Twilight Princess has landed! And strictly speaking it technically looks better than ever… ever being the blurred mish-mash of colours we were handed on the Wii and Gamecube. So what’s new in this title to make you throw down your respective outdated controllers and ride a brand new Epona into the Hyrulian sunset, Wii U copy under your green tunic?
First up, the graphics are kind of sort of updated. They’re better than the Wii anyway – but possibly not as good as this generation of gaming can currently afford. While the added detail and high definition textures certainly produce an upgrade, they are often jagged in some places and sometimes come across just as pallid. With a locked 30fps frame rate however, and specific clothing and character textures coming across a lot more clean than the original, Twilight Princess HD does a good job updating the original in the looks department – just maybe not ‘HD’ yet.
Controls themselves feels totally liberated with the abandonment of those pesky motion controls (though the bizarre among us can still enable certain features on the gamepad). The use of the gamepad itself blends seamlessly with the on-screen action, the touch screen allowing for a brilliantly dynamic inventory interface and map controls. The gameplay is still the mind-blowing adventure extravaganza we fell in love with in 2006, and here’s where things get complicated. We can’t expect the game’s narrative and game mechanics to reflect what we’ve come to take for granted from the mega open world titles provided for us in this generation of gaming. Still, looking back on it now the world feels slightly limiting when held up to these sort-of-but-not-really contemporaries. Players who haven’t encountered the game before will certainly take different experiences away from the game since being exposed to what our engines can do nowadays. Nevertheless, it’s not designed to be a cutting edge new game – that’s what we’re hoping for from the Zelda Wii U release later this year. Instead what we are looking at here is a title created to bring a staple game back to current generation consoles, and that it does well.
Using the Wolf Link amiibo packaged with certain editions of the game unlocks The Cave of Shadows – while this dungeon is simply a challenge mode that sees you through wave after wave of Twilight enemies, it’s still a contemporary addition to an older title that needs to be celebrated. There are other tweaks made by Nintendo as well, demonstrating just how much they listened to player feedback when redesigning Twilight Princess. For example, smaller distractions and annoyances are removed – you no longer have to collect 16 Tears to unlock Tears of Light fetch quests and are instead issued the slightly more digestible task of 12. Nintendo also reacted to arguments that the game was too easy despite its matured presentation – the Hero Mode is a feature that has been floating in and out of Zelda games for a while, but here it’s used efficiently and excellently. Recovery hearts aren’t ready and waiting for you anymore, and Link’s damage is doubled when he takes a hit.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD succeeds in bringing the beloved Wii title to the gamers of 2016. With a new coat of paint that, while needing touching up in some places, holds pretty well and extra features geared towards an age of rapidly increasing levels of interactivity, the title makes a concerted effort to catch up with modern gaming quality. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite reach the level we know the Wii U can achieve, or the level we’ve come to accept from new releases – it’s the Nintendo brainchild we’ve all come to know and love at the best it’s going to be.