungeons in Twilight Princess very well thought out, and if this is your first Zelda game, be prepared because they are long, but the puzzles are the games downfall for me.
I know there have been 15 Zelda games and there are bound to be some recycled puzzles but in the Wind Waker, they waited till later on till you got items recycled from old games such as the Hookshot, so most of the game was played without the elements of using the Hookshot.
On Twilight Princess, they have changed a few weapons like the Hookshot is now the Clawshot and Bombchu are now Bombling. These are just pointless changes. But I have to admit there are some new inventive weapons in Twilight Princess that I think would have made pervious games better, like the Dominion Rod or the Water Bombs.
The biggest difference between the GameCube and Wii versions is obviously the control scheme. On the GameCube, the controls are traditional, 'B' to use your sword, 'A' is the action button and so on, but there is a degree of accuracy you get with the Wii remote that you don't get with the GameCube controller. You swing the Pointer to swing Link's sword., You shake the Nunchuk to perform a Spin attack. You lock on with 'Z' and press 'A' to perform a jump attack and so on. This is a good control scheme but sometimes you may swing your sword accidentally when you don't want to, and sometimes when you do want to, it won't work, but only on rare occasions.
Where the pointer changes the game the most is when you aim with weapons. For example, if you ger your Hero's Bow out, you aim it by aiming the pointer at the screen and shoot using 'B'. Same with all the other weapons that require aiming. It's a lot quicker and much more accurate then using an analogue stick. You can turn the Pointer options off so you can still aim with the analogue stick if you really want to. The problem with this control scheme as a whole is that if you have the Pointer option turned on a fairy appears on the screen and it fly's across the screen every time you swing your sword and it makes a noise doing so. This is very, very annoying.

The only puzzles on this game that are not on the others are the puzzles you do as wolf Link. Link's friends, Colin and Ilia, get kidnapped by some of Zant's Moblins. Zant is the games main antagonist and the one who is responsible for Hyrule getting covered in Twilight. Link follows the Moblins and reached a wall of Twilight, which he gets dragged into by a twilight monster. When Link first enters the Twilight, he gets turned into a wolf, and it is quite long before you can turn back to human. The puzzles as a wolf are good because they have obviously never been on previous Zelda games. As wolf link, you can use the wolf's senses, which pick up on things hidden underground and certain smells, which you can follow. Whoever thought of turning Link into a wolf can't have much of an imagination though, come on they could have turned him into something good like a proper twilight being. Later on in the game you can control when you want to turn to a Wolf so it doesn't get as annoying.
And I didn't like Midna. She is your guardian rather like Navi and Tatl on previous games, but Midna thinks she can use Link, until she finds out what Link's true destiny is. But as a guardian, who offers in-game tips, she can be annoying. I know Navi on Ocarina did her annoying 'hey' and 'hello', when she wanted to talk to you, and you heard that bell ringing noise on Majora's Mask when Tatl wanted to talk to you, but you chose when to talk to them by pressing a button, but Midna pops up even in stupid situations like when your getting attacked and you can't stop it. You can press 'Z' to talk to her at anytime, but doing this she gives you no clear advice, she just tells you your current objectives and nothing else, and she doesn't give information for enemies your fighting, except when your against bosses
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the game is designed badly. The game is designed fantastically, but for me, if you add up all the things you can do on it, you'll notice just how similar it is to the previous games, and some of the little things are to annoying.

The games story is great. There are lots of plot twists to contend with. The games main antagonist, Zant, a resident of the Twilight realm, who has somehow gained an untold of power, and he has taken control of the Twilight realm. He is under the influence of what he describes to be a God. He uses his new found power to create Twilit creatures which then infest and take over Hyrule, turning it into a Twilight world. There seems to be more of a story in this game then in previous Zelda games. Since Ocarina of Time, some games like Majora's Mask and The Wind Waker, seem to be based more on side-quests and this results in you losing the jist of the story, because you can wander around aimlessly, just hoping to find or trigger something that is needed. There are some side-quests in Twilight Princess, but none of them are essential to the games main story.

Also an average Zelda game has 6 or 7 temples, with the exception of Majora's Mask, but Twilight Princess has 9 main dungeons if I can remember correctly. It's not got the most amount of dungeons to feature in a Zelda game, that title is held by A Link to the Past, but Twilight Princess' dungeons are much bigger, and it is a much bigger game overall. I would like to see a similar amount of dungeons in the next game, or even more. The end of dungeon bosses, although they look fantastic, there are extremely easy and I found the first boss Diababa harder than bosses later on in the game, even though Diababa is easy. But that's only my opinion. Probably the best looking boss of the game is Fyrus, who you encounter in Goron Mines, but again it isn't difficult. Even the games final battle is surprisingly easier then I expected, and not that much harder than Ganondorf was on The Wind Waker.

Where this game mostly excels is in the size of Hyrule. It is MASSIVE. Imagine Hyrule field on Ocarina of Time then times it by 5 or even 10, and then you can see the scale of Hyrule on Twilight Princess. It could take you in excess of an hour or more to walk through Hyrule without even visiting towns or villages. The games draw distances are massive too and everywhere you can see to you can go there and explore. Never has a Zelda game had this amount of depth. As I said earlier, Zant makes Twilight cover Hyrule, and you do get to play in the Twilight side of Hyrule. The Twilight world is also designed fantastically and the whole of Hyrule is under the Twilight so you get to play a kind-of double world, where every time you enter a wall of Twilight and you turn into the wolf and you have to rid that part of Hyrule from Twilight to return to Human Link. The Twilight world is dark and has little, if any light, and this makes Twilight Princess seem a darker game to others in the series. The layout of the Twilight World is exactly the same as that of Hyrule in the Light world. The Twilight does all go before you reach the half-way point in the game, but later on in the game you do explore a Twilight dungeon so you're never too far away from it.
The Music is good in this game, but it doesn't fit into the game as well as the music did on the 3 previous home video console Zelda games. All the music on Twilight Princess is done using Midi, and there is no orchestral music which is disappointing. Another disappointing thing is that if you're a Zelda fan you'll realise that a lot of the music is recycled off Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker, and this shows clear signs of a lack of evolution in the series. The music is good, but Nintendo should have had the music composed for Twilight Princess so it was unique to it, instead of it been the same as the rest of the series.
From what I found out playing the game, it will take you anywhere between 35 to 50 hours to finish the main story first try, but the play time could easily surpass this and could reach at least 70 hours if you attempt the side-quests. And on a second try, it should take you no longer than 15 hours, which is still longer than most videogames you get nowadays.

I love Zelda games, but even I struggled to love this game. It just doesn't have that 'wow' factor to it that Ocarina of Time did when that first came out back in 1998. When Ocarina of Time came out, it boasted the best 3D graphics to ever appear in a videogame, the games environment noises and musical scores sounded fantastic, it had the best gameplay to ever grace a videogame, plus it introduced loads of techniques that are now essential to an action-adventure game, and techniques Zelda games still use to this day.
But look at Twilight Princess. The graphics are FAR form the best nowadays, about half the music in this game has been recycled from Ocarina, which shows lack of creativity and Nintendo are still relying on techniques from Ocarina instead of thinking up some new ones. Its gameplay is fantastic, but many people will think its 'Been there, done that,' but not me. It's fantastic for the videogame industry that Ocarina of Time came out because it changed the way videogames were made and played, rather like A Link to the Past before it, but in a way it's bad for the Zelda series because Nintendo are relying too much on techniques from that game instead of evolving the series further and thinking up totally new ones. Don't get me wrong, Twilight Princess is a fantastic game. It's technically the best Zelda game ever because there is a ton more to do in this game then there ever has been in previous Zelda games, and Hyrule is massive and designed fantastically too; but if your looking for something as revolutionary as Ocarina of Time was back in 1998, you will be very disappointed.

Review by: James Widdowson  

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