ZeldaBlog

Twilight Princess Spoiler-Free Review

November 24th, 2006 at 2:22 am by The Missing Link

Every good thing always has to come to an end. Quite unfortunate is the fact that Twilight Princess is no exception to this rule. Yes, the game does have an ending point, as I can now officially (and very sadly) relate to you. Granted, there are many amazing mini-games, collection quests, and mini-plot points that I have yet to fully explore—and trust me, they shall be done!—but my primary objective is now complete, and so I shall proceed to share with you my thoughts on what Twilight Princess truly meant to this gamer.

Before I begin though, you will notice that this post is NOT classified under the Spoilers category. Thus, it is perfectly safe to read… and your comments should reflect this.

So let me be up front with you. There is this nasty myth going around that Twilight Princess cannot possibly take less than 50 hours to beat, at least on your first time through the game. Nintendo is on record saying (which everyone seems to blindly believe) that your first time through will be on the order of 50-70 hours. TSA of The Hylia managed to meet the 50-hour mark. My play through was not the same. I ended the game with a rough guestimate of 38 hours even (according to the game clock). I wasn’t rushing through the game by any means, and all of the mini-games and sidequests that I found I at least played one or three times for good measure, so there’s potentially a good many hours extra that aren’t factored into this number. (Yes, I will likely jump back into the rabbit hole to do this very thing.) Suffice to say, your mileage will definitely vary with how long it takes to beat the title, but you probably won’t hit below the 35-hour mark… unless you’re cheating and using a guide, of course. (Shame on you.)

Be that as it may, despite me somehow cheating the flow of time and losing 12 hours in the process, this game comprised 38 of the best hours of my life to date. The game is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful—even over the standard-issue composite video cables. (I hear it looks even better under component.) I know that it is a sin to compare Zelda to a PlayStation 2 title, but for me Twilight simply kept invoking Shadow of the Colossus time and time again. There is such an emphasis on detail in the scenery that it will completely blow away your mind when you see it. Hyrule Field is especially beautiful, and gone are the days of completely featureless geography as Ocarina had. Everything from Kakakriko to Faron Woods, Hyrule Field to small little shops, Death Mountain to places that would spoil you to mention them, all of them are just so masterfully executed that you will feel yourself slipping away into the world of Hyrule as you play it.

The same goes for the characters as well. Not only are the textures on the major characters absolutely pretty, but their personalities are very well-defined. Gone are the days where major NPCs would be one-dimensional. In this game, Ilia, Midna, Princess Zelda, the Ordon children, and many more have personalities that you will not easily forget, adding to the immersive quality of the game. Granted, not every NPC is gifted with the same amount of dialogue as Midna, but the world definitely feels like it is full of life, and the emotional bonds that you will likely make with the key characters will be extremely strong by the game’s end.

But aside from pretty trees and faces, I bet you all want to know whether or not the plot is worth it. Worry not about the plot; it is there… in massive quantities… every ounce of which is completely superb. There will be very interesting plot threads that you will have to explore before being able to get to the next dungeon in line, and very little of that—if any actually is at all—seems like filler included just to make the game longer. The actually story of the game unfolds as a mystery novel of sorts, and no, this isn’t a spoiler. You should know the Twilight Realm has invaded Hyrule and other such evil things, but you won’t know what exactly the Twilight Realm is and who is behind it. Those questions won’t be answered until much later in the game. Pieces of the puzzle will come much earlier, however, gradually coming together little by little, and in the meantime you’re forced to speculate wildly about just what is going on in the state of Hyrule. I won’t spoil any of the details for you, but I will tell you that the story behind the game, once you know it, will make you giddy with anticipation of what is to come. (And what you get when you get there will be even better than your expectations.)

But the true unsung heroes of the Zelda titles are the dungeons. There are indeed nine of them, and each one looks absolutely fabulous. We’ve seen bits of spoilers from the first two dungeons, both at E³ and in game trailers, and they look far superior to anything Wind Waker and Ocarina have ever thrown at us. Even better is that the transition from the overworld to the dungeons is so seamless that you won’t realise you’re in a dungeon until you pull up the map screen and find that you’re standing in 1F. And the bosses of Twilight are second to none. They are as diverse as you’ve ever seen them, each one requiring you to use a very different strategy than the last boss you ran up against. (Defeating some of the bosses is a puzzle in and of themselves.) For the record, the boss of Dungeon Four is perhaps the most fun boss to fight that has ever appeared in any Zelda game (including Goht from Majora’s Mask!)… and the bosses of Dungeons Seven through Nine… well, let’s just say that they will be VERY memorable fights. (You may commence feeling giddy with anticipation.)

The challenge has also been ramped up in this title as well. When I played Wind Waker, my total death count for the game the first time was an amazing one. (First boss managed to do me in; my worst parts of the game are always when I have three hearts.) On the other hand, Twilight Princess has managed to kill Link around 10 to 12 times in this game, and there were many more close calls. Part of the reason for the challenge is that fairies are extremely rare in this game. Nary in the game will you find a fairy fountain, and some of the dungeons will not provide you with one right before the boss, so you might actually want to stock up on potions (Farore forbid) on your own. Furthermore, fairies will not fill your hearts up back to full; they’re only good for eight hearts only. So be ready to have to fight for your life in this game; it will be necessary.

Twilight will, however, present itself as a different game from its fellow sibling titles. There seems to be a heavy reliance upon small cutscenes in this game, showing you every once in a while just a close-up reaction of one of the characters or revealing a small moment between two individuals. In this aspect, it has gone more into the vein of the Final Fantasy series… yet it does not go so far in that direction to completely yank control away from the player every five minutes. This will take some getting used to, of course, but in time it did grow upon me. The other point of note is that Twilight does pull in heavy influence from many of the other titles such as Link to the Past, Ocarina, Majora, and Waker. These references can be as overt as hearing some of the musical themes from past games or subtle like vague plot snippets that are similar to those from other games. The musical score is adapted heavily from Ocarina, but there are a few new themes as well. This is both great to see due to the parallels but also annoying as Twilight seems to ride on the coattails of earlier games. Most surprising of all, however, is that there is no magic metre whatsoever. Link is unable—by himself, at least—to do anything remotely magical. While this is a distinct difference from modern console Zelda games, it is not a significant departure from the portable Zelda titles, and I presume this is where the notion came from. This is not a serious drawback or complaint as all, and I didn’t find myself noticing the lack of magical abilities.

As for the thing that concerned me the most about the game going in, you need not worry about the Wiimote being this abomination of a controller style. Yes, it does take getting used to, and it will take about six hours into the game to truly get the hang of it. However, once that initial training period is done, the Wiimote is easily my controller of choice for Zelda, mainly because of the swordplay action that you get from the Wiimote and the Nunchuck. Having looked at the GameCube controller combinations needed to pull off some of the more advanced swordplay techniques, I’m definitely glad I got Zelda for Wii. Also, aiming weapons is so much nicer with the Wiimote when compared to a standard controller. It got very comfortable and actually much faster to point and click on a target rather than use a thumb stick to lock onto my target. I’m telling you, with this interface, Link could very easily be a sniper with that bow. (In fact, there’s a good scene late in the game where I did this very thing.) Also, it’s very nice to see that controlling Wolf Link is very similar to controlling Human Link with only minor changes in their available ability set. I’m not going to advocate any of you to spend $250 (or whatever it costs in your country) to get a Wii for this game… but you should at least give it serious consideration before you dismiss the idea.

In summary, do I believe that this game is better than Ocarina? Hands down, a flat out yes. Is it better than Wind Waker? Without a doubt. Is it better than my personal favourite of the Zelda series, A Link to the Past? I hate to say it, but I believe we have a new winner. I will not give the game a perfect 10 because the game isn’t the pinnacle of perfection (and no game, I think, ever will be), but I will say that Twilight should get a solid 9.5.

The TML hath spoken.

Filed under Twilight Princess, Editorials

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48 Messages from the Gossip Stones about “Twilight Princess Spoiler-Free Review”

    Comments

    Great review TML. Although, I have to say I got the hand of the controls instantly ;) They were very easy to use but, as you know, even with my mild carpal tunnel I can’t play it because it causes too much wrist pain. I realize most people wont have this problem- but I’m not keep quiet about it because I keep hoping beyond hope that Nintendo will eventually make a more comfy back-up control scheme ;)
    [link]

    true,true,very true….
    i never killed link in WW.That took many hours oftrying 2 kill molgera(my cousin has the guide,but he’s a traitor :P )

    Wheeee I love reading spoiler free reviews.
    It did help me though..Yeah, I know what you are saying in WW. I died 1 time as well, but that was because I forgot to pause when I went away. :P Anywho, thanks for your thoughts on the game.

    I… WANT… THIS… GAME… SO… BADLY., you Americans dont realise how lucky you all are, lol.

    Soooooo, are the Zoras in the game?

    I don’t think I ever got killed on TWW, or atleast, without a fairy :D This game is going to be tough, the first dungeon sounds like the Fire Temple in OoT, and all the hearts you have, is three, *NAVI*! Man, if I wasn’t so tired, I’d be jumping in anticipation.

    Robert-UK said:

    Soooooo, are the Zoras in the game?

    *freaks out* Please let there be Zora, please let there be Zora, PLEASE LET THERE BE ZORA!!!

    You anger me. I would love to get it for the Wii, but I had already reserved it for Gamecube, and besides, I have an XBOX 360! PWNED!

    Dangit. I want this game so bad right now. I don’t know if I can wait for the GCN release. D: It’ll probably take me ages to figure it out, too. I was able to play WW through without using a guide until I got to the wind temple, when I had to find double magic. I’m going to try to play TP without a guide, but I don’t know how long it’ll take before I get hopelessly lost.

    Windmill Man said:

    You anger me. I would love to get it for the Wii, but I had already reserved it for Gamecube, and besides, I have an XBOX 360! PWNED!

    xboxs stink.they have no memory card,and so,they stink.whiltst the gamescube,u have a handy-dandy protable memory card,so my friends just give me thier cards to help them out(even though i am i girl :P )

    Nice review. The characters in TP were incredibly well done. Each had their own personality and you watch them develop throughout the game.

    BTW, am I the only one who thought Ilia and Zelda were looking pretty good?? :D

    TP is GREAT with a capitol Q.(no it is not a typo and no im not on drugs) It is definitely one of the greatest games to ever exist. Well, now that I have inserted my two cents im off to go play my Wii.

    master of windwaker said:

    Windmill Man said:

    You anger me. I would love to get it for the Wii, but I had already reserved it for Gamecube, and besides, I have an XBOX 360! PWNED!

    xboxs stink.they have no memory card,and so,they stink.whiltst the gamescube,u have a handy-dandy protable memory card,so my friends just give me thier cards to help them out(even though i am i girl :P )

    OK, OK. Before I comment on this helpful review, I’d like to say that we shouldn’t even bring anything like this up. Last time we all dissed a system/game/corporation we got posts deleted, rights semi-taken away, and anger spread throughout the ‘Blog for a couple of days. Let’s PLEASE not do this again, for goddesses’ sake.

    If you have no idea what I’m talking about, click here: https://zeldablog.com/2006/10/30/252/

    Your review really helped me TML. I had heard from other people that the aiming system for the Wii was touchy and totally off sight, and from what you’ve said, it seems like it sounds great. Good to know graphics look schnazzy too. Memorable people, dungeons, and boss battles will be cool. Just overall, sounds like an excellent game. If you say it beats your favorite ALttP (such as mine), it may even cross the line with me as well.

    31 days till TP and Wii for me…

    Ahh.. thanks for sweetining the pot…

    yay! more cutscenes! ive wanted nintendo to do that for along time.the cutscenes are what made final fantasy-and dont hate me-my favorite series (well,even with fire emblem anyways).I am a little disappointed with how quick it can be won though (not that 30-something is short mind you,its just much less then whats been passed around).not that it matters,it will probably take me twice as long to win it (im not slow,I take my time is all ;) ) .i am glad nintendo put some thought into the graphics/characters.they tend to ignore that alot of times.

    well,19 days left.

    • 14. Sage says:

    *twitches in anticipation*

    i cant wait to play this game

    I just got one question because I’m a bit confused.

    You mention there’s no magic meter, yet I’ve seen a green bar (what I’m assuming is the magic meter) in a lot of the latest screenshots.

    So is it for something else, for an item in particular or scratched at the last minute?

    forgetreality said:

    You mention there’s no magic meter, yet I’ve seen a green bar (what I’m assuming is the magic meter) in a lot of the latest screenshots.

    So is it for something else, for an item in particular or scratched at the last minute?

    In the final copy of the game, there is a yellow bar. This is used in conjunction with the Lantern. The lantern is an oil lantern, and thus runs off of oil. That metre shows how much oil you have left in the lantern before it needs to be filled again (or completely go out).

    This game is awesome! I completely agree with TML.

    Even though it only took TML 38 hours, it is different for everyone. I think the majority of the players will be between 50 and 70 hours. Depending on if they are taking their time, majority will probably be 60-70, if there rushing through it, majority will probably be 40-50. But that’s just my estimate.

    Jumanji Shishioh said:

    I don’t think I ever got killed on TWW, or atleast, without a fairy :D This game is going to be tough, the first dungeon sounds like the Fire Temple in OoT, and all the hearts you have, is three, *NAVI*! Man, if I wasn’t so tired, I’d be jumping in anticipation.

    Robert-UK said:

    Soooooo, are the Zoras in the game?

    *freaks out* Please let there be Zora, please let there be Zora, PLEASE LET THERE BE ZORA!!!

    from wat i heard of there R going to be zoras in da game

    • 20. Psy says:

    So am I risking being horribly mauled by saying that I didn’t like Twilight Princess that much?

    I have reasons, but they’re spoilerific.

    Psy said:

    So am I risking being horribly mauled by saying that I didn’t like Twilight Princess that much?

    I have reasons, but they’re spoilerific.

    Ahhhh blasphemy! But seriously, how can you honestly say that?! Mind pm’ing me (is that possible on wordpress?).

    Josephina - I picked up the game and right away didnt even need to play around. I started the Wii, moved the cursor to the game icon, and went on with it.

    In Zelda, I hit my targets with ease, as long as they arent moving. Its a bit harder to hit moving targets, but otherwise its pretty dead on.

    xKillswitchx said:

    Ahhhh blasphemy! But seriously, how can you honestly say that?! Mind pm’ing me (is that possible on wordpress?).

    If you click on his name in his comment, you can find his contact information.

    fine…i will stand down from banning XBOX from little kids getting bad idea from all those games with *navi* and gor and all that stuff that sucks.

    OH WAIT A MINUTE, is Shadow/Dark Link in the game please tell me that he is.

    BTW is Tingle in the game?

    well, although americans had it early i ain’t mad… it’s just 13 more days until the wii launches in europe, and if i’m not mistaken, the time between the american release of Ocarina and the european release was way longer… XD

    nice review, it’s great that care about spoilers :D

    Robert, stop asking for spoilers in a spoiler-free thread, it’s not rocket science.

    Wow, 38 hours?! I’m already at 32. :( Though that’s taking to account that my cousin an I spent like 6 hours at the fishing hole. :P

    Majorasblaze said:

    Robert, stop asking for spoilers in a spoiler-free thread, it’s not rocket science.

    Amen to that one.

    Darth Citrus said:

    Wow, 38 hours?! I’m already at 32. :( Though that’s taking to account that my cousin an I spent like 6 hours at the fishing hole. :P

    Well, I did happen to keep a log of when I started all the dungeons, so this one might help you figure out how much further you’ve got in the game. (PS, I never even found the fishing mini-game, so you’re probably going to hit 44 at least!) Here are my times (all of the times are roughly ±30 minutes):

    Enter Dungeon 1: 3½ hours
    Enter Dungeon 2: 7½ hours
    Enter Dungeon 3: 12½ hours
    Enter Dungeon 4: 17 hours
    Enter Dungeon 5: 21½ hours
    Enter Dungeon 6: 25 hours
    Enter Dungeon 7: 29½ hours
    Enter Dungeon 8: 32½ hours
    Enter Dungeon 9: 36 hours
    End Game: 38 hours

    I also collected only 10/45 pieces of hearts, 24-25 Poes souls, and 2 Golden bugs, in case you want to factor that in as well.

    Psy said:

    So am I risking being horribly mauled by saying that I didn’t like Twilight Princess that much?

    I have reasons, but they’re spoilerific.

    Hm. I’d like to hear those. After Chrismas, that is.

    xKillswitchx said:

    Josephina - I picked up the game and right away didnt even need to play around. I started the Wii, moved the cursor to the game icon, and went on with it.

    In Zelda, I hit my targets with ease, as long as they arent moving. Its a bit harder to hit moving targets, but otherwise its pretty dead on.

    Very kool.

    master of windwaker said:

    fine…i will stand down from banning XBOX from little kids getting bad idea from all those games with *navi* and gor and all that stuff that sucks.

    What on God’s green earth does that blabber mean?

    Majorasblaze said:

    Robert, stop asking for spoilers in a spoiler-free thread, it’s not rocket science.

    I totally see why you want to know Robert. I do too. Badly. But everybody calm down… if someone would like to e-mail Robert and tell him, that would be great. How about that?

    Josephina said:

    Majorasblaze said:

    Robert, stop asking for spoilers in a spoiler-free thread, it’s not rocket science.

    I totally see why you want to know Robert. I do too. Badly. But everybody calm down…

    Everyone IS being calm. Simply put, he’s ignoring that this thread is not marked with the Spoilers category. There is to be absolutely ZERO spoiler discussion here, and he should know better than to ask it in this topic… because if it happens, I’ll be deleting it, no questions asked.

    Well now I’m most definately depressed that my parents won’t buy me the game for Christmas. Lucky people. Although, the knowledge that the Wiimote is as good as Nintendo says it is, is very reasurring. I was petrified that it would take forever to figure it out.

    I just tried the Wiimote, and for anyone who’s played Ocarina and Wind Waker, it’s as intuitive as using the handle of cup for a handle.

    Forget the hashed metaphor. The Wii controls are good.

    thank you TML :)

    I’m amazed it tops OoT and ALttP in your books. I think TP is an excellent game, but OoT felt more epic. a huge part of it is that OoT was the game of my childhood, the first real game I played.

    sadly, I’m at the fourth dungeon already. it’s going by too fast :(

    The Missing Link said:

    I also collected only 10/45 pieces of hearts, 24-25 Poes souls, and 2 Golden bugs, in case you want to factor that in as well.

    Only 10/45 and 24-25 poes souls?! TML man you need to slow down a bit there and savour your games. :P

    Actually, I shouldn’t be one to talk. Pretty much I played 18 hours in the first two days and blew of homework. (NOT SUGGESTED FOR ANYONE TO TRY)

    By your reconing I should finish the game at 42 hours give or take a few. Oh btw, find the fishing game. It’s worth just screwing around in there fishing for hours. :P My cousin’s addicted to that thing now, and he’s never liked console game in his life. Wii FTW!

    I’m pretty sure asking this won’t contradict my earlier point, so what are the options after you finish the game? Can you wander around and do things you never completed, or is it like most games in that you’re basically at your last save point before the final boss or whatever? I only ask this because of the extended the fishing I have planned ^^.

    Majorasblaze said:

    Can you wander around and do things you never completed, or is it like most games in that you’re basically at your last save point before the final boss or whatever?

    Twilight Princess is like all the Zeldas (and RPGs) before it; it falls victim to the Rinoa Rule :

    163. All The Time In The World (Rinoa Rule)

    Unless there’s a running countdown clock right there on the screen, you have as long as you want to complete any task — such as, say, rescuing a friend who’s hanging by one hand from a slippery cliff edge thousands of feet in the air — no matter how incredibly urgent it is. Dawdle or hurry as you will, you’ll always make it just in the nick of time.

    I.e., saving anywhere in Dungeon Nine will reset you to the beginning of Dungeon Nine (with all major accomplishments still in tact), and you can run around all of Hyrule to your heart’s content and do whatever it is you wish to do. :)

    Darth Citrus said:

    Only 10/45 and 24-25 poes souls?! TML man you need to slow down a bit there and savour your games. :P

    Oh I plan on going back and doing most of the stuff in the game. I’ve already beaten one or two of the mini-games already and I’m up to a whopping 15/45 PoHs. Be that as it may, my primary concern was that my fellow Zelda fans would say SOMETHING on the website that would spoil me (someone DID say something minor that I happened to read the next day… *wages fist*), and since signing off of the Interweb is difficult given my webmaster status, the plot was priority number one, and the sidequests and everything less important.

    Better then the BEST Zelda game ever? Well, I’m still loyal to ALTTP, but when I get my handson TP…I’ll try to rock it and I’ll give you some feedback.
    Heh…Link as a sniper?…lol…that could be a fun mini game…

    I love the sound of that! Better than OoT, something like that would fill my hunger for the best battle. Nothing, for now, has been able to keep me down. If this game is that hard, I’ll have to revert back to old game strategies.

    TP is awesome! Thank you TML for the spoiler-free review.

    Wow. Ok, thats it. My 100% decision of getting a Wii just went up to 1000% (I know thats sounds absurd, but it’s just how my brain works…don’t judge me.) ^_^

    One question: what about that fairy cursor? Does it pop up everywhere, can it be switched off, is it annoying?

    SamTheHappyEmo said:

    One question: what about that fairy cursor? Does it pop up everywhere, can it be switched off, is it annoying?

    not that I have played or anything,but it looks like the kind of thing you would get used to.it looks like it takes the place of the red arrow in TWW when you locked on to a target (I know it works a little differently,but its pretty much the same thing).

    I hardly even notice the fairy cursor anymore. Sometimes I can see its wings sticking out of the side of the screen, but it usually doesn’t bother me because I’m too focused on what’s going on to care about it.

    Does the Fairy give you information about your enemies like in Ocarina of Time, I really miss that feature.

    Robert-UK said:

    Does the Fairy give you information about your enemies like in Ocarina of Time, I really miss that feature.

    that was pretty cool.it was kind of like cheating though.

    Since everyone is giving the good parts, here are the bad parts. Note that they don’t make the actual game bad, but they do require some considertion.
    1. The game FEELS to short. I’m at dungeon six, but I hoped that at 32 hours to be at dungeon four.
    2. I found Ocarina of Time to be harder. Yes, that may of been because I was younger, but the difficulty dosesn’t really compare. (note that I’m only comparing dungeons 1-6 in ocarina and Tp)
    3. That Malo mart Music is REALLLLYYYY ANNOYYINGG!!!!!! Anyone who has got the Hyrule town malo mart will know what I’m talking about. Arg! It’s stuck in my head again!

    Well, that’s it. Remember, I love the game. I’m just saying this because while I love Tp, I still think Ocarina is better.

    Oh and yes, you can turn the fairy off.

    • 47. Jmo1 says:

    I completed the game in 41 hours of playing, and I have say it is one of best games i’ve ever played. I give it 10 out of 10 rating, now I’m just waiting for Phantom Hourglass. it was hard sometimes, but anyone that played OOT shouldn’t find it too hard.I sure hope they make another for Wii.