[Review] The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
Posted on March 1, 2016 by Vincent Ward in Reviews, Wii U
System: Wii U
Release date: March 4, 2016
Developer: Nintendo / Tantalus Media
Dark clouds rolled over Hyrule Field, and as I trekked down the path into my sights came a large beast with a young child tied upon his staff. Hordes of Moblins riding on boars came crashing down toward me as their leader led them my way. I quickly began shooting arrows and slashing the enemies down as they came near and tried my best to keep myself alive, and as I about to deliver what appeared to be the final blow, the beast moves us onto a bridge where our sight met at opposite ends. We charged at each other endlessly and clashed our blades together every moment we could, until after a long battle, I came out on top.
It’s moments like these that has kept The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess in the hearts of gamers for so many years. Iconic characters like Midna and Zant offered unique faces of the like fans have never seen before this iteration in the series, so it only seemed fair that after Wind Waker, it was Twilight Princesses’ time to receive an HD makeover. With added visual flair, quick fixes to old problems, and the removal of motion controls, is The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess an adventure worth taking once more?
Zelda games are known for their memorable worlds and characters, and Twilight Princess has always been one of the prime examples. Thankfully, all of that charm has carried over smoothly to this Wii U port. Hyrule is a rich world filled to the brim with incredible lore and personalities. Even the most inquisitive of players will feel satisfied exploring locales such as Castle Town and Kakariko Village and meeting all the interesting people that inhabit it. Characters like Agitha and Malo are sure to stay in your memory for a long time, and they are just a few of the many you’ll meet in this lengthy adventure. You’ll want to do your best in mini-games and sidequests to see what these characters have to offer and how their tale ends.
The story in Twilight Princess is arguably one of the strongest this series has to offer since it tackles the idea of light and dark in a more interesting way than most would think. While there’s the obvious parallels between Hyrule and the Twilight Realm, you quickly learn there’s more to the big picture as our two main heroes – Link and Midna – travel across the world erasing the darkness from both of their lands. The story still suffers from the incredibly drawn-out beginning segments, but once you first step into the Hyrule’s grandeur fields, you’ll fall in love. With memorable moments galore, Twilight Princess HD provides a powerful tale from start to finish that you’ll want to play again after its over.
Twilight Princess’ gameplay is spread mainly among two types of control: Link himself and his wolf counterpart. Link plays as the standard hero should, with a wide arsenal of weapons and items at his disposal that he uses to tackle any obstacle thrown his way. The various items are fun plus creative, and his standard swordplay is the same classic fun with flashy new moves thrown in to keep things fresh. Most of the game will be played in this format. Wolf Link is a whole different experience, with no access to any items Link used while in his human form. He has the ability to track things with his scent, attack in a unique way, and sing songs at select areas to help benefit his human self. Wolf Link is also faster and more nimble, but townspeople are afraid of the beast, forcing you to hide from humans and monsters alike. Both styles have their fair share of benefits that make playing as either one just as fun as the other. Knowing when it’s the most opportune moment to use one form and discovering how to use both of them to your advantage is tons of fun, and switching between them adds a new layer to the gameplay you can’t find in any other Zelda title.
Throughout the land of Hyrule are many dungeons you’ll find yourself exploring. They’re a series staple, and they make a strong appearance in this title by being some of the most creative and interesting dungeons this series has seen to date. With the addition of Link’s second form, the original team put together some great puzzles and challenges for the player to overcome. This is best seen in the bosses found at the end of each one, as each baddie is completely different from the one before, and often times are large epic battles that are as fun puzzles as they are fights. Paired up with this game’s incredible soundtrack, these battles become that much more remarkable.
One of the most obvious upgrades that comes with an HD update of a game is its visual updates, and in Twilight Princess HD’s case, these are done to varying degrees of success. The texture improvements and an overall brighter color palette welcome some new and serene beauty to old locations. Large landscapes don’t look as empty and all natural landscapes look so much more alive. Sadly, this is countered by most character models not being refreshed alongside the textures, leaving rough corners and sharp edges that don’t look too easy on the eyes – characters and locations alike. I do wish in this version that the developers filled the overworld just a tad bit more, as exploring the huge mass of land that is Hyrule Field doesn’t feel as fulfilling if you’re only slashing down birds. However, I can’t deny that due to the visual updates some areas such as the Faron Woods or Lake Hylia look downright fantastic.
Wii U updates include quicker map/item navigation, shortcuts to traveling and transformations, and amiibo functionality. Also, using the Wii U GamePad for quick navigation comes in so much use during your journey. There are also plentiful Miiverse stamps found in treasure chests that are more fun to collect than you think they’d be. While these updates aren’t anything groundbreaking, they definitely help fix the problems found within the original version of Twilight Princess.
There is also the addition of the Cave of Shadows, which can only be accessed with the Wolf Link amiibo. It’s a fairly forgettable mini-dungeon similar to the Cave of Ordeals. You’ll tackle a 40-level mini-dungeon as Wolf Link, and face a barrage of enemies along the way. After clearing it, you can obtain the biggest wallet in the game.
Also added is Hero Mode, a mode that can offer extra challenge. It flips the world horizontally just like in Twilight Princess’ Wii version while also removing heart drops and doubling the damage. If you really want a challenge, scan in your Ganondorf amiibo – which also does increases the damage by two – and take four times the damage from everything you encounter.
Overall, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD is, at its core, still the same great game that forced its way into our hearts all the way back in 2006. With a mostly well-done makeover and tweaks to the gameplay, it’s clear that this version is easily the best way to experience the enthralling story and world this title has to offer. While I wish the fixed some of the biggest problems such as the drawn out introduction and character models, I still had a blast playing through this title in its new HD glory. Zelda fans, get ready to experience the best this series has to offer in a whole new light.