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The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Out now!

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The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess - Review
Written by James Hobbs

I'm going to be blunt about it: Twilight Princess isn't a perfect game. It's nowhere near a perfect game, in fact, and there's been a vast amount of hyperbole surrounding this game that built my expectations up to a level that, sadly, has not quite been satisfied.

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He's friendlier than he looks.

As you may know, Twilight Princess is a very, very large game. Almost unfathomably so, in fact, particularly at the beginning. Initially, most of the game world is sealed off and shrouded in twilight, and as you progress, new areas are unlocked for you to explore. As with most Zelda titles, you start off in a village Ordon village in this case. It's a delightfully presented, charming environment in which to begin the tale, and generates a suitably majestic and almost ethereal atmosphere that is present throughout the whole game.

This atmosphere is perhaps one of the reasons why this game manages to overcome some of the flaws that would, in another title, be difficult to overlook. Everything about this game is cinematic, and every cut-scene and action seems to have such gravitas that, most of the time, there is such a sense of purpose behind your actions that you feel positively inspired. The direction of the many cut-scenes in the game utilises a wealth of different types of shots that really enhances the experience it is like watching a film. Lots of wide and sweeping shots are used to illustrate the scale of the environments in which you find yourself, and the art direction of the game is used to full extent. You can be standing on top of a waterfall, with mountains in the distance, or overlooking Lake Hylia with the desert high over the hill, and all of these environments can be visited at will. You don't feel restricted, and the game allows you a lot of freedom in terms of where you can go.

After learning the ropes in Ordon Village, you find yourself tossed into the midst of an epic, almost eternal battle. An evil wizard has emerged from the world of twilight and shrouded most of Hyrule in eternal night, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, it's your task to sort it out. What initially seems to be a somewhat simple, if lengthy task, evolves very intelligently as you progress through the game. Just as you think you might almost have succeeded in your latest task, the game throws an entirely new plot dynamic at you, and the whole direction of the game shifts.

Upon entering the Twilight realm Link takes the form of a wolf his twilight form. This is incredibly strange at first, particularly if you've played Zelda games before, and it does provide some new challenges. However, whilst the wolf's abilities are very different to those possessed by Link, the gameplay does become incredibly repetitive and dull, and it feels like a chore instead of an absolute necessity. One of the many tasks you have to complete as a wolf is collecting 'tears' of light that have been scattered throughout each Twilight realm- this is possibly one of the most pitifully redundant and stagnant pieces of gaming imaginable. It's absolute tosh, and by the time you've been asked to collect the tears for the third time in a new area, you find yourself willing for it to end. It's several hours the game could have done without. The control system augments this annoyance controlling the wolf isn't particularly intuitive, and is worryingly imprecise. Whilst targeting with the Z button does improve matters, it still isn't ideal.

Thankfully, after substantial gameplay, you eventually gain the ability to switch between human forms and wolf forms at will, and this is where the game becomes a bit more clever. Certain puzzles will require you to change into the wolf to follow a scent, and then change back in order to pull a lever or open a door. This kind of invention is very welcome in a title that shamelessly references the previous games very frequently if you've played a Zelda game before, a lot of the puzzles won't provide too much of a challenge for you. Indeed, a great amount of the game feels redundant, particularly in the dungeons the moments of invention such as the wolf / human puzzle solving, and the mini-games make the game immeasurably better.

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