Twilight Princess VS. Skyward Sword: Comparison Review

Since I haven’t really written any reviews in over a year, I’ve decided to write these special kinds of reviews to help me practice. These comparison reviews are something I wanted to do years ago but felt that it was stupid and gimmicky…until now. Lots of the games I will compare to are games I’ve reviewed before, games I’ve considered but didn’t review, and games I will review in the future. Now, to make these reviews as short as possible – as I am reviewing two games simultaneously – I will avoid including any major spoilers like I did with all of my normal reviews.

Today we’re going to compare two iconic Zelda games that came out for the Nintendo Wii within its 6 year life span. While the former did have subsequent releases on the Nintendo Game-Cube and WiiU, I will only be analyzing the Wii version as that’s the one I’ve played. It would also be pretty unfair to compare the superior WiiU HD port to Skyward Sword so there’s that too. As you may or may not know, I bought both of these game at Wal-Mart back in 2011 and 2013 respectively during sales. These two games made me use my brain instead of reflexes to overcome challenges.


Motion-Controls (TP 1 – 0 SS)

Twilight Princess – One of the first games on the Wii to take advantage of the motion controls was in fact this Zelda installment. Instead of using the analog sticks to aim and the face buttons to use the sword and shield, aiming was assigned to the Wii Remote sensor and attacking was to both the Nunchuk and Wiimote’s accelerometers respectively. These two innovations allowed aiming to be much faster, sensitive, and accurate than traditional gamepad; along with adding realism to the combat system and reducing the symptoms of carpel tunnel syndrome.

So this definitley made Twilight Princess more fun and realistic than previous games in the franchise. Sadly, the aiming still pales in comparison to keyboard and mouse for PC gaming and simply shaking the Wiimote & Nunchuk were sufficient. It wasn’t realistic to the point where you actually had to swing the controllers as if you were holding actual medieval weapons. As mentioned before, the controllers only have accelerometers built in, which their motion capabilities are inferior to gyroscopes later used in Wii Motion Plus and the Wiii Remote Plus several years after.

Skyward Sword – Originally this game wasn’t supposed to use motion controls at all until Miyamoto was convinced to take advantage of the Wii Motion Plus. Unlike with Twilight Princess, you actually have to move your controllers the way you would with real weapons. This made it much more fun and realistic, although unfortunately it turned a lot of gamers off from playing Skyward Sword. In fact, it feels like I’m playing Prime 3 with all the puzzles that force you to perform motion commands. The community is mixed with this one as some hate it while others love it.

What ruined the motion controls for me and so many others was the fact that the sensitivity and calibration was so fucking horrible. After probably a few dozen minutes or so, the motion controls and sensor won’t respond which then you are forced to pause and then recalibrate the Wii Motion Plus. When you’re aiming, you literally have to point the Wiimote at the center of the screen, otherwise it won’t work properly even with recalibration! To be fair, you can just swing your Wiimote vertically a few times to instantly recalibrate it based on the advice of a NPC early on.

Ah yes, forgot to elaborate on solving the puzzles with the motion controls. In Twilight Princess, it was just like previous Zelda games where you use the control sticks and buttons to solve them. But this time around, most of them require motion controls which make it feel as gimmicky as Prime 3 but with unresponsive controls. It’s not just the puzzles, but the enemies and even bosses force you to use the motion controls whether you like it or not. If you suck at using motion controls or hate the concept, then just avoid this game and skip to Wind Waker HD or Breath of the Wild.

Verdict – Although the latter was more creative with the motion based controls by fully utilizing the Wii Motion Plus, I still have to conclude that Twilight Princess is overall superior. These controls are nothing more than a gimmick and a cool concept that Nintendo experimented with but didn’t keep as proven with BOTW. I don’t have to constantly recalibrate nor do am I constantly forced to use them to beat puzzles and bosses in Twilight Princess. In theory shaking is stupid, but in practice I never found it be lame nor gimmicky…oh, and the aiming was much better too.

Graphics (TP 2 – SS 0)

Twilight Princess – When this game was still green (pun intended), the graphics were considered to be very realistic and detailed for its generation. However, like with most older games, it sadly isn’t as aesthetically appealing as it was over a decade ago. Of course, the Wii version is what we’re reviewing and looks better than the Game-Cube port as it supports 16:9 widescreen support along with slightly better lighting and textures. I have to agree that the models, even to this day, are very accurate and look very good even after all these years…for the most part.

What sucks about Twilight Princess is that it suffers from very low resolution textures, something that past 3D Zelda games suffered except Wind Waker. They are realistic and detailed, but take a closer look, and some of them are pre-rendered images flattened on to a 2D surface rather than actual 3D polygons of in-game textures. I would also complain of it only running at 30 fps but consoles have different standards than PC gaming does. It’s consistent for the most part except when Link performs a spin attack to simultaneously defeat many enemies surrounding him.

The style of the graphics were made to resemble Ocarina of Time while also having its own twilight feeling to it. It does make the world of Hyrule look beautiful, and having different weather and times of day is an added bonus too. Unfortunately, majority of the colors are browns, greens, and grays; that is, by trying to resemble real life, the atmosphere mostly looks ugly, dull, and boring. After over a decade – yes time passes so fast – the graphics haven’t aged too well but it’s still tolerable. If you get the Wii U port or upscale to progressive scan, then it looks much much better.

Skyward Sword – Nintendo’s approach to this game’s art style was to make it look like a hybrid between the realism of Twilight Princess and cartoonish feel of Wind Waker. But had they only made it just cel-shaded, instead of trying to incorporate multiple art styles, I wouldn’t criticize the aesthetics as I do now. Sure, the polygon count, models, and lighting have improved, but the textures and resolution haven’t changed a lot. Skyward Sword still suffers from low resolution textures and for a game that came out in 2011 you’d expect it be at least 720p or as good as Brawl or Colors did.

In terms of aging, I’d have to say Skyward Sword aged a little better but only because of its cel shaded art style. In fact, I believe one of the main reasons that Nintendo made it that way was because they knew the Wii was limited with its weak hardware. The different art styles, such as background objects and landmarks looking like paintings come to life and character/weapon models that resemble the look of Twilight Princess, do look good but sadly aren’t combined well enough. Also the fact that the characters look nothing like they did in the artwork and the trailers.

Verdict – Although cel-shaded graphics do look better and were chosen in Wind Waker HD and Breath of the Wild, I still have to go with Twilight Princess. Nintendo did their best for TP to fully utilize the hardware to make the graphics look their best. TP was ahead of its time as it looked like a game from 2007, while Skyward Sword only looks slightly better with minor improvements. Since it failed to make many different styles work; only the polygon count, atmosphere, and colors improved; models, resolution, and textures look horrible, TP wins again but in terms of graphics.

Atmosphere (TP 2 – SS 1)

Twilight Princess – I kind of already covered this before, but just to recap, Nintendo made TP have a realistic atmosphere similar to Ocarina of Time. They also made it have a dark and horror based atmosphere akin to Majora’s Mask with the whole Twilight realm and introduction of Midna and Zant. It looks so cool to enter those areas as they make them lack very little color and life which the realm is supposed to do, and little effects like the black particles and NPC’s becoming spirits also makes it memorable too. And during evening time in-game, it’s when it looks the most stunning and beautiful.

People may differ and claim that the Twilight realms look ugly and lifeless, but that’s the purpose it serves and the same can be said for Skyward Sword in one aspect too. When you enter the Twilight Realm (like actually different dimension) it does turn you off with so much ugly colors and sad music. But Twilight Princess also got its cheerful and colorful moments like when travelling through Faron Woods  or Hyrule Field. Although to generalize, Twilight Princess does suffer from trying to be too realistic when Zelda games are meant to be seen as medieval fantasy genre.

Skyward Sword – Now you may think I hate the game’s art style, but actually overall I like its cartoony look and being the alter “ego” of its predecessor. There’s just so much life and colors and happiness that it can lift your mood and truly let you escape reality after a long day at work and/or school. Compared to Wind Waker (not HD remake), the cel-shaded art style is even better than it was before and makes the graphics look appealing. The lighting and effects also add to the atmosphere along with the different styles even though its highly questionable at times.

What sucks this time are no longer different times of day and weather conditions with a few exceptions. Those few being that you can only experience day and night in the sky and manually through sleeping instead of it being automatic, along with it raining/thunderstorm during a few boss fights. Characters are also more helpful and alive this time with each different species being unique with their own personalities, rather than only a few characters standing out from the rest like in TP. While the cross between WW and TP wasn’t perfect, it helped make BOTW a masterpiece.

Verdict – It’s very obvious at this point that Skyward Sword has done much better in the atmosphere department than Twilight Princess. The predecessor tried too hard to seem very realistic, and although it was praised back then, looking back it aged badly as Zelda doesn’t take place in the real world. Had they added other elements to soften the atmosphere to balance out the darkness and sadness then it would be amazing. Yes, Skyward Sword isn’t completely perfect as it lacks different weather and times of day unless in some events, but still, it pulled it off better by taking risks.

Exploration (TP 3 – SS 1)

Twilight Princess – Known for having the largest overworld of any Zelda game (until Breath of the Wild surpassed TP), there was just so much to do and so many places to explore! Unlike in OOT and MM where every area was interconnected by Hyrule Field, Twilight Princess tends to have a more non-linear and open world approach. Emulating the exploration of Wind Waker, you were able to enter new towns and regions through multiple routes with Hyrule Field itself covering the entire kingdom instead of one grassy area. This makes it memorable and innovative even to this day.

The different areas themselves tend to be bigger with more space and small tight places to explore and find hidden treasures. What is the main benefit is also its main drawback, a double edged sword, as many of these open areas are too large and empty like barren wastelands. Still, its just breathtaking to see how gorgeous, detailed, and huge the world of Hyrule is in TP. Even places that aren’t open ended try to be non-linear as possible by resembling mazes and labyrinths so it doesn’t suffer like older Zelda games. If Nintendo had added more interactions and details then it would’ve been better.

Without spoiling too much, Twilight Princess also has the largest diversity of different geographic regions in any Zelda game…again except for BOTW. In addition to the woods, field, volcano, lake, and desert, there’s also snowy arctic mountain, underground caves, abandoned ruins, and even able to visit the past, sky, and another dimension! Usually, it’s only the dungeons that are this diverse but I’m glad that Nintendo made Hyrule excel in bot quality and quantity. Despite this though, you still have to backtrack to older areas later in the game while the newer areas are only explored once which sucks.

Skyward Sword – Although Skyloft and the entire sky may seem open-ended and non-linear, it is even worse than the emptiness and size of TP’s Hyrule Field. Literally you’re just flying with your bird creature through endless clouds and maybe a few…asteroids here and there that let you increase speed momentarily. There are some other islands but mostly for playing mini-games or only visiting them once or twice for the story. You might as well just hang out in the town, which sadly, is the only place that is worth exploring besides the dungeons in this installment.

Down below the sky are three main regions that have other sub regions unlocked later on in the game. But they’re so basic and generic it’s laughable and seems like an insult to Twilight Princess and other predecessors. The three areas are (without spoilers): forest, volcano, and desert, along with river/lake, interior of volcano, dried up sea now quicksand, and some gorge/valley area. You can also visit an alternate dimension similar to the Twilight Realm except even more lame and repetitive. So no tundra mountain, no haunted settlement, no underground caves, none of those.

Now that isn’t even the worse part of Skyward Sword – it’s actually the exploration and progression parts that are. The linearity (if that’s even a word) is so high that it feels like the game assumes we’ve never played any Zelda game before. Majority of the routes you takes are small long pathways with no alternate places to explore and very few open ended areas. When they’re are open areas, it’s just like the sky, or the game doesn’t allow you to freely explore because it thinks you’re a baby. Oh, and for some reason so many dungeon-like puzzles are added outside of the dungeons themselves.

Verdict – It’s very obvious even before I compared this category between these games which one was superior to the other. I understand that with Skyward Sword, they were trying to appeal to as much people as possible since this was an exclusive Wii title and motion controls were trendy back then. However, only Zelda fans and those into adventure games were the majority of consumers that bought it, so I don’t understand what went inside Nintendo’s minds when they thought going one step backwards with the exploration was good when that’s what made Zelda iconic.

Dungeon Design (TP 3 – SS 2)

Twilight Princess – Many of the dungeons in TP take inspirations from OOT and MM by combining old concepts with slightly new ones. This gives a sense of nostalgia for older Zelda fans but doesn’t seem too repetitive as it has its own unique puzzles, enemies, items, and bosses. The first three dungeons are the easiest and probably the most lame (no offense, they’re still fun) compared to the later ones you encounter. Later on is when the dungeons become much more innovative with design and creative with puzzles and enemies. Overall they’re not very gimmicky nor are they same old boring shit.

Sadly, TP still suffers from only having items being used in their respective dungeons and never again until the last dungeon. Some puzzles and mini-bosses tend to be ripped off or inspired heavily by older Zelda entries which can turn some off. Unfortunately, I’m going to hold my promise of keeping the review as spoiler free as possible so I won’t mention specific dungeons and concepts that I enjoyed or disliked. Twilight Princess does have some of the best dungeons in any Zelda game, although it would’ve been better if the puzzles took more advantage of the Wii’s motion controls.

Skyward Sword – Unlike its predecessors, almost all the dungeons are very new and unique in its own way without ripping off from past games. Puzzles and enemies (sometimes even mini-bosses) do get repeated in future dungeons but they are slightly changed so to give extra challenge and prevent repetition. Skyward Sword makes good use of the Wii Motion Plus, so while enemies, puzzles, and bosses do seem gimmicky, it’s actually really cool once you adapt to the game’s dungeon design. Sadly, the first three dungeons range from mediocre to decent while later ones being awesome.

Taking risks paid off as the later dungeons take place in settings you’d never imagine would work, such as an abandoned pirate ship or Buddhist-style temple. Such designs make use of the new environments by making the rooms and routes different from traditional dungeons. This can make navigation more confusing and unpredictable but much more fun and interesting. There also exist what I call “mini-dungeons” or areas that resemble dungeons but don’t technically qualify as them. Those are pretty cool and better than doing stupid fetch quests as mandatory for progression.

This time around, they added lots of hidden paths and rooms that aren’t obvious even when looking at the maps. These can either lead to essential items and puzzles or can reward you with hidden goodies. Oh right, and getting to the boss requires you insert some kind of jigsaw thingie making use of the motion controls and not as boring as simply putting in a giant key to open the final door. Some dungeons lack mini-bosses or may have several of them to mix up the formula a bit which is cool too. Each dungeon also has its own “gimmick” that doesn’t always require items to use.

Verdict – At first I thought that both Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword would tie for this category but then after refreshing my memory I decided otherwise. Yes, both games have poor early dungeons with later superior dungeons, but the former simply rips off of older games (except for a few) whereas the latter is completely innovative in its own right. Also the fact that the design and progression was very predictable and linear so Skyward Sword has the much better dungeon design. I’m still not going to deny that some of Twilight Princess’ dungeons are superior to SS though.

Combat (TP 3.5 – SS 2.5)

Twilight Princess – Much like its predecessors OOT and WW, TP allows players to utilize the sword and shield as their main arsenal of weapons. Accompanied with those are bombs, arrows, hook-shots, and the like as well as newer items obtained from the dungeons. Defeating enemies is as simple as slashing your sword by repeatedly shaking the Wii Remote while using the shield as a defense. Stronger enemies and bosses require you to dodge and/or counter their attacks before being able to attack them for brief moments when there are openings (and use dungeon items too).

Later on in the game, you’ll be able to use special skills which are essentially advanced sword techniques used to easily take down hordes and bosses later on. Most of them are completely optional but you need to learn two of them to beat the entire game. You can also fight when you’re a wolf but it’s limited to just biting and clawing, although you’re able to have Midna insta-kill enemies within a short range after charging up her attack. Oh, and you can also fight on your horse which is a series first and definitely makes this feel more cinematic as there are some missions requiring Epona.

Skyward Sword – With the Wii Motion Plus as the main feature, players now have to actually swing the sword in different directions equivalent to real life sword-fighting. Enemies can no longer be easily killed by swinging your controller like a baby’s toy as that will just get you killed. Also, the shield itself can break after taking enough hits so be sure to take advantage of the shield bash, which allows you to push back enemies and their attacks to give you an opportunity to strike back. Many stronger enemies and bosses force you to strategically fight with the sword and shield.

Unfortunately, there are no advanced sword techniques and most of the dungeon items aside from bombs and arrows are used for puzzles and travelling. The stupid red bird also doesn’t allow you to fight enemies other than some weird diving attack, and it’s really hard to hit enemies unless you’re up close in the sky. Still, I’d say the combat overall is better since it’s not slash a few times or wait for opening and then attack like in past Zelda games. You can also charge up a special attack with your sword that shoots a beam of light to damage and later on kill common enemies.

Verdict – Honestly, I would have to say it’s a tie for this category since both Zelda games make up for what it lacks in the other. I do find the sword fighting in Skyward Sword vastly superior but Twilight Princess is better in every other way. However, since Twilight Princess is too easy (more on that later) I wouldn’t really declare the combat being completely superior to Skyward Sword either. I’ll decide whether to give both these games half a point each or not give them any at all later in this comparison review, but for now, both of these games tie when it comes to combat.

Story Progression (TP 4.5 – SS 2.5)

Twilight Princess – Depending on your preferences, you’ll either love the long introduction or prologue of this game or hate it completely. You have to spend at least an hour before making it to your first dungeon, and the first three dungeons are delayed by Twilight Realm, missions that feel like errands and mini-boss fights, and long cinematic cutscenes. Right about halfway, players find out who the true main villain is – Ganandorf – along with what to do for the next few dungeons. And the story takes a backseat until near the end but is replaced with sidequests locked in the beginning.

In terms of the plot itself without spoiling, I’d have to say Nintendo tried very hard to make it a story driven game and was mostly successful. I say mostly because they sort of rushed it near the end, which although was epic, had worse pacing than the prologue which was dragged on for too long. I dislike how the story virtually dies out in the later half of the game but just like Majora’s Mask, the side quests do reveal a lot about the NPC’s and makes you care about the people of Hyrule that you’re protecting. If the pacing and distribution of the story was balanced out then TP would be golden.

Skyward Sword – What the hell is wrong with Nintendo trying to emulate TP’s progression into this installment but make it worse? I have to spend at least an hour in the town before even attempting to gain access to the land below the sky. Even then, expect to spend 1-2 hours just reaching the first dungeon. Aside from the beginning, halfway point, and end, all other parts of the plot aren’t very cinematic and feel like an video game plot. Instead of going on errands, you have to do stupid missions like fetch quests or “helping” NPC’s by backtracking or travelling a lot.

Yeah, they really dragged on the story with this one as it feels like just when it’s almost about to finish, plot twist or stupidity happens and the story continues. You have to fight a certain boss multiple times which annoys lots of people, although I find it as a guilty pleasure since it doesn’t piss me off. After completing each dungeon, it’s literally the same thing where you almost meet up with Zelda only for her to leave you, or you’re able to complete your objectives with Fi dancing and singing. I would tell you about the plot but then that breaks my rule of avoiding in-game spoilers.

Verdict – Ok I don’t even have to tell you which game has better plot progression as it’s so obvious by now. Neither of them have good progression (they both have amazing plots but that’s another debate) so it’s all about which one has the lesser flaws. I hope to the three goddesses of Hyrule that when I play Breath of the Wild on the Wii U in the far future, that it better not repeat the mistakes of Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. I understand with Twilight Princess trying so hard to be Ocarina of Time 2.0, but seriously, why is Skyward Sword copying so much off of TP if it didn’t go so well?

Music & Sound (TP 4.5 – SS 3.5)

Twilight Princess – As always, Zelda never fails to deliver with its memorable and awesome soundtrack, which unsurprisingly, has many remixes of old tracks to please older Zelda fans. Despite having orchestrated music in a few trailers, the actual game itself failed to have any (but it did have some that sounded like it). This isn’t to undermine the already fantastic music, in which even newer Zelda games can’t fully surpass…unless they’re orchestrated. TP uses as much instruments and genres as possible to make the soundtrack very catchy and diverse.

Unlike with most of Nintendo’s games, the music presented in Twilight Princess tends to “atmospheric” as to not distract the player. It fits well into the background and blends in with the white noise of the environment that Link explores. Only boss fights, side quests, and specific missions have music in the traditional sense which intensifies the gameplay to make it more epic. Besides lacking orchestrated music, Twilight Princess tends to reuse a lot of sound pieces and those from older Zelda games. Sometimes it’s better to come up with new music instead of reusing it over and over again.

Skyward Sword – For the first time since the Mario Galaxy games, SS features a full on orchestrated soundtrack! Early pre-orders and editions of this game came with an album with nostalgic pieces remastered into orchestrated soundtrack to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Zelda. Not only has the music significantly improved with orchestrated music but also with innovative and “lively” music that isn’t atmospheric. On top of it, the sound quality has upgraded since it was built for the Wii instead of being a Game-Cube title ported over to the Wii with little graphical optimization.

Quality over quantity is strong with this installment because while most entries are forgotten, the few that stand out surpass Zelda games that came before it. The epic music isn’t limited just to boss fights this time – even dungeons and geographic regions also have beautiful music that is a bit distracting but well composed nonetheless. I thought the ending credits theme for Twilight Princess was awesome, but the credits for Skyward Sword blew me away and my expectations. I hope that when I come to play Breath of the Wild, the soundtrack is good in both quality and quantity.

Verdict – This is also another obvious match between these two Zelda games, as it’s clearly known that Skyward Sword is superior to Twilight Princess with music. I was going to originally also analyze and critique the voice acting, but both games don’t have any acting except for Link’s side chick (Midna and Fi) who both speak gibberish. Also the fact that TP’s sound quality was mediocre since it was a Game-Cube port. I really don’t have much else to say other than the fact that this comparison review may result in a tie so I’m gonna have to make a tiebreaker real soon if that happens.

Challenge (TP 5 – SS 4)

Twilight Princess – I don’t understand why Nintendo decided to make this Zelda game so freaking easy! Of course, being my first Zelda game that I beat (my first was Wind Waker), I did struggle a lot and often resorted to walkthrough guides but those were only limited to one or two complex puzzles per dungeon. I had no problem defeating the bosses…except that mini-boss in the mansion and Ganondorf…despite having next to no experience and skill. Never did I ever have to resort to using the stronger potions and after acquiring enough Heart Pieces, I didn’t worry about damage.

I did struggle and die a lot while playing in the Twilight Realm, but that’s to be expected for anybody since this was a first in the Zelda franchise. However, actually doing quests were pretty easy and was usually the mini-“bosses” that killed me. The side quests were also all very easy except for a few challenging ones later on in the story. Overall, I didn’t really struggle and find it to be a walk in the park, which is probably why I constantly go back to this and even attempted a few speed runs. Maybe being a title for the Wii, Nintendo decided to dumb it down for the casual audience sadly.

Skyward Sword – Much better than its predecessor, we finally get some decent and even brutal challenge not only from the puzzles but also missions and bosses. Implementing the Wii Motion Plus forces players to move the controllers as if they were actual weapons. Many of these challenges require you to use motion controls, which isn’t simply performing a few easy actions like in Prime: Corruption. Expect later bosses to be almost as hard as what you’d expect in Dark Souls (no joke). Also, instead of losing a quarter of health per average hit, you lose one whole heart!

Oh but wait, being a Wii game Nintendo decided to make this playable by idiots as well. If you’re struggling, you can visit a certain statue in Skyloft and watch very short walkthrough videos. That is probably almost like the game playing itself and defeats the purpose of solving the puzzles with your own brain. You can obviously ignore it but it’s just an insult that Nintendo would ever think of adding this to Zelda. You can also craft or buy specific items to also help you “cheat” at the game if you suck so much. Way to go Nintendo, literally playing the game for people who can’t play themselves.

Verdict – I would’ve chosen Skyward Sword as the victor in this review category, but that feature just made it even worse than Twilight Princess. Yes, you can ignore it although the fact that it’s there in the first place makes the game a joke. At least with TP I had to go online and find a walkthrough guide and read it before attempting to play again. Also, if I did allow Skyward Sword to win this round, both games would tie and I would have to make a tiebreaker anyways. The winner of this category, and this review overall, is none other than The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for the Nintendo Wii.


After quickly analyzing all the different categories of criticism for both Zelda games without major spoilers, Twilight Princess takes the spot of being superior. It just barely beats Skyward Sword as both games have major benefits and flaws with one another that make them so similar. Ok, this review I began writing in mid August but didn’t finish it until today because I’m lazy and was preparing for university. I’m writing these comparison reviews not only as filler for the PC reviews, but also to help me regain the writing skill and passion that was lost for over a year.

My next few comparison reviews will be Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, and also Super Smash Bros. Brawl & Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. I intended on reviewing the most recent console Metroid games (Prime 4 is being developed so sssshhhhh…) however they’re way too different and Prime 3 is clearly better.  I’m also going to edit my first three reviews by changing the formatting and pictures as they’re outdated and some images are missing. Once I begin my PC reviews, I’ll start with Portal 1, Left 4 Dead, and Counter Strike: Source and we’ll go from there.

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No More Heroes Review

Foreword

Well, I just finished my last review over a month ago (sorry for the delay), so let’s complete this review to end all reviews for the Nintendo Wii once and for all! No More Heroes was published by Ubisoft but is developed by two companies Grass Hopper Manufacture and Marvelous Entertainment –  both led by the infamous Suda 51. He is the CEO of the former developer and was the brainchild behind Killer 7 for the Nintendo Game-Cube, which of course, makes it an inspiration of N.H.M. You know, both being a beat-’em-up game where you get to kill people for sport.

I honestly have no idea why G.H.M and Suda 51 decided to develop No More Heroes; not many copies were sold were sold yet a sequel and HD remake was released in 2010 and 2011 respectively. This is a game that I got and played very recently – like back in January and July – so my impressions are just fresh off the boat that is rare. N.M.H. was purchased alongside Monster Hunter Tri and the legendary Xenoblade-Chronicles in September 2015! I urged to get more third-party games and nothing to play at the time, though due to time constraints, I never started Xenoblade.

At first I blindly assumed that N.M.H was a mindless sword slasher with tons of blood and violence based on gameplay footage. But after I realized that there was much more to do with more fun than I imagined it to be, although I don’t recommend this to younger audiences due to the excessive mature content found here. To sum things up, N.M.H is a bloody action game which you hunt down assassins to be #1 with a light-saber, filled with humorous plot and catchy music, but low content and poor graphics. Of course, there’s more to it than that but spoilers are for later on.

Gameplay

No More Heroes is a game that consists of multiple genres and borrows its gameplay elements from various franchises, such as Zelda and GTA to name a few. Aside from being a beat-’em-up action game with the main objective of hunting down 10 assassins, it’s also an adventure game offering exploration, arcade offering mini-games and power-ups, and so on. Before each fight though, you must pay a huge entrance fee to the association, with the money earned via side-jobs and assassination missions.

It gets repetitive like right after the first 2 bosses; however, the different missions and jobs are diverse and fun to try out. Also, each assassin is unique with both the fighting style and personality so you’ll be entertained by the plot and gameplay. You get to kill an army of minions each time before a boss fight which is great practice and fun. Honestly, if there was much more to do and way more boss fights, N.M.H would be the perfect “hack-‘n-slash” for hardcore gamers.

Image result for no more heroes gameplay

There aren’t that many game mechanics but I will discuss the sword-fighting and also the motorcycle mechanics. You’re equipped with a light-saber called a beam-katana here that serves as the only weapon; while slashing is done with button mashing, blocking and finishing moves are performed with motion controls. It is possible to upgrade with stronger and/or faster blades though training in the gym makes a difference. Motorcycle is you main method of transportation in the hubworld.

Commands that you can execute include boosting, drifting, and jumping besides just steering and accelerating. Boosting allows you to go faster but there’s a meter; drifting is very awkward though it helps so much if done correctly since the steering in this game is atrocious; and jumping is needed to reach the second and first assassins. Other game mechanics include the power-up system which is simple but complex. Whenever you kill an enemy with finishing moves you get a power-up randomly, as three casino slots must align with the same symbol to activate.

You either shoot powerful energy balls, enemies being in slow-motion, instantly killing nearby enemies, having super speed, and releasing an energy explosion killing everybody within your radius (ineffective towards bosses). They only seem to appear more often when you suck at the game, while the last power-up almost never appears as I only used it once out of the hundreds of times I activated the slots. You can also collect balls found in the hubworld and trade them to an old drunk to learn new techniques that I’ll cover later on as it’s more relevant then.

N.M.H is played only with the Wii Remote & Nunchuk strictly, which are very simple and intuitive to use. The control stick is to move Travis, C button is for 1st person view, and the Z button is for camera reset and enemy lock-on targetting. The d-pad is to change the camera angle or dodging when locked on to an enemy. A button is to swing the sword to attack enemies, perform combos, and unleash a charged slash when charged. B trigger button is for melee attacks that can also stun and activating wrestling moves.

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The – button is for using that explosion power-up and + button is for the map. Finally pressing the 1 button is to recharge the battery and the 2 button to toggle the mini-map on or off. In addition, the dodge move is needed for charged and unblockable attacks from enemies and bosses, whereas the charged slash goes through blocks and counter-attacks. If you repeatedly press A after charging, you will perform a beheading move the instantly kills multiple enemies. Swing the Wii Remote and Nunchuk according to the on-screen prompts for wrestling and finishing moves.

You can tilt the Wii Remote to perfom either a low or high block that can defend against said incoming attacks. Many enemies and bosses will attack and defend in these two stances, so it’s important to master it or you will easily die. There actually exists a special counter-attack called the quick or circle dodge, which is tilting the control stick right after a boss or enemy attacks you. Do it right and then you can attack them repeatedly for extra hits while they’re stuck in slow motion. However, some bosses and enemies are either immune or are fast enough to dodge this.

N.M.H has three difficulties to choose from, with the latter only available after beating the game once. They are SWEET which is the easiest, MILD as normal, and BITTER as the hardest, with differences in damage, health, moveset, and AI. I honestly recommend SWEET for casuals and beginners while MILD for all else. BITTER should only be for the extremely hardcore or skilled as it is very, very difficult. I actually found the game to be super easy on both SWEET and MILD as long as you’re not arrogant.

To be frank, only the boss fights and certain assassination missions as well as some side jobs are challenging, while the rest are pathetically annoying or easy. The majority of the game is spent on mundane and repetitive tasks, ranging from fighting swarms of enemies to picking up garbage on the streets. Players will always have to mash the A button then swing the Wii Remote to kill, and have to follow on-screen button and/or motion prompts for jobs which gets boring after awhile. It’s the bosses requiring skill and strategy with some even having instant death moves.

Presentation

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Being released in 2007, N.M.H has terrible looking graphics despite what critics and the developers have said otherwise. It’s sadly rendered in 480i SD running at a shitty frame-rate ranging from 20 to 30 FPS (sometimes even to 10-20) in the hubworld, but it goes from 30-60 FPS usually between 50-60 in the actual fights. Grasshopper decided to use a cel-shaded art style for characters and objects but normal aesthetics for all other in-game models and textures. Far away it looks good, average distance it’s okay…but then up close is when it looks like diarrhea vomit.

Textures are comparable to that of DreamCast games whereas coloring is dull and dark with browns, blacks, and greys. Seriously, the lighting is just done poorly looking like a person with to artistic skill or talent attempted to do water-coloring on regular thin paper. It unfortunately demotes the game to looking with GameCube graphics although the cel-shaded models actually benefit from its own unique lighting resembling a mix between comic book and realism. If it weren’t highly detailed models looking realistic and accurate proportions, N.M.H would not qualify as a Wii game.

The soundtrack is very repetitive with the boss themes and a few miscellaneous pieces that are diverse worth listening to. You’ll hear the main theme and remixes of it repeatedly but it’s very catchy and composed brilliantly – it will get stuck in your head which is great! Boss themes are memorable for their diverse genres, catchy tunes, and sophisticated compositions; I like the themes of the ninth, seventh, second, first, and the bonus-ranked assassins. The names given to the song are bizarre yet creative, such as Oxygen Graffiti and Pleather For Breakfast.

Sound quality is surprisingly good since the voice acting and BGM can be heard clearly without background noise or interference. It doesn’t sound too quiet or too loud, nor is there an imbalance with the different sounds. Consequently, it is loud and clear with almost all details heard resembling close to HD sound quality. With the Wii Remote speaker turned on, players can listen in on Sylvia speaking to Travis before each boss fight for hilarious and corny conversations.

Plot Analysis

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Before the story begins, you can choose one of three difficulties and then an interactive scene ensues prompting players to control Travis to ride his motorcycle. After leaving the motel like a crazy person, an introduction serving as the prologue follows suit. So basically Travis is a man-child who is obsessed with anime, wrestling, and video games that is near bankruptcy. He then decides to get a job during one night in a bar after meeting Sylvia Christel, becomes sexually attracted and flirts with her, and is hired as an assassin.

To become permanently accepted into the association, Sylvia requests that he take down two assassins: Helter Skelter and Death Metal. The former is killed in the intro while the latter is killed after Travis trespasses his mansion and kills all his guards. He qualifies to become a hit-man but realizes Sylvia set him up as his life is now at risk. Travis requests she engage in sexual intercourse with him if he becomes #1, which motivates him to take down the remaining 10 assassins – did I say 10…I meant 9!

9th ranked assassin begins with Dr. Peace, who is a Native American police detective specializing in illegal goods and investigations, as well as working for criminal organizations and the black market. Travis is forced to pay an entrance fee for the remaining assassins to participate in these fights; however, he is offered to work in side jobs and assassination mission to compensate for the expenses. After storming through Destroy Stadium, he hears him sing an amazing song before complaining about his estranged daughter.

Travis successfully murders him, also discovering the entrance fees are bit of a scam as they’re used for covering the expenses of the association and its members. He is called by Sylvia to meet with the next assassin in Santa Destroy High School – her name is Shinobu and is the daughter of a famous pro-wrestler who was murdered, hoping to avenge his father. She assumes he was the killer as her father was “sliced in two” from a beam katana. He of course spares her life for being too young and hopes she finds the truth.

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He confronts the seventh ranked assassin in Bear Hug Studio right after taking the subway and slaughtering dozens of people. He appears as an ordinary mail-man but then dawns a superhero costume, attempting and does trick Travis into being electrocuted by a tazer in his hand. Destroy-Man (his alter ego) proceeds to kill him with a shock-wave attack and laser blasts and beams. Miraculously surviving from the attacks, they fight which Destroy-Man yells out all his attacks making him very predictable.

Near death, Destroy Man tries to kill Travis one last time through bullets launched from slots on his nipples. He is sliced in two and Travis then moves on the next assassin at Body Slam Beach but not before killing dozens of military soldiers. She is foreign lingerie model from Sweden, having a prosthetic leg capable of shooting missiles and storing grenades, which makes Travis uncomfortable for fighting a woman. He eventually wins though is hesitant to kill her; Holly then sets a grenade to commit suicide to declare defeat, and her body is buried in the beach.

The fifth ranked assassin is a Russian magician by the name of Harvey which Travis confronts only because Sylvia bought tickets to his show for reserved seating. He boards the subway and dreams of a retro arcade shooting mini-game instead of killing people. After waking up, he arrives at his subway station and enters the theater with Sylvia in a beautiful dress. Harvey appears and performs a few tricks before inviting Travis on stage and apologizes for revealing that his parents passed away.

They fight after a failed attempt at killing Travis with the magician obviously using magic tricks as fighting tactics. Travis slices his eyes with his sword, blinding him and the assistants pin him down to the giant saw-blade, with Travis and Sylvia making out right after. The next hit-man isn’t fought at all since Letz Shake and his military robotic weapon are sliced in two by another lightsaber wielder by the name of Henry Cooldown. Travis is interrupted by Sylvia, allowing Henry to get away, angering him and asks if she knows him.

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Third-ranked assassin is an old lady with a laser shooting machine that can disguise as a shopping cart. Jeane (the cat, not his lover) goes missing and coincidentally finds her in a nearby city where the fight begins after arriving by bus. Thunder Ryu who is Travis’ mentor in wrestling, is seen struggling against a giant laser beam with a samurai sword, warning his apprentice to back off and has nothing left to teach him. He is blown up into smithereens, bringing both anger and sadness to Travis who swears vengeance.

Speed Buster is defeated once Travis reaches a pole that knocks down on her machine destroying it. He beheads her in anger and avenges his master, claiming his sword to use it and honor him. Sylvia seemingly disappears as her assistant reveals through phone and a note from a pigeon crashes through his bedroom window telling him to revisit Destroy Stadium. He takes his motorcycle inside and enters the hidden basement through a shaft in the baseball diamond. An attractive young blonde wearing a Victorian style dress is seen wielding a baseball bat.

She kills every man in bondage attire coming out from the conveyor belt, drinking soda to replenish energy and offers Travis some. He rejects it and is disgusted with her mentality with her job. Bad Girl cares not about him and fights in an extremely long and difficult battle though she is finally killed too. He faints on the ground with Sylvia’s assistants probably carrying him back to his motel while unconscious. Preparing to fight the final assassin, Travis has his motorcycle stolen upon exiting his hotel room and giving chase.

He finds it at the highway ramp, entering the highway to finish the assassin business once and for all. Travis soon finds out by Sylvia’s mother before that she is a con artist and the whole association was one big set-up. Upon reaching the forest, Travis’ motorcycle breaks down so he must travel by foot. He then confronts the ghost of Ryu and reads his letter complimenting him. Finally at the castle entrance, Dark Star appears as the last assassin, claiming to be his father and asking him to remember why he started his journey.

He reveals that he only became an assassin to avenge his parents who were tragically killed by his past girlfriend Jeane. Lo and behold, Dark Star is killed by Jeane herself appearing before Travis. He is mocked by being stupid and naive, to which he is surprised and angry at her, wanting to know why she killed his parents and destroyed his home. He reveals that while he discovered the association was fake, it was Sylvia who (along with Thunder Ryu and others) helped him exact retribution by killing the assassins.

It was sort of like training where he gained the skill and speed to defeat Jeane in battle. She tells Travis in a fast-forwarded cutscene that the two ex-lovers are actually half-siblings, since they have the same father but different mothers. Jeane’s mother committed suicide after their father married and fell in love with Travis’ mother. While to Travis he was a caring family man, in reality he sexually abused Jeane for her entire childhood, forcing her to run away and vowing to kill him.

She resorted to prostitution as a means to fund her martial arts training, eventually murdering Travis’ parents, prompting Travis to seek vengeance through training from Thunder Ryu and the UAA by Sylvia. He berates Jeane that two wrongs don’t make a right, and that “vengeance begets vengeance” to which she replies with a rude remark and begins the battle. After seemingly defeating Jeane in a long and tough battle, she ambushes Travis by fisting his stomach, only to have Shinobu come out of nowhere and slice her hand off.

This allows Travis to finally get revenge and kills Jeane, accepting her fate after wanting to no longer live her tragic life. Travis Touchdown proclaims that his career as an assassin is over with Sylvia and Shinobu watching close by. With the main story over, Travis shits in the bathroom when suddenly the door is sliced in two and a black man asks if he’s the first-ranked assassin. He wields a purple beam katana and attempts to kill him, but is sliced in half by Henry asking to fight in the parking lot.

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They fight a long battle with both evenly matched in both skill and power; Henry then reveals he is his older twin brother and Sylvia is in fact his wife. He is in shock, confused on how to end the game until they decided to both honorably kill each other. Credits roll with an art portriat of Travis and Henry about to kill one another, with Slyvia’s young daughter appreciating it, following her mother leave afterwards. Actually, both assassins live as Sylvia intervenes allowing Desperate Struggle to occur.

You can already tell that the atmosphere is dark and mature, yet funny and corny to balance out the violent and sadistic elements. I forgot to tell you readers the game occurs in a fictional poverty-stricken town called Santa Destroy in California, USA in 2007. Aside from the main characters, there’s Professor Naomi, an expert in beam katanas and wears sexy clothing; Bison, who is Travis’ best friend and owns the Beef Head store; and Randall Lovikov, a Russian alcoholic offering special techniques in exchange for Lovikov balls.

While the plot is written well, it suffers from not filling in the gaps between each boss fight making the transition awkward. But at least the plot is consistent and doesn’t die down throughout the middle only to be picked up during the end. It is sort of repetitive as with gameplay progression, though the confrontation with the assassins are always different from one another; interesting and funny to watch with times where it’s serious and realistic. Other supporting or secondary characters get involved which improves it.

Cutscenes are few and far in between, both in quality and quantity as most are that of Travis simply listening to his voice messages on his phone/fax machines. The best are obviously involving him meeting and killing (or defeating) the assassins and the interactions with Slyvia; as well as the introduction, prologue, conclusion, epilogue, and ending cutscenes. What sucks is they are all in-game so you can see how bad the graphics are with the low-rez textures, dull and ugly colors, terrible lighting/shadow, jaggy models, and inconsistent frame-rate.

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Since it’s presented in a cinematic and timely manner, they make N.M.H. feel like a plot-heavy game with plot progression beneficial to players who clear through the ranks in order to watch cutscenes as a reward. Animation is developed greatly with many special effects, techniques, camera angles, and choreography making it feel like a superhero and comedy movie. There aren’t any CGI cutscenes while QTE are limited to the ending cutscene to the fights of Dr.Peace and also Jeane (the assassin, not the cat).

Probably the script is the best feature of N.M.H plot of course. The humor is just over the top with offensive insults, slapstick comedy, breaking the fourth wall, mature themes, perverted and violent scenes, and excessive swearing. Despite it there are often times when it gets very emotional and serious, adding realism and enabling players to sympathize with characters and making their personalities very serious. Voice acting is performed amazingly well as it’s believable unlike that of Hollywood shows and movies.

Content

After beating the game, you will unlock Bitter difficulty and the New Game Plus. Bitter is of course the hardest difficulty; bosses and enemies have the most health, deal maximum damage, and are the most intelligent. This is only recommended for extremely hardcore gamers unless being fucking angry as an alcoholic is kind of a thing. New Game Plus allows you to have all of your weapons, money, techniques, strength, health, cards, and clothing in a new save file with only story progression and ranking erased.

Honestly, it’s the replay value where N.M.H. excels at as everything from missions and collectibles to the boss fights are repetitive yet addicting. It may lack quantitative content but the appeal to repeatedly play over and over provides both quality and quantity. Perhaps it’s the brilliant mix of button-mashing and motion controls, or it might just be the extreme violence, high profanity, as well as the blood and gore. In the HD remake on PS3 and Xbox 360, there’s Very Sweet Mode with the female assassins wearing revealing outfits.

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Santa Destroy serves as this game’s hubworld, and unfortunately for the most part, is one of the worst hubworlds for a sandbox game. Majority of the buildings are useless and just there for aesthetic purposes – nah, actually most of the town. Only roughly a dozen buildings are actually used by Travis and are all conveniently located closeby. What sucks is that walking is not even enabled inside buildings and interaction with people and objects are done via menus. Many buildings are also generic, vacant, and visually unappealing.

There are very few but unique buildings and areas that serve as landmarks with visual appeal…but you can’t go inside them unfortunately. Only the Destroy Stadium, Santa Destroy High School, Slam Body Beach, and the abandoned subway station are accessible as they serve as levels leading up to the boss fights. The roads are many in number yet the quantity is completely unecessary, as well as open pavement/concrete and fields littered across town. Alley-ways and parking lots have dumpsters with money and clothing serving as poor exploration.

For the levels, there’s the mansion of Death Metal, Destroy Stadium, Santa Destroy High School, the abandoned subway network, Bear Hug Studio, Body Slam Beach, that performance theatre, some underground tunnel, Speed City, and finally the highway. These are barebones as levels can get with little to no exploration, boring room layout, virtually no interactive elements, and being very linear as progress is made by defeating all enemies to be granted entry into the next room. But at least it looks nice and realistic to make up for the poor design.

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Since the town is near poverty, you won’t see much or do much though this is just a piss poor excuse by the developers for not trying hard enough. Santa Destroy as a whole is non-linear but the few accessible buildings are very linear. By the way, these rare gems consist of: No More Heroes Motel, Beef Head Video Store, Thunder Ryu’s Building, Naomi’s Laboratory, Area 51 (Clothing Store), Gold Town, Job Center, and finally K-Entertainment. With the exception of the motel and the training gym, all buildings are meant to serve one purpose.

In order to access the levels, you have to pay an entrance fee to the UAA’s bank account which breaks the flow and progression of the gameplay and plot. Once you clear them, they can never be accessed again albeit a few rooms and fields within assassination missions. Such pathetic stages only take 10 to 15 minutes to clear with the bosses also around the same duration. Before each battle, you can enter a room or open area with a bathroom to save progress, and also pick-up items to replenish health and battery.

N.M.H. offers a variety of different weapons, clothing, pick-up items, and hidden goodies to collect and/or to use. Clothing can be found within dumpsters and bought at the Area 51 store, including sunglasses and belts but are for purely aesthetic value. Hidden items are just trading cards or wrestling masks alongside with concept art of assassins and main characters hidden inside treasure chests scattered across the levels. It also considers Lovikov balls which can be found throughout the town and traded for techniques.

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Yup, these balls also force players to explore the barren hubworld; however, exchanging 7 of them to Randall grants you a skill each time. These give Travis new abilities expanding upon his arsenal of moves. They consist of dashing in the hubworld, performing a jump-attack, seeing enemies on the mini-map, extending the range of your grab, extending Dark Side mode, and the like. Pick-up is just pizza to replenish health and stereotypical looking batteries to replenish battery for your katana.

Weapons are all of course beam katanas, which can be bundled with upgrades that increase power output and reduce battery usage. Travis starts off with the weakest and slowest with no upgrades, the Blood Berry; then the Tsubaki MK-I, a longer blade offering upgrades and improved strength, maneuverability, and range. Soon later in the game, you unlock Tsubaki MK-II, having multiple blades with the best power but the slowest and heaviest. Finally there’s the Tsubaki MK-III, a samurai sword with the best speed, weight, agility, and range.

It is slightly weaker than the Tsubaki MK-II but stronger than the others, and it has a battery that never runs out so no recharging is required! Defeating each boss earns you extra health that is permanent; in fact, training at the gym in Thunder Ryu’s building increases even more health, extends beam katana combo, and also “strength” apparently making boss fights easier. Speaking of the assassins, they’re essentially the main focus of the game as you clear the rankings to kill Jeane and avenge your fallen parents.

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Each of them has their own fighting style, moveset, and weapons, with many fighting strategies and high damaging or instant death moves. They are from descending order. Helter Skelter, #10: Death Metal, #9: Dr. Peace, #8: Shinobu, #7: Destroy-Man, #6: Holly Summers, #5: Letz Shake, #4: Harvey, #3: Speed Buster, #2: Bad Girl, #1: Jeane, and Henry Cooldown. These bosses can take dozens of hits or even hundreds on harder difficulties, but quick dodge and wrestling moves enable extra damage.

While strategy and skill are needed, they all follow the same fighting process: wait for them to attack, dodge or block it, and then approach and attack, using quick dodge and wrestling when possible. Later bosses undoubtedly get much harder as it takes longer to attack them, many of their attacks must be dodged or blocked correctly, and the battle is dragged on forever. Enemies are freaking easy and nothing more for humor and to warm up before fighting the bosses.

Button mashing takes care of most minions, while others need to be blocked and then slashed repeatedly. Later on, you should use jump attacks, combos, and finisher moves to deal with multiple enemies. If I never mentioned it before, shaking the Wii Remote in addition to swinging in the specific direction on screen charges up the finisher move to deal massive damage and larger range. You can use an instant beheading move which I don’t really know how to execute though it’s very similar to charged combo attack.

Verdict

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Now while I did mention about replay value in the past, I never really discussed how long the content takes to beat nor its specifications. It take approximately 20 hours for the first playthrough, 30+ hours for the new game plus, and 5-12 hours for a speed run and/or consecutive attempts. Side jobs and killing missions have a ranking system which you’re given a medal and monetary record that shows your performance. Boss fights have this too but have time, damage taken, attack combos, and enemy kills as factors.

So not only for bragging rights and ego inflation but also for more and money as well as to unlock extra content. Side jobs are few (only 9) though completely different that offer creative tasks to complete such as hunting scorpions, finding coconuts, or destroying land-mines. Most of the assassination quests are just murdering all the enemies though some must be done in bizarre ways. They consist of using wrestling moves only, deflecting baseballs to athletes, killing a specific target, with controls and mature content adding fuel to the fire.

What sucks is that the awesome boss fights are a few star clusters in a large galaxy; however, the new game plus more than makes up for it. You’re able to relive not just the boss fights but also other great moments as well, without having to get back all your weapons, upgrades, skills, strength, collectibles, and money. So you can skip side quests if you despise them and forget about having to start all the way from scratch – plus, it’s easier and better to embark on harder difficulties this way.

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No More Heroes was a fun and addicting game that I thoroughly enjoyed all the way and my first time playing a mature-rated and beat-’em-up game. Okay, to be honest I got pissed off with many of the killing missions and struggled with the boss fights, but with enough practice, this no longer was an issue. This was the first time that the boss’ AI would outsmart me when I became too arrogant and careless which helped me in the long-run. I love the humor of Suda 51 and look forward to playing Desperate Struggle.

Even though I criticize the game’s flaws, I’m just trying to be realistic by analyzing it from a critical point of view. Graphics don’t look as bad except in the cutscenes while we all have to agree that even just a little more content would’ve helped. The plot and music are phenomenal with only minor flaws; whereas the controls are questionable with the awkward dodging, knockback effect, and bizarre lock-on targetting which create confusion and frustration in gamers.

To end this review off, No More Heroes is a funny yet serious game filled with adult content that compliments the action-packed gameplay putting off the 1980’s vibe. Despite it having atrocious graphics, frustrating combat mechanics, barebones content, the misadventure of Travis Touchdown is something recommended for the hardcore crowd. With memorable music, fluid controls, brilliant plot, and epic boss fights, this is a high-quality game that is not to be missed including Desperate Struggle and Heroes Paradise.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Review

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was the first Zelda and adventure game that I played. Even though I played other Zelda games before, this was the only Zelda game that I played and beaten. It came out all the way back in 2006 for the Nintendo Wii, and later for the Nintendo Game-Cube in 2007. At first, this game was intended to be a Game-Cube title; but due to the console’s ending lifespan and the coming of the Wii, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was pushed to the Nintendo Wii first and later ported on to the Nintendo Game-Cube.

Being the successor to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (which was also a Nintendo Game-Cube title) and the spiritual successor to Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess had many people hyped up for it back at E3 in 2004. Since I was still a little kid at the time, I never knew nor purchased this game until 2012. And this was all thanks to the trophies of Twilight Princess in Super Smash Bros. Brawl that I got the year before. Although obvious yet unimportant, I do in fact have the Nintendo Selects re-release and not the original copy on the Nintendo Wii.

Upon getting the game, I thought it was going to be a much different experience than Mario games (which I played the most and owned at the time). Because I was new to the adventure genre and Zelda franchise in general, I struggled with alot of the challenges it gave me and often got pissed off and immediately resorted to reading a walkthrough guide. There was many ups and downs, making me wanting to go back and play some more.

Graphic

Graphically speaking, Twilight Princess doesn’t have graphics that seem impressive for a Nintendo Wii game. It was originally a Nintendo Game-Cube title, so this game will only impress those that own the Game-Cube copy. Overall, the graphics just look terrible on the Nintendo Wii, especially with the 16:9 widescreen presentation. But, if you have the separately sold HD component cable, this game gets upscaled to look just as good as a typical game on the Nintendo Wii. I do have to give Nintendo credit though, for making Twilight Princess to being the most realistic Zelda at its time when compared to other games before it.

This game runs under a resolution of 480i standard-definition, but is not in progressive scan. So unless you have the HD component cable or playing it on the Nintendo Game-Cube, you will never experience it in a native resolution of full 480p SD. As with previous Zelda games, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess runs at 30 frames per second, but for an adventure game only slightly smaller than Skyrim and Grand Theft Auto 5 (in terms of the total area) that is an impressive feat.

Textures just add to the low quality graphics of an already bad looking game on the Nintendo Wii. Everything in this game from people to buildings look blurry, low quality, and extremely pixelated and generic like in Ocarina of Time. Zooming in with the camera or backing away doesn’t make any kind of difference with the game’s bad looking textures. The only exception to the textures are background and foreground textures, whether it’s the sky, sun, water, twilight, lava, and so on. Far away objects fixed into the sky like Death Mountain also look good.

Fortunately, all of the character, enemy , and even boss models make up for the horrible graphics. Characters look great in this game, and even looks good for a Nintendo Wii game. The character models are nicely done, and imitate the game’s artwork and what most Zelda fans imagine of for any 3D Zelda game. Even the enemy models look more detailed and realistic as their overall look isn’t as pixelated or jaggy as seen in Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.

By utilizing a realistic graphical art style, the overall lighting effects deeply reflect the game’s mood and atmosphere. I won’t go too much with the plot right now, however, the lighting effects perfectly match it. This is especially true with the Twilight Realms and hours, as everything perfectly blends in with this type of lighting. That’s not to say that there’s only this type though, as certain times of the day and weather conditions can change the lighting effects as well. And yes, there are finally different weather conditions now besides sun and snow.

With the alternate realms being introduced, you can for the first time witness the black pixels flying around the air when exploring these depressing worlds, which showcases this game’s excellent particle effects. Speaking of particle effects, older effects are enhanced as well as newer effects being introduced. Coloring and shadowing enhance the realism, with shadow effects being fully used with characters and objects depending on the amount of brightness. However, what adds to the realism also decreases its appeal as most colors are restricted to green, brown, gray, blue, and white (which are colors seen in real-life and realistic video games).

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Music/Sound

Music is beautifully composed and fits well with the mood and atmosphere of this game. All the songs that were specifically composed for the main areas in the hub-world match them perfectly as well. There are a ton of musical genres, from country to classical, and there’s even full instrumental songs for the first time also. The music sounds good, but it does lack some variations  that were in past Zelda games, such as orchestral and vocal music.

Not much to say about the sound quality, but what I do have to say is that it’s just extremely terrible. Whenever there are multiple sounds being played simultaneously, some sounds will be drowned out by others and/or vice versa. There is also a static-like sound that can be heard in the background, something that was only heard in older video games from the 80’s to the early 90’s (though not as obvious or extreme).

Sound effects in this game are much better and more realistic than previous Zelda games. Many of the weapon sound effects are top-par, with each effect sounding just like their reality counterparts. The voicing of the characters (if many even consider it voicing) still sound like animal grunts and fighting cries, but we’ll discuss about voice acting later. The sound effects also sound realistic and high-quality as well. Also, certain sound effects can also be heard via the Wii Remote’s speaker, which is a great addition that could have been implemented better.

Controls

As being one of the first games released for the Nintendo Wii, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess had many motion and pointer-gimmicks implemented into the game. The best part about these new motion controls is that they actually work well and don’t feel too gimmicky as it may seem. But before digging that deep, let’s start with the basics. Tilting the control stick makes Link move around, pressing the C button turns on the first person camera, and the Z button allows for lock-on targeting. The d-pad allows up to 3 items being used (as well as calling up Midna for help) and the B button holds the current equipped item.

Pressing the + button will bring up the pause menu and the – button brings up the item select menu. Pressing the 1 button summons the map screen and pressing the 2 button hides the on-screen map. The A button makes Link do all sorts of commands such as rolling, pushing, talking, throwing, shooting, and the like. Later in the game, you’ll be able to warp and transform into a wolf at will by calling up Midna. The current item you’re using is with the B button, so switching to another equipped item is a simple matter of pressing a certain direction of the d-pad.  You can also unlock advanced sword techniques called hidden skills later in the game.

Motion controls is probably one of the biggest new features to Twilight Princess. Instead of using buttons to attack with the sword, you can now use the Wii Remote and repeatedly shake it to maneuver the sword’s movements. Because of this, you can also for the first time attack with your sword while running too. You can use the Nunchuk as well, but only for a single forward thrust to perform a shield attack with the shield. Even though this isn’t close to being 1:1 motion controls (as the game isn’t compatible and was made before the Wii Motion Plus), it’s still very fun to use and doesn’t put away any wrist strains nor does it feel entirely gimmicky.

Other gimmick-like controls includes pointer controls that enhanced the gaming experience even further. Simply pointing the Wii Remote on the screen shows a fairy (resembling Navi from Ocarina of Time) and is used as a cursor when using certain items, as an on-screen pointer for menu selection, or when switching to first person mode with the zoom in camera. So when using items requiring a reticle, instead of aiming with the control stick, you can now aim with the pointer instead. Not only is it much more accurate, it’s also much faster and useful in many quick-time events or situations.

The controls, both traditional and innovative, are amazing for Twilight Princess and make up for the low-quality graphics. The controls never malfunction and even the motion and pointer-controls work smoothly as well (unless you’re using the Wii Motion Plus or Wii Remote Plus). In the event that they do malfunction, simply re-calibrating it in the settings will fix it, but this almost never happens. After playing and adapting to these controls, you will never want to go back to traditional button pressing ever again (unless for Zelda games on handheld systems).

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Plot Analysis

The story starts off around 100 years after the events of  The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (and somehow after Majora’s Mask…) , so explaining the game’s plot will be a challenge because of the many flashbacks and chronologically confusing events. It begins right where Ocarina of Time left off but supposedly at the beginning of  Majora’s Mask (in which only applies to the flashbacks regarding Ganondorf). After Link goes back in time to meet Zelda, he can somehow tell her of Ganondorf’s true intentions and plans, resulting in her reporting to the king who eventually arrests him for treason against the royal family.

Upon the Ancient Sages capturing, torturing, and executing Ganondorf in Gerudo Desert, they found out that he somehow…got the Triforce of Power… and uses it to revive himself, break free from the metal chains, and murders one of the Sages. They then proceed to banish him to the Twilight Realm, which coincidentally allows him to give some of his magical powers to Zant there around 100 years later. Zant uses it to curse Midna (the chosen ruler of the realm) into an imp, so he can become the ruler. He then proceeds to transform (most of the) people into Shadows Beasts and escapes into Hyrule in order to wreck havoc there. Ganondorf sees this as an opportunity and escapes as well, but goes into hiding in Hyrule Castle after Zant invaded invaded it and took Zelda prisoner, allowing Hyrule to turn into darkness without any resistance.

Meanwhile in the present day and age, we have Link, who is a young adult and ranching apprentice living in the rural village of Ordon in this game’s plot. After meeting up with all of the villagers and herding the goats, Link wakes up the next day to rest. While doing so, Link receives some new weapons such as a slingshot and sword, plays with the children, and and chases after a monkey (that were being chased by the kids) into Faron Woods. Upon saving the monkey and Talo, Rusl tells Link about the strangeness of the woods as it is now being inhabited by monsters, while reminding him of a trip to deliver a sword and shield to Princess Zelda in Hyrule Castle within Hyrule.

The next day, Link gets scolded by his unofficial girlfriend Illia and takes Epona away for being too harsh on the horse to the Ordon Spring. Right after negotiating with her (with Collin’s explanation and help), the trio gets ambushed by King Bulblin, a herd of giant boars, and some Bulblins, knocking Link out with a wooden club and kidnapping all of the village children by firing arrows. While unconscious, a group of Shadows Beasts appear and somehow steal the last light source from Faron (the light spirit of Faron Woods), making Hyrule finally covered in complete darkness, all the while Link passes out for only 3 seconds. Link then wakes up and gives chase, but upon going to Faron Woods, he discovers a magical wall before getting sucked in by a Shadow Beast, but saved by the Triforce of Courage…and gets abducted after transforming into a wolf.

When he wakes up, Link noticed he became a wolf and got captured and imprisoned in a castle dungeon. From out of nowhere, Midna appears and befriends Link, promising to rescue the village children if Link collects the Fused Shadows which are capable of defeating Zant. They eventually escape and go into a castle tower and meet up with Zelda, who explains to Link about the fate of Hyrule. Midna warps Link back after the conversation and orders him to get a sword and shield to revive Hyrule to its “light-filled state”, but not before massacring several Shadow Beasts, getting attacked by the villagers, and collecting Tears of Light (by searching and killing dark-bugs).

Faron Woods gets revived after and Link transforms back into a human, wearing the green tunic that Link wore in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Faron tells him that he is the Hero of Time and must restore light to the other regions of Hyrule, as well as collecting all 3 Fused Shadows to save the kingdom from an apocalyptic future. The game then pauses its story here to make up for the lack of gameplay, with some smaller plot events occurring, such as when meeting up with the village children in Kakariko Village, defeating and befriending the Gorons in Death Mountain, and escorting Prince Ralis from Hyrule Castle Town to Kakariko Village.

After beating the first three dungeons, Link gets warped back to Lanayru Spring. As soon as Link turns around, he meets the one person that nobody would have ever expected to meet so early in the game: Zant. He transforms all of Hyrule back into Twilight, puts a permanent wolf curse on Link, and takes away the Fused Shadows from Midna (via telekinetic abilities). Midna begs Zant to undo the darkness and fulfills her request, in which she unknowingly was used against her and almost kills her (when Lanayru  the light-spirit rises to kill Zant but fails). Link and Midna then go meet Zelda again in Hyrule Castle to help cure Link. Midna gets healed by Zelda but seemingly vanishes from it and Link learns from her that the Master Sword in the Sacred Grove can undo his curse.

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The two leave Zelda but at the expense of Hyrule Castle being enclosed in a magical pyramid-like shield. Once they reach Faron Woods, they save and meet the monkey that was seen earlier in the game, who tells them of a hidden location to the right of Forest Temple. Both eventually discover it, chase down Skull Kid, and solve probably the game’s hardest puzzle before getting the Master Sword. Link transforms back into a human, accepts the new sword and somehow wipes out the old sword. Midna keeps the magical curse so Link could transform into a wolf and warp to different portals at will.

Midna asks Link to go to a hidden location containing the Mirror of  Twilight, a giant mirror creating a portal between Hyrule and the Twilight Realm. She states this is the only way to reach and stop Zant from continuing his evil reign and empire, and to stop Midna’s curse to change herself back into human. Upon travelling to Hyrule Castle Town for clues, Link comes across a group of adults that is a resistance group against Zant. They help Link in finding and getting access to the Mirror of Twilight, located in another dungeon in Gerudo Desert.

As stupid as it may seem, Link and Midna discover that the Mirror of Twilight has been destroyed by none other than Zant. The Ancient Sages appear and tell them a little back story of Ganondorf, telling Link to find the other three remaining fragments in Snowpeak Mountain, Sacred Grove, and The City In The Sky. The story also starts to die off at this point until the very end, with the exception of meeting with each member of the resistance group at those three new locations, and when you have to do this side-mission to help restore Illia’s memory in order to access the last dungeon. Fortunately though, this is when the development and plot of the side-quests start improving.

Near the end, Link succeeds in piecing back together the shattered fragments of the Mirror of Twilight and enters the Twilight Realm and hunt down Zant once and for all. Although appearing to be a serious and corrupt villain, Zant is actually just a power hungry psychopath that lusts for power, authority, and magic. After battling him, it turns out that Zant wasn’t actually killed by the Master Sword, rather he was only mortally wounded. Midna finally retrieves the Fused Shadows, and when ant pisses her off, she ends up killing him out of her anger alone. Even she herself is astonished at this new power and decides to hunt down Ganondorf after realizing that killing Zant never stopped the imp curse.

Feeling sympathy for Zelda for selflessly helping Midna, she convinces Link to head to Hyrule Castle to save her. As they reach the castle, Midna uses the Fused Shadows to transform into a huge monster to destroy Ganondorf’s magical barrier so that they can enter. Along the way though, King Bulblin decided to challenge Link for the fourth and final time, as well as getting help from the resistance group when obtaining the boss key. After scaling five floors, Link enters the throne room and confronts Ganondorf, with Zelda somehow teleported to the middle of the Triforce statue on top of the throne after vanishing. Ganondorf talk for a bit about his philosophy and master plan before possessing Zelda and challenging Link to battle.

Link defeats Ganondorf while inside Zelda’s body after a match of electrical tennis inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Midna uses the Fused Shadows to exorcise Zelda to force Ganondorf out of her body. The pair reunites but Ganondorf suddenly transforms into Ganon (this time being a giant boar instead of a blue anthropomorphic pig monster). Link manages to defeat Ganon with the help of the Master Sword and wolf transformation. When Midna approaches Zelda, her chest starts emitting out magic to Zelda’s chest, which somehow awakens her. Zelda confesses to Midna that her soul was inside of her the whole time and felt all of the harsh experiences that Midna went through. Suddenly, Ganondorf disintegrates his monster form and transforms into a demon head to support his last moments of life.

Feeling shock and fear at the seemingly immortal Ganondorf, Midna quickly thinks fast and warps Link and Zelda outside to Hyrule Field. She then uses the Fused Shadows to transform into a monster and uses a giant spear to stop Ganondorf, but not long after an explosion erupts from the castle, revealing Ganondorf fully revived on horseback with Midna’s helmet, signifying her death and defeat. He then charges towards Link and Zelda with his horse and the magical spirit knights that he summoned. Link, angered by Midna’s death, attempts to charge as well but Zelda calms him down and warps the two to an alternate dimension.

Using her…talent of…summoning the light spirits…they appear out of nowhere and give her light arrows (without a light bow). Zelda seduces Link to help her stop Ganondorf, and he reluctantly agrees to help. The cute couple then mysteriously appears on Epona and challenges Ganondorf to a horseback battle. Link easily defeats him with the help of Zelda’s light arrows (that electrocute and paralyze Ganondorf), making Ganondorf fall down and his black horse spontaneously combust into thin air. Ganondorf then stands up taking out the sword he stole from the Ancient Sages, and challenges Link to a sword duel between good and evil.

Zelda and Epona both get isolated from the battle as Ganondorf places a magical barrier around him and Link. Link succeeds in defeating Ganondorf in one of the franchise’s most easy final boss battles, stabbing him through the chest with the Master Sword to kill him. As Ganondorf dies, he finally loses his Triforce of Power, with Zant appearing in his consciousness and somehow ends Ganondorf’s life by snapping his own neck. With Ganondorf dead and standing on his two feet somehow, Link stands there with Zelda appearing to be playing with her hair and dress as the sun sets down for the evening. Link somehow hears and sees things coming from a hill and witnesses the light spirits doing something to a shadow resembling Midna as the storm clears for a bright, sunny day.

Happy as ever, Link runs faster than running in his wolf form to confirm his hallucinations and disbelief. What is in Midna’s place is…Midna being revived back to her human form. She gets up and asks Link why he isn’t responding back…and assumes because she is too beautiful for him to say anything…even though he was mute the whole time. Link then shows the most happiest and emotional face ever seen in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and the credits appear shortly after. During those credits, the village children leave Kakariko Village and heading for Ordon Village. You can also see all of the people of Hyrule Castle Town happy, as well as the children finally reuniting with their parents (even though they could have done that a long time ago).

Off in Gerudo Desert, Link and the two princesses have a philosophical discussion in which Link doesn’t talk in at all. Midna thanks Zelda for all that she did, while Midna indirectly admits that she developed a romantic crush on Link the time they were together. She then makes a single tear fly to the Mirror of Twilight, and it effortlessly shatters it (but not before warping back to the Twilight Realm). Link and Zelda somehow travel back to Hyrule without Midna’s warping abilities in which the couple then parts ways. The castle gets rebuilt, the Master Sword returns to its pedestal, and the story finally ends.

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The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess takes place in Hyrule around 100 years after the events of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask (at least according to Hyrule Hystoria). Nintendo does make a realistic, mature, and more darker approach to this game’s plot, mood, and atmosphere. However, this game lacks alot of character development, something that thrived in past 3D Zelda games that were not dark or serious as this one. All of the NPC’s have little to no emotion or interesting personality, nor do they have anything good to do or say when observing or talking to them. Speaking of NPC’s, there are barely any to begin with as all but the main and plot-relevant NPC’s have no personality or uniqueness to them.

Cutscenes make a return but are much more cinematic than before. They provide much more information  and detail, allowing players to understand the plot and characters more. This time around, cutscenes are also more action and scenery-based, rather than just showing conversations between people and introducing bosses or new areas. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess gets really cinematic during the beginning and the end, but also shows many flash-backs throughout the game as well (which is a great disappointment for those against cinematic cutscenes). Overall, the cutscenes look and play really well, and does a great job on showcasing the game’s excellent character models and lighting effects.

Animation in the cutscenes are good as everything looks natural, with the movement of characters much smoother and faster the more choppy animations seen in the Zelda titles for the Nintendo 64. What is terrible though are the facial expressions seen on the characters’ faces. Unlike in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess does a terrible job of facial expressions, as it’s almost unclear which emotions the characters are expressing. The only features that change when characters are expressing emotion are the eye-brows and mouth; besides that, no other facial feature changes.

Like in past Zelda games, Twilight Princess uses text boxes for dialogue in the cutscenes and character interactions. There is still no voice acting, a big shame since it would perfectly fit well with a Zelda game. Even other popular Nintendo franchises like Star-Fox has voice acting in it. Dialogue is still limited to text boxes, but at least there are grunts and cries (with the exception of Midna speaking gibberish and the only character with “voice-acting”). The script itself is top notch and matches the characters’ personalities well. Although reading is a chore, it pays off with the game’s great story.

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Gameplay

Twilight Princess is mainly about exploring new areas, beating dungeons and bosses, using medieval weapons, and saving Princess Zelda. You control Link the hero and protagonist of each game that has elf ears and a green dress…um, I mean green tunic. The main objective is to explore dungeons, collect items, and solve puzzles. At the end of each dungeon is a boss, with a mini-boss occupying the middle half, rewarding you with a new item upon defeating it. Along the way, you can explore towns and new geographic areas, meet new people, complete side-quests, and get new item and weapon upgrades.

Like other Zelda games, Link has to acquire a sword and shield before going to the first dungeon. You use weapons to fight enemies, explore new areas, and solve complex puzzles. Some items can be found in dungeons but other items can be acquired through plot advancement or side-quests. Lock-On Targeting is also a veteran feature, which allows you to lock on to a specific target such as an enemy or person. Once locked on, it will never leave your sight  and allows for more close range and precise attacks/interaction with the character or enemy. This mechanic is also useful for hitting with enemies with projectiles accurately when using items requiring ammunition.

Another returning mechanic is using Link’s horse Epona seen from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. By riding on Epona, players can get to far places much faster, and for the first time ever, engage in horseback  battles with enemies throughout Hyrule Field. While on horseback, Link is able to use his sword to attack, as well as other items requiring pointer controls to use. You can even drink potions to heal yourself in battle and lock on to any close targets. There are also side missions and jousting battles with King Bulbin.

The most newest and hyped feature for Twilight Princess is the wolf transformation. After entering the Twilight Realm for the first time, Link transforms into a wolf. Being a wolf allows you to have better agility and stamina, use melee combo attacks, warp to different areas via portals, dig out hidden goodies and enter underground passages, talk to animals, and interact with spirits. You can even use Midna with certain attacks, solving certain puzzles, or reaching hard-to-reach areas. Getting the Master Sword later in the game allows you to transform and warp at will. With the wolf mechanic, you can even see spirits and certain smelly odors that can be followed to trace a specific person.

Hyrule is the setting of the game, and is probably the biggest overworld yet for any video game in general. The overworld consists of Ordon Village, Faron Woods, Sacred Grove, Hyrule Field, Kakariko Village, Death Mountain, Hidden Village, Hyrule Castle Town, Hyrule Castle, Upper Zora River, Zora’s Domain, Gerudo Desert, Lake Hylia, and Snowpeak Mountain. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has areas that are linear and non-linear, which allows for some great exploration without being too confusing. There are so many new secret new areas to explore, this time specifically being several hidden caves and underground dens scattered throughout Hyrule, containing many enemies and hidden goodies. There are also much more alternate routes, as well as warp portals that add to the fun of exploring old areas with new ways of travelling.

What really brings down the exploration is that some areas are too linear, while non linear areas suffer from being too much of a barren wasteland. This is true with many areas like Hyrule Field, Gerudo Desert, Lake Hylia, Snowpeak Mountain, and Zora’s Domain. The overworld also lacks in the quantity of towns, as many overly large areas could be filled with a town such as Gerudo Desert or Snowpeak Mountain. There are also way too many bridges throughout Hyrule Field, making me wonder how bridges relate to Nintendo’s employees.

Dungeons are the most important aspect and there are a whopping ten dungeons this time around. They consist of Forest Temple, Goron Mines, Lakebed Temple, Arbiter’s Grounds, Snowpeak Ruins, Temple of Time, City In The Sky, Cave of Ordeals, Palace of Twilight, and also Hyrule Castle. All of them are wonderfully designed, look aesthetically appealing, and have many great weapons, enemies, and bosses. Unfortunately, any veteran Zelda fan and player should find these dungeons to be extremely easy and boring as a result.

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Weapons is what makes Link’s collection and can somehow all fit into his tiny item pouches. They consist of the Hero’s Tunic, Zora Suit Armor, Red Magical Armor, Ordon Sword, Master Sword, Wooden Shield, Hylian Shield, Rupee Wallet, Arrow Quivers, Fused Shadows, Mirror of Twilight, Fishing Rod, Slingshot, Empty Bottle, Oil Lantern, Gale Boomerang, Iron Boots, Hero’s Bow, Hawkeye Mask, Bombs, Water Bombs, Bomblings, Claw Shots, Spinner, Ball & Chain, Dominion Rod, Sky Book, and  Bomb Bags.

The Zora Suit Armor lets you swim and breathe underwater; the Red Magical Armor protects your health at the cost of rupees, and the Fused Shadows are artifacts from the Twilight Realm that contain strong magic and evil. Oil Lantern is a lantern that can light up dark areas but run on oil; the Hawkeye Mask is essentially sniping binoculars for your Hero’s Bow; Bomblings are bombs that look like bugs and can automatically target enemies but are extremely slow. Last but not least, the Spinner is a life sized spinning top that can ride over sand and align to gears, while the Dominion Rod can control certain statues to make them move and attack.

The bosses in this game are extremely easy for any Zelda veteran players playing this game. They consist of Diababa, Fyrus, Morpheel, Stallord, Blizzeta, Gohma, Argorok, Zant, Puppet Zelda, Ganon, and finally Ganondorf himself. Each boss occupies their own dungeon and will always leave behind a Heart Container (which increases Link’s total health by 1 full heart), as well as a Fused Shadow part or Mirror of Twilight fragment except for Zant and the many transformations of Ganondorf. Bosses this time around are easy and only deal up to three hearts of total damage (even for newcomers and casual gamers) and they also don’t require a complex strategy to beat.

Side-Quests are a huge component  and make up for what the main quest lacks, and even occupies your time if all you want to do is sit back and have fun without completing the main quest. They can range from mini-games, side-missions, collectibles, errands, and so on. Overall, the side quests are very fun and interesting to do, allows players to take a break from the dungeons, increase their overall skill and inventory, and adds more replayability value. While it isn’t mandatory for beating the game, it is for 100% completion if you are trying to be a completionist for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

At first, players will be extremely limited with only a couple side quests, but as the game progresses (especially near unlocking access to Arbiter’s Grounds) it actually gets much better. There’s goat herding, arrow target practice, orb collecting, lure fishing, bombing jars, balloon popping, snow-board racing, as well as heart pieces, empty bottles, golden bugs, Poe souls, and hidden skills to collect and obtain. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg as there are even more side-quests such as Poe Soul Hunt, Spring Water Errand, Construction of Malo Mart, Bug Scavenger Hunt, 1000 Rupee Donation, and the Cave of Ordeals.

As said earlier, Twilight Princess is an extremely easy game that was meant to be targeted for teenagers and hardcore gamers alike, yet almost any person who played a Zelda game before can beat it with little to no effort. As a result, many Zelda veterans may find this game to be very boring and will not enjoy it as much as a newcomer to the Zelda franchise or a casual gamer.It is extremely easy during the prologue and first three dungeons and somehow gets even easier in the last two dungeons and epilogue.

Dungeons are typically easy with only one or two puzzles that make veteran Zelda players think for a brief moment before easily solving it. They do get more difficult later on with previous dungeon items and specific wolf puzzles being implemented when you unlock those features. It’s literally impossible to lose your way in these dungeons, especially with the on-screen map and after obtaining the compass that reveals all of the dungeon’s special and hidden goodies, terrain, rooms, doors, mini-bosses and bosses. But some are actually very fun despite being very easy and some are new to Zelda such as City In The Sky and Palace of Twilight.

The overall difficulty of the puzzles are also toned down drastically (probably to attract casual gamers and improve sales – well, for the Wii version at least). They don’t require that much thinking and usually only need one dungeon item to solve. Speaking of dungeon items, it’s really unfortunate that some puzzles that are actually fun and challenging are only seen in a particular dungeon and never seen again. This applies to some items as well such as the Spinner, Ball & Chain, Double Claw-Shot, and the Light Master Sword. All of these are great items that should have had its puzzles used to its fullest potential for a better gaming experience. What does make up for the lack of difficulty though are the missions taking place between dungeons, which are long and challenging, but some get too long and frustrating.

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Verdict

Looking back, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a fun game to play with incredible replayability value. With so much side-quests to do, players will always be occupied with something; whether it’s the mini-games, errands, side-missions, or collectibles. Plus, the over-world of Hyrule is huge, filled with many geographic areas and towns to explore in. Each area has so much to explore with its massive area, and having hidden goodies scattered throughout secret areas (caves, pits, and the like) that can only be accessed with future items also adds to the replaybaility value as well.

As with any game, Twilight Princess has its own fair share of benefits and flaws. (Bear in mind that the pros and cons are mostly determined by my opinion and experience only). Nintendo did it right with the character models and lighting effects. They also did it right with the controls, making me want to see future Zelda games implementing motion and pointer gimmicks such as The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. I also like the plot and gameplay and most of the things that I personally praise are disliked and heavily criticized by other people, making me the minority.

In general, the graphics for this game are extremely terrible, as there are older and less realistic games on the Nintendo Game-Cube that look even better such as Star Fox: Adventures and Metroid Prime. The sound quality is just downright terrible and fails to make up for the crappy looking graphics. The game is also too easy for veteran and skilled Zelda players, posing little to no challenge even for newcomers and casual gamers as well. Nintendo also tried too hard with making a realistic looking game as possible and copying too much off of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which made this game to be hated by many gamers.

My verdict for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is that it is the best 3D Zelda game to date. Although its graphics, sound quality, difficulty level, and originality is underwhelming, it makes it up with its excellent soundtrack, controls, plot, character models, lighting effects, gameplay mechanics, over-world, and the side quests. Overall, if you had to choose between this game and Skyward Sword, I would definitely choose this instead. And I recommend getting the Wii version over the Game-Cube version (unless you care about aesthetics and traditional controls, then by all means). The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess certainly deserves a good score of 7.8 out of 10.