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GAME REVIEW - May 20, 2007

by Devon Varesko

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (GameCube)

My Rating: 9 out of 10

Zelda: Twilight Princess

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a fantasy RPG. It is available on both the Nintendo GameCube and Nintendo Wii consoles. The best way to describe this game is to say it is very similar to Nintendo 64's The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - but more like... on steroids.

There are a lot of improvements and such which make this game better than its predecessors. The first of which is improved graphics. Characters are more detailed and you can read their emotions. They even move their mouths when they "talk". Grass rustles as you walk through it. Clouds moving overhead make shadows on the ground below. There are so many small finishing touches like this that it really makes this game come to life.

As far as the music goes, it's about what you might expect. A lot of the classic Zelda music is included - although remixed of course. There are also a few new music tracks which are played in some areas, or during specific parts of the game.

One of the key highlights to this game, in my opinion, is the ability to engage in horse-mounted combat. Of course, in Ocarina of Time, you were able to shoot your bow from on your horse. However, Twilight Princess adds the ability to swing your sword at your foes as you gallop past (or even over) them. Mounted enemies in some parts of the game make things rather interesting.

A number of races and places return in various ways as well. These include the Zoras and their water kingdom, Gorons and their mountain city, slimes, and moblins - among other things. The Lost Woods is back in a bit of a different way. Link also lives in a tree with a ladder out front for access - very similar to Ocarina of Time. Kakariko village is back too, but looks a lot different for sure. If you're hoping to visit the Temple of Time - it's back as well. But again, not as you remember it. No worries though, because changing things around like this gives you a better sense of adventure, as you're actually discovering something more or less new.

The story is very familiar as well, but with a twist. One of the new features this story enables is the ability for Link to transform into a wolf. A wolf that can jump, bite, snarl, and even spin attack. In wolf form, you won't have access to your regular equipment, but the wolf has a few abilities of its own. One of the abilities is to actually speak with animal NPC's. At one point in the game, you get much more control over when you want to be a wolf or not, but at the beginning you are forced one way or the other.

A few nice features include the ability to skip long cutscenes (unfortunately, not most short cutscenes), climb along the edge of a cliff (after grabbing onto it or falling and catching yourself on it), go fishing in two different modes, the addition of new special sword combat moves, and switching between clothes as well as between swords and between shields. Some returning gameplay elements include collecting heart pieces, collecting items from dungeons, solving puzzles, and doing a fair number of mini-quests for NPC's.

This game doesn't have very many negative aspects to it. However, one problem with it is that you can't always call your horse in every place that makes sense to ride it. I was unable to call the horse in the desert, and although there is a possible explanation for that (the desert is up top a cliff), it still doesn't make it any less annoying to have to walk across the desert.

Another problem is that many of the NPC's use repeat phrases when you talk to them. If you are at one point in the storyline, and speak to an NPC, they will usually tell you something new the first time - but after that they just keep repeating the same phrase they did the second time you spoke with them. It could make things more interesting if there was more dialogue to go around.

Some improvements that could be made to this game (but don't really need to be) include adding a multiplayer aspect (I just always thought that would be cool - and no Four Swords didn't really cut it - in my opinion that game was just a way for Nintendo to make some easy extra cash), adding the ability to take on a number of paths down the storyline or at least the ability to go to one of two dungeons in the order you so choose instead of being funneled to one at a time, and they could have added more towns/villages/cities and a larger world to explore with a good number more of exciting places of interest. Think of some old-school RPG's like Dragon Warrior or the early Final Fantasy games - they had a good number of towns and places to explore. I'd like to see that in a game like this as well - even though it would be more difficult to achieve.

In conclusion, I would recommend this game to any Zelda fan. I really don't think you will be disappointed, especially if you enjoyed Ocarina of Time. This is like a breath of fresh air after the number of other Zelda games that have come out since Ocarina.

Related Links:

Official Zelda: Twilight Princess Website

Screenshots:

Zelda Epona Zelda Field Zelda Wolf

 

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