THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: TWILIGHT PRINCESS

a review of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
a videogame developed by nintendo
and published by nintendo
for the nintendo gamecube and the nintendo wii
text by Heather Campbell

1 star

Bottom line: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is “Grandma's way of tricking you into taking out the trash.”

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is video-game busywork.

Eiji Aonuma and Shigeru Miyamoto had a long weekend and didn’t have time to come up with a lecture, so they handed out some old worksheets at the beginning of class. Like High School teachers who subject children to Xeroxes until they think word problems are interesting, The Legend of Zelda: Twlight Princess gives you tons of shit to do until you think it’s your duty to go play games just like it.

It isn’t. It’s nobody’s responsibility to finish what amounts to video game homework. We game for fun, for adventure, for revelation. We game for the pleasure of a well-designed, properly balanced combat system. We don’t game to sit through a re-skinned version of a Barnes and Noble discount books puzzle.

There is no reason to find a twig somewhere to light a candle to open a door to get a bigger stick. There’s no bliss in shifting blocks around till they line up. And there’s no fun in bringing a barrel of water across an ugly field. Maybe I’d do these things if they were entertaining, but Twilight Princess is a cover; it only reminds you how much you liked the original song.

And the trick is momentum, teasing you into thinking that Fun Is About To Happen. Zelda: Twilight Princess is the Eyes Wide Shut of Gaming.

I hate games without choices, and there are so few choices in this newest Zelda. Every moment is muted by the clamor of a committee. The game hides in the corner, frightened that you’ll discover its insubstantial self, and deflects your investigation with fishing rods and “more arrows!” It’s so afraid of real exploration (and curiosity’s consequences), that it places you gently at a doorway after a fall into a bottomless pit. Sure, that’s Zelda for you, but at what point are we going to stop making excuses for these games, and start taking them to task? Link doesn’t have extra lives. If human being falls into lava, he shouldn’t wake up next to a door holding his head. UNLESS HE NEVER MOVED TO BEGIN WITH.

Maybe every action is a dream of Link’s?

Or are his failures the only fantasies he has?

We play Zelda because we feel a Gamer’s Obligation to do so. To be up on the current conversations, to say we’ve played it. We’re a community of abused wives, staying in a relationship because it’s our duty. What we should be shouting is after he hit me again, I stomped on his throat and threw him out the window. We shouldn’t hold our heads down and apologize for mistakes that aren’t ours. The Legend of Zelda: Twlight Princess is not your fault. Well, it might be. You should have bought a copy of Wind Waker. At least that game made some honest mistakes.

And the truth is, I guess, that none of The Tasks would be so grating if not for the fact that the entirety of Hyrule is populated by Idiots and Retards. Even the fucking cat is retarded. In the first and most maddening of quests, you have to catch a fish for a cat, and the cat refuses the first fish. This serves nothing but to make you hate the cat, and sets the tone for the rest of the world. There are stupid snowmen who can’t remember where the fuck they put a box, sub-human rock creatures who’ve lost their ability to talk, and then there’s that fucking mailman who shows up just to stop you from dashing across the countryside. God, I hate that mailman. He’s a credit card phone call during tedious sex.

Doing things for the people of Hyrule does not elevate Link to the role of hero. He’s just a country-wide caretaker; a blithe pill-giver in a nursing home. Link’s lack of frustration is passed on to the player. He doesn’t give a shit what he does, so the joke is on you.

I swear the game feels like a well-crafted prank. Or like the designers hated us just a little. Splitting hearts into 5ths carries the sting of mild spite. Carry that bottle of water across a field, and you’re rewarded with a 5th of a heart. You know, I’d rather pick up an Actual Bottle of Water and carry it across the street. At least when I’m done, I can drink my Actual Bottle of Water -OR!- be across the street, as opposed to back where I started with a 1/5th of a piece of paper or something.

Imagine doing a favor — and that’s what this whole game is, favors for retards — doing a favor for a friend, and in return, they hand you a bite of sandwich. “Do me four more favors, and I’ll give you the rest of your lunch!” You know what you’d say to that person? “We are no longer friends, dickfuck.”

The story isn’t rewarding enough to put up with block-puzzles and fetch quests. The graphics aren’t so startling that you charge through the world just to catch the next vista. And the control is so stupid, it’s like playing Mario 64 with a Dual Shock broken in half. Swing-swing-swing, crackly swoosh sound — I’m already tired of the Wii-mote. Thanks, Nintendo. With your flagship launch title, you’ve told me “It gets old after a while.”

What’s worse, this is a game that speaks a vocabulary only known to gamers. Show it to a friend who doesn’t game, and they’ll disarm you with the simplest question: Why? Ask the game why, and it falls apart like a sculpture of ash. Ask your professor why and he’ll reply, “Because that’s your assignment.” The fact is he was too busy getting drunk to come up with a new lecture. I know. I’ve dated teachers.

At this point, the language of Zelda is stunted. Twilight Princess is inbred, the offspring of games fucking other games in the same small town. If the series wants to flourish, it’s going to have to head out into the wild.

–Heather Campbell

Comments

90 Responses to THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: TWILIGHT PRINCESS

  1. When I saw the score. I was going to respond that it looked like another negative review for the sake of being negative. But I have to admit. All your points are valid. Credit Card solicitation during tedious sex. Fucking classic. That is right on.

    And I think you’re onto something with the whole “obligation” thing. Not only are gamers required to play and LIKE this game…but we are required to defend it against nay-sayers. I own this game…but haven’t had the balls to start it up…because I don’t want to be disappointed. Sounds like my fears are justified.

    Oh well, back to Guitar Hero.

  2. Keep this site bookmarked, sir, and you might be playing a REAL guitar before the end of the year.

  3. I’d rather rotate the camera around the boat than ride that horse ever again. God, I didn’t even get into the forgettable music.

  4. Guh, the music sounds just like it did on N64.

    I knew a guy who listened to the Ocarina of Time soundtrack in his car. Man. Man.

    I bet he’s somewhere in his underwear refreshing Kotaku right about now.

  5. I have to disagree about the music. I actually really really liked the music in this game and it’s a lot more memorable/well-composed/better arranged than the N64 game.

    Ocarina of Time’s soundtrack blows, though, yeah.

  6. Well, I was referring more to the sound quality, though yeah. I guess the arrangements are better, though hell. It’s still nothing I would listen to in my car.

  7. shit man I can count the number of videogame soundtracks that I’d listen to in my car on one hand that’s been in at least two carpentry accidents.

    (those being… let’s see:
    -megaman2
    -earthbound
    -secret of mana

    katamari damacy doesn’t count because it’s not a real videogame soundtrack!)

    but yeah the arrangements and composition. It’s just more solid, better thought out. Less ambient BS, more tuneful.

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  9. I can’t remember a single melody from ZTP. That means bad composition. Not that everything on earth has to have a hook, but I couldn’t hum a bar from ZTP that didn’t exist in OOT or … fuck, Zelda itself. There’s nothing to sing.

    I can hum the boat theme from WW, but I guess that’s cheating since it improvises on themes from the other games.

  10. i feel sorrow for the people who played this on the wii. i went over to a friend’s a few weeks ago and was like, “show me your zelda.” and there’s this little internet flash game icon of a fairy which is never explained, because, oh, it’s to tell you where the wiimote is pointed, but really, what the fuck.
    and then there’s the sounds the nunchuck makes.

    lol :(

    the music is, at the least, pleasant. i do enjoy the hyrule field theme, and the NOW YOU’RE POUNDING THE SHIT OUT OF THE BOSS bit. most dungeon tunes suck. they’re like tubas playing in a cave far off with wind blowing through a nearby tree.

  11. I disagree. If you don’t remember the melodies it’s more because the songs aren’t catchy, but that doesn’t mean that it’s poorly composed. FFXII’s soundtrack is expertly composed, but because sakimoto’s style is more uh… mechanical, the songs aren’t catchy. They are based around multiple intersecting patterns instead of a main melody with surrounding accompaniment. They’re still beautiful and stirring, but aren’t as memorable because no one part ever sticks out.

    Twilight Princess’s music isn’t quite as sophisticated but I think the composition is head and tails about Ocarina of Time, if only in quantity. OoT had maybe 3 or 4 melodic themes to the entire game (overworld theme, forest theme, town theme, zelda theme), half of which were recycled from previous games. The dungeons all had uninteresting/annoying “ambient” themes that were both banal and forgettable.

    In addition to that, the N64′s sound chip kind of fuckin’ sucks (nearly every brass sample sounds horribly cheesy and they’re like ALL over OoT and Starfox64). The music in Twilight Princess is not only more thoughtfully composed but uses much better samples. The melodic themes do sound pretty canned but they at least accentuate the atmosphere really well, particularly in the twilight realm.

  12. Toups, you are so wrong about the Forest Dungeon theme from OoT that I am actually kind of impressed that the earth hasn’t swallowed you up.

  13. hi
    i think the review reads like an exercise in negative thinking: there is nothing good about the game. its shit, the people that made are lazy and boring, the music is shit, i hate it. reading your reviews on playonline you seemed more of a positive person. zelda made you angry? nintendo pisses you off?

  14. I loved this review. I’m now officially hooked to this site. I wish there were more in depth, thought out reviews like the ones found on this site. I’d also like to point out that you guys don’t use a stupid POS numbering system… as if elements of a game can be statistically calculated with an whole integer.

    Heather, goddess of reviews, please promise me one thing… promise me you will not use the position marker to quantify an amount.

    By the way, I totally agree with you on the music in this game.

  15. toups you are incredibly wrong
    there are only like five remixed songs out of the 80+ in ocarina not counting the victory fanfare
    go ahead count ‘em

    to be honest, i’m surprised there was no mention of the rupee problem in this review. it is quite an enormous fuck-up!

  16. wait i think i read your sentence incorrectly
    toups if you have a beef with recycling wouldn’t tp bother you more?

  17. I don’t have a beef with recycling, but I think it’s a weakness of OoT. Every other Zelda game has several unique themes that stand out as being memorable to the game — the dark world music in LttP, for instance, or the dungeon music in Zelda II — but the best OoT can muster up is the Lost Woods music, which, in my ever-so-humble opinion, is one of Kondo’s weakest compositions. I think the reason why the music in OoT suffered is because every major theme had to be simple enough to translate into a three or four note ocarina melody.

    Twilight Princess just feels a lot more complete and focused in the music department. I don’t think the soundtrack is amazing, but coming after OoT’s it’s pretty strong.

    It’s… maybe not as strong as Wind Waker’s soundtrack though.

  18. Hey this may officially be the first negative review of TP on the Internet! Good job! You’ve successfully surmounted Zelda’s mysterious ability to destroy game journalists’ critical faculties. After everything I’ve heard about TP, I’m losing hope that Aonuma and his team will ever again make a Zelda game that’s anything but a mere Zelda™ game.

  19. I’m going to have to take issue, just a little bit, with your disparaging of the adorable yeti and his adorable wife and her adorable inability to recall just where she put that boss key as one of many errands for retards. I mean, it definitely IS that, maybe moreso than any of Link’s other delivery boy nonsense, but.. it’s cute. Really, really cute. And that counts for a hell of a lot given what we have to work with.

  20. ses1mf1 –
    I am positive towards games I like, and negative about games I don’t. True, Play’s style is such that a truly angry review won’t make the pages; we don’t have the indefinite space that the internet has. Action Button is a place where I can put forth a few other opinions, some of them negative.

    I’ll post something a little less hateful soon.

    But thanks for reading both places!

  21. Thank you so much for this site. I’m sick of places like Gamespot and IGN, with their bullshit rating systems and their tendency to praise a game just because it’s from Squaresoft/Hideo Kojima/Shigeru Miyamoto, or just plain bog down the site with
    “Top 10 FF Sequels! Top 10 FPS Weapons! Top…. wait! look! We just scored an interview with the brother of an ex-roommate of a guy who claims that he once saw someone play the Halo 3 beta!”

    I also want to thank you for showing me that I’m not the only one who WANTED to like a Zelda game, but just COULDN’T. (OoT) Everything about OoT says it *should* be great, and it is fun, but my mind snapped after hearing “Hey! Listen! Hey! Listen! Hey! Listen!……. So-and-so said we should do such-and-such!” …….. >.

  22. The first ZTP review that summarized my thoughts exactly. I’ll be bookmarking your page, sirs.

  23. I’ve got to say I agree about TLP, it was busy work- not just busy work but busy work we’ve done before. You should be mad Heather- we all should!

  24. They had so long to work on it and still fucked it up. I’ll admit I enjoyed it slightly more toward the end, but I utterly hated it for the first 20-25 hours. I mean Colin. Seriously. Some of the blame for this must be placed on the piss-poor english translators of Twilight Princess. They made every character but two sound like fuckwits.

    The ‘rush-job’ Majora’s Mask was much better. At least it had the decency to start out good before getting boring.

    Wind Waker had charm, so it’s still the best to me.

    And as for Ocarina of Time, it was like running around in a big empty room for 20 hours.

  25. Fascinating to see a negative review out of a Play editor other than Dave. I read his little bit about only having people who know the genre review games, so I assume that’s what you mean about negative reviews. . . although I do *love* his 6-range reviews. “If only it were a Bump-mapped version of Strider, X DS Game would be perfect!”

    Sorry, digression. Play is my dream job, but everytime I read one of those reviews in there, I die a little inside.

    I’d love to see more of this kind of writing in your publication, and I think it’s a real pity that both magazines (through lack of space) and websites (Through lack of balls, I’d like to think) often don’t run truly awful reviews, or only do so jokingly (Seanbaby in EGM, for instance).

    That said, this review still gave the game one star, yet the review itself was 100% complaint. If you did despise so much, why still give it a lone star? God of War 2, that some might argue is a better game insofar as its linearity isn’t punctuated by retarded snow-people and depressed balls of light, received none.

    It’s not so much saying that Zelda deserves no stars, but rather wondering what you, the reviewer, DID like about the game, beneath its ugly exterior. What sorts of things should these designers focus on. You know, besides bump-mapping it on the 360 and renaming it Bionic Commando (

  26. I deny you, Heather Campbell!

    As a relapsed gamer honestly looking to Twilight Princess for some example of how the medium could engage somebody tired of words, I had my own share of disappointments with this game. However! I sank over 100 hours of my life into this game, and never felt the obligation you speak of. Furthermore, the mechanics and puzzles presented by this game were more than satisfying in themselves.

    This game performs well it’s function. Fighting mechanics are refined and elegant, and dungeon design is deeper than any other game like it. These are Twilight Princess’ strengths, which you fail to give due credit to.

    I own the Gamecube version as opposed to the Wii, but then I guess your disappointment in the motion sensing, like your sense of obligation, stem from some unrealistic expectations for the medium. You bought into the hype, essentially; and although I can in general get behind most of the reviews on this site before this one, the impending omg 4 stars!!! critique of Gears of War that I shall get to reading momentarily seems to bely a prejudice I do not share. To critique one hyped game for failing to be Jesus’ second coming but hailing another as the culmination of this medium in all its perfection…well, whatever.

    For the record, these are my own disappointments with this game, in their entirety:

    - Lack of focus on the principle characters of the franchise, whose characters are (or could be) timeless
    - A failure on the writers and cinematographers’ parts in making the characters who did recieve a lot of screentime compelling
    - Lack of difficulty

    Basically, Twilight Princess reinforced my perception that “video games” lack any mature, thought-inducing content, and in general fail to present a compelling narrative with consistency. This condemns Twilight Princess to being, in the end, a derivative game. However, I have yet to discover any game that escapes that paradigm (bad writing) and cannot imagine that anybody actually “games” out of appreciation for that aspect of production. In fact, many of the best games that have been produced lack any coherent narrative, and the weakness seems to be generally attributable to a half-assed attitude towards story. This might be necessary in instances (I would say Twilight Princess’s case) to preserve the integrity of play (or the opposite might apply to preserve the integrity of narrative), but the majority of games it is a result of laziness/incompetence. I feel that Twilight Princess can be forgiven for weak narrative due to strong gameplay (yes, block pushing is fun, actually), but they might have been better off not trying (for narrative) at all.

  27. My GF was never into video games until we got a Wii. She has a blast with Wii Sports whenever I’m not hogging the TV with my mass-produced FPS dreck (I keed, I keed). So when I began getting more involved in development rather than play (I’m a lowly peon at Atari), she began to express a broader interest in gaming. As I began showing her different games in a variety of formats and genres, she pointed out glaring flaws in many of them that I wouldn’t have noticed if not for her observations.

    We got maybe 3-4 hours into Dreamfall before the tedium completely obliterated any excitement she had for the initial experience (“I already did fetch quests in the real world as a way to get acquainted with the game. Why do I have to do even more fetch-quests when I get to the dream world?”). Beyond Good & Evil, while beautifully presented, failed to keep her interest; the only redeeming value it held for her was photographing wildlife. She found Pikmin adorable but monotonous. Super Mario 64 and Jak & Daxter fared better, but the complexity of the controls deterred her from continuing beyond the first few hours.

    (Relevance to the above topic is approaching rapidly, not unlike a bullet train.)

    She gravitates toward character-driven narrative, so I feel she may be more comfortable with an RPG of some kind, but I have yet to find a video game story written well enough to stand in the shadow of, say, Atlas Shrugged (a novel we bonded over) without shriveling into a steaming miasma of tired stereotypes, unmotivated melodrama, and blatant misinterpretations of Campbellian mythic structure (which is useful as a foundation, but not as a cut-and-paste MS Word template, thank you very much). I would even go as far as saying that the ONLY game that had even the remotest emotional effect on me was Gitaroo-Man (don’t laugh just yet; if you played far enough to hear U-1 pull out an electric version of his earlier beach serenade while fighting Kira, 20 bucks says you got a lump in your throat – even if that’s all it was). If this kind of narrative detachment is simply the nature of games and a necessary component of interactivity (which it may very well be), then maybe there’s no hope for my GF. But I nonetheless decided to try out a classic: Zelda.

    (Yay! Here comes the point!)

    Since she was already familiar with the Wii controls, I figured (correctly) that she would have an easy time getting into the controls for Twilight Princess. All seemed well for the first brief stretch. And then…

    “Why do I have to give this kid my sword if I want to go down that trail? I’m just going to have to rescue him again! And why can’t I just walk around him?”

    “Isn’t Link supposed to be some kind of legendary hero? Why am I bringing back someone’s cat?”

    “Is this supposed to feel tedious in the beginning? Or am I missing something?”

    Slowly, I began to realize how right she was. She’s not a gamer; she doesn’t have any of the past experience that I have. I know all the cliches. I know what to expect. I know that if someone won’t let you go a certain way unless you give him something, then it’s automatically a plot point and god dammit, you better give him something right quick, because that’s the way you need to go. She looked at Twilight Princess from an uncluttered perspective, and was bored to tears. I haven’t picked the game up since then, and if Super Paper Mario treads the same path, my Wii-playing days are numbered.

    Bravo to you, Action Button.

    Dat sheez is teh bookMARKED, yo.

  28. @SolFalling:

    If you would, please, play Planescape: Torment for the PC. Hell, I’ll mail you a copy if I must, but play this game, and then tell me that no game has ever possessed true, gripping narrative and expert storytelling.

    Unless you hate reading to obtain the story. And we’re talking War and Peace length here.

  29. Fantastic review! Personally, for me, Twilight Princess failed because they put no imagination into retelling ‘Zelda’ yet again. Wind Waker, for example, worked because it didn’t screw around with what ‘Zelda’ is, it screwed around with -how- ‘Zelda’ is. Twilight Princess is just the same game you played years ago with no effort in making it a new experience for anyone. Do these people even care anymore?

  30. @Armando Penblade

    lol. You serious about the mailing? ’cause honestly, I can’t be bothered. I’m not a fan of western RPGs anyway, or anything too big and long.

    I’m somewhat interested in narrative stories (as opposed to literature), because, in general, they are simple to understand. Even if there are some underlying morals or hidden subtleties, most of the time they will fly straight over my head, and I prefer it that way. So in that sense, plot-focused narratives much more reliably sustain my interest in comparison to character driven ones, especially ones where I have to “write my own story”. In those cases, as long as there are a limited number of endings, I will have this obsessive compulsion to endlessly replay the game until I see them all, deriving no pleasure in the mean.

    I’ve heard good things about Planescape: Torment. But you’re right about me hating to read. If something takes too long to get through, then it just pisses me off.

  31. I played it on GC. It’s slightly less crap that way, and you can kind of sort of cut it a bit more slack…

    But yeah, this is about right. Most over-rated Zelda ever. 8.8 is too generous.

  32. There’s a lot to reply to here, I wish these comments were threaded!

    The one thing I do feel a bit guilty about is giving the game one star when my review was wholly negative. Tim mentioned that one star means “average” game, and that stuck with me. ZTP feels average. It feels like a lot of the other games I play. It’s not a broken game, like Saints Row seems to be — it’s just painfully plain. What’s broken about Zelda is broken in a lot of other titles, and my review wasn’t meant to be a shrieking condemnation of All Video Games.

    I guess I could give it a star for the light-gun style bow-and-arrow control. I did like that.

  33. When you keep writing the review, unprovoked, in the comments, that’s not a review. It’s a rant.

    Zelda is about puzzle solving in dungeons. If the series is chocolate chip cookie dough ice-cream, puzzle solving in dungeons is the cookie dough. From the Arbiter’s Grounds to the City in the Sky, Twilight Princess has the best puzzle-solving-in-dungeons of any Zelda game.

    After that, it has the most uninspired final dungeon and the most annoying multi-stage final boss and most disappointing credit sequence of any Zelda game. My guess is that that pissed you off — it pissed me off too — and you wrote your rant while still angry.

    If so, that’s really too bad. Now that your opinion is set in stone on the Intertubes, it can’t soften over time as anger-fueled opinions often do.

  34. Sorry, Jim. I was trying to answer a question. The question was, “Why give it one star at all?” The nice thing about comments is that you get to interact with people; I’m not tempering my review in any way, just throwing a few lines into the discussion.

    Would you rather I stepped out of the feedback? I respect authors who defend their work, and discuss points with readers.

    I haven’t played Zelda actively for a month or so, and this review is the result of a rising ire. I don’t expect my opinions to soften; rather, I expect to be far angrier at the title a year from now.

  35. Just chiming in that you’re factually wrong about the cat. He doesn’t “reject the first fish” or anything like that – you catch one fish, give it to him, and the quest completes. If something else happened, you did it wrong. I’ll admit that quest had many problems, but that wasn’t one of them.

    However, surely you’re right when you say “There’s no bliss in shifting blocks around till they line up.” I’ve held the belief for a long time that everyone who does Tetris or Rubix Cubes and thinks that they’re having fun are, in fact, mistaken. Surely they’re under some mass delusion, and while they believe puzzles are enjoyable, they’re WRONG! Of course, it all makes sense, now.

  36. The cat rejected my first fish as well and considering that at least one of the GameFAQs walkthroughs mentions that you’ll have to catch two fish, I’d say it was a common enough occurance that whether it’s a bug or a poorly-designed quest, to say that it’s ‘factually wrong’ is uh, wrong.

  37. Heather, I don’t personally mind if you stay around and argue your point. But I was talking about your comparison, in the fourth comment, of the horse and the boat traveling in Wind Waker. It didn’t look to be a response to something anyone posted, and on review, it still doesn’t. Thus my presumption that you decided after posting the review that you had more to say, so must not have given the review much time to percolate. I stand corrected.

    Second for the threaded comments, by the way.

  38. Aha! Yes, this is true. It was an additional point, but in the vein of what the review itself said … I liken commenting to adding into a discussion, and it was in my head after reading a thread at Selectbutton.

    In terms of percolation, this review is the single most revised piece of Games Journalism(?) that I’ve ever drafted. I’m trying not to say this defensively, even though I know it will come off this way.

    There are a huge number of complaints I could throw at the game that didn’t make the cut for the review; this doesn’t mean that they’re not valid, or that I didn’t really think about them before I submitted the piece. I can’t help if the ideas slip out as I post here. I mean, I guess I could Help It, but what would be the point?

  39. Great review- I’d be inclined mainly to pick on the problem the Zelda series has always had for me, which is that it’s made no real strides forward since OoT (which I was never that impressed with either, for some reason I can’t quite fathom).
    Okami, on the other hands, feels like Zelda done right, with all the grace, artistry and elegance that the series lacks.

  40. The only use for the roll was to get you through falling doors at the last second and break open crates. Things that could easily have been changed. I’m playing through OoT now, just finished the shadow temple. I enjoy each of your reviews’ honesty and straight forwardness, keep it up.

  41. “Okami, on the other hands, feels like Zelda done right, with all the grace, artistry and elegance that the series lacks.”

    but okami’s visuals are really viewtiful joe’s graphics with some bleeding in the lines and screen-grain. the aesthetic is, in the end, kind of flimsy, and still outdone by wind waker. and, as far as i could tell, okami actually did a worse job than tp with respecting players’ brains.
    the golden fury attack sullies any integrity the game might have had, anyway.

  42. This review contains some of the best video game analysis I have ever read, ever.

  43. On rewarding exploration: there is a place, in a forest near the starting town (the one that becomes filled with poison gas at some point in the plot) where there is a ramp leading to a ledge which overlooks two tall stumps — a jumping path to a hollow tree area.

    One is meant to ignore this spot and later use Midna’s assist. Being a compulsive and exploratory gamer to some extent (and despite being almost certain the game was going to disappoint me), I managed, over the course of forty-five minutes, to find a combination of jumping attacks and real jumps that would bear Link into this otherwise unreachable location. Which was, of course, empty. I have never left an area in Twilight Princess feeling like I have missed anything, or with any urge to return.

    Okami did much better in this department by not being afraid to put things where you would miss them (and by having objects that, by lack of certain upgrades, you are bound to miss). In this way, re-treading areas isn’t boring.

    In conclusion (and do comments need conclusions?) difficult, optional, goals seem to be one of the more gratifying elements a game can include. I like completing things perfectly, but feeling like I would have done it even without motivation undermines the experience.

  44. This review makes a very good point about Twilight Princess – it’s basically Ocarina of Time… again. As a game Twilight Princess probably accomplishes far less for the series than Wind Waker did, but that still didn’t stop me from loving it.

    Now this may depend on how much you’ve actually payed attention to the game’s development (as well as that of Wind Waker), but when WW’s style was first shown to everyone, Nintendo’s main reasoning behind it was because they didn’t want a game that was a retread of Ocarina of Time. The next time around after that they basically did what the fans wanted and this was the result, the fear of which was the direct cause of Wind Waker’s creation. But that still doesn’t make Twilight Princess a bad or even average game in my book.

    Since last E3, Nintendo had basically been touting Twilight Princess as one last trek through the usual Zelda territory before they plan go and do something completely new and different with the series on Wii. Aonuma even specifically stated that one of the game’s main objectives was to simply top Ocarina, and that’s what TP is – Ocarina on steroids.

    In that respect, most of my opinions on Twilight Princess are still glowing despite the fact that I agree with most of this review on some level because when it came right down to it, this game really did have some of the best-paced and most solidly put-together gameplay I’d experienced in quite a while, and that’s what made it the most fun I’d had all that year.

    In terms of style, presentation, and sheer imaginativeness, games like Wind Waker, Okami, and even Shadow of the Colossus are clearly superior to Twilight Princess, but in my opinion the sheer inner mechanics that make up Twilight Princess beat out nearly the rest of the adventure genre on consoles.

    Someone else said it better: Zelda Twilight Princess is a better game, Shadow of the Colossus is a better experience.

    Whichever one is more valuable to you, hard mechanics or the less tangible feel, will probably be the breaking point in your overall opinion of Twilight Princess.

  45. Okami’s graphics aren’t only about the texture filters and graphical style, they’re about the artistry and interest with which the actual areas were designed. In that sense, they’re a long, long way ahead of Wind Waker’s generic designs.

  46. For what it’s worth, I actually enjoyed TP a good deal. I think Heather’s criticisms are amazingly spot on, of course. But for me, at least, Twilight Princess was Ocarina of Time done right, at least in the sense that it didn’t feel so fucking transparently hollow like OoT did. And that the game actually gives you interesting things to do between the dungeons. And that some of the dungeons actually don’t suck! Whereas all OoT really had going for it was… the Water Temple. Which was both brilliant and horrible.

    I’d like to see a complete re imagining of Zelda from the ground up for the next series. Though I wouldn’t mind some more Wind Waker style cel-shading.

  47. tchow wrote: On rewarding exploration: there is a place, in a forest near the starting town (the one that becomes filled with poison gas at some point in the plot) where there is a ramp leading to a ledge which overlooks two tall stumps — a jumping path to a hollow tree area.

    YES. I did the same thing! I was so furious when I got into the hollow that I thought I would throw my controller for the first time since Battletoads!

  48. “Whereas all OoT really had going for it was… the Water Temple.”

    toups, you are CRAZY.
    i’m not sure, but majora’s mask might have the most clever and challenging dungeon layouts of any 3D zelda.

    i think twilight princess mostly works (that’s the key-word – “works”) in its immediate concerns – namely, the dungeons’ layouts – but stutters everywhere else. exploring the cave near lake hylia was nice, anyway.

  49. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Majora’s Mask (despite being deeply flawed in other ways) is brilliant both in its scenarios and the dungeon designs.

    I wish more Zelda games were like Majora’s Mask!

  50. I never played Majora’s Mask, but I always wanted to (will pick up on VC)
    I will agree that TP was lacking in innovation. The tacked on Wii controls felt nice at some points. My main problem is that the game held your hand too much. I would like for the game to give me at least a little time to figure out how to kill a boss and not just tell me exactly what to do the second I see it.
    It’s like an old SNES games:
    “I bet you can’t hit me with those watermelons…”
    Gee, I guess I should take his word for it and not throw watermelons at him…
    I enjoyed Wind Waker except for the tedious and constant boating around the world…

  51. I think your enjoyment of Zelda will have something to do with how you view games. Like movies, some people like to put themselves into the characters and ‘be’ the character. Others like to watch with a certain amount of detachment and just care for the characters on screen. (Those who like to be may like superhero movies, while those that like to care may prefer a drama).

    Video games, since you control the character, tend to lend themselves to the ‘be the character’ model, (which is why Resident Evil the game can create more tension than a movie version does). But I still play RPGs wanting a narrative and characters I can care about. This is why I didn’t like Twilight Princess. The characters were unrealistic, and their motivation not really believable. Everyone in the first 10 hours of TP seemed to be telling Link what to do. I really felt like I was being pushed through a funnel and not exploring a new world.

    However, I like Wind Waker. And I liked it because I could care for that Link. I connected with him when he ran toward the cliff to save his sister without any thought of his own safety. I felt for him leaving his island. I felt for him going on a quest he didn’t really want to undertake. And once I had connected with him I was hooked and willing to forgive so much more in the game.

    None of this was in Twilight Princess. Link hung out with stupid people, and did things for them for no good reason. They all told him where to go and what to do and nothing seemed driven by events following each other, instead the plot was driven by requests that were clearly designed to get me used to the controls. My interest briefly picked up when he first was transformed but then nothing else happened. I was forced to learn a new set of skills and still no connection with the character was made.

    I also like Majora’s Mask. This is mostly due to the opening sequence. Losing his horse, turned into a Deku Scrub, the Moon coming to crush the world, such a sense of dread and helplessness. I just asked me to care for Link because no one else did. It got boring later on with all the questing but it really drew me in at first. And the game had moments that allowed for deeper thought. Like finding that girl who won’t leave her house, waiting for her love to show up before the moon kills everyone. But you know that in this timeline it’s not going to happen, (if any of this is vague it’s because I played it years ago).

    I feel Ocarina of Time is even worse than Twilight Princess in this respect. But it is dearly loved by some people.

    Anyway my point is – perhaps those people who like to ‘be’ Link, those who instantly put themselves into a game character, will probably like this. And those who want a story with characters they can care for will most likely hate it. Really I guess I’m just trying to understand those who may have liked this game. Personally I found it very average and would agree with a one star review. It had its moments though. Just very few and far between.

  52. “I just asked me to care for Link because no one else did.”

    Should read “It (the game) just asked me…”

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  54. It’s a real pain in the ass that I have to register just to tell you how stupid you and your website are. *Here’s where you start to ignore the rest, right?*

    If you find Twilight Princess tedious, then I posit that you simply hate fun and/or are a lazy, ignorant fuck. “Find a stick to light on fire to open a door to find a bigger stick.” It’s called a puzzle, tard-bait. And don’t tell me that people don’t like solving puzzles, because that wouldn’t really explain the popularity of Sudoku. “There’s no bliss in shifting blocks around until they line up.” Guess you’ve never played TETRIS. From Russia with FUN, motherfucker.

    Then there’s that whole big bitch fest about carrying water across a field. Now for starters, that was an optional side quest so if you didn’t want to do it you didn’t have to. Secondly, it essentially amounts to a racing/obstacle course mini-game. Yeah I know people hate games where you have to run as fast as you can while avoiding enemies and obstacles. God, why won’t Sonic die already?

    Bloo-a-blooooo! I can’t remember the music! Big fucking deal. I can remember the music. Maybe this is more of a problem with YOU than the game.

    Wahhh, side quests upgrade my arrow carrying capacity! Now you just sound like a whiney little bitch. What did you want? A fucking Uzi? Did you want the console to spit cash out at you? It’s ZELDA you goddamn twat, ARROWS ARE GOOD in Zelda. Now you are just making shit up to complain about.

    Oh booooo hoooo it isn’t realistic! Link should DIE AND STAY DEAD FOREVER when he falls in lava! Do you know why you wake up at the doorway? Because if every time you missed a tricky jump, or an enemy knocked your ass into a chasm, you got a GAME OVER screen and had to go through all the opening screens and reload your game just to start at your last saved location…. THAT WOULD BE ANNOYING AS FUCK ALL AND NINTENDO DID YOU A FAVOR by having Link regain consciousness at the last doorway you came through. Christ you are a whiny stupid shit. Who let you play videogames, huh?

    IN CLOSING. This whole website is built on the idea that if you give critically acclaimed games bad review scores, you will generate a lot of hits. How fucking pathetic. Also this website is the ugliest piece of fuck I’ve ever seen. Can’t you hire a graphics designer, you bunch of controversy spewing sphincters?

    I give your website, and this review, a NEGATIVE 1 out of a GOOGOLPLEX. ZOMG!

  55. All the comparisons of Zelda’s block puzzles to Tetris rampaging across internet forums are terrible. In Tetris, not is only is block moving the absolute only thing you can do, but there are always multiple, freeform ways of solving said puzzle by forming lines. In Tetris all you can do is move left to right and spin the block.

    Compare this to a Zelda block puzzle, in which you have to navigate a 3d avatar around a room, which requires a number of buttons for both movement and camera control, and in which you are actually among the blocks, which makes it difficult to see the entire field you have to work with. You also have to line Link up with the blocks, and then push them, resulting in a short cutscene of the block sliding across the room. Since you will likely not get it right on your first try, you have to watch this cutscene over and over again. Also, each block puzzle has only one solution, which must be done in an exact order.

    So comparing the terrible TP block pushing puzzles to Teris makes no sense at all, really. Teris is only block pushing and has freeform solutions, where as Zelda block pushing is a system within an already complex system which is tedious, repetative and has only one solution. The combination of short cutscenes and rigid solutions make Zelda block puzzles terrible.

    Videogames should really stop having block puzzles altogether, I think.

    (I like this site a lot guys, keep it up!)

  56. Here’s the deal with the cat & the fish. You go and catch a fish, right? Then, the game tells you to press a button to continue (or throw the fish back, or something, I forget). The point is that it tells you to press a certain button (I think it was ‘a’). If you do what the game tells you to do, then you’ll throw the fish back and the cat won’t take it. You have to press a different button, that it gives you no indication you should press (b), and this will make the cat take the fish.

    It took me two tries on my original play through, as well, which kinda made it seem like the cat ‘rejected’ my first fish. However, on when I was letting friends try out the game, I guided them through that first quest since it’s really quite poorly designed, and when I told them what button they should *actually* press, the cat took the first fish they caught.

    In other words, the cat doesn’t ‘reject’ fish, but it *is* still the game’s fault that giving the cat a fish is such a pain. That quest kinda sucked. The ones after were much better.

  57. I think I have a crush on AbsoluteZero.

    About arrows: The journey should be the reward. The quests in this game are not fun, therefore the designers pacify you with More Arrows. It’s deflection.

    Both the end and the means are dreary.

    Here’s the thing: A great challenge is rewarding in itself. There’s nothing challenging in Zelda. How often did you die? How often did you even struggle to finish a puzzle? When one falls in Lava, is it because of a personal mistake, or the result of terrible control/lack of camera direction?

    Think about tackling a fantastic opponent in a fighting game, or a death-match in a FPS; these bouts are the reward, without the trophy of More Arrows.

    You could argue that fighting another human being is different from taking on a puzzle in Zelda, but the designer of a Zelda puzzle is still a person, challenging you to an event. The difference is temporal; the challenge simply isn’t live.

    The problem is, you’d have to be five years old to be challenged by anything in ZTP. Whether it be the combat or the ice-puzzles, or the tertiary dungeons, Zelda talks down to you, and the evidence is Rupee Overload, or Huge Numbers of Arrows. It’s an apology. It’s a pacifier.

    Another way to put it: What do you get for taking down a Colossus? What do you need to get after a defeating a well-designed dungeon (and that’s what they are — dungeons inverted)? The answer is nothing; SotC shows us that the design itself can be the prize.

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  59. “you’d have to be five years old to be challenged by anything in ZTP”

    and the same could be true of the entire series – majora’s mask is an exception in select parts (the first zelda might be one, too, simply because of the vagueness of everything, rather than intelligent opposition [anyone can hide secrets behind normalities!]). zelda’s designs have always been principally focused on you constantly moving blocks, latching onto shit, and remembering where to return after an event.

  60. Only since the third game. Which is… where I began to lose interest in the series.

  61. I wish there was a way to comment on Red Halo’s site. I want to clarify that One Star (Out of Four) means that the scale is four stars.

  62. “Guess you’ve never played TETRIS. From Russia with FUN, motherfucker.”

    This needs to be on a banner or something somewhere.

  63. heather, commenting is as easy as typing “comment”. As for the stars thing…i r dumb. When I took note of the stars it was on the main page.

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  65. Hey, this guy thinks this site is a spiritual successor to OMM, too.

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  67. I *loved* Twilight Princess. Heather, you make some well thought out criticisms about the game, and I too want to see video games progress in terms of meaningful narrative and so forth, but it’s important not to miss what’s great about TP.
    It had incredible art direction, and ultimately, it’s all about the dungeons. A few silly box pushing puzzles aside, this Zelda had more and great dungeons than any of its predecessors. To complain about its extraneous trappings is akin to griping about the plot in a porn flick.
    Also, for every who took Ocarina of Time to task, you need to view that game in the proper context. Along with Super Mario 64, OoT was THE game that brought us into the 3-D era, with amazing groundwork laid for gameplay that informs every third person 3-D action adventure game released today. I could make a massive list of bullet points of everything it contributed, but the introduction of the z-targeting mechanic alone should warrant OoT being inducted to any videogame Hall of Fame.
    Anyhow, a buddy and I do an online comic and Heather Campbell inspired this one:

    http://direman.com/archive_page.php?comicID=242

    There’s a rebuttal to your review there Heather, and I hope you find the comic strip amusing as opposed to offensive :)

  68. Yeah I’m 30 hours deep into this, just deep-sixed temple number 3 and this review REALLY seems like it’s fixated on a fairly minor aspect or two of the game. Also, someone who rates Final Fantasy games calling Zelda a labour simulator isn’t really something that rings true for me: you actually get to do stuff in TP. I feel like you really decided the glass was half empty before you even sat down to give this one a chance.

    Why didn’t you discuss the good parts, like the jousting on the bridge or the fields or the neat themed dungeons? The perfectly judged art and sound direction?

    The mailman is absolutely great. What the hell. Seriously.

  69. I find it hilarious that people have actually managed to delude themselves into thinking Twilight Princess is good. Twilight Princess is, much like the rest of the Zelda series (and most other Nintendo franchises), overrated as all fuck, and as boring as it is overrated. I was appalled when I found sites giving the game scores of 8s and 9s, when I felt the game was a 5, at best. It just goes to show how a name is good enough to convince people that a game is good. There’s no accounting for taste, though.

    Another thing I find hilarious is the backlash. I don’t know why they even bother to write out these long, negative responses, because they all ultimately have the same meaning, which is: “Fuck you, fuck your opinion, and fuck this site.”

  70. After not quite being sure what to think of the game after a year of reading other people’s opinions on it I decided to fire it up again and see what I made of it after the launch hype and after playing a GOOD Wii adventure game (Metroid).

    This review isn’t highlighting anything that’s bad in this Zelda, it’s present in all of them. All the other Zeldas have this “errands for retards” crap. But the difference is you’re happy to do it to chill out a bit after emerging from a dark hole in the ground drenched in sweat, monster blood and new, hard-earned shiny whatever. It’s like offering to make breakfast after great sex with the love of your life. God knows I love Majora’s Mask, because the actual questing was so damn good that yeah, I actually did want to help the poor couple get married minutes before the damn apocalypse, even if I did get a poxy mask with only a single use for my trouble.

    But Twilight Princess had fucking awful dungeons. 90% of the time they’d give you a key before you’d even see a locked door. PROBLEM COMES BEFORE SOLUTION, DUMBASS. They screwed the exploration up too. The first time you get out of the woods and can go wherever you want all the paths to Hyrule field are blocked. Through the rest of the game you’re lead by hand through the entire map at a painfully slow pace. The only thing they managed to get right was the sword combat, which was way better than the pissweak system in Wind Waker.

    I disagree with this review because it’s missing the point. Twilight Princess is what you get when you remove the great gameplay of Zelda, exploration and puzzle solving, and leave the stuff that’s meant to connect it up.

  71. I love the fact that a year after release, people are still debating the merits/shortcomings of Twilight Princess. I recently fired it up again, and it’s still fun. Heather’s right about certain issues. Its design is informed by archaic principles, and this does interfere with the gameplay from time to time, but it’s clear that Twilight Princess was meant to be a massive celebration of the franchise, FOR fans of the franchise. Just avoid getting hung up on the annoying details, and let yourself enjoy the overall distilled culmination of Zelda-ness.

    From what I understand, the next Zelda will be a complete redesign. I’m not entirely sure Nintendo even has the capability of grasping modern game design, but one can always hope.

    I’ve redesigned my website, and the comic/blog regarding Heather’s review has been moved here:

    http://www.direman.com/direman/comic.php?comicID=242

  72. Yay for this review.

    Gah the comments here are so silly. “The Dungeons are great!” “The combat is refined!”. Fuck all that, it doesn’t matter. Miyamoto should be ashamed of what has happened to his creation! It shares none of the spirit in which the original was created, only the minutia. Link, bombs, Ganon, bows, dungeons, bottles, fairies – they should be (and were probably always meant to be) placeholders. I know I’m not saying anything original, I just think TP is an obvious casualty of this problem.

    This review addresses fundamental problems at the heart of Zelda, not details, not nitpicking. Adventure is not running errands, exploration is not collecting trinkets. I am extremely glad Zelda is going to take a new direction. Hyrule field was destined to be a billion miles across and full to the fucking brim with heart pieces and quivers. In fact, Nintendo need to ditch Link and hookshots and dungeons and Hyrule. Make holes, not drills.

    A billion points to Nintendo if they make the next Zelda completely from the ground up as suggested by toups.

  73. How has nobody mentioned that awful wolf? I almost sold the game back to the store a couple hours after buying it because of this.

    After spending hours performing menial tasks as an excuse to force the player to take the scenic route in learning the controls, you have to do it all over again as a fucking wolf in the extremely boring and irritating twilight land! And that dumb ass doll that’s always giggling and telling you what to do! How about just letting the user explore?

    Remember the first Zelda? You were just dropped into the land with no real explanation. And it was fun! This crappy game leads you inch by inch through the game. It’s like following instructions on cooking a meal you know you won’t like.

    I told my wife – at any point, I understand if you put the controller down and just accept that this game is a loss.

    We choke through the wolf parts, hating our lives while doing so. The Link parts are ok, and do provide some amusement for a while. Then you beat a dungeon and that asshole doll comes out and tells you you’re about to go to wolf mode. Then the game turns off. Then months go by without attention because you know you left off at a wolf part and you’ll need to suffer through a couple hours of extreme aggravation and absolutely no fun in order to have only mild amusement as a reward.

    I can’t believe I fell for it. I wish more people would have given a review like this. I would have known to live my whole life and never lay eyes on this joke of a game. Now I can’t unsee it. I may never trust a Zelda game again.

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  78. This comment is a little rambly and not super-well written. But I’m tired, and I probably won’t get a chance to modify. So, I’m posting it.

    I roughly agree with the TWP-is-assigning-you-homework point that was made in this article. However, I can think of three reasons why this didn’t inhibit my enjoyment of the game too much at a personal level. And I’m posting them merely in case anybody finds them remotely interesting — not to argue any point against this article. These are just merely reflections.

    Here they are:

    1) One of my favorite parts of the game was the feeling that Midna was messing with my mind. Not that I like my mind being messed with. No, it’s just that when Midna is constantly telling me how I have to continue on in an “It sucks to be you,” type of tone, it made me feel like I was dealing with a character far more real than most characters I’ve encountered in games. She was messing with me. Most video game characters don’t mess with you.

    2) Also, I was the “chosen hero,” and this caused me to reflect personally on several philosophical questions surrounding free-will.

    I think #’s 1 and 2 both helped to keep me from getting too hung up on the homework-assigning part of the game — after all, that part of the game isn’t too discordant with the stuff Midna was pulling on me and the position the game thrust me into. Since I was cool with my position in the game world and with Midna’s mind-games, I didn’t even really get to a point where I could complain about the homework. I was already well into my assignments before they could have even begun to trouble me.

    3) TWP’s obtuseness in its dungeon design exacerbates the potential for feeling like you are assigned homework in a way that a game with more elegance and compactness wouldn’t. However, I played the GCN version first — and this changes one’s perspective on the obtuseness. But I have to digress for a second to first cover something Aonuma said and then cover some feelings you get controlling the cube version — and I need to cover those points before I can explain how the cube version impacts one’s feelings regarding the obtuseness of the adventure.

    Basically, Aonuma is on record saying that TWP’s world size and location size were unintentionally made large. According to him, the big-ness of the word was a mere product of Epona-being-so-huge and Epona and Link were made before the rest of the game (and one can see how with everything else bigger, the design team would feel a need to up the spaciousness of the dungeons for purposes of keeping the dungeons in their traditional role as the-crucial-points in the game’s narrative). And of course, Aonuma wanted to keep Epona large, because they started making TWP with the goal of making horse-combat awesome.

    Funny thing is, when you play the cube version, the horse combat is awesome. There’s no waggling of the wii remote. Instead, you press the b button if you’re not using a. And your hands are wrapped around one single controller (rather than mote and nunchuck) as you race along on horseback. This is a far better way to enjoy the experience. And although TWP is far from an action game, the cube version maintains a slightly more combat-focused attitude when Link steps off the horse. Again, you get to use the b button rather than waggles.

    But that’s not all: Link in the GCN version feels heavier, and his b button sword swings are heavier too. But they are quicker at the same time.

    As such, whether you’re racing around as a wolf, galloping around as Epona, or hacking away at a baddie on foot, the whole experience feels slightly quicker and slightly more intense — and the greater speed and intensity (and better friction) throughout (from wolf to horse to combat-in-the-dungeon) cause the experience to feel more unified.

    Going back to what I said at the start of this point (point number 3): TWP is too obtuse. With a game that is too obtuse, the best thing is to keep the experience as unified and cohesive as possible. The Wii-remote-waggle system ruins the cohesiveness (not only by having you use two controllers like all wii games but also) by slowing up combat and making it less weighty and friction-y — all at the same time. A potentially-too-slow-game is slowed down even more over the course of 40 hours when every enemy encounter is slightly slowed (and hampered overall) by worse controls. But when everything is a little sped up and a little more weighty (even if only a little) this adds up over the course of a long play-through. As such, the GCN version just ends up feeling quicker and more cohesive than the Wii version.

    And this has a broader impact. If our overall impression of a game is good, it’s easier to overlook the lows and focus on the highs — even when we’re trying not to. Since my overall impression of the game was one of a slightly more streamlined Zelda experience, interesting streamlining elements such as the designers’ decision to make the players explore-without-knowing-it during the wolf-collect-a-thon sections — experiences like those stood out more to me. Obtuse dungeouns (and therefore, feelings of being assigned homework) stood out less do to my differing overall impression (also worthy of note is the fact that just laying into a baddie with “b” and then just randomly hopping around and using “a” attacks after the initial attacking with b — this all feels good and flexible — and to have fun attacking an enemy (when you actually find one) in a slightly-too-big dungeon — well, this also takes your mind off of the obtuseness —- but this whole more-fluid combat experience is denied to the player in the wii version).

    So yeah, Midna’s determination to mess with me combined with a more streamlined GCN experience probably helped me feel less like “omg I have homework” and more like “this is epic dude!!!” while I was playing. The GCN version isn’t a totally different game — but overall, I think some little things in it can help to trigger different emotional reactions for certain players — especially if said players like the story/scenario.

    But this review still seems pretty accurate to me.

  79. In addition to what I just wrote:

    Recently, I stumbled across an Iwata asks interview with Yuji Horii and one of his understudies about Dragon Quest IX. Interestingly enough, the understudy dude was explaining how Horri constantly focused on little things that wouldn’t feel right — like when timing between menus was off — and that the understudy learned so much from this. And then Iwata and Horri both agreed right then and there that that approach was common element between Horri’s approach to making DQ games and Nintendo’s approach to making games — and that this even accounted for their games’ success. I swear that they were making the exact point that Tim Rogers has been making on this site (and elsewhere) about friction in gamesn (and anybody who’s interested in seeing the video just has to go to the DQIX website and click on video # 5 of the Iwata Asks interview (which was titled something like “on the sameness of Dragon Quest and Mario”)).

    What does this have to do with my previous comment? Well, if the time between various menus can massively impact the enjoyment of an rpg according to the creator of Dragon Quest (like has been said here on this site), then I’m pretty sure that the timing between player action and sword swing can vastly impact player-enjoyment of TWP over the course of 40 hours.

    And so, I guess what I’m saying is not that TWP doesn’t have the problems that this reviewer says it has. No, I’m just saying that some (but certainly not all) of those problems are masked-over in the GCN version, simply because it’s a better overall game.

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