COMPLETE THE GAME BEFORE READING THIS THREAD!! HUGE SPOILERS!!
Okay, now that's out of the way, on with the thread. I just completed TP, and need to spill out the many thoughts that whirling around in my brain about this game, and think that many of you will need to do the same over the coming weeks.
Firstly I'd like to say what a fucking great game that was. Secondly, I'd like to say what a fucking disappointment it was, too. Now, I know what you're all thinking. I realize that everyone thinks of me as Captain Anti-Nintendo, and that all I do is complain. But before you all role your eyes and go "Typical Oni", please hear me out. Also, bear in mind that this is not a review of the game, as I'm going to concentrate heavily on negative aspects, which a review would not be. So yeah, please don't consider this a review of Twilight Princess.
So, where to start? I guess I should start at the beginning, with what I liked. I thought the visual style of this game was fantastic. It really contrasts with the brashness of Wind Waker's harsh primary-colour visuals, and really does serve as an up-to-date version of the art-style that everyone adored so much in the N64 games. Whenever I imagined Ocarina of Time running on a GameCube, in my head it looked just like Twilight Princess, and that's before I knew anything of this game. It's not visually particularly 'amazing' in any area, but looks consistently great. TP is just plain old easy on the eye, and I really like that in a game.
The second thing that hit me was the controls. The GC controls are so unbelievably fucking tight. It's like you are 'at one' with Link. Twilight Princess was definitely made for the GameCube controller. I know I've hammered this point home so many times now, but it's just true, I'm afraid. I'm so glad I got it for the GC. Never once has Link gone astray, or proven awkward to handle in any situation. I also cannot imagine being without the ability to look around in first-person (the old C-Up), which is something you can't do on the Wii, I'm told. The first-person view mode is your best friend on numerous occasions, and is your most valuable tool for sussing out puzzles. It's also quite handy for just generally having a gander at Hyrule.
The third thing that hit me was the storyline. At first it seemed really different, and engaging. Midna was a bloody interesting little character (anyone remember my 'theory' ..? :lol, and to cut a long story short, completely steals the show. It was Midna who kept me intrigued throughout. In fact, the game should be called 'The Legend of Midna: Twilight Princess'. I thought the dungeons were a good lark, if frightfully easy. I didn't mind, as I was safe in the knowledge that the game would last me 70/100 hours, so there was plenty of game left, no matter how easy it was. Right?
Okay, so what didn't I like about the game? Well, lots of things. Half of them aren't really the game's fault, they're more the fault of Nintendo and their stubbornness with Zelda. One of the first things that really bothered me was how this game really followed the really old Zelda format, down to a fucking T. You mainly go to all the same dungeons you've been going to since OoT, you mainly use all the same weapons you've been using since OoT, and you mainly fight bosses that are almost identical to ones you've been fighting since OoT. TP is stuck in 1998.
Now, before you start bellowing "But what about the Twilight Zone, and the wolf bits?", well, what about them? The wolf gameplay barely differs from playing as human Link. It's only when it does that you get a glimmer of awesomeness. There's only two things that wolf Link does that'd be a stretch of the imagination for human Link to do. That's the sense of smell bits, and the bits where he burrows under walls. I thought Twilight Hyrule was a fantastic idea, which they really could have gone places with, but they didn't, really. A few hours in, and you've completely gotten rid off all the twilight from Hyrule. I started panicking at that point, because I thought I'd nearly finished the game. I wasn't completely wrong, either.
36 hours, my friends. 36 fucking hours. Where are my "70/100 hours" that you promised, Nintendo? Where are they? Poxy side-quests? Are you trying to tell me that there's a another 40+ hours of boring fetch-quests left in my game? Not only do I not believe you (I've already gotten most of the poes, the golden bugs, and the heart-pieces), even if it's true, that's a real fucking cheap way of being able to say "70/100 hours of gameplay!". I also know that was a rough estimate for the 'average gamer', but hey, I'm not brilliant at games, and I got stuck a fair few times in TP, and even then I didn't even break into 37 hours! So I can come to no other conclusion than those claims were a big fat lie. A big fat lie disguised as an 'estimate'. To get 70/100 hours of good fun out of TP, you'd have to suffer from cerebral palsy.
Back to my first 'minus' point, which grated ever more as I progressed. Yes, it's Zelda. But do we really need to trudge through the same old dungeons, and use the same old weapons to fight the same old bosses, who attack in the same old patterns? Do we? It's obvious to me that this game is trying so hard to be Ocarina of Time. It starts out seeming like it's going to be different, but it's really not. The twilight ends up being nothing more than a barrier you cannot pass, until you clear it (which doesn't take long at all). After the third dungeon, it's gone forever. So that one little bit of gameplay that was slightly different from the usual Zelda stuff doesn't last long at all, and once it's gone, you're pretty much back to the old Zelda gameplay.
They should have done a Legacy of Kain, and had the twilight realm as a sort of parallel world to the light realm. It was so cool in Soul Reaver when you shifted into the spectral plane, and everything around you morphed and twisted into a slightly different shape. You were in the same place, but it was different. It wasn't just 'there's a cool filter-effect and you're a wolf', it was properly different, and it also pervaded the entire game, and provided many puzzles that were right bastards to crack. TP really only touched upon the potential for something that could have been really cool there, and it didn't touch upon it for long at all. The wolf gameplay really isn't very different from normal Link's. Being able to turn into a wolf at will towards the latter half of the game boils down to nothing more than an extra 'item' to use. You can only get up there if you use the hookshot, and you can only dig under that wall if you turn into a wolf.
Also, the difficulty... you know, for a game that's supposed to last as long as this one doesn't, you'd think they'd have provided a bigger challenge. Not only that, but sometimes you feel like Nintendo's actively leading you by the hand. There's bits too numerous to list of when this happens. Sometimes it's a bit of game to progress in, sometimes it's a bit of story, sometimes it's a bit of both. A bit where I actually laughed out loud and slapped my knee was a right stupid bit where Llia has lost her memory. After you've escorted the carriage to Kakariko, and she says to you "Thanks for helping me, it's SO KIND FOR SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T EVEN KNOW ME to help me like that...". Erm, Nintendo, could you even be less blatent than that?
Why does that bit of text need highlighting in a whole different colour? I've just spent the last hour and a bit in full-knowledge that Llia's lost her memory, and doesn't know who I am. It's not just cheesey, it's a crap way of pushing the point home (which needed no pushing) that she doesn't know me. It seemed so random, as well. You never really learn why Llia lost her memory. She 'just does', and then you 'fix' her, and then everything's alright. It's fucking stupid. It just feels so 'inserted' into the game.
There's plenty of other bits. Someone will say something like "Gah, if only someone could destroy that boulder up there, but to get up there they need the TREASURE WHICH RESIDES IN THE TEMPLE UNDER LAKE HYLIA..." or something. And there's be a fat-arse clawshot target up there. I mean, how blatent can you be? I'm not a child, so don't treat me like one.
Of the eight temples/dungeons, only two were really of note; The Arbiter's Grounds, and The City In The Sky. Particularly the latter. These where the only temples which differed in any real way to previous Zelda dungeons. The City In The Sky was my favorite. The double-clawshots was just fucking badass, and the whole theme of the temple hadn't been in any Zelda I'd played before, and provided a real fresh experience as a result. It was a proper good thrill shooting from ceiling to wall to ceiling, and hanging above clear sky below you. It's the highlight. I include The Arbiter's Grounds only for the following the scents of the ghosts, and the spinner, which was novel. The ball and chain was cool too, but not used enough.
The bosses in this game are just, well, they're just shit, in all honesty. They're all total pushovers. Every single one of them. They all follow instantly recognizable patterns, and are utterly helpless once you suss them out, which takes all of a minute. Not one boss managed to kill me in this game, you know that? Not one. Where's the likes of Devil May Cry's bosses, who still pose a very real challenge, even after you identify their attack-pattern and their weakness? They still provide a decent test of skills regardless. TP's bosses are at your absolute mercy. Practically to the point where they cannot hit you. I find this to be a great pity.
To be frank, the entire game is a pushover. There was only a few moments where I got stuck for a while, and actually had to stop and think for a second. The rest of it was totally plain-sailing. Also, I don't actually think I've died once it. If a game cannot even kill me once, even on it's final boss, it's 'toughest challenge', then it's too easy. Twilight Princess is most certainly that. It's not a challenge, so much as it is a prolonged bit of extremely easy, strong together with a basic storyline. Ah yes, the storyline. How I have also been greatly disappointed with this part of the game, too.
It's starts of as your standard Zelda game (bar the glorious Majora's Mask). Lad, no weapons, tiny village. Sound familiar? Yes well, it really is. You do a boring fetch quest so that you can buy a slingshot (which as a weapon that's never ever been in a Zelda game before), do abit of goat wranglin' (at the end you do abit of Ganon wranglin'), and it's not long before you're at the spring, and Llia, the kids, and Epona get boosted by some goblins. You then wake up in a prison cell as a wolf. This is were the game starts to get good and interesting, but it doesn't really last long. Before you know it, you've extinguished all the twilight from Hyrule, then a diamond of dark energy surrounds Hyrule castle, and the gameplay reverts to pretty standard Zelda fair, and so does the storyline, which goes back to good old 'save princess Zelda!'. I don't think I'm alone when I say that I'm bored to fucking tears of that same old shite.
The story had moments where it seemed like it could get deep and interesting, but it never really did. There were also plenty of opportunities for some good old emotional impact. Like, the bit with the Zora prince's mother. Jesus, if I was in charge of the story, there's literally a million-and-one places I can think of going with that. Nintendo? Well, they never really touched upon the emotional impact of a young boy losing his mother. They really could've, and should've. They hinted at it, but that's all they ever do with Zelda games. Some really cool stuff which they should concentrate on is only hinted at, and some irrelevant shit that only needs hinting at gets shoved violently down your throat. I mean, just off the top of my head, there could have been some massive Zora funeral for their dead Queen. But no, nothing.
Also, that young lad Colin who aspires to be strong and brave like you, they could have gone further into that, and explored that. Just, tons of stuff, you know? It feels almost like a rushed game in that respect. It's not that it's rushed, of course, but that Nintendo simply have to over simplify everything with Zelda. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. Nintendo miss that mark on alot of occasions in TP. Also, Link, what.. a.. boring... cunt! I know Link's trademark is to be a boring cunt, but I think they should have broke the tradition with TP.
There where so many moments where Link should have said something. I actually believe it's one of the main reasons why TP's storyline fails. It was okay in OoT, which had the ultimate classic 'storyline', it was okay in MM, which was more about the dark, obscure experiance, it was okay in WW, which got by on it's extreme art style and a bare-bones storyline. TP's trying to be different. It's trying to have a more complex storyline. Well, it's just trying to have a storyline, fullstop. You can't have a storyline that goes into alternate realms, trying to have some depth, when the main character never says anything. Only one game has ever done that; Half-Life.
HL achieved it through novel use of a constant first-person perspective, even in cut-scenes. You feel as if you are Gordan Freeman. You're inside his body the whole time, and it manages to never feel odd. It never focuses on Gordon, that's the key. In TP, the action totally stops, a cut-scene kicks in, and there's several moments where it focuses on Link, and he just smiles or something, and it's just not enough. If you're going to do that, then something needs to happen. It's quite jarring. Something earth-shattering happens, camera goes to Link, and he just stands there. For TP, Link needed to talk for the first time, I truly believe that. Text-only of course (Link can never have a 'voice'), but that's one of the main reasons why the story never quite achieves what it tries to achieve, that and all the missed opportunities.
The only story element which really worked for me was Midna. She was a brilliant character. She absolutely kills everyone else. Link, Zelda, Ganondorf, everyone. They're all really boring compared to Midna. I feel the rest of the storyline kind of let Midna down, which was the shining light of the whole thing. In essence, there was plenty of scope for a really deep, dark story with TP, and we got neither, as both were merely only touched upon. Shigeru stated that TP is as dark as Majora's Mask. Well, it's not. TP is trying to be overtly dark, and fails because the storyline isn't deep enough to back it up. In MM there's just this subtle, but tangible sense of foreboding. It never presents itself directly, but it's there. And there's some real sadness there too, which again is subtle, but present.
TP misses the mark because of a few things. It's trying to be a more modern game in it's storyline, and more direct in it's storytelling, but it's still clinging to those old Zelda mechanics which prevent such a thing. I've already mentioned that Link really needed a personality in this one. There's also the fact that, inevitably, it boils down to 'Ganondorf's got Zelda'. That really ruined it, for me. Not only had they only touched upon the deep and dark storyline they wished to tell, they completely threw it away towards the end. Why does Ganon have to be in it?
In addition, I think TP is trying to much to be OoT and MM. There's only one OoT, and one MM. You can't mix them. They're like two sides of the same coin. TP tries to be both. It tries to capture the 'epic' feel of OoT, and the dark nature of MM, and doesn't really succeed at either. Thge epicness is ruined by the utter samey nature of the whole thing. I couldn't shake the feeling of "I've played this before" through most of TP. And when that happens, it's got as much chance of being boring as it is epic. As for being dark, well, it feels too hollow for that.
MM's darkness came not from one identifiable source, it was just there. It was never 'in your face', but constantly nibbling away at you. It had an atmosphere about it. TP's approach at achieving the same atmosphere is rather bull-in-a-china-shop, and thus, fails. If you're going to tackle something like that head-on, you better have a deep and brilliant storyline to back it up. TP has neither. It seems like it wants to be deep, but then it cuts away when it's just starting to be so. It tries to be more complex, but ultimately ends up at 'save the princess'.
I think if I wasn't expecting so much, I wouldn't have been so disappointed. They've been doing some blatent hype-mongering, and said some right whoppers ont he run up to release. I've already addressed the issue of the game not being 70-100 hours (nowhere fucking near). But there's another biggie. "It'll take 45 minutes to travel from one end of the world on your horse to the other!"... NO IT DOESN'T. This was a rather sore one for me, because I was expecting a huge world to explore. Ever since Morrowind, there's nothing I like more than a vast world to just wonder about and explore in. It's takes a maximum of 10 minutes to travel from Faron Province
to Snowhead on your horse (probably the longest distance in the game), 15 if you're really having a bad one. It'd take no more than ten minutes to go from Kakariko Village to the Gerudo Desert.
TP is small, really really small. Yes, the world map is marginally larger than the world maps of OoT and MM, but then they were eight and six years ago, respectively. And regardless, it does not take 45 minutes to travel from one end of TP to the other, that's a fucking LIE. Add the that the minor extra bulk of TP's world over OoT and MM is made up of totally featureless spans of Hyrule field. Where's the lovely little wooded areas to explore, of bits of outright forests? Nothing. It's actually un-interesting to explore in TP. Every area feels like an enclosure with a few patches of grass, and maybe a bridge or two.
There's no real sense of adventure in TP. It takes alot more to achieve this than in OoT's days, and TP doesn't. A few games have really raised the bar in the particular area in recent years, and TP thoroughly pales in comparison. Compared to other games in comparable/compatible genres, it's not even in the same league. This is another sign that TP is stuck in the past. There's not a single town or settlement that you can go to in TP that you wouldn't mandatorily visit during the course of the main quest. In Morrowind (a real-time action-adventure game, as Zelda is), there's literally thirty or forty towns and stuff that you don't encounter in the main quest. That's real exploration.
Maybe that's the big problem, though. Zelda is stuck in a rut. It's trying to relive past glories. Nintendo, for the love of god, this stuff was the bollocks in '98, but now? Well... this'll be the fourth nearly identical game like this. TP just comes off as feeling rather 'standard'. Well made in every respect, but not spectacular in any area. The story's alright, the setting's alright, the dungeons are alright, the weapons are alright.. etc. But the old Zelda 'experiance' has been superceded by other stuff. Other games that have been inspired by Zelda have now bested it in one way or another. Zelda Twilight Princess is too easy, too short, too small, too overtly similar to previous games (without capturing their 'magic'), and the storyline is too hit-and-miss.
I think the bottom line is this; Zelda is a little boys game. I fucking loved it when I was a little boy. TP tries to be a adult's game, without shaking off all those things that make it for kids. The non-existant challenge, the crude storyline, etc. Nintendo are trying to pass it off as more of an adult's game, and it really isn't. It nearly seems like it at times, but then you soon get brought crashing down to earth and reality when the next thing happens, or the next line is spoken. I think some of the dissapointment must not be laid solely at TP's door, however. If I hadn't expected it to be 'the greatest game ever made', I don't think I'd have been as let-down as I am.
As I said to begin with, this has not been a 'review'. I've concentrated on all the bad stuff. There is also much to like in TP. It's basically like I said at the start; Its a fucking great game, but it's a big disappointment at the same time. If I were to review it, it would get a hearty 8/10, but no more. Any more than that is pure madness. Which brings me nicely on to the C3 review. I hope you don't find me rude, but I'm going to pick some rather large holes in it.
When we reviewed Ocarina of Time we rated it as the greatest videogame of all time; this is better. Nintendo have spent a decade trying to create a title of this splendour and brilliance and finally they have cracked it. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is the single greatest videogame experience of all time
You've GOT to be joking.
From the very start of the game things look good. The sweeping camera shots on the opening sequence to the game as Link rides majestically across the gaming world atop Epona is not just reminiscent of Ocarina of Time, it surpasses it. If the N64 classic was epic, this title is in a whole new species of epic...ness. It is at this point that we look for a better thesaurus.
He/she doesn't even sound like they know what they're talking about. They go on for a paragraph about how much better the title screen looks that the one on an eight year old N64 game?
But unlike previous titles in the story there is far more to Twilight Princess that save the girl from inevitable danger from the bad guys by solving puzzles and swinging around your sword.
But there isn't, because it just boils down to 'save the girl from inevitable danger from the bad guys by solving puzzles and swinging around your sword.' after only three temples.
This game is genuinely dark and has a great plot that will keep you playing to find out more. // The twilight realm is a very dark and disturbing place and during the game you will encounter some fascinating characters and discover a lot about Link too.
It tries to be dark, but it's not. Merely my opinion perhaps, but it's certainly not 'disturbing'.
Places like Castle Town and the various other stunning locales you will visit throughout your adventure are full of magic and surprise. Without ruining too much what we're describing here barely scratches the surface of this titles magnitude. It is huge.
It is NOT huge. Almost the complete opposite. Why are you lying?
This really spices up the action and makes for some real head-scratching puzzles.
There are no 'head-scratching puzzles'. There's a few that you won't solve as soon as you look at them. There's no proper challenging ones. There's certainly nothing anywhere near as tough as MM's Stone Tower Temple.
This is Zelda building upon itself to make a truly immersive, cohesive and deep world that goes a good way to explaining what Hyrule is all about. Believe us, some of the new weapons and enemies you come across will simply blow you away.
Rubbish. You learn nothing more about Hyrule than in previous games. There's even a fucking remake of the 'goddess' making Hyrule' scene from OoT!
As well as blowing you away though they will also kill you; lots. We've seen more Game Over screens whilst playing this title than we have in any game in a long time; believe us when we say this is one tough cookie. Sometimes it isn't even the bosses that kill you, but amazingly obscure and often seemingly impossible environmental puzzles. It truly is a testament to the strength of the Wii remote that it hasn't been broken in our frustrated whacking of it against nearby walls.
More rubbish! Utter rubbish! It is not hard in the slightest. It's an easy game for children. You made only two slight critiques of TP:
However, what is slightly worrying is when you do get to the boss battles, no matter how