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.
Currently, 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.