For the last 2 weeks I have been playing this game on the Wii. The Legend of Zelda series of games go back top the eighties, but I have to say that I have not really followed it in any way, although I did start Windwaker at one stage. I must say upfront that Twilight Princess is one of the best game I have ever played.
Twilight Princess is an action adventure game, with the emphasis on puzzle solving rather than straight combat. The player must free the Kingdom of Hyrule, which has been overrun by strange shadow creatures. Starting out as a farm boy in an out-of-the-way village, the player will travel the length and breadth of the kingdom during the course of the game, freeing the other provinces one after the other and eventually rescuing Princess Zelda who seems to be a prisoner in her own castle. The plot takes many twists and turns along the way, and for much of the story the player is transformed into a wolf and accompanied by a little impish creature from the shadows that lends a helping hand but may have her own agenda.
The highlight of the game are the dungeons. Along the way there are certain tasks that require exploring ancient temples. These take the form of large 3D mazes which the player must navigate through, solving puzzles to progress through the rooms. The puzzles are ingenious and pitched at exactly the right level: difficult without being impossible or obscure. The player will gain new abilities as new items are discovered, and many of the rooms contain more than one exit, some of which can only be reached once other parts of the dungeon have been explored.
Be warned, this is a very large game. I played it through fairly fast, without bothering to do many of the side quests or find all of the secrets and it still took me nearly 50 hours. It is a rare game that can hold my interest for that long, but Twilight Princess managed to make me regret that it was over. There is some much variety in the game that it is hard to get bored.
The game mechanics are easy to pick up. The game is played with the Wii numchuk controlling the players movement and the buttons on the wand allowing access to items and abilities. Combat is done by waving the wand for various different attacks, firing projectiles (from bows or slingshots) is done using the wand as a pointer. Along the way different items and abilities are obtained, but everything remains intuitive.
Graphically the game is a bit of a mixed bag. Twilight Princess was originally aimed at the last generation of game console and it shows. It is particularly noticeable on the larger fields of Hyrule Kingdom, which feature vast areas of boring grass textures. This is more than made up for by the art direction, which is fantastic and really makes the most of what they are working with. The forests are particularly impressive, with bright sunlight streaming through the trees. The dungeons also look great, and part of the appeal of the game is the wide variation in environments. Soundwise the game is nothing special, but the music is quite nice.
Highly recommended. If you haven’t already seen it, Aaron posted an even more gushing review a couple of weeks ago.