Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Review

I’m pretty sure that Nintendo fans were unanimously excited when Twilight Princess was announced. It looked darker and more detailed than any previous Zelda game. With Hyrule flooded in Wind Waker, people were hoping for another game to take place back in Hyrule, maybe even top Ocarina of Time. (Even though in my opinion, Wind Waker already did, but that’s not the point.) Then, when it was announced that it would be a Wii launch title instead of solely on the Gamecube, people got a little worried. A Zelda launch game, with motion controls never used before? You can’t blame people for waving a Red Flag, especially when Red Steal was a disappointment. Luckily our fears were not at all realized. What Nintendo managed to do by porting this game to the Wii was making the best launch title of this generations 3 consoles and another stellar example of a Zelda game.

It starts off much like the older Zelda games. Link’s living a fairly decent life in Ordon Village, a small town close to Hyrule. Link spends his carefree days working as a goat rancher with his trusty horse (who’s default name is Epona, but you can select a name at the beginning.) He spends his time off playing with children half his age...(Hard to blame him, there’s only one person his age in the whole village and she’s kind of fugly.)

One day, Link is tasked with bringing a gift from the village (a specially crafted sword and shield) to the Royal family at Hyrule castle. However, before he can leave monsters attack the village, kidnapping all of the kids and Link’s horse. Link goes after them, only to stumble into the Twilight zone...I mean, realm...well, it might as well be the Twilight zone. So, the Triforce of courage on his hand starts glowing. (which he has at the start for some reason, likely because he’s directly desended from another Link. Maybe Majora’s Mask wasn’t his death after all :P) He turns into a Wolf, then passes out.

Wolf Link Screenshot

Our Hero wakes up, chained in a dungeon. He’s greeted in his cell by a strange looking imp named Midna. Midna will be playing the role of “Annoying-fairy-guide-who-needs-to-STFU-and-stop-cackling-at-me-through-the-wii-mic-before-I shove-the-Master-Sword-up-her-ass-and-no-that-isn’t-meant-to-be-sexual-just-painful” for this game. After busting you out of jail and treating you like her bitch for a while, You explore the dungeon and later realize you are in Hyrule castle. After a bit more navigating and fighting deformed Shadow creatures as a wolf, you eventually come across Princess Zelda. Zelda explains that Hyrule was recently attack by Zant, the evil King of Twilight. Zelda was forced to surrender and all of Hyrule was covered in twilight, turning it’s people into spirits. It could be worse, at least the twilight didn’t turn them into sparkly vampires. While we’re on the topic, Midna could probably kick Edward Cullen’s ass. Just throwing that out there.

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minda1 - legend of zelda: twilight princess review

hood zelda

So after the meeting, Midna warps Link back to Ordon. Even though Link is out of the Twilight Realm, he is still in Wolf form. After he finds his sword and shield agian, Midna explains they have to go back into the Twilight realm in Faron woods to turn back to normal. (where he was transformed) This is confirmed by the light spirit Ordona, who contacts Link at Ordon spring before he continues. After going through the Twilight woods, killing bugs to find light tears (used to revive the light spirit and change the area back to normal) Link is changed back to normal, wearing the good old green tunic, and the light spirit Faron explains that he’s the new Hero. Afterward, Midna demands that they go to the Forest Temple, in order to find one of three items that will help them bring Zant down. This is how it all begins.
midnalink - legend of zelda: twilight princess review

Essentially it plays like any Zelda game, except the Wii controls are implemented. Swinging your sword is as simple as flicking your wrist slightly, and you can run and slash. However, the direction you wave doesn’t affect the slice itself. Non-targeted slash is always horizontal, Targeted is always vertical. Jump slash is still Target+ A. Shaking the nunchuk does a spin attack. The Wii controls making using the Bow and Clawshot, amoung other items much easier. Simply point at the screen and hit B once your aim is down. This works MUCH better than aiming with the control stick in older games simply for speed and accuracy. You even have the ability to combine some items (Bomb-arrows anyone?) Speaking of bombs, you get 3 different kinds. Your regular every-day bombs, water bombs, which as their name implies can be used underwater and bomblings (walking bombs.) Other items return like the Iron boots. Not only do they let you walk underwater, but upside-down on magnetic walls. (Insert ICP reference here.) Of course if you’re going to walk underwater, you might want to put on some Zora Armour. This doesn’t only let you breath underwater like in Ocarina, it also lets you swim like Zora Link in Majora, only not quite as quickly. There are other new items, like a giant ball and chain used to pummel blocks of ice and boulders, and the spinner which lets you glide over quicksand. One slight difference is that it takes 5 heart pieces for a heart container.

linkfighting - legend of zelda: twilight princess review

the legend of zelda twilight princess wolf screenshot

One thing that makes this game interesting, if not a little too easy is the hiddens skills. During your travels, you’ll come across humming Shiekah stones. Turn into a Wolf and howl the melody you hear . Then you’ll get a cut scene with Link and a golden wolf, howling the same tune with a trippy backdrop of Hyrule. Then, the location of a golden wolf will be shown on your map. Go there as a human, and the wolf jumps at you, sending you to another dimension with a skull warrior. This warrior teaches you a new sword technique whenever you see him. The first one you get, and the one that takes most of the challenge out of some boss fights, is the finishing blow. Stun and enemy, then when you get the prompt, hit A to finish him instantly. While it makes sense to have it for small enemies, I wish it didn’t end boss fights so fast. True story: I had 2 red potions in my inventory for the fist 4 dungeons that I NEVER touched until maybe the fourth boss fight. I’m pretty sure the only time I thought I might be in trouble was during the 6th boss, and even then I took him down easily enough when I realized the proper technique. Though despite the lack of difficulty, they still have a very epic feel to them. My personal favourite being a 7th boss, a dragon you fight by grabbing his tail with the Clawshot, throwing on the iron boots to drag him down, then slashing the shit out of him.

Gold wolf

Link vs Diababa

Besides this, there are 6 more techniques to acquire, like the shield attack, helm splitter, back slice and more. Not all of them are needed but they’re cool to have for the sake of completing the list.

The controls as a wolf are basically the same, only you can’t use items. You instead have your animal senses, which let you see spirits (in the Twilight Realm) find dig spots, hidden pathways, scents to pic up, hidden items, etc. Combat is the same, only you use your claws and teeth. Midna can also create a force field to stun multiple enemies and then release it so you can kill them quickly. When you enter the Twilight, you automatically turn into a wolf. You can only be turned back by finding all of the tears of light in the area. You do this by killing insects, which you can only find by using your senses. Later in the game, you gain the ability to turn into a wolf at will. It’s strangely fun to run through Hyrule Castle town in Wolf form, scaring the shit out of people.

I mentioned the Faron province earlier. Not including Ordon, there are 3. The other two are Eldin, which contains Kakariko Village and Death mountain. Then You have Lanayru, which has Lake Hylia, Zora’s domain and Hyrule Castle. The overworld map is much larger than in previous games. This doesn’t even include the Desert or Snow peak. Luckily, portals are created in certain areas while progressing and Midna can warp you pretty much anywhere you need to get. Otherwise, you can just ride Epona.

twilight princess horseback fight

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Now, my joking aside, Midna is a character I actually happen to like. Sure, the laughing at you and the sounds during her dialogue get annoying, but she gets much more back story and development than other guide characters. Trying to avoid spoilers here, much of her personality and behaviors explained by her back story. She has a bone to pick with Zant, no doubt about that but her bitchiness and disdain for Hyrule are explained later in the game as well. Much of the story is ultimately focused around her background. It’s nice to see this as well, because regardless of what you think of the other guide characters, they were under developed by comparison. Navi is just a fairy sent by the Deku Tree, no personalty beyond that. Tatl is really just a bitchier verson of Navi trying to find her brother and Skull kid. The King of Red lions is better, much less annoying, comes across as more of a wise mentor than a guide. Which is reinforced when we learn that he is in fact, the King of Hyrule. But even then, not much personality aside from that. But Midna on the other hand grows as a character. She starts as bitchy and with little respect for Link, or even Hyrule. She simply wants to see Zant dead. Then she grows into a more dedicated and caring partner as they travel together, which could be either a growing attachment to the light world, Link or likely both.

midna - legend of zelda: twilight princess review

link midna

This game looks impressive as well. Even though the wii doesn’t have the same graphical capabilities the 360 and PS3 have, Twilight Princess still has a stylish, dark look to it compared to other Zelda games. Considering the amount of time set in the Twilight realm and the nature of the game, it works well. Basically, Zant had already taken over so the game is more about undoing the damage rather foiling his plans at first. People need to understand this, if nothing else: Good, detailed art makes a good looking game, not graphics and high def. This is why Twilight Princess is easily a better looking game than much of what came out on the other two consoles at the time. There are a lot of ugly looking games on the 360. However, many of Nintendo’s key franchises looks great for what they are. (Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3

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zelda twilight princess screen

Most Zelda games have little mini games in them, you know, shooting galleries and what not to earn some extra rupees. Twilight Princess does a great job with these. For example, you thought the fishing hole in Ocarina was decent? Twilight Princess gives you a nice sized lake, a rowboat, 3 different lures, some different types of fish and some nice controls (Cast with the Wiimote, reel with the nunchuk.) You thought the shooting gallery was fun? How about a game where a giant bird carries you through the sky, popping balloons while dodging arrow shooting enemies? Guess the chest? Here’s an idea: Jump off a platform with a Chicken and glide down to a mini island with multiple levels, a chest on each.

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I think it’s hardly a spoiler to say that like almost every Zelda game, you know it’s going to boil down to 3 characters. Twilight Princess takes some good twists and turns a long the way, but the story is just as strong as any Zelda game, if not more so. Some people think this is better than Ocarina, the Zelda we were all waiting for. I’m not sure how I feel about this statement (Like I’ve said before Windwaker is still my favourite.) But I do like the thought that more people are embracing the idea that something could beat Ocarina. Many will still prefer Ocarina, simply for the nostalgia, but I can easily see newer fans enjoying this one more. If you’re reading this, let me recommend that you play both of them at some point, decide for yourself if the new upgrades outweigh the nostalgia. But one thing is definitely certain. This game has proven that the Legend of Zelda isn’t going anywhere. Even now, 25 after the first game came out, fans eagerly bought Skyward Sword a couple of weeks ago (myself included and yes, I’m going to review it.) Zelda is still, and always will be the defining adventure game, for every generation around to play it.


Master Sword

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  • CrazyJay
  • November 29, 2011, 7:58 pm
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  • 3

    Although I had already played Ocarina and the original, Twilight Princess was the first Zelda game I owned and finished. It'll probably always be my favorite, although Skyward Sword is pretty awesome. Can't wait for your review of that one!

    • Ertrov
    • November 29, 2011, 8:04 pm
    Well, I was hoping I could finish the game first, but I think I've got enough material to do it justice. (Made it to Din's trail, haven't been playing it as much as I'd like to.)
    - CrazyJay November 29, 2011, 8:05 pm
    I haven't gotten that far lol. It's so awesome though.
    - Ertrov November 29, 2011, 8:14 pm
    I beat it already, wish I'd slow down, takes me 2-3 days per zelda game... I'm horrible. Though this one did bring out more of the 'Holy shit more to do' on you then Twilight Princess.
    - chaosmaster November 30, 2011, 10:02 pm
    I've been purposely taking my time with it. (Upgrading items, getting shit done on skyloft, heart piece/goddess cube hunting, etc.)
    - CrazyJay December 1, 2011, 9:46 am
    Yeah that's what I'm working on now.
    - chaosmaster December 1, 2011, 10:43 pm
  • 2

    Because I know some people won't bother reading the description: CLICK EXPAND ALL IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE THAN JUST THE PICS.

  • 2

    games the shit

  • 2

    I am very impressed with your review, my friend! :D I couldn't have said it better myself. I'm guessing you didn't reveal Ganon to avoid spoilers? Along with Midna's badass Twilight mask form. x3
    Overall, I really liked the music in Twilight Princess. A good soundtrack always makes a good game. You may or may not have noticed this, but when you howl the right notes of some of the Sheika stones and you howl along with the golden wolf, you hear songs you learned in Ocarina of Time. I liked some of the boss fights, too. Like some of the mini boss fights. The one with the knight in The Temple of Time and then the Gerudo leader (giant green orc with an axe), and of course, the dragon in City in the Sky and Ganon, himself. I'm also assuming you left out other key parts of the game to avoid spoilers. :3 I've beaten Twilight Princess three times, so I know almost every key element of the game. xDD

    That's about right. I always take for granted that people haven't played it, that way the review actually feels like a review rather than me just spewing my opinions about a game.

    Yes, I did love the music and yes I noticed the songs being howled. In fact, they aren't all from Ocarina. One is The Song of Healing from Majora's mask. (My guess is that wolf is the Ghost of Ocarina's/Majora's Link)
    - CrazyJay November 30, 2011, 6:53 am
    I still can't get over the fact that the theme song of Skyward Sword is Zelda's Lullaby backwards.
    - Ertrov November 30, 2011, 7:19 am
    If you're planning on reviewing Skyward Sword, then you're pretty much not gonna be able to avoid spoilers. I'm almost finished with it. That game is fucking sweet. I was playing it literally all day yesterday and never got bored of it once.
    - Disco November 30, 2011, 8:31 am
    I know maybe two weren't from Ocarina, but I still loved them. And yeah, I think the ghost is Ocarina/Majora's Link. Considering that in the official timeline, I think Twilight Princess takes off after Ocarina of Time.
    One thing you gotta love is doing the finishing blow on an enemy and then the way you sheathe your sword. Somehow it just makes you feel like a badass and go "Fuck yeah".
    - XxDaminalsxX November 30, 2011, 9:09 pm
    Speaking of the Time line, what do you think of the split time line theory? The idea is that Ocarina created two realities. One with adult Zelda, sealed Ganon and Link erased from history. The second with Link, having been sent back to have a childhood before the Ganon takes over.
    - CrazyJay December 1, 2011, 9:41 am
    I never knew of that theory. I only knew of the Stalfos theory.
    - XxDaminalsxX December 1, 2011, 6:59 pm
    Here's the general idea: Ocarina's ending created two realities. One in which Link has been sent back in time (deleted.) Ganondorf returns but since Link is non-existant, can't stop him. (Leading into Wind Waker since the gods had to flood Hyrule to stop Ganon) Then in the second reality, Link has been sent back as a child, to before he even met Zelda. (Leading into Majora.) We can assume he told Zelda and the King about his adventures, leading to the sages attempting to seal Ganon, but then Chucking him in the Twilight Realm (Leading to TP, or possibly a Link to the Past. Hard to say which came after of other.)
    - CrazyJay December 2, 2011, 9:30 am
    Yeah, I did see some Link To The Past moments in Twilight Princess. Like in Link To The Past: Evil Wizard that wants to enslave Hyrule. Twilight Princess: Evil Wizard that wants to enslave Hyrule in the Twilight realm. In both you have to defeat the wizard before you fight Ganon. Link To The Past: Travel to a sacred forest to retrieve the Master Sword after you've collected three items. Twilight Princess: The same. Also, in both you travel to alternate realms and you have a creature that can instantly transport you to places you've been.
    - XxDaminalsxX December 2, 2011, 9:57 pm
    Indeed. I would actually think that Link to the past came afterward, as the evil wizard is trying to resurrect Ganon. Twilight princesses ending suggests that Link simply killed him rather than sealing him.

    This being said, where could the original 2 games fit?
    - CrazyJay December 3, 2011, 8:48 am
  • 1

    good review of the game, i did enjoy it emensly although my biggest problem with the game is the fact they removed the aspect of magic and things like din's fire

  • 1

    Epic spoiler of epicnesss
    Epic spoiler of epicnesss
    Epic spoiler of epicnesss
    I'd like to hear your thoughts on the darkness of the game, such as how people died in the ways they had, not just that but the effects of them dieing. The ending of the game with Midna. I thought it to be sad and depressing, but of course not to an extreme. I'll miss Midna, but if you think about it, they needed to get rid of her some how, for bringing Midna back would be impossible assuming she has a long life span. Mostly just what did you think of the dark, sad, moments and end of the game. Personally I have a hard time choosing between this, OoT, Major's, and Wind Waker, thought I greatly enjoyed the game I was also greatly disappointed in how they ended it.
    Epic spoiler of epicnesss
    Epic spoiler of epicnesss
    Epic spoiler of epicnesss

    Like I already said, I like how dark the game simply looks, so the more grim themes suit it. As for Midna leaving, she was the rightful Princess of the Twilight realm. It makes sense that she'd have to go back, having responsibilities to her people and what not. With the fused shadows, she'd be able to maintain order and hopefully prevent another one like Zant from taking over.
    - CrazyJay December 1, 2011, 9:44 am
    Though I meant the destruction of the mirror when I mentioned her leaving.
    - chaosmaster December 1, 2011, 10:42 pm
    Well, it's not right for Hyrule to send it's villians there for the Twili clan to deal with anyways. It was a sensible move, if not a bittersweet one.
    - CrazyJay December 2, 2011, 9:32 am
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