Copy supplied by publisher.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is the latest Zelda classic to be given the HD treatment, this time for Wii U. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this release is the fact Twilight Princess is turning 10 this year… that certainly went by fast.
The game itself hasn’t changed much from the original Wii/GameCube version, yet there are enough bells and whistles to make it worth your time. As the title suggests this is the exact same game, just in HD. All up the game has been upgraded from the original 480p to a full 1080p, which for those who don’t know specs, is a huge improvement. Off the bat Twilight Princess HD looks a lot crisper than the original and the world of Hyrule looks clean and far less blurry. Colours pop more than they did back in 2006 and most of the textures look far superior.
That being said this re-release doesn’t have the same wow factor to it as The Wind Waker HD did, but that could just be me being bias towards my favourite Zelda game in all of its cell shaded glory.
A negative for the new HD format is occasional framerate drops when attacking fast. These were rare, but quite surprising in a re-release of a game that ran well on the GameCube. Another slightly disappointing aspect is that some things have been left seemingly untouched, such as the painfully obvious 2D ropes that wouldn’t be out of place on a Nintendo 64.
Minor criticisms aside, Twilight Princess HD is still Twilight Princess. It offers the same bleak story that will delight fans of the original and those new to the series equally. The pacing does seem a bit slow on this replay, but some of the moments the plot build up to are amongst the best and darkest the Zelda series has to offer. For example playing as Wolf Link isn’t improved upon, but jousting King Bulblin whilst riding Epona is still as awesome as ever.
As always the soundtrack for Twilight Princess is beyond exceptional, it provides some of the series’ most memorable numbers and is sure to give anyone who has grown up with the games a shot of nostalgia right into the veins.
Perhaps one of the best changes to the game beyond the graphics is the ability to use the Wii U GamePad. I’m a big fan of playing Zelda games with this controller, having the mini map and your inventory on the GamePad screen frees up the rest of the game and provides a cleaner approach to playing. Of course if you’re not a fan of the GamePad you can always use a controller, but I would highly recommend trying the pad out for this one.
Several new features have been introduced to keep fans of the series on their toes. Such as amiibo integration, which depending on the amiibo adds an effect to the game. These include:
- Wolf Link: opens the new Cave of Shadows bonus challenge area
- Link & Toon Link: refill arrows
- Zelda & Sheik: refill the heart gauge
- Ganondorf: for the sadistic players, Ganondorf causes enemy attacks to deal double damage
Other new features include a Hero Mode and the previously mentioned Cave of Shadows. During Hero Mode enemies deal double damage and don’t drop hearts, oh, and if you really feel like dying, adding Ganondorf into this mix makes enemies dish out quadruple damage. The Cave of Shadows is a new challenge dungeon consisting of increasingly difficult enemies to fight. Prior to entering this gauntlet the Wolf Link amiibo can be used to store hearts found in the game for use in the cave. After beating this mode you can save a record of your remaining hearts to Wolf Link and try to best your score next time round.
Aside from the new features some parts of the game have been improved upon, such as the addition of a Ghost Lantern, which aids you in the Poe soul quest and a reduced number of Tears of Light that need collecting. Overall these tweaks make the game a little less frustrating to play, because let’s face it, the Tears of Light were anger inducing to collect.
Overall Twilight Princess HD is a welcome addition to the remastered Zelda game series. It might not be my favourite when standing shoulder to shoulder with The Wind Waker and Ocarina of Time, but it’s still a great Hyrule adventure that looks beautiful on the Wii U. This is one that will happily sit in the collection of any longtime fan and a must for those who have yet to play it. Not to mention the really nice looking retail pack that comes with the Wolf Link amiibo and game soundtrack.
Pros: Same great game. Great new visuals and new modes. Works well with the Wii U GamePad. Good amiibo interaction. Beautiful soundtrack.
Cons: Some framerate drops. Same frustrations in pacing as original.