The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD Impressions

Twilight Princess HD

I picked up my copy of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD on the Wii U a few days ago, and although I’ve only gotten so far into the game (I’ve barely finished the first dungeon), I figured I’d share some opinions of this re-release of the 2006 title.

I should say that, for a number of years now, I’ve considered Twilight Princess to be the weakest of the 3D Zeldas. Though a technically polished game, it has none of the creative ambition of Wind Waker, or the deviation from series norms like Majora’s Mask. It is, from a creative standpoint, the safest Zelda ever made. It’s essentially Ocarina of Time 2.

This doesn’t just apply to the game’s setup and structure, but even in its story elements. In cinematics where we’re introduced to Zelda, or it’s revealed that Link is the “hero chosen by the gods,” it feels so cliche it comes off as comical. Not to mention Link’s expressionless face can make him come off as a total dope.

With all that said, the game still had excellent dungeons with some really fun puzzles and combat. And those aspects really do hold up after nearly ten years. Twilight Princess controls better than ever with the Wii U Gamepad, with item menus being cycled through on the touchscreen which, like WInd Waker HD before it, makes the gameplay more instantaneous and fun now that you don’t have to keep pausing just to swap items. That was always a big problem I had with Zelda games, so it’s great that Nintendo’s newer hardware are finding ways around that.

It should also go without saying that the game looks way better than ever. Sure, the art direction is still largely generic, and many of the character designs are flat-out unappealing, but from a technical standpoint the game looks great. Maybe not timeless like Wind Waker (even with the HD overhaul, it’s obvious Twilight Princess is a game from yesteryear), but the enhanced visuals do give the game a new aesthetic life.

Twilight Princess HDCurrently, I’m very much enjoying this revisit to the world of Twilight Princess. Some of the flaws are still there (the opening segment drags on and on), and being a remake, it’s not going to add any additional creativity to the core experience. But the gameplay not only holds up, but has been made better than ever thanks to the gamepad. And its new visual sheen help bring the title a little up to date.

Here’s hoping the improvements continue through the adventure, as this HD re-release may prove to be the definitive version of this classic Zelda adventure.

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6 thoughts on “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD Impressions

  1. Red Metal

    It really says something about the Zelda series when one considers that the weakest 3D installment is still miles ahead of other series at their best. I really enjoyed this game back in 2006, so I think I might pick up the HD version for my eventual second playthrough.

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    1. themancalledscott Post author

      It is indeed a great game. But man, getting through that opening is a slow process, and I do think the fan-pandering did ruin some creative potential, but still an excellent game overall. The Wii U version is looking great so far.

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  2. AfterStory

    I probably won’t pick up this remaster. I’ve only played three 3D Zelda titles (Ocarina, Twilight Princess, and Wind Waker) and I’d have to agree that Twilight Princess is by far my least favourite. I still enjoy the game and like you said, certain dungeons are remarkably done, but its overall pacing and awful shoehorned motion controls (only played it on the Wii) make it a weaker entry in a substantial franchise. I’ve honestly thought that majority of Zelda games start off slow. I stopped playing Wind Waker for months before I went back to it, luckily I did because Wind Waker turned out to be one of my favourite games. Wind Waker, Ocarina of Time, and A Link to the Past will most likely end up on my top games list!

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    1. themancalledscott Post author

      I can definitely understand that. Still though, at least with Wind Waker you get much of the tutorial aspect done IN A DUNGEON. It seems like it’s three hours into Twilight Princess before you step inside the first dungeon…

      Your list is sounding great so far. A Link to the Past, Wind Waker and Ocarina of Time are probably on mine as well. Now I’m just wondering how many Mario titles you’re going to list, since that’s where I’m having so much trouble…

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  3. JustACommenter

    Twilight Princess is my personal favorite of the series, but that might be because it was my first Zelda, and I haven’t really got back to it since to see how it holds up… Unfortunately this remaster doesn’t interest me as I don’t feel it adds enough, and unlike OoT and MM, I don’t think TP has any super dated problems like camera or controls to make the only slight graphical upgrade worth it. I’ll agree the beginning is pretty bad (not as bad as Skyward Sword though), but the game definitely holds my favorite dungeons of the series yet, so I don’t think the game deserves some of the backlash it gets as being one of the worst Zeldas. The least creative of the 3D entries? Sure, but one of the absolute worst in the series? With the dated NES entries and some of the weird experimentation done on the DS entries…I’d say that’s a silly claim, but I guess that’s where it gets subjective.

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    1. themancalledscott Post author

      You make many excellent points. People exaggerate a bit (and I feel this now includes myself) when they say Twilight Princess is one of the “worst” Zelda games. It’s heavily polished and holds up really well. And yes, in a number of ways it’s more fun than Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. I think it’s only great failing is that it plays things safe, due to the unnecessary backlash Wind Waker received for doing something different.

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