Review: Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Can you smell what the Wii is cooking? Er, that was a bit grim. So, is the new Zelda game any good?

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

If you’re cooking something, you need to have a recipe.

Take chocolate. If you want to make a chocolate bar that’s going to take the world by storm, you need to come up with a recipe that’s so brilliant that people are going to come and buy your chocolate again and again. This recipe works for a while, but soon enough you have to bring something new to the table; otherwise, people are going to get bored. Chocolate bars are always being rebranded with something added, like KitKat Orange or White Malteasers. It’s a way of rejuvenating their product. This applies too, to games.

Zelda has a recipe. It starts with a tutorial where the player gets a chance to run around their environment and swing a sword around without a real chance of getting hurt so that they have a chance of getting used to the controls and the way of things. This then turns into a story when they enter the first dungeon.

Dungeons are the exciting caramel centre – which is what you really bought the game for in the first place. These too have a recipe. A set of puzzles, some of which cannot be achieved… until you beat the sub-boss and aquire the item that makes everything so much easier. Then comes the boss and you kill whatever that is too. Then, when you’re churned back out into the world it becomes apparent that your new item can be used here too, to get to the next dungeon.

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Dungeon, item, puzzle, repeat.  This was all going very well for Nintendo, until now.

The control method on this game is what makes it different from previous Zelda games. The pointing at the screen method of shooting arrows and the like is brilliant and makes you wonder how you did it before… but the sword fighting is nothing to write home about.

It makes me think again that if Nintendo had thought about it a bit more, this could have been brilliant too. The sword swing is not mapped to your movements, something that is an obvious first thought when it comes to the Wii controller. This might be something to do with the technology, but with some extra work, it could have been achieved.

The game looks brilliant but you’re forever thinking how good it would look on the Xbox 360. It’s a realistic style, as opposed to Wind Waker, the previous Zelda. Which is a relief, but the Wii just isn’t good enough to achieve that “wow” factor that so many people want.

The game is relatively small and easy to complete with most of the puzzles feeling old and re-used from old Zelda games. This is a frustrating realisation and the puzzles didn’t give me the same buzz that earlier games in the series have. It seems the formula is getting rusty.

The same old theme tune is here but there is little use of music such as in the previous games. There is some but these aren’t the same catchy tunes that forever got stuck in your head like in the Ocarina of Time or Wind Waker.

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To say that this is a bad game would be to do it an injustice, but when the bar is set so high, it’s hard for the game – with so little going for it – to live up to expectations. I genuinely enjoyed some parts of the game but these are clouded by the fact that this could have been a new Zelda for the new generation.

And it just isn’t.