Saturday, January 30, 2010

RECOM: Twilight Princess by Nightmaredude

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
by Nightmaredude
(Contributing Author)

The latest release in the Legend of Zelda series from Nintendo, released on the Wii in late 2006, is a revolutionary title—not only for the series, but for RPG gaming as a genre—because of the ground-breaking use of controls, immersive story, and luscious world. As with every game in the series, Twilight Princess features a reluctant hero trying to save the world and rescue the princess. One would think that after nearly 25 years, this formula would grow tiresome; that, everyone can agree on, is not the case. The plot is much greater than it seems: as time goes by, the story becomes an epic quest, an adventure, to save not only Hyrule, but the universe, from the unrelenting forces of evil and darkness.

As the story begins, the first thing the player notices are the lush beautifully designed environments. Grass drifts in the wind, water ripples and reflects sunlight while fish cast shadows on the bottom of small ponds. The over-world is massive, with several wide-open fields, lakes and rivers, towns, and many dungeons. The design of each dungeon and the amount of detail put into every single room is astounding. The highly detailed Castle Town and the immense architectural wonder that is Hyrule Castle are a pleasure to study. And that’s only Hyrule; from the barren wastelands of the Gerudo Desert, to the dark atmosphere of the Twilight Realm and the lofty perches of the City in the Sky, Twilight Princess has a diverse world that easily enraptures the mind as you wander about on your quest.

What would any Legend of Zelda game be without its timeless, awe-inspiring music? Twilight Princess does not slack in the department of mood-setting tunes. One of the first games (and most likely the only one to date) on the Wii that features a full incorporated orchestra, the superiority of Twilight Princess’s music shines as bright as the Triforce itself. Although it takes a step away from traditional Zelda-themes, the soundtrack is nevertheless a piece of art, lending majesty to the magical world of Hyrule.

One must not over-look the smaller details, as the sound effects featured in Twilight Princess are precise and realistic to the point of perfection. From everything to jingling chain-mail to shouts of pain, the game has a sound effect for everything. The only damper on this is the usage of the Wiimote’s speaker to project sounds specific to Link. Although it is a fantastic concept, the low quality speaker tends to distort otherwise perfect sound effects. This error is easily rectified by simply turning off the speaker, making this small mistake a moot point for nitpickers.

The story follows Link, the only Hylian in a small, out-of-the-way town, whose world is turned upside down when ominous clouds of Twilight transform the world into a bleak and desolate place. When Shadow Monsters kidnap the local children, his adventure begins. Link does the unimaginable and goes into the Twilight, where he is turned into a wolf and taken captive. The story really picks up when Link meets up with an imp named Midna, who frees him in exchange for a favour. She takes Link to meet Princess Zelda, who willingly became a captive of Zant, the usurper King of the Twilight Realm, in an effort to save her kingdom from unnecessary slaughter. Midna and Link are charged by the princess to find a way to destroy the Twilight and bring peace back to Hyrule. The ending of the game is a masterpiece, truly a moment where story-telling becomes an art in which Twilight Princess excels beautifully.

Story aside, the game itself features many technical innovations. The use of the Wiimote, specifically the pointer, is pure genius: you aim at the screen with various items, such as the bow for a precision never before seen. Movement is as expected: you move with the Nunchuck’s analog stick and readjust the view with the C button. Sword wielding is simple: you swing the Wiimote (not radically though, short even swings are sufficient) and Link will swing his sword. Battling is made easier with the inclusion of Z-Targeting (pressing and holding the Z button to keep a lock on a single enemy), which is improved upon from previous games.

Continuing with sword fighting, the player can learn a wide range of alternate, special attacks, which usually involves a combination of analog-movement, sword swinging and/or button pressing. There is one move, however—the shield punt—that has the annoying habit of turning instead into a spin attack, due to the similarity in execution of the moves; to perform a spin attack you shake the Nunchuck; to perform a shield punt, thrust the Nunchuck forward. Although shield punting is used frequently in the beginning of the game, one can overlook this small fault when the other, much more powerful moves are unlocked.

As with its predecessors, Twilight Princess features a fare amount of unique items. Some—like the bow and arrows, bombs and jars—have been featured in previous games, while others—the Double Clawshots and the Gale Boomerang, for example—are upgraded items from previous installments. Of course, the game features new items such as the Spinner (a giant top which Link rides upon to destroy enemies and reach high places via tracks), and the Dominion Rod (a wand, in essence, that allows you to control statues).

Twilight Princess features a wide array of challenges, but most of them are fairly easy to figure out given some thought. The legendary Water Temple, however, is a testament to gaming ingenuity; easily the biggest and most complicated dungeon in the game, it features massive puzzles that affect the entire dungeon and way too many rooms to count. However, the rest of the game’s trails pale in comparison, and from that point out, the game is easily completed. Twilight Princess does possess a ridiculous amount of smaller, optional side quests and mini-games to distract the player, often reaping massive rewards. Alas, this, too, is a weak point in the game: they are easy to complete, making Rupee hunting a breeze.

Lastly, the boss battles are elegant and well thought out, with well-designed bosses and unique usage of item combinations. But because of the easy difficulty of the game, they are no longer the same heart-racing, temper -flaring battles of yesteryear. With a calm mind and quick reflexes, the boss battles are much simple, whereas the potential for greatness remains unused. Even the final boss, Ganondorf, poses no real challenge. Despite this however, Twilight Princess accomplishes exactly what it was made to do: give one a righteous sense of accomplishment, and the realization that you alone saved a world from overwhelming darkness.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a game which fans both old and new can be proud of, and is certainly one worth the time to complete.


Maxi said...

Excellent Recomendation NightmareDude. I couldn't of said it any better.:)

Nightmaredude said...

Thanks, I felt that it was some of my best writing. It was a challenge writing it from an unbiased point-of-view, but I think I came across well enough that people who haven't played the game will give it a try.