Written by Rei Berry
As someone who was not even in the country for the first week after the release of Twilight Princess HD, I did not get to experience any hype or disappointment concerning the public view. Thus I sat down on the 15th going in (almost) completely blind to what Nintendo was about to toss at me.
The first things I noticed were the details in the clothing and the armor, very little things that really added to the scene. And this improvement included a wonderful amount of variety, from something as broad as the detail in the stones to the intricate stitching in Ilia’s dress. The intricate stonework in Midna’s headgear is more defined. I could go on and on about how everything is just so much prettier. It’s all been very crisply defined and touched up. It’s as if this is what Twilight Princess was meant to be in the first place. Although Oocoo isn’t any less disturbing in HD.
As far as mechanics go, the Gamepad is both a blessing and a curse. The ability to swap weapons with the swipe of a finger is a time saver. When the Link → Wolf Link button became available, I swear a chorus of angels sang above my head, as did the audience of roommates on the couch behind me.
Now motion controls have never been my forte; I rocked Twilight Princess on the Gamecube nearly a dozen times, but only once or twice on the Wii. So needless to say, having to twist my entire body in ways I wasn’t aware I could move to place the Hookshot on target was a bit frustrating. Strangely enough, archery was significantly easier to control than both the Hookshot and the Gale Boomerang. All those meticulous hours picking off flocks of guay for rupees paid off in the end.
The mechanics for horseback riding were about as good as I recall from the previous consoles, and by that I mean just as frustrating as they were before. But that comes with the understanding that horseback riding in reality is a tricky art. Horses have independent reaction times from their rider and don’t turn on a dime like vehicles do. However, realistic or not, it has left Epona facing a rocky wall for the umpteenth time while I mumble to the TV, “Screw it, I’ll walk.”
If I were to pick one thing that was more infuriating from this game, cause there wasn’t much, it would probably be the stamps. For those who don’t spend time in the Miiverse, at all, working one’s furry little in-game tail off to get to a chest only to find the Hylian letter U stamp instead of a heart piece or rupees, it was not a satisfying experience. I would suggest making the stamps an optional prize, because I understand that younger individuals probably enjoy that new feature. But as an adult with no desire to send a message with “Surprised Zelda” into the Miiverse, it required a certain amount of self control to not unleash every colorful form of vocabulary at the television upon requiring said stamp.
However, there are little things that show Nintendo has learned from the previous release of the game. While I personally found it rather therapeutic to savagely tear apart disgusting Twilit bugs for the Tears of Light, I understand that was one of the lesser popular points of the game. Nintendo clearly recognized this and lowered the amount required Tears from 16 to 12 in the Laynayru Province.
Everything that I loved about Twilight Princess was still here. The design, the tone. I’ve always been a fan of the Zelda games that only carried a touch of whimsy to them, i.e. the games that were catered to a wider audience than just children. A T rated Zelda was a very exciting thing to me as an adolescent. It was dark and looming; it wasn’t afraid to be creepy without much more explanation than divine intervention. But it still carried the classic happy-tuned, colorful mini games and characters that kept the entire world from its otherwise gloom disposition. The temples were breath taking, the provinces were vast and just as beautiful. And the smaller areas such as the Ordon Village or Castletown were filled with uniquely designed NPCs and realistic hustle and bustle of daily life, that is until you ran through as Wolf Link to scare the pants off of them because, admit it, we all did that at least once.
In the grand scheme of things, Twilight Princess HD is the game it was supposed to be back when I was barely a teenager. Playing it now at 22, I can appreciate the detail, understand the time and effort that went into creating the setting, the characters, the lore. It makes me want a sequel. It makes me want to more know about the Twilight, about the provinces and the guardians that overwatch it. It makes me want to understand where Twilight Princess truly sits in the canon timeline and why.
Great. Fun to play and easily recommendable, but has a few minor flaws or fails to “push” the genre forward. This game was reviewed on a Wii U console.