Well worth the wait
I have always been an avid Zelda fan, having bought each game the day it has come out since Ocarina of Time. Whenever I first heard that The Twilight Princess was available for pre-order, I scrapped together sixty bucks and put it on a gift card. You could only imagine the euphoria just this afternoon whenever the mail truck came by my street. After nearly beating him down, he pulled out the square, brown package I've been waiting for almost a year. Knocking over my mother, my dog, a BMW, and several senior citizens, I put the disc in my Gamecube. The all too familiar title screen brought a tear to my eye. I knew that this was going to be THE BEST Zelda yet. First off, let's talk about the factor which has most likely brought you to this particular title: the graphics. Like most of you, I could only cry towards the sky, "Why Nintendo?" after playing the Wind Waker and blankly staring at one the most immature looking Zelda to date. The cell-shading graphics here may be like a bug zapper to kids under ten, but was an absolute disappointment to a very mature gamer like myself. There is a fine line between 'pretty' and 'beautiful' which is a near understatement for the Twilight Princess. This is a major revamp of Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. You could spend hours just staring at the landscape and picking out every fine detail. Monsters drool characteristically, sweat runs off of Link's face, lights cast realistic shadows and flames flicker, and the cloth looks as if it was tenderly stitched by my grandmother. However, this is still a fantasy¡Ka cartoon if you will. You will not be able to see every line in character's faces. Until at least twenty years from now, that won¡¦t detract from the experience in my opinion. All Zelda games were pioneers, but we all can agree they could have been enhanced by better graphics. This is the way OoT and MM should have looked. This brings me to my next subject. Controls have made little departure from the Wind Waker and 64 titles, not that this is a bad thing. The ease of the targeting system and item access was always very comfortable to me. Some may argue that the Wii title easily dominates in this area, but there are many flaws in their design. Link doesn¡¦t react in the exact way you move the controller and/or nunchuck. The item use is inverted like early Resident Evil (grrr) and Link's sword swinging is randomized - case in point, Link doesn't swing his sword the same direction you move the controller. I prefer having complete control over what I do in a game. I can already tell gameplay is VERY immense and submersive. The first few tasks took almost an hour to finish. The first temple alone is as long as ALL the temples in OoT. This is most likely not a game you¡¦re going to want to rush through. Some puzzles are going to seem very familiar while some others are completely new. So far, they are all very challenging but not extremely frustrating. The world makes for very long hours of exploring. There are dozens to hundreds of hidden treasures, mini-games, citizens, twists, and subplots waiting around every corner. We're looking at least at 72-80 hours of gaming. Music and SFX have made a few advancements. A handful of the background music is now orchestrated instead of synthesized, but not a great deal. Mostly MIDI sequences, it has come a long way since the beeps and grunts of past Zelda games. What is quite possibly the biggest gripe is there is still NO VOICE ACTING. We could sit and sulk over a small element which is becoming increasingly annoying or come to understand Nintendo's dilemma: They want you to be able to name your character. Okay, maybe that's not a very good excuse, but it would take a lot of memory for the AI to have speech recognition (be able to pronounce a wide array of names). I don't think it would be such a large sacrifice to slate Link's name in exchange for a little modern gaming drama. It doesn't really bother me, but what is nostalgia for some may be tedious for more casual gamers. The plot is very deep and mature. This is by far the darkest Zelda. Not to say that is so dark a younger crowd should be prohibited from playing it. As realistic and terrifying as some monsters might be (the giant spider in the trailers), nothing gushes blood; they simply disappear in a puff of smoke. This is simply just good against, no profanity, no sex (some people will be disappointed LOL), and absolutely no traces of crazy violence which other elements of the industry have succumbed to. Zelda is still a family game. But hey older gamers, this is no cutesy Saturday special like Wind Waker. People like me still get a taste of the macabre with a real sense of peril in the story. Finally, the difficulty - which is my only slight peeve with the Twilight Princess. My first monster encounters and the temple itself were a little too simple for this day and age. Once you get a handle on the boss and creature's patterns, you don't have the slightest resistance in conquering them. While the game often gives you helpful nudges, I will shun anyone who uses a walkthrough with the Twilight Princess because the 8 or 9 tremendous challenges in the first temple were real gems which I felt proud of solving on my own. AI is far better than Wind Waker or OoT, but it has a long way to come till it catches Resident Evil of Call of Duty. In general, I think that this game has the depth for older players and the tameness for the tykes. All fans will be quite pleased with what the game offers. A must have for the fanatics and the casual adventure gamer.
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