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Old 10-11-2008, 12:15 AM   #1
Izzardius
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Twilight Princess-Please Rate this Review

I wrote this a while ago, so I realize it's fairly old. Thought it would be good to get it critiqued anyway. Thanks!

HIGH:Excellent art style, good overall feel. Some neat new toys.

LOW:Far too easy. A lot of the better items aren't used very much.

WTF:Why doesn't Zelda ever get to star in her own game?

Whenever Nintendo tries to do anything unique or new with the Zelda franchise, there always seems to be an extremely negative reaction along the lines of ďThis isnít like Ocarina of Timeď. Wind Waker was ďtoo kiddyĒ. Majoraís Mask was blasted by some for itís day system and the difficulty. So, Nintendo gave people what they wanted in Twilight Princess (albiet wearing a much darker tone), and the result isÖmeh. It isnít bad by any stretch, but it doesnít even come close to claiming the ďbest in seriesĒ crown that many were ready to bestow on it.

First off, itís abundantly clear from the start that youíre playing a Gamecube game that was ported to the Wii. The motion controls donít ruin the game by any means, but they donít feel natural and get in the way more than anything else-this fact is made aggravatingly apparent during one of the boss fights. For all the hoopla about the innovative new interface, the most involved motions you will be making are an imprecise series of shakes and wiggles (insert your own sexual innuendo here).

Then thereís the enemies-or target practice as I like to call them. The Zelda games arenít exactly Mega Man-esque in their reputation for difficulty, but I at least expect the giant monster staring me in the face to put up some kind of fight. Instead, the majority of the normal enemies just line up for the slaughter, with the exception of the exciting horseback battles and a few scattered swordfights. Throughout the 60 or so hours I put into the game I died only once, and that was during an optional gauntlet-style quest. The bosses are particularly bad-there is only one that offers any sort of challenge, while the rest might as well have a big ďUSE THE THING YOU GOT IN THIS DUNGEON HEREĒ sign above their weak spots while they just sit there are roar at you. The Zelda games appear to be developing a disturbing trend of getting less and less challenging, and well-made dungeons & environments wonít be able to hide it forever.

Speaking of which, the art style and overall feel of the game are actually very well done. The mood here is meant to be considerably darker than most Zelda games (Majoraís Mask remains the darkest) and every environment reflects this. Itís been harped on by critic after critic that graphics donít make or break the game, but art style certainly can, and the minds behind crafting Twilight did a hell of a job. The music also fits right in with this, especially the dungeon ambiance pieces.

Speaking of which (and yes, I am not afraid to use the same segue in consecutive paragraphs), the atmosphere design of the gameís dungeons are also a definite plus. The high point of the game for me was a dungeon built like a broken down old mansion, complete with a pair of resident yeti. This was a welcome departure from the more common monolithic temples that Link usually finds himself in. However, most of the puzzles follow the same formula as the other Zeldas (how many times will they make Link push around those damn blocks?) which lends itself to a general feeling of stagnation throughout the game.

Twilight does however give you a few new cool toys to add to the bread and butter items (bow, hookshot, boomerang, etc.), the most ingenious of which allows you to take control of various statues and use them to accomplish your goals. However, even with the addition of the new items, you seldom have occasion to use most of them (especially the cooler ones) outside of the dungeon you acquire them in, making most of the game outside of the dungeons fairly bland.

I was thrilled to hear that the transformation mechanic (last seen in Majoraís Mask) was making a return. Majoraís Mask is my favorite game in the series, and the transformation masks are a big reason why. Sadly, it isnít implemented nearly as well in Twilight Princess. The Wolf is useful as a means to get around quickly, but beyond that it just isnít very much fun, nothing compared to Goron rolling or Zora swimming. You use it when you have to, but there was never any point where I really looked forward to having to become the Wolf.

Twilight gets some high marks for excellent style and some fun new items, but an overall lack of challenge and a general sense of stagnation really brings it down for me. My biggest question regarding the series is this: why doesnít Zelda ever get to be the main character? Itís not like it wouldnít be successful, as several games, Metroid chief among them from Nintendoís own library, have had female leads recently. Isnít it about time for Zelda to start busting some Moblin heads for herself? She was a friggin ninja in Ocarina after all.

Disclosure:This game was obtained via retail purchase and played on the Wii. I spent about 60 hours on this game.

Parents:Rated T by the ESRB.

Deaf and Hard of hearing:All story information is expressed through text & gestures.
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Old 10-11-2008, 02:23 AM   #2
Brad Gallaway
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Re: Twilight Princess-Please Rate this Review

hey Izzardius, thanks for posting this.

i like your energy and 'tude.. it comes through clearly in most of the review, and i mean that in the most positive sense. i think your head is definitely in the right place... i was diggin' it.

as for things to work on:

besdies a few very minor grammar issues, i'd like to see you tackle less topics (to avoid a laundry-list feeling) and dig into the ones you do have in a little greater depth. quick examples:

this fact is made aggravatingly apparent during one of the boss fights. - why, exactly?

Speaking of which, the art style and overall feel of the game are actually very well done. The mood here is meant to be considerably darker than most Zelda games - ok cool, i'm with you.. tell me more.

finally, one sort of "meta" thing to watch out for is to avoid being too informal and "insidery" with the subject. obviously 90% of the people reading will be familiar with the Zelda series, but it's always a good idea to err on the side of caution.

that said, you've got a natural sort of flow and it was really easy to read. thumbs up.
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Old 10-11-2008, 03:53 AM   #3
David Stone
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Re: Twilight Princess-Please Rate this Review

Nice first review! You've definitely got a good grasp on analysis.

I'm with Brad on the idea of going into a bit more detail on your criticisms. You bring up a number of interesting (and valid) points, but don't go into depth to the extent I would expect.

Another thing - and this is for anyone doing a review - is perhaps to think of an overarching thread for the review as opposed to a checklist a la IGN or Gamespot.

Finally, be careful about your transitions. You used "Speaking of which" at the beginning of two paragraphs. While I know you're conscious of it in the review, I'd just be weary.

Please note that the above is meant as positive, constructive criticism. You got a good vote from me for sure, and I want to see what else you've got.
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Old 10-11-2008, 03:35 PM   #4
Izzardius
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Re: Twilight Princess-Please Rate this Review

I really appreciate the feedback-I'll certainly take it under consideration for my next article.
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Old 10-11-2008, 08:19 PM   #5
Mike Bracken
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Re: Twilight Princess-Please Rate this Review

Nice work Izz--looking forward to seeing more.
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Old 10-17-2008, 08:15 PM   #6
Chi Kong Lui
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Re: Twilight Princess-Please Rate this Review

Izz, I just wanted to add that for the HIGH/LOW/WTF points, cite the single most highest and lowest points of the game for you in more detail. Don't list out a bunch of generic pros and cons. The idea is to tell a mini-story to engage the reader.

Hope to see more. Thanks.

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