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GoNintendo Review - The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii version)

by rawmeatcowboy
17 November 2006
GN 1.0 / 2.0

Absolutely spoiler-free, no worries of reading on and having things ruined for you (including pictures, which I have left out). Hope you guys enjoy the review. I am off to bed for now, I will catch you in a few hours with more updates. Have a great Friday morning everyone.

 twilight princess logo

Do you know how intimidating it is to do a review of a Zelda game? The series is one of the most highly regarded in the video game world, as it should be. The legendary status of the franchise alone is enough to scare a reviewer. People eat, breath, and sleep Zelda games…and I am one of them. The wait from Wind Waker until now was excruciating. I remember the very first trailer for Twilight Princess. You know the one…the trailer comes on the big screen, and everyone thinks it might be a Zelda title. Then about 15 seconds in, the press catches their first glimpse of Link, and the screams come bursting out. This is press we are talking about…we are supposed to be subdued, and show no extra enthusiasm for a specific title. That all changes when you are talking about a Zelda game. Now here we are, just days away from the Wii launch, which is when many of you will get your first taste of Twilight Princess. I have had it sitting in my house for a week now, and I still cannot believe it is here. Just seeing that box come in the mail made me extremely excited, and very scared at the same time. How in the world do you review a Zelda game?! There is so much to talk about, but so little you can say. We live in a world where reviewers simply don’t care about giving away spoilers. Most will write up whatever they please with no warning. There are a few reviewers out there who keep their reviews spoiler-free, and I salute them for that. So back to my point, how do you review a game that, in essence, you can’t talk about? That is what I am faced with today. This review may end up shorter than the others I do, but that is the nature of the beast. It is my job to tell you if Twilight Princess is worthy of continuing the Zelda saga. Just incase you wanted to know, it definitely is. Long story short, the entire series just got its new benchmark.

I have decided to talk about a number of areas in Twilight Princess that won’t ruin any part of the game for you. I am using a basic scale that you see on many review sites. I will go over the graphics, controls, gameplay, sound, presentation, lasting appeal, and gripes. I feel this is the best way to break down the essentials of any game, all while keeping spoilers out of the equation. I will mark each category with a specific heading, just to keep things nice and clear. At the end I will wrap things up, and give an overall score. The fun of any Zelda adventure is getting to experience all of it on your own. I know that countless numbers of you have tirelessly worked to avoid spoilers at any cost. I hope you find this review both useful, and safe to read!


I am not one to argue graphics in a game. As I see it, as long as the graphics don’t hinder your play control, than it is ok with me. Graphics all come down to personal preference. Some people enjoy art direction much more than special effects, while others enjoy the latest technology, and don’t give a ____ about style. That is perfectly fine, I understand that gamers are like that. Personally, I would lean more towards art direction of I had to choose, but I never do. If the game is pleasing to look at, than good for the game.

Now that I got my explanation out of the way, let’s hop into Twilight Princess. There are many schools of thought when looking at this game’s graphics. Let’s take what I like to call, the sensible approach. We all know that Twilight Princess started off as a Cube game, and that no graphical enhancements (minus 480 p/widescreen) were made for the Wii version. Having said that, I see it making sense to judge the graphics on a Cube level. These graphics are absolutely gorgeous…the kind of thing you expect to see at a console’s last stand. This pushes the boundaries of what the Cube can do. We are talking massive reflections, real-time lighting, particle effects, and more. Character models are extremely detailed, down to the weapons they carry, or the armor they are wearing. Link himself has never looked better. This is the Link many were hoping to see since the infamous Spaceworld trailer. The world is absolutely massive, and has a wonderful draw distance. This is without a doubt the best looking representation of a Zelda title yet, not to mention a shining gem of the Cube’s graphical prowess…and that goes for the entire software library.

Now you have those who are looking at it from a Wii game perspective. It is true that the Wii doesn’t have much more power than the Cube, but we have seen what that power can do via Super Mario Galaxy. Miyamoto stated that he did not want any graphical enhancements for the Wii version, the team was to focus on implementing controls. We will have to wait a few more years to see what a Zelda title built for the Wii from the ground up will look like. Even with these points made, you cannot deny the beauty of Twilight Princess. Considering the Wii’s power, this title looks like it could have been tailor-made for the Wii. I simply do not see any sense in downplaying the graphics.

Finally we have those who compare the Wii graphics to the PS3/360. If you are one of those people, I really don’t think you should be playing Zelda in the first place! You will be let down with Twilight Princess graphics if you are looking for something coming from either of those systems. The Wii simply doesn’t have the power of those consoles. Twilight Princess looks gorgeous, but there is no mistaking it for a PS3/360 title.


Obviously one of the main focal points of the Wii version of Twilight Princess. The Wii version has gone through a few different controls schemes until we arrived at the one in the final retail version. I have gone through the controls in TP for my first impression set, so I don’t see any need to list the specific functions again. I would rather more discuss how they feel, and how well they work into a Zelda game.

Face it, if you are a Zelda fan, you have always wanted to be Link. There is just something inherently cool about the character. Going on quests, saving a princess, solving puzzles, and most of all, taking control of swords, bow and arrows, shields, and so on. That is one of the many reasons we play Zelda games…we can relate to the character on very basic levels. Who doesn’t want to go out on a grand adventure!

The controls in Twilight Princess for the Wii get you into the roll of Link moreso then ever before. I do not, 100% do not want to play the Cube version. I know that sounds harsh, but it is the honest truth. Having played the Wii version, I see these controls as being far superior to the Cube version. If you have worries about the responsiveness of the Wiimote/Nunchuck…don’t. This is a Zelda game we are talking about here. Do you think they would ship it with half-assed controls thrown in? Doing something like that could ruin the entire experience, let alone turn off millions of fans. Controls on the Wii version of Twilight Princess work well…very well.

Gone are the days of aiming with a trigger, and smashing the A button to attack. Now you swing your Wiimote as if it were a sword, throw your nunchuck forward to bash with your shield, and point the Wiimote to aim your weapon. I have been playing for over 40 hours, and I still am giddy with excitement when I take aim and fire. You actually feel like you are part of the game. You feel as if you are much more skilled then someone who can complete the task with a press of a button. Swinging the Wiimote to attack with your sword just feels good. You actually feel like you are getting something done, and it makes each fight that much more fun. It is true that sword control isn’t on a 1:1 basis, but that doesn’t matter. We have Link doing his preset sword controls, but getting the chance to swing on your own to accomplish these moves is a much more enthralling experience. Did your ever hear anyone ever say that the Cube controls in Wind Waker made them feel like they were Link himself…that they were actually in the game? Believe it or not, the Wii controls give you one more reason to fall in love with Twilight Princess, let alone Zelda as a series.


It is very hard to argue that there is another series out there that is the perfect blend of action, adventure, and puzzle such as Zelda. Very rarely do you see so many genres of gameplay come together into cohesive package. Twilight Princess gives you everything you love from past Zelda entries, while adding in more new elements then I have ever seen before.

This time the developers went all out by giving you a hearty helping of brand new items and weapons. You still get you traditional items such as bombs, bow and arrow and so on, but you also get a collection of brand new items/weapons that I won’t discuss as to not ruin them. Temples are once again centered around the new item/weapon that you find within their walls, but they feel as if they are put to much more use this time. Twilight Princess makes you feel that these new items are necessary to the entire game, rather than just being good for the current temple you are in. The entire world is filled with countless ways to use your newly obtained goodies, and you will often find it hard to figure out which items/weapons you will want to keep handy at all times. I found myself switching my presets very often, all because everything is just so damn fun to use!

My main complaints from Wind Waker were the difficulty, and the puzzles. I felt that neither were really a challenge. I still enjoyed the game very, very much, but I felt that those aspects were a little too easy for my liking. I am happy to say that this time around, things are much different. While we aren’t at a level difficulty that you get from Majora’s Mask, things have definitely been stepped up from Wind Waker. I never saw the game over screen once in WW, but I have definitely seen it in TP. I welcome this new difficulty in both enemies and puzzles. Both help to make a better gaming experience, and add to the longevity of the game. The best part is that some of the puzzles will definitely have you scratching your head for a few minutes. I personally got stuck pretty well for a couple of times. It is so funny that an occurrence like this in any other game would most likely annoy me, while in TP it was welcome. The way of figuring out puzzles is hard to explain. You relate this fantasy world to real life situations. If you can think of how things would work in real life, then you can usually get yourself out of a puzzle. There were a couple instances where I thought of how something would play out in the real world, and was in disbelief that it would work in the game. I would go ahead and try out my solution anyway, and was very pleased to see it work. It’s a great feeling to have a real world solution that makes sense, instead of the outlandish answers you see in games, such as point and click adventures.

Of course, it isn’t all puzzles now is it? Twilight Princess steps up horse battles a great amount. Riding a horse has never been so much fun. Crossing the huge landscape with hordes of enemies chasing behind you. Take them out with free aiming on the Wiimote, lock onto them via Z-Target, or ride up close and give them a sword swipe/spin to knock them of their warthog-like transportation. You always have to be aware of what is going on while traveling across the game world. Enemies can ride up from behind and gang up on you, fly in from above, or even snatch you off your horse as you pass by. This makes horse riding in TP a much more entertaining experience from what we saw in Ocarina of Time.

There are so many more gameplay elements I could talk about…if I wanted to ruin the game for you. To get into specifics would ruin the fun. I hope I have given you some insight into what to expect from the gameplay in TP. Basically, you will get all the fun you expect from the Zelda series, but the best part is that you will get a lot more that you would have never thought of, but now seem hard to live without.


Twilight Princess may very well have my favorite soundtrack, and that is a lot coming from me. This is a guy who would sing/whistle tunes from Ocarina of Time on a daily basis. Wind Waker had some memorable tunes, but not like TP. First off, you will hear some new takes on classic songs found in Ocarina, Link to the Past, and other classic titles. I always love to hear how Nintendo manages to sneak in some old songs with a new flair. The best thing is when you are listening to a song in TP, and then about a minute in you hear a riff from Ocarina of Time. It is really nice to hear them working in old songs while creating new ones.

Then you have the complete original songs of TP, which are by far the best compositions we have seen in the series since Ocarina of time. The game has a mix of midi tracks, and real life instruments. I am not kidding you when I say that some of these songs are so good that they got me a little weepy. Yes, I know, I am a big loser when it comes to game music…but TP really does it for me in that aspect. They set the mood perfectly for the action/drama that is taking place on screen. I wish you guys could have a minute to talk to the rest of the staff from GoNintendo. I am driving them nuts by singing songs from TP everyday since I got the title. I am ruining the game for them without even knowing it! The music is so damn good that you can’t help but hum it subconsciously. I am really tempted to give some spoilers here as to specific songs in certain areas…but I will be a good guy and hold back. Trust me, you will not be let down with the audio package in TP.


Hands down, one of the strongest elements in TP. You have never seen a Zelda game come anywhere near TP in terms of cinematic quality. These cut scenes are top quality, and are crafted better than most of the drivel on TV today. Link has more expression in the lift of his eyebrows that most actors on do with their entire portfolio. I cannot get over how much time was put into the storyline, as well as the cinematics that accompany them. This story is damn good…a deep, dark story, and one much more intricate then we have ever seen. People have spent hours upon hours piecing together info from previous Zelda games…but TP makes it seem as if now we really have something to work with. You will become involved in TP much more on an emotional level than any Zelda title of the past. I cannot get over the quality of the storytelling…which was a huge gripe of mine with Ocarina. To be honest, I really didn’t know that Nintendo had this type of straight-forward story telling ability. You usually don’t see much story telling in Nintendo games…you pretty much have your setup, and you play. The endings (of past titles) are short, sweet, and to the point. Twilight Princess is a very different experience in this respect, and it makes this journey the definitive one.

Lasting Appeal

Get ready to lose days…even months to this game. You are going to spend absurd amounts of time hunting down all the secrets in this game. As I said earlier, I am at 40 odd hours, and I haven’t done ONE SINGLE side quest. I have seen them, I wanted to do them, but I held back in order to play as much of the main quest as possible. I have been taking my time on the main quest just to take everything in, but when I get into the side quests, I can easily see this title lasting me 80-100 hours. These side quests aren’t time filler quests either. Sure you have your bug collecting and the sort, but then you have much deeper missions, which I won’t go into detail here. I know many people who spent huge amounts of time in Ocarina…and I expect to not see them for months straight once TP hits. Just because you finish the main quest doesn’t mean the game is over. Hell, even after you finish the main quest, I see many people wanting to go back and do it all over. TP is hands down the longest lasting Zelda title to date. Nintendo has spoiled us here, and they better never go back!


This is a true story. I have spent the end of the last 5 days as follows. I finish up work on the site, and make my way to bed. I lie down and start to think about how I have to write my Twilight Princess review. Then I start to worry about the guff I will catch for posting a review that doesn’t have any complaints. I seriously have spent these last 5 days trying to come up with gripes. I felt that if I didn’t have any, I would just be labeled a fanboy, and willing to eat anything that Nintendo shovels down my throat. I am stretching when I make this point, but it really is the only one that I can give you. I said earlier that the difficulty has been ramped up, but I would still like to see it get harder. Give me even tougher enemies, harder puzzles…I am always up for the challenge. There are a few instances early in the game where you are told how to defeat a boss rather quickly, but that has since stopped. I want to take this adventure on my own, and solve the problems myself. Just give me some more time before you try and tell me what do! As I said, this happened earlier in the game, and hasn’t happened recently. That really is the only thing I can think of to complain about!

Final thoughts

Twilight Princess is the entry in the Zelda series that we will be talking about for years to come. You will no longer be using Ocarina as your comparison for future Zelda games…TP takes that honor. It takes everything that Zelda has done in the past, and gives it to you 10-fold. It also gives you a ton of brand new elements that you never knew you needed in a Zelda game. All that time that TP was pushed back was more than worth it. This is the definitive entry in the series. From here on out I will worry that the next Zelda title won’t live up to TP. That is how damn good this game is…I can’t even find the time to enjoy it fully. I am too busy worrying that the next one won’t kick as much ass. You need this game…and you need it now.

Twilight Princess gets an 9.9 out of 10