#127 The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Twilight-Princess-HD2

  • Original release year: 2006
  • Consoles: GameCube, Wii (HD remaster: Wii U)

For some reason, between my wife and I, we end up owning each Zelda title about 20 odd times. I’m not even joking. We’re probably the reason Nintendo is still in business and the reason why Nintendo have started remastering old Zelda titles, repackaging them for new consoles and selling them at full price. We’re silly enough to rebuy them. Every time. Ocarina of Time? We’ve got it on the N64, 3 copies on the GameCube (I wish I was making that up) and a copy on the 3DS. Majora’s Mask? A copy on the N64, 2 copies on the GameCube and the 3DS version. Wind Waker? 2 copies on the GameCube and the Wii U remaster. Link’s Awakening? She has the original B/W version, I have the DX color version and we have the eShop version on the 3DS. A Link to the Past? I have it on the SNES and she has the GBA version. And finally, the game I will be discussing today, Twilight Princess? We’ve got the GameCube version (yay!), the Wii version (boo!) and the Wii U HD remaster (yay!). I can’t wait for the day Nintendo remaster Skyward Sword and take out the silly motion controls, so I can finally play through it.

The interesting thing about the different versions of Twilight Princess, is just how different they are to one another. The GameCube version is technically the original version. It’s presented in 4:3 and is played on a traditional controller. Part way through production though, Nintendo realised that the GameCube was no longer their focus and game would not be ready for release until shortly before the Wii would be released. So, realising that releasing a new Zelda game on a console that would be more or less dead at that point would be a terrible business decision, they made the choice to port the game to the Wii and delay its release until the Wii’s launch. To port it, they upgraded the aspect ratio to 16:9 and tacked on some poorly implemented motion controls (this was fixed with motion+ in Skyward Sword, although I’m still not a fan). Of course though, they later came across one key problem. Link is left handed, but most people in the world are right handed. Normally this isn’t an issue, but in a game where the player is supposed to be immersed in the game, assuming the role of link and swinging a wii remote to mimic his sword? That would be a problem. So they solved it by simply mirroring the whole game horizontally. Seriously.

So anyways, I’ve most recently being playing the Wii U version, which upgrades the game with HD visuals, is presented in 16:9, contains the original non-mirrored version of Link and the world and most importantly, doesn’t use terrible motion controls (other than for aiming the bow etc., which is fine). This is the definitive version in my opinion, especially as it streamlines some of the crappy wolf sections and makes some minor improvements.

By now, you’re probably wondering when I’m actually going to get around to talking about the game, so I guess I better get started. Twilight Princess is kind of an odd Zelda game. Wind Waker received quite a heavy dose of outrage from a lot of people (mostly from really boring people. You know the types, dicks like me who are no fun at parties and always have to pick out flaws in everything), due to its interesting, cartoony graphical style. Some people also moaned that Wind Waker was too short. So Twilight Princess was basically Nintendo saying “fuck it, fine, we’ll give you what you want. We’ll make a dark Zelda game and give it a more realistic, OoT inspired, graphical style” and they also made it really long too. It also came out at a weird time, between the GameCube and Wii and obviously ended up being released for both. Due to this, I think Wind Waker and Skyward Sword, as they’re more well known on each retrospective console, get more love and attention from fans. Mind you, Twilight Princess does have some flaws, but it also has some great moments.

Epona is back.
Epona is back.

Although I prefer Wind Waker, I do find the sombre, dark mood of Twilight Princess really intriguing. I think it’s interesting how the formula in Zelda rarely changes much, but each game can feel entirely different, thanks to different unique styles they explore each time. I don’t know if I’d necessarily want another ‘Twilight Princess’, but I’m so glad they did do this at least once.

The gimmick in Twilight Princess is Link can turn into a wolf. I guess this makes it the ‘Sonic Unleashed’ of the Zelda universe, only the wolf sections fortunately aren’t quite as shit in Twilight Princess. There’s certain parts in the beginning of the game where you are forced to be a wolf for a short while, but fortunately, you eventually gain the ability to transform at will and then altering between Link and the wolf becomes part of progressing through the game. It’s not a bad mechanic at all really.

Twilight Princess is one of the most conservative Zelda titles ever released. For fans of Zelda, there isn’t a lot to say, because it’s just Zelda through and through. There are dungeons, some of which are the best and most refined the series has ever seen, and there is a larger version of Hyrule, which is still sparse, but looks prettier than it ever did before. Basically, Twilight Princess is a successor to OoT and in that sense, it does work. It’s just not a revolutionary Zelda title, but most importantly, it is a fun Zelda title. The dungeons are fantastic, it just suffers from coming out straight after Wind Waker. It almost feels like Nintendo took the backlash Wind Waker received and took a step back, or at least a step sideways. Still, regardless, Twilight Princess is another brilliant Zelda title and fans should love it, regardless of whether it matches the ridiculously high standards set by some of the other games in the series.

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