The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii) – Review

Twilight Princess - Cover

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (TP) for the Nintendo Wii is the only one of Nintendo’s primary game franchises to be available as a launch title for the Wii; while there are Mario and Metroid titles in the works, Zelda is the first big game for the system, and the game does not really disappoint, for the most part. TP does an excellent job of embracing every aspect of the Wii including in controls, graphics, and sound, while still delivering the gameplay that all Zelda players have known and loved. The only notch against TP is the difficulty -while still an engaging long quest, it’s rather simple to defeat foes and work your way through dungeons, and thus may be the challenge that long-time Zelda players expect. Continue reading

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii) ~20hr

I’m working my way through the 5th dungeon and wondering what feels odd about this Zelda from the others, and I think I’ve got some idea that, while a great game nevertheless, isn’t yet as strong as Orcania of Time:

  • Dungeons are highly linear – not in the sense that it’s just one room after one room, because in many dungeons, you return to the same room several times.  It’s more that when you enter that room, there’s only one exit that you can use, the others out of range or locked.  So the ‘pattern’ as such is that you’d go to the only open door, eventually coming across the key or the new tool that use can use to open another door back in that first room.  In other words, there’s only one obvious way to go when you enter a room, made easier once you have map and compass.  Not that these types of patterns didn’t exist in the other Zelda games, but like in Wind Waker, it seems like there was two or three rooms you could explore, and you go off from the first room to get the key/tool needed to open a door in the second, as to get a key/tool to go back to the first room and deeper down it’s side rooms to find your next obstacle to get around – more back and forth pacing than this linear approach.  Mind, I do say I’m only at the 5th dungeon – there could be one waiting for me like this in the future.
  • Monsters are just not that hard to defeat.  Maybe some of this is because of things like the back slice to slip around behind enemies are optional skills to  pick up.  I couldn’t imagine trying to beat some Knights in Wind Waker without that manuever, while in Twilight Princess, it seems you just have to slice and hack when the opening appears.  But the regular foes are really simple to get around and I’ve yet to have a problem with any boss.
  • The story is mostly linear, and you’re pretty much told the next step you need to do after you complete a prior one.  I’ve yet to be at a loss of what to do after clearing a dungeon because there’s enough clues telling you exactly who to go see or where to travel.

That said, the Wii approach to the game, the integration of the switching between wolf and human forms and the different abilities of each, several of the new tools, and the overall visual appeal of the game really still make this a good title.  It’s just doesn’t seem as challenging as other Zelda games…yet.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii) – ~12hr

I’m just about to start the third full-fledged dungeon in the game, and the game still amazes me in the level of detail and the like.  They still manage to include all the usual Zelda instruments (the bow and arrow, the boomerang) but make changes to make the slightly different.  I’ve yet to be stimied by anything, but only because the game spends time to hint you though aspects and makes you think of secondary uses for your equipment and the features around the various rooms and landscapes.  I’ve seen people mention how they get stuck in the villiage at the very start, but I think if you can work your way through that and think of the same types of tricks there, you can work your way through most of these dungeons, so far, without too much difficulty.

I also think that having had recently played Okami for the PS2 helped a lot, since the same sort of dual-use puzzle items came up there.  Just knowing what you have in your inventory and thinking a bit laterially helps many times.  Mind you, to this point, the game is mostly straightforward as you unlock more of the world to explore, but I’m expecting, but hopefully not on the same scale, a Tingle-like quest — at least getting from one end to the other is much easier than in Windwaker.

And even though this isn’t the most advanced graphic system, the rendering of the characters is very impressive.  Really, Link and several other characters have really haunting eyes and excellent use of facial expressions that go well with the game.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii) ~ 6hr in

Even though the game starts off slow, once you actually hit the part about the Twilight Princess, the game takes a very delicious Zelda-like turn, and becomes much better paced.  I’ve gotten past the 1st dungeon (the one with the monkeys) and while a typical classic Zelda dungeon in every way, the Wii controls make it a breeze to get through.

As a curiousity, I’m wondering how much either Twilight Princess had on Okami (for the PS2), or vice versa, as we’ve got wolves freeing cursed lands in both, though the major part of game play is vastly different.

Nintendo Wii Release Titles – Initial Impressions

Finally got my pre-ordered Wii from Amazon last night after some question of where my order had disappeared to within the Amazon system.  Thankfully, it arrived when I expected it, and within a few minutes I was up and running with it.   (My Wii code is 8538 8031 5411 6139 for those interested).

I really really like the Wii interface, when compared to the PS3 and the 360.  And getting used to the Wiimote is rather quick; the rumble feedback is probably the thing that makes this work really well in addition to the visual indicators and the speaker in the Wiimote.

Wii Sports – I used to bowl and had a decent average (150 range), and I’m rather impressed how well using the Wiimote can simulate the bowling movement  and other physics of just the bowl itself (though I have to back off a bit on my spin since there’s nowhere close to the same weight as with a real ball.)   Golf feels natural as well, and definitely a different take compared to most console-based golf games.  Tennis, baseball and boxing feel a bit weird but likely I wasn’t giving myself enough room (as I was mostly testing the games out).  Nintendo definitely did right in including this game with the base system – it makes the Wii usable out of the box and demonstrates the power of the Wiimote, plus adds a significant physical element to actually playing the games.

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz – The gameplay itself is not much different from any other Monkey Ball title, but the use of the Wiimote is what makes this unique, and may be the best game you can get to learn how touchy the Wiimote is and how to fine tune your movements with it.  I’m also pleased to see a lot more minigames with this (at least 20 it looks like), though I’ve only played a handful so far.

Trauma Center: Second Opinion – I know this is basically a remake of Trauma Center: Under the Knife for the DS with an added chapter, but the game plays a lot differently from the DS touchscreen to the Wiimote, in that you have an easier time of selecting the tools you need for the operation with the nunchuck, but you have a little less accuracy with the pointer from the Wiimote, though the game appears to be giving you a lot of sensitivity.  To me, despite knowing the cases, it still feels like a whole new game.  It also seems to show that it is possible to take a game concept that relies strongly on the DS touchscreen and make it into a Wii game  (Kirby’s Canvas Curse and Ouendan/Elite Beat Agents are two titles that come to mind immediately; I also wouldn’t mind seeing Phoenix Wright brough to the Wii in this manner).

Red Steel – Take a standard first-person shooter, and add in the elements of stand-up arcade shooters that have gun controls (like Time Crsis or House of the Dead) and you get the foundations of Red Steel; you use the nunchuck to move (WASL style), the Wiimote to look (the mouse in conjunction with WASL), and then use objects and reload by moving the nunchuck up or down appropriately.   Haven’t got a katana yet (though I know it will be there!), and the controls are a little tricky at first but if I spent a bit more time, I’m sure they would start to come naturally, but in general, these add a new level of interaction with first person or third person shooters that isn’t possible with controllers on the other systems.  Unfortunately, the graphics are a bit clunky, and maybe I rushed too fast through the look calibration proceedure as the sensitivity for looking is just a bit too high, though I know I can change this in game.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess – Still at the first village, but so far this game works nicely with the Wiimote/nunchuck, and still has the same feel as any Zelda game (though closer to Orcania of Time and Mogana’s Mask in terms of art and stylings, even when you look past the cel-shading issue from Wind Waker – it’s just the feel of the game; maybe it’s just the fact that most of the world you’re in isn’t underwater and thus feels less sparse than Wind Waker.  Still haven’t gotten to combat but I expect that to be interesting.

At this point, with some time on both the PS3 and the Wii, and what I’ve done with the 360 to date, I think that Nintendo is going to come out on top in this round.  The Wiimote is a rather ingenius device and, like the touchscreen on the DS, will offer new ways to play game genres that have otherwise become stale; and yet you can still fall back to classic controls for titles that really need them.  I’ve heard good things about how EA’s done Madden 07 for the Wii, and also good things on Rayman, so I will likely pick these titles up as well.  However, I can’t wait for Super Mario Galaxy and in particular the next Metroid game – if Red Steel is any indication, first person shooters are going to be completely revolutized on the Wii.