The Wii U version of Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD was primarily tested for the purpose of this review.
A high definition remake of one of the most successful games of the series. Marking the games 10 year anniversary and the series 30th. The third release of the game sees not only some pretty textures thrown in but also a lot of fine-tuning to the gameplay.“Tell me… Do you ever feel a strange sadness as dusk falls?” Twilight Princess is the story of a young man named Link as he answers his call to heroism to save the land of Hyrule. Although that sentence can be aptly applied to just about all his adventures (minus the ones where he isn’t in Hyrule of course) this time around however Hyrule is at the mercy of the Twilight realm and its shadowy leader Zant. This mysterious force has shrouded the land in darkness and isolated its citizens in a never-ending dusk that only Link can end with the aid of his mysterious companion, Midna. Link must master his destiny, hone his skills and overcome the Twilight if he wishes to save Hyrule.Obviously this game being a HD remake anyone and everyone is expecting the visuals to absolutely pop out at you and they do, without a shadow of a doubt (Twilight punsJ). However, what makes them pop so much is the comparison in this remake to its originals. The games title has “Twilight” in it, obviously from this you would expect it to be darker toned and eerily oppressive as the darkness consumed your gaming experience and for the original it captured that feeling marvellously. With the release of the HD counterpart is has raised the bar even further. The shadow lands are grim, barren and desolate making you feel isolated with the weight of your adventure certainly a heavy burden for you to shoulder.In contrast though once twilight area has been cleared the life and warmth that engrosses the area is bursting at the seams in vibrant colours from splashing crystal clear water to rustling tree branches. A feeling and sight that I feel the previous releases weren’t capable of with their respective consoles technical limitations. Of course accompanying you on your adventure is that familiar soundtrack that can only be identifiable as part of the Zelda franchise.
The sounds are enhanced versions of their original MIDI file format, personally I would have loved an orchestral overhaul but what we have now more than certainly fits the bill. These tunes are still just as inspirational and empowering as they have ever been adding to the epic feeling of your adventure.Comparing to the originals the HD remake remains pretty well unchanged you are still solving puzzles and fighting for your life in epic battles. What Nintendo and Tantalus have done however is essentially smooth out a few of the rougher edges from the original. The tedious tears of light collecting segments have been sped up by collecting fewer fragments and now as opposed to talking to Midna then electing to turn into your wolf form you can now do it at the press of a button. Collecting rupees is much easier with a larger wallet to begin with and collecting Poe souls is a breeze with a special item that helps narrow down their locations. Whilst these aren’t huge changes the little improvements certainly do build upon the grander experience.That is not to say that this game is without its flaws however. I consistently feel that Link and by extension his wolf form’s movements are incredibly robotic or even blocky and fail to move and interact fluently with the environment as you would expect a main character to do so in this day and age of gaming. The same notion is even more applicable when you are required to do some more accurate movements with Link’s horse Epona. The movement system feels like it certainly was a feature that was left in the last generation. Although they are not deal breakers they certainly do break any and all immersion I had with the experience when you place it up against such a beautifully rendered world.
Nintendo and Tantalus have incorporated a wealth of features into the game that can only be accommodated to the Wii U console. The incorporation of the Gamepad control is a blessing to the game as you can easily manage your inventory on the fly and quickly refer to the map without too much stoppage in the game play. Cashing in on the Amiibo craze was a no brainer from Nintendo as 6 Amiibo are functional with this game. The two Link variations refill your arrow count and the Zelda and Sheik Amiibo refill your health, keep in mind though that these can only be used once a day. The Gannondorf Amiibo is used to absolutely ruin your day and turn a grand old adventure in Hyrule to what I now refer to as Dark Hyrule (A hybrid of Dark Souls and Zelda, it also fits in nicely given the Twilight theme). Applying the Amiibo increases the incoming damage you receive by to two times the normal level and up to four times when completing Hero mode. Hero mode is essentially a mirrored (Wii map) tougher version of the game and can be chosen to participate in from the very start.The trophy for the game however is the Wolf Link Amiibo. Using this Amiibo opens a gauntlet challenge known as the Cave of Shadows. You must complete each stage using only your Wolf Link form working your way through 40 odd levels of gruesome combat challenges.
As everyone has come to know and love of the series, the dungeons are challenging, their respective themes hit a home run without becoming over bearing or fatiguing to the player. What battles any fatigue or repetition at all with this game though is its excellent story driven chapters between dungeons, something that no other Zelda game is yet to replicate as well in any following game, at least in my opinion anyway.Although Twilight Princess isn’t the Zelda game that everyone has their eyes on this year it certainly was a welcome surprise when it was announced. A decade year old game that is revered as one of the best-selling games for the Wii/GameCube and holding the title for many of gamer as their favourite title of the series. The logic is there for the remake and thankfully Nintendo and Tantalus took the ball and ran with it with a crisp and well executed remaster that remains more than faithful the original by keeping the remaster simple yet incorporating a slew of new tools to keep things fresh, fun and smooth. I couldn’t recommend this game enough, whether you are a series fan or taking your first steps in the land of Hyrule. Do not miss out on this adventure.
Excellent aesthetic update in the sound and visuals.
Well-executed gameplay updates
Tried and true Zelda adventures
Character movements are the one thing no one bothered to update.