The eighth generation of Nintendo consoles was a bit of a second youth for the home chapters of The Legend of Zelda: since Ocarina of Time 3D, Link has re-proposed itself to old and new players in practically every one of its significant adventures. From the cel-shaded sea of The Wind Waker HD, to the dark and distorted world of Majora's Mask 3D, it's now the turn to return (on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the chapter and the thirtieth of the series) in the two-faced Hyrule of Twilight Princess.
While 3DS had its main The Legend of Zelda with A Link Between Worlds, and even a spin-off last year with Tri Force Heroes, Wii U is sadly still running out of original titles dedicated to the Hero of Time (if we exclude Hyrule Warriors) but on March 4th it will be available The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess HD, improved and corrected version of the original released in 2006 on Nintendo Game Cube (and Wii).
The Twilight Princess Reprise
As promised in the preview of last week, even if with ten years on his shoulders, it is right and proper to spend a couple of lines on the plot of Twilight Princess HD, to refresh the memory of those who played it at the time, or to give a short appetizer to gamers who will be preparing to face it for the first time. The events start from the peaceful Tauro village, where Link helps the inhabitants to tame overgrown sheep, recover wicker cradles from mischievous monkeys and finally nursing the other children of the village. Just while it is in the company of the latter that the situation (as in any self-respecting Zelda) precipitates and our protagonist is transformed into a wolf (we will find out later why) and imprisoned in the dungeons of an "unknown" place where he will meet the travel companion of this chapter: Midna.
During the adventure (which lasts about forty hours, plus the extra time to devote to the numerous side missions) the two will have to travel throughout Hyrule, facing different dungeons full of puzzles and the evil henchmen of the fearsome Zant, the one who he is self-proclaimed King of Twilight. Now as ten years ago, the Twilight Princess HD plot flows smoothly and linearly, not missing a few twists (more or less obvious) and above all offering one of the most fun and atypical final boss fights for the series.
Furthermore, as per the tradition of the series, great care has been given to the secondary characters, among which Midna (among the best characterized Link companions ever) and the little Birbo, the cynical child who will take over the economic system stand out. by Hyrule. An extreme care that also pervades the visual aspect of the polygonal models, making each character easily recognizable while not giving him a prominent role within the plot.
A Hyliano werewolf in Hyrule
We already said it in the preview phase, Twilight Princess HD is based on the Game Cube version of the title, so those who faced it on Wii will find a mirrored game (as it was originally with the left-handed Link) and with mapped controls. on the Wii U GamePad. The Wiimote is therefore not supported in any game mode, while the first-person aiming system (Bow, Harpoon and so on) uses the motion sensors of the GamePad in a similar way to remakes for 3DS, allowing a more precise aim that can also be calibrated using the left analog stick. The absence of the Wii Mote is felt only during the fishing mini-game, resulting instead in an improvement of comfort and approach in all the other phases of the game. The riding and swimming phases also benefit from the new mapping, although there are some precision imperfections compared to the Wii version due to the mobile camera and not fixed behind Link. To guarantee an additional bonus compared to the original version, the already appreciated inventory in real time, although in a different form than what we saw two years ago in The Wind Waker HD: if in the cel-shaded adventure we could directly change the instrument in Link's hands, in Twilight Princess HD, you will have to press the key again to use the new weapon, everything is in any case more immediate than interrupting the game from the pause menu.
However, while all this improves the experience of human Link, on the other it aggravates the already uninspired phases from Link Wolf, which are further subdued compared to those of bipedal. In his howling form, Link will be able to dig, attack in two different ways and use his instincts to see the Poe (spirits linked to a sub-quest) and the souls of the inhabitants of Hyrule, as well as using Midna's abilities for the fast travel on the map and, in certain cases, reach distant areas with a jump (L + ZR). The bestial form of the chosen one of the Goddesses is less versatile than the human one and being forced to use it could undermine the early hours of the game. Fortunately, once acquired the Supreme Sword (Master Sword) Link will be able to transform at will (as long as he is not in the visual field of any character) thanks to a convenient button added from scratch in the inventory on GamePad: in the original versions in fact, to transform it was necessary to pass through Midna, a passage still present but this time optional thanks to the button just mentioned and which streamlines everything, making the four-legged phases less tedious. In addition, an additional tool has been added to Link's inventory, a special lantern capable of allowing even in human form to see and attack the Poe, further reducing the Wolf phases after a certain point of play.
The last "tweak" evident to the Twilight Princess HD gameplay is related to the rupees: if in the original version there was a chest containing the precious gems and Link's wallet was full, the chest would close again allowing the player to return to it later (increasing in that case backtracking); in the Wii U version the extra rupees will be lost forever, trusting that the player always knows when to use them or is in possession of one of the expansions of the bag. A minor change but which inevitably affects the return to the dungeons already completed, going to cut another of the slower phases of the original version (as happened to the Gocciolieri, as we saw in the preview).
A Hyrule to explore
In addition to the inevitable dungeons that separate Link from the credits, Twilight Princess HD offers a wide variety of sub-quests scattered throughout the plain of Hyrule: from the heart fragments (five instead of the canonical four to increase the life indicator) obtainable as a reward in the most varied ways, to the tiny insects scattered in pairs in every area that can be visited, up to the aforementioned Poe and sword techniques that can be learned by howling in front of certain stones; to these collectibles already present in 2006 are added in this version, the stamps of Miiverse, hidden in chests both in the dungeons and in the overworld, which once found can be used at will in the group dedicated to the game on Nintendo's social network.
In addition to collectibles, there is no shortage of scoring mini-games (now a classic of the series), skill challenges, and the aforementioned lake in which to go fishing between bosses. The plain of Hyrule offers different types of environment which, of course, reflect the dungeon housed in the area: you then pass from Lake Hylia of the Zora where you can swim freely, up to the Gerudo Desert where you will have to be careful of quicksand, passing through the Borgo di Hyrule which will host a large part of the population offering different activities depending on the time of day.In fact, as in the original version, Twilight Princess HD also automatically alternates day and night, but unlike the other home chapters we will not have the opportunity to check the time. Fortunately, the succession is quite rapid and does not weigh too much on the pace of play (except in the last phases of the Poe clean-up).
Justice for Epona's knees
After browsing the game in general, let's get to the technical innovations of this fourth remake of the series. As already mentioned several times, Twilight Princess HD is based on the Game Cube version of the game, completely cleaning the visual interface from the giant Wii Mote, and binding the tool icons to the corners of the screen: it is thus able to give a cleaner and more accurate experience. , also taking full advantage of the 1080p resolution and the mobile camera entrusted to the right stick. Not only the backgrounds have been cleaned up, but also the textures of the polygonal models are more accurate and suitable for the new graphic design of the title, the only exception is Epona, who in the filmed scenes is certainly the least curated character of the entire production.
A new lighting system is added to the new, more refined models, which gives an incisive touch of atmosphere and which does not render absolutely in the captured screens. Each environment benefits from the new resolution and the title runs smoothly at 30 fps (only drops in rare cases like Link Wolf's multiple attack). The soundtrack is obviously the same as ten years ago, entrusted to the skilled hands of Koji Kondo and deliberately darker than that of The Wind Waker, just think of Midna's Lament capable of transmitting melancholy throughout its duration, there are also more pieces as light as Birbo's theme. Twilight Princess HD presents texts and as per tradition for the series the audio dialogues are only composed of indefinite verses of the various characters, no less characteristic.
We already talked about it last week, but it must be remembered that Twilight Princess HD supports all amiibo depicting the characters of The Legend of Zelda including that of Link Lupo out on Friday 4 March.
The latter allows not only to unlock theDark Lair, a challenge arena dedicated to Link's bestial form (and therefore not an extra dungeon as reported by other sources) but also to save your game progress to always carry them with you. The Wolf Link amiibo will also be compatible with Zelda for Wii U although it is not yet clear how.
Verdict 8.5 / 10 Unique and truly chosen mischief of the Goddesses Comment Let's start with a premise: if you haven't played Twilight Princess in 2006, possibly on Game Cube, feel free to add half a point to the rating opposite. Thanks to the HD remastering, and new lighting system, riding Epona on the Hyrule plain at the crack of dawn, or fishing in the moonlight make Twilight Princess HD a great appetizer of what will hopefully bring to the Zelda Wii U screen. Although the phases from Link Lupo still do not fully convince us, the title gains on the usability and fluidity of the gameplay, thanks to all the small improvements made and already adequately analyzed in the review phase. Pros and cons ✓ Technical and graphic improvement
✓ Useful and convenient real-time inventory
✓ Much more comfortable camera than the Wii version x Phases of Link Wolf subdued
x Some imperfections in the swimming controls