As usual I’ll set the tone of my review here. To the point, the game is good, but I don’t feel it’s as good as the majority makes it out to be. I’m gonna chalk it up to people missing the problems by being blinded by what they love and that this is the game most people were waiting for since Ocarina of Time. Yes I know about Majora’s Mask. To make a poor analogy, it’s like a package of bacon. Ocarina of Time (1998) would be opening a new package of bacon and cooking most of it, and Majora’s Mask (2000) would be cooking the remains later. It’s a bit stale and it’s not enough to satisfy because you’ve experienced most of the joy already. Twilight Princess (2006) is a new package after being bacon starved for awhile, and I guess my issues could be compared to that of some bacon strips being kinda short. Not to say it’s bad, but it’s not perfect and a large amount of people won’t care or notice because it’s new and long yearned for bacon.
By the way, this game is obviously almost 9 years old but regardless, the story section has spoilers. It’s also the biggest problem with the game for myself.
My gameplay will be based on the Wii version. I picked that up soon after I got a Wii under the impression that the Wii version was the intended platform for the game and under the assumption that I would have cool motion control over the sword. Boy was I wrong (which leads me to making Skyward Sword my favourite Zelda game, but that’s a different story). If you wonder why I wouldn’t have heard of this by now, the reality is I got the Wii and game around 2007 and yes, I’ve only played and beaten it now in 2015. Go me.
Over the course of playing I regret getting the Wii version. I hardly became immersed by the controls which is part of the intention behind motion control. I also found an inconsistent issue with entering and exiting Z targeting in regards to turning and strafing. For awhile I even thought I was just playing poorly for trying to switch to a higher priority enemy and failing to apply the proper attack or defense. Using the Hawkeye Mask zoom function is really awkward too, it feels like it could of been better optimized. Z targeting on horseback was a pain for distant targets, especially for the final fight. If the distance was deliberate, that’s not the point. I don’t like it, and there’s no amazing reason why Z targeting should drop after maybe 20 feet on horseback. Controls slump a 5/10.
The graphics are good. It’s what I would expect out of the Wii and the game for it’s time. Not much else to say really. Graphics gets a 8/10.
The sound effects are fitting, but the music was a bit lacking. There were only a few themes that stuck out prominently. Specifically the Temple of Time dungeon, Sky dungeon, Zant’s Dungeon and last battle. The rest was meh, and a lot of it felt recycled even. Sound gets a 8/10.
Don’t be deceived by the constant “Midna is so cool!” and “This is the best Zelda game because of bacon!“. OK, maybe that last one you won’t hear so often. This game has plot issues that get blatantly ignored by fanboys and fangirls. Listen to my story about the story.
Near the end of what I call the tutorial, you finish convincing your childhood not-girlfriend to let you use YOUR horse. Then for no later elaborated reason some Bulblins bust through 2 gates to seemingly shoot Ilia with an arrow to the knee. Hah. They knock out Link, kidnap Ilia and also kidnap Colin. Magically off screen and unknowingly, your 3 other childhood friends get kidnapped too. There is heavy emphasis that you must save your friends urgently in addition to their importance due to how much these characters are presented and shoved at you.
With that urgency in mind, you don’t even start looking for them until you wake up from being knocked out, get grabbed into the Twilight Realm, turn into a wolf and knocked out again, escape from being imprisoned, talk to Zelda very briefly, steal some equipment, talk to a Light deity, kill some lightning bugs for said deity, do a full friggin’ dungeon, wander Hyrule field, and eventually into the Twilight Realm again where you FINALLY begin searching for your friends using the scent of the broken wooden sword they dropped. In addition to this very delayed urgent search, the urgency is reinforced with the fact that the sword is broken, implying a struggle or something. Yet this urgency is a lie, and your glory won’t be had for your friends are almost completely fine within Kakariko village with the chief inside a building. Sure you could say they’re slightly threatened by monsters outside but let’s be honest, that’s Hyrule in a nutshell. To further damage the past false urgency of saving your completely fine friends, they tell you that the Bulblins just left them to die (without mentioning in what manner, maybe they just walked to the village after being dropped off?). The Bulblins won’t even let you save your friends, they don’t want your friends, after… wanting your friends.
After beating the second dungeon, the game throws a renewed sense of urgency. Your friends emphasize that they kept Ilia and that you need to really save her. Don’t worry, she’s in a bar staring at a Zora. You catch the scent of your not-girlfriend from her bag, further fueling the sense of urgency due to whatever thoughts of struggle and strife that caused the bag to be left behind. Leading you to find her, purely so that you can spy on a map and go to the next dungeon some guards have noticed, nigh fully ignoring your urgently and longingly sought for friend who might be implied to be especially close to Link. It’s not Link’s fault though, he’s a wolf, invisible, she has amnesia, and Link can hardly show expressions. Midna could of made a comment on how you’re sad or relieved but the best she does for you is sarcastically calling it an emotional reunion. Urgency shamed and glory removed once again of saving your closest friend, or not-girlfriend, or whatever, her amnesia isn’t even settled until after the 6th dungeon out of the 8. Same goes to how she’s physically fine so quickly after that arrow to that certain limb since it was only 2 dungeons ago. It’s implied a doctor took care of her and you could say “MAGIC HEARTS!” but maybe I should start believing shattered bones or shredded muscle is no problem for Hyrule. As for how she escaped with an injury of that scale, after the 6th dungeon apparently an old lady helped her. Let me point out that the armored and armed Hyrule guards are so scared of Bulblins they want nothing to do with them. Let me also point out that this old lady is found alone and trapped in a deserted town by 20 archer Bulblins and she appears to not have any combat potential. The question of why the Bulblins bothered kidnapping in the first place stays in the air, followed with why let some of them go and how Ilia got away. A lot of things don’t line up here for this almighty story. If you ask me to not read so much into it, I’m sorry, I’m reviewing the story.
There’s another shorter and “simpler” issue. Zelda dies and fades away. Minda emphasizes needing to revive her. You reach Ganondorf for the first time as well as for the final battle. Zelda is behind him dead or alive but not faded dust. You beat up Ganon a bit and some sparkles float off Midna for some reason and Zelda is awake or alive again. The only explanation you get is that Zelda’s and Midna’s heart were one for a split second… at some point, somewhere. What is this, Kingdom Hearts?
Also Midna in her true princess form gets like two lines so the hype I’ve heard of her in that state feels empty.
Story gets a gross 2/10.
The amount of items and gadgets were surprising. There was a fair amount of use of them outside their respective dungeons too, despite the on-going joke a lot of people like to make alternatively. It’s too bad there weren’t more items found outside dungeons like what was done in Link To The Past. Finding an item in the dungeon is expected, but finding one out in the field is an amazing feeling. Speaking of the field, you’ll here this from multiple reviews. Hyrule field is really empty and lacking. So much could of been put in it. Hopefully that will happen in the Zelda for Wii U. I also don’t like how the Wii version is easier than the Gamecube version in terms of defeating bosses simply to scale with how motion controls might not be easy to use. At least, that’s what I heard. I haven’t played the Gamecube version. Obligatory note that the clawshot is fun. Content gets a 7/10.
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