The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD Review (Wii U)
I had forgotten just how cool The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was as I was replaying the HD remake for this review. The original release being almost ten years ago as a launch title for Wii, it's been a long time since I journeyed through Hyrule as Twilight Princess presented it. I had forgotten how dark some of the scenes get, how completely badass Ganondorf is, and how much this story grips me from beginning to end. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD reminded me of all of it — just as a good remastering should — but this return to Hyrule isn't without its flaws.
Let's say this up front: Twilight Princess HD is exactly that, the complete Twilight Princess experience from beginning to end with better graphics. If you played the original as I had on either GameCube or Wii then there's no extra bits of lore and very few new features to get excited about. Granted this decision likely falls under the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" principle, but it's still true. Having loved Twilight Princess the first go-round I had no trouble getting right back into it, and I still got goosebumps at some of the marquee moments throughout the game.
One major non-visual upgrade is the implementation of the GamePad, which makes inventory control and switching between Wolf Link and Human Link worlds easier. I'm changing weapons on the fly just by dragging the weapon I want to use into one of the three button slots at the top of the screen. I'm checking the dungeon map to make sure I'm headed into a room I've never seen before. The GamePad does wonders for the overall experience, streamlining the item management process to a single finger movement.
Where the GamePad fails miserably, however, is in the aiming of certain items during gameplay. Where before I was pointing my Wii Remote right at the screen and lining up my arrow shot, here I must turn and aim the GamePad in the correct manner before firing. This creates some of the most infuriating non-puzzle related moments in TPHD, as aiming becomes a massive chore with awfully touchy and unresponsive mechanics. When I'm pining for the days of motion control to help me aim the Clawshot, you know things are rough.
Adding to the GamePad's woes is the wonky camera, which I'm pretty sure might be the worst camera of all time. I try to zoom out and I get a glimpse of the top of Link's head, I zoom in and I see his eye and nothing else. I found I was always struggling with the camera, especially in tight situations, and it's a real pain when I'm trying to conquer a dungeon and I can't see the dang enemies in front of me. It's a real sad thing too, considering the GamePad controls the rest of the game so admirably.
The only new content in this Twilight Princess re-release involves amiibo, the trusty Wolf Link specifically. The new Cave of Shadows is a trial of combat progressively getting more difficult as the dungeon progresses. Of course as the difficulty increases so too do the rewards, but at the core this is just a variant of the Cave of Ordeals featured in the main game. It doesn't feel new or exciting, it just feels like I'm tapping the amiibo for no reason, and that's a shame as I had thought there'd be more new content to go around.
Where the amiibo fails in bringing new content it excels in making things more convenient for me the player. I can let the Wolf Link amiibo know what save file is mine and it allows me to load my save at the title screen without pressing another button. The instant I see Link on Epona about to run through the field I can tap the amiibo and load my save, and that's amazingly cool. It's a little thing, but it's still wonderful.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD is a wonderful re-emergence of a wonderful game. The brand new HD visuals make the game look better than ever before, really capturing the beauty and majesty of Twilight Princess. The new game mode is fun, but it doesn't add anything of value to the overall TPHD feel. Otherwise it's the same Twilight Princess I'd played multiple times since the original launch on Wii back in 2006. It may not be perfect, but this remastering does one heck of a job bringing back an old classic from the dead.
This review was completed using a retail copy of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD for WIi U.