The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Hands-On) (Wii) Preview

By jason 11.05.2006

Review for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Hands-On) on Wii

When I played The Legend of Zelda, Twilight Princess at last year's E3, the game felt like it must have been nearly done in development. It was responsive as hell, looked fantastic, and was running smooth as a baby's butt. What was the wait really all about? Cut to a year later we now see it run on the Wii and it looks more than just a little better. They must have spent a lot of time with more graphical touches you say. Nope, I think it's the 480p widescreen and not much more. It makes that much difference. With that, let me say, that is the single most important reason to buy the new Zelda for Wii instead of GameCube.

Let's face it; the Wii features feel a tad tacked on. They are definitely fun and interesting but utterly pointless in the end. See Link toss a box using the Wii remote. See Link do his slash attack by shaking the controller. See Link have a harder time with the boomerang and bow than he did before. Let me qualify that last one with, actually, it just takes some serious getting used to.

Screenshot for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Hands-On) on Wii

I'm not sure what role Navi plays in this one, because Midna, the cat like ghost creature from the trailer is your guide this time around. Navi is front and center though. In fact she's front and center, all the time. She actually represents where your pointer is aiming at all times during gameplay, regardless if your in a Wiimote sensitive situation or not; even during cut screens. I believe the thinking here is that if you know approximately where your pointing before you equip the bow, you won't look like such a buffoon having had it pointed totally off screen which makes Link go into a spinning frenzy which lasts until your injured by whatever you were triyng to kill. So it's a mechanic that sort of suspends the games reality a little by adding this cursor of sorts over top of the game. But I can imagine a time when it will begin to become second nature and you will be able to actually ready your aim even before your ready to draw the bow.

Screenshot for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Hands-On) on Wii

One potential never ending issue still lies within though. As mentioned before, the Wiimote is extremely sensitive. In the demo, you are tasked with clipping a few foes with arrows at sniper like distances. Here's the rub. To ready the bow or boomerang in an attack position, you have to hold down the arrow button on the Wiimote that corresponds to the direction you've assigned it (the item assigning works just the same as previous Zelda titles). So you've got your aim just perfect, and at the same time you've got your thumb pressing up, down, left, or right; its time to kill the little irritating bastard. To fire the bow or boomerang, you simply let go of the button. Problem is, there's a subconscious tendency to slightly move your hand in the direction you were pushing because you just alleviated some muscle pressure by releasing your thumb, and whatever muscle was creating the resistance gives way to a hair pin movement. What does that mean in English? Missing your mark, a lot. Maybe it's something that you'd get used to over time, but I don't know about that. It's a naturally occurring phenomenon that's at work here and to land the shot right on, I think your going to have to learn to fight the urge.

The fishing gimmick feels the most intuitive; in fact it requires little explaining. Even in real life, depending on the rod, you have to hold a button down to release the line to insure the cast doesn't swing back and hit you in the face. Same technique is at work here. Then you can apply a more fly-fishing technique of bobbing the line and reeling the sucker in. It all works very nicely. In the end though, its just catching fish. Could fish really be that big of a deal in the over all scheme of things? I hope not.

Screenshot for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Hands-On) on Wii

The visuals are easily the best ever in the series. There's a lot of detail in all the character models and the environment particularly. Vast areas with long draw distances are helping Link reach the epic proportions he deserves. The fire-bodied boss in the demo is epic and really underscores the darker mature atmosphere this iteration is going to have. The fact that the game is running essentially at GameCube levels with that added benefit of the widescreen and 480p resolution bodes well for Wii's graphical future.

Screenshot for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Hands-On) on Wii

Final Thoughts

It's hard to really estimate what Twilight Princess' impact will be. The fact that an AAA+ title is launching with a new system is nothing but great news for Nintendo. Plus with all the extra time, it is sure to have an extra layer of polish, even by Nintendo standards. If its ever leaked that Nintendo had no other motive to delay the game other then to sell more Wii's, don't get your panties in a bunch, it was a good decision that the game greatly benefits from. The tacked on Wii bits shouldn't be a discouragement from buying the Wii version, I'm sure everyone will get used to it soon enough. The enhanced progressive video and widescreen ability make finally gutting that GameCube of yours and making it an insulated drink coaster a reality that no longer needs to be put off. Go with your Wii, it's the right decision.






Action Adventure



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (827 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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