The year was 2006 and Twilight Princess saw its release on the 19th of November and what a game it was. After the cel-shaded likes of the Wind Waker and the return of Toon Link in Minish Cap, the Legend of Zelda had returned to the darker side we love and we had just got the closest thing to a 2000 era Ocarina of Time styled game. Twilight Princess was universally loved, but at times it was hated. A large number of fans often felt the game tried to be too much like Ocarina of Time. That Nintendo were so obsessed with trying to recreate the magic that became OoT, that despite its engaging storyline, Twilight Princess was nothing more than a pale imitation.
It does come across as a little strong to label the game as such but everyone is entitled to their opinion and it is true, at times when playing the game, it did feel like there were certain moments where the game was trying to be like Ocarina, but saying that, Ocarina is hands-down one of the best games in the world and it really set the bar for what Zelda games could be. It is understandable why Nintendo would try to recreate the magic that made one classic, but the hate treatment Twilight Princess received isn’t all that different to the hate that Majora’s Mask has been receiving for a lot longer. It is a shame these games are cursed the way they are, cursed to forever live in the shadow of Ocarina, but Zelda U lives there too, amongst them, it’s one of the biggest reasons why the game is still in development and so little is known about it, to minimalize unwanted scrutiny, but 2006 is a memory, we are now in 2016. Ten years on from the release of such a great game and now Twilight Princess is back with a vengeance and this time, it’s in stunning High Definition.
Not only does the game look nice and new, but it looks ever so shiny too, just take a gander at the Master Sword, from its purple hilt to glittering blade, Link’s iconic blade shines bright like a diamond and it’s not the only thing to get the sparkle treatment as even the rupees are glistening more than ever! But before we even get started with talking about the new game mechanics and differences between HD and its original counterpart, first up it’s the opening story.
Set after the events of Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, the story begins in a small settlement on the outskirts of Hyrule. Two male figures sit side by side talking. One is a swordsman named Rusl, and the other is newest incarnation of the Hero, Link. As peaceful as the woods are around them, something feels wrong with the world. The two head for home to call it a night. Roll on the next day, a day which will not only set events in motion, but also act as the longest tutorial in any Zelda game ever. The children go missing and it is down to Link to go after them, undertaking a small adventure which would pit him into battle against Bulbins and meet Coro.
Upon successfully saving the children, all return safely to the village and the next day can begin, the day Link is to deliver a sword to Hyrule Castle. But all does not go well, because just when Link is due to set off, Ilia, a friend and daughter of Ordon’s mayor, notices Epona is injured. Furious with Link for pushing his trusty steed too hard, she leaves the village along with Epona, escorting her to the Spirit’s Spring. Link goes after her to recover his horse, but upon reaching the spring, the gate is locked from where Ilia is deliberately keeping Link out.
Finding another way in to the spring, Link and Ilia exchange words and just as everything is looking good, everything goes wrong. A Bulbo charges in with two Bulbin riders who swiftly knock Link out before they grab Ilia and Colin and their boss, King Bulbin, riding Lord Bullbo, enters. Wielding a home, he blows on it, causing a portal to open up in the sky above and the world begins to darken. An arm grabs hold of Link and in one of the best videogame transformations ever seen, Link becomes a Wolf for the first time in the game. With Wolf Link taken to Hyrule Castle, where he is then locked up, he lays eyes on Midna, an imp who seems to know a whole lot more than she’s willing to share and the two commence an unlikely companionship, which even 10 years on, we’re still talking about.
Twilight Princess is a story of snowboarding with Yetis and going fishing with the cute guide from the Fishing Hole, while the Kingdom of Hyrule and the world that surrounds it, is under attack by an ancient race, led by a villain who is so dastardly, he was able to not just able to dethrone the true Twili ruler, claiming the title of Twilight King for himself, but he lead his Twili army up the steps of Hyrule Castle and made Princess Zelda surrender. Zant is a total badass, even if he is the pawn of Ganondorf, the true villain of the game and eternal enemy to the boy in green. As expected from any of the 3D Zelda games, story is everything and the story of Twilight Princess is a compelling one and now, thanks to its HD upgrade, the story has just got a whole lot more beautiful.
Because I keep mentioning them, I’ll begin with the graphics themselves, although the character design remains almost exactly the same as what we saw in the original game, it is the world they exist in that received the true attention. Rocks appear more like actual rocks, the trees bark has become more lifelike and the clothes are more detailed than ever. In short, colours have been enhanced and the details have become more detailed. Not really much of a big change, nor is the inclusion of Hero mode, but both things do add to the game and unlike the other games to include Hero mode, you can actually start a new game with Hero mode as your chosen difficulty, as opposed to beating the game in normal first to unlock the harder difficulty. The difference between Normal and Hero mode, other than the fact that hearts don’t appear and enemies deal double damage, is that Normal mode features the non-mirrored version we saw on the GameCube, whereas Hero mode features the mirrored Hyrule from the Wii version.
Now as far as Hero mode goes, it is certainly worth the play. Twilight Princess was one of those games that did always felt a little too easy so with enemies now doing twice the damage, Twilight Princess finally got harder. But why stop there when the game comes compatible with all Zelda related amiibos, and among them, the Ganondorf amiibo all causes Link to sustain double damage, so combine that with Hero mode and you’ve got a game where every time you get hit, you’ll receive 4 times the damage. Now if that isn’t doesn’t make the game harder for you, I don’t know what will! I however will not be trying out the extreme mode, as I’m still playing through Hero mode and still keep foolishly getting myself hurt, but that’s hurt and not dead. Should I try the extreme mode, a dead Link is all I’ll be and I’ve yet to try my hand at the Cave of Ordeals yet and if it’s anything like it was in the Wii version, I’m certainly going to need four potions at the ready!
Other big changes brought to the game is the inclusion of stamps. Not only can you post to the Miiverse, various screenshots of things Link is up to, but you can now find stamps inside chests all through-out the game and share them to the Miiverse. And the stamps aren’t just limited to the Hylian alphabet, but images of Link’s, Zelda’s and Midna’s facial expressions and a Cuccoo! For anyone with a collecting addiction, there are 50 stamps awaiting discovery, as well as the 60 Poe souls, 24 bugs, 45 heart pieces and fish just asking to be caught. But if collecting isn’t your thing, maybe glitches are because Twilight Princess HD comes with a whole lot of them and you can find a run-through of my favourite glitches right here:
• Throwing nests through not so solid walls.
• Bulbo’s that won’t throw you off their backs when running into a door.
• Falling through lakes.
• Link super jumping when falling to his death.
• His hat forever passing through his shield.
• Falling to your death whilst using the horse call, causing his respawning to be delayed.
• Epona shoves Wolf Link off a cliff, causing him to be able to walk underwater in his Wolf form.
• Midna opening doors without touching the actual door.
• Link “throwing” Beast form Ganon with just his mind in human form.
As for my personal “favourite” favourite glitches they have to be the final battle ones:
• Fighting outside the golden circle during the final battle.
• Fighting inside the circle, whilst on top of Epona, with Zelda coming along for the ride.
• Taking the fight so far out of the circle that Link can fight Ganondorf on the Eldin Bridge.
Still for me, all these glitches were not a deterrent from the game, all Zelda games are full of them. Always have been and always will be, and in truth, they only add to the character of the game, making it more “real” and it’s time to broach on another new difference between original and HD and that is more Wolf Link. Instead of being able to just play as that lovable scamp in the main game, Wolf Link now has his very own Cave of Ordeals styled dungeon of his own and this dungeon is the Cave of Shadows. Sporting 40 rooms in total to play through and just what does await you if you successfully reach the end? Why there’s a gigantic statue of Wolf Link and Midna silly!
Also adding to the experience is the enhanced horse-riding and motion control-less fishing. Sure the GameCube version didn’t feature motion controls either, but the Wii did and feeling you got every time you felt a bite and would reel in your catch by rotating the nunchuk, well that was just awesome. I really missed the motion controls every time I went finishing, it just wasn’t the same and as for the improved horse-riding, I had nothing but problems and I wasn’t the only one. At least half the people I spoke to about this, had the same issues with Epona, I guess the old girl is starting to show her age. The only consolation I can take from that experience is that at least Nintendo are trying and with Zelda U still in development, there’s still time for the horse-riding to be improved a whole lot more.
What is interesting though, is every time I do play it, I can’t help but compare it to Zelda U, looking at the controls and thinking; “Is this what we can expect to see in Zelda U?” Then imagine my surprise when during an interview with Famitsu, Eiji Aonuma went on to say how Twilight Princess HD has very strong ties with Zelda U, a statement which all but confirms a strong connection between the two, in more than just similar mechanics but timeline placement as well. For me, hearing that really added to the gaming experience, giving it an extra boost that wasn’t necessary, but welcomed nonetheless.
And now is the perfect time for a full list of Pros & Cons, which you can find right here, right now:
• Beautifully brought to life even more so than previously seen thanks to improvements made to the low resolution graphics and everything looks a whole lot more shiny. Shiny Master sword, shiny heart pieces, shiny rupees and even shiny Zora armour
• The Midna/Link relationship is as captivating as ever.
• Inclusion of both amiibos usage and the all new Cave of Shadows, which means more Wolf Link & Midna than ever before.
• Hero mode available from the get-go.
• Full utilization of the Wii U GamePad.
• Zelda’s surrender has never looked better.
• Better swimming controls.
• Wolf Link amiibo!
• 4 times the Damage is more than just an option, it’s a welcomed addition to make the game even more challenging.
• Horse-riding improvements and motion control-less fishing, it’s just not the same without the nunchuk.
• I detest the refined collection screen. I much prefer the original one.
• After a while a few of the glitches can become tediously annoying, such as Link’s hat constantly going through his shield, which tends to just distract me whenever I’m fighting someone.
• The Ghost Lantern. I can understand why they brought it in, but for me it doesn’t actually add anything and I only used it once just so that I could say I used it.
• Fewer Tears of Light to collect. I never had a problem with them in the original, so to have a few taken out to make it easier, like the Ghost Lantern, it just feels unnecessary. As if Nintendo was trying to make the game even easier and speed it up at the same time.
• There isn’t an abundance of new ideas, but it would have been nice to have something more substantial to the game to truly establish it as more than just a polished up game released during its 10th anniversary year.
With or without the Wolf Link amiibo, Twilight Princess HD does have a big price tag, which is expected with any new or remaster Zelda title, but given as how it is a game many of us have played countless of times, it does become a question as to whether it is worth the purchase? Sure there is new content, but not all that much and yes it does look pretty sweet, but even then, the Wii version already works on the Wii U. All that aside, I still find myself giving this game the same score I gave its previous incarnation, a whopping 9.8/10.0 slaughtered Keese on the Zelda game scale, but a much lower general rating of 9.3/10.0 Golden Bugs collected.
As great as a game it is, it is not much more than what we’ve seen already and as gorgeous as the Wolf Link amiibo is, the game, even without the amiibo, is still a lot of money. If you don’t have a Wii U already then this game on its own is not reason enough to buy one, but if you do have one and games that are adventure based and full of story are to your liking then yes, get this game. Or if you are a Zelda mad fan, then getting this game is a must from a Collector’s standpoint but with plenty of undervalued games already available on the Wii U, there is a selection of games you could purchase that could be worth your attention and money instead. I am in no way dissatisfied with this game and wouldn’t want to put anyone off it, but at the end of the day I have to be honest and as much as I may love this game to bits, not everyone does and when we live in a world where money dictates everything, sometimes we just have to say “No” and tighten our belts.
But as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of my own and it is encouraged for you to make your own.
And if you are yet to own the game and would like to see some gameplay footage, be sure to check out our featured episode in our Wii U Lv1 Playthrough Series!
The OFFICIAL Miketendo64 The Legend of Zelda Series & Hyrule Warriors Chart
by J.H. Longman
(List of Games include all those Played & Completed by ourselves and the Games that are next on our list to be play)
(1986) The Legend of Zelda 9.0/10.0
(1988) The Adventure of Link 7.6/10.0
(1992) A Link to the Past 9.0/10.0
(1993) Link’s Awakening 7.6/10.0
(1998) Ocarina of Time 9.9/10.0
(2000) Majora’s Mask 9.6/10.0
(2001) Oracle of Seasons 7.3/10.0
(2001) Oracle of Ages 7.3/10.0
(2005) Minish Cap 8.8/10.0
(2006) Twilight Princess 9.8/10.0
(2007) Phantom Hourglass 8.5/10.0
(2008) Spirit Tracks 8.4/10.0
(2011) Ocarina of Time 3D 9.9/10.0
(2011) Skyward Sword 9.4/10.0
(2013) The Wind Waker HD 9.1/10.0
(2013) A Link Between Worlds 9.3/10.0
(2014) Hyrule Warriors 9.5/10.0
(2015) Majora’s Mask 3D 9.6/10.0
(2015) Tri Force Heroes 7.3/10.0
(2016) Twilight Princess HD 9.8/10.0
(2016) Hyrule Warriors Legends *To be determined upon review
(2016) Zelda U *To be determined upon review