The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (Wii U) Review

By David Lovato 12.03.2016

Review for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD on Wii U

Initially announced for the GameCube, but later delayed to release for the Wii as well, Twilight Princess launched in 2006 and quickly became one of the most acclaimed titles in the Zelda series. Following the releases of Ocarina of Time 3D, Majora's Mask 3D, and Wind Waker HD, speculation ran rampant that Twilight Princess would get a remake for the 3DS or Wii U, and in November 2015, Nintendo confirmed the Wii U release, along with an accompanying Wolf Link and Midna amiibo.

The most noticeable change in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD is the graphics, particularly the textures. It all runs in 1080p HD, something that was simply not possible on the GameCube or Wii, and many textures are now vastly improved. Bloom has been turned down and the lighting is better all around, and although the poly counts make it clear this is still designed to run on the GameCube hardware, it looks surprisingly good, with screenshots not quite doing it justice.

The adventure uses the original GameCube world design, with Link being left-handed and the world not being mirrored (unlike the Wii release). Some of the visuals are crafted from scratch, and Easter Eggs and references to past and future Zelda entries are hidden throughout the land of Hyrule. There is also support for amiibo, coming in the form of a new Cave of Ordeals challenge, as well as the ability to tap the amiibo to the GamePad at the title screen to quick-launch a specified save file.

Screenshot for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD on Wii U

The enemy design remains top-tier, and slashing Link's sword horizontally or vertically must be taken into account for certain enemies, even without the use of motion control. In general, foes often require thinking and/or the use of specific items to defeat. The GamePad's gyroscope can be used for those who want to aim with motion controls, but it can also be turned off for anyone who prefers to use a standard controller, be it the GamePad or a Pro one.

Oddly enough, horse controls seem to be worse than they were before, though, and even slightly brushing against a wall or solid object can bring Epona to an annoying, screeching halt, which is especially troublesome during the adventure's several horse-bound sequences.

Screenshot for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD on Wii U

The camera is equally fussy; it can be moved left to right at will, but rather than moving up or down, it mostly moves in and out, and since it bounces off of geometry, it can sometimes spin or flip or rotate unexpectedly. At times it can even change the controls, thus throwing the player off entirely. Luckily, this doesn't happen too often, but the janky camera and horse controls quickly become the game's biggest flaw - with perhaps the exception of how Nintendo built the biggest and most beautiful Hyrule Field the GameCube's hardware would allow, and then neglected to fill it with anything meaningful or worth exploring…

Screenshot for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD on Wii U

Fortunately, these issues are vastly overshadowed by the high quality of the surrounding quest. Twilight Princess remains arguably the strongest Zelda title from a story standpoint; while some aspects seem shamelessly lifted from previous adventures (in particular, Ocarina of Time), there is enough new or remixed content to ensure that it remains its own game.

Two worlds and their citizens collide, leaving Link, Zelda, and Midna (along with their allies) to save both. Dungeons are ingeniously laid out, and the tale points the player in the right direction before letting them journey off on their own.

Screenshot for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Rough horse and camera behaviour, combined with a mostly empty Hyrule Field, aren't enough to bog down what's otherwise one of the best titles in the Zelda series - and arguably in gaming history. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD's story of the worlds of Light and Twilight and their citizens is presented in HD glory, with strong emotional threads running throughout to make sure players want to spend time with these characters and save the worlds, and expertly crafted dungeons and puzzles guide them along that path. Most will likely consider Ocarina of Time to be the high point of the series, but take away the nostalgia factor, hold these two up by their merits, and Twilight Princess gives Ocarina a run for its money, while HD improves upon that in almost every way.






Action Adventure



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (2 Votes)

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