Looks aren’t everything, but they do count!
The next addition to the Legend of Zelda series, Twilight Princess, is a quantum leap from the previous console game in the main series, The Wind Waker. This can be characterized both as a step back, because it steps away from the characteristic graphics of The Wind Waker and back to the “roots” of 3D games in the series, Ocarina of Time, as well as a step forward, advancing the sheer beauty of gaming graphics.
Many will argue that this is not true because it “only goes for the graphics of the game” and not the gameplay setup, which is certainly a valid argument, especially when it comes to the hardcore gamers, who usually put more value into the story, characters, gameplay and the overall feel of the game, but there is no denying that the average gamer will most likely fail to immediately draw any parallels between The Wind Waker and the upcoming game, even though the gameplay will, as stated by producer Eiji Aonuma, remain mostly the same. The visual change is generally welcomed with applause and open arms, something which was displayed at E3 in 2004, when Nintendo showed the very first trailer from the game — people completely lost it. They were cheering, clapping their hands, jumping with excitement, and some were even crying. This only goes to show how big of a deal the Zelda series really is, and how much it means for us fans.
What caused this change? Well that can be debated, but ultimately it came down to a simple “supply and demand” scenario, as Eiji Aonuma admitted in an interview with a magazine. He said that it made him very sad to know that people missed out on a great game, because they couldn’t come to terms with the graphics style they decided to use in the game, and while he didn’t directly state that it was the main reason for the change, it was pretty obvious that it played a part. He also pointed out that in this game we meet a much more mature Link, with a more mature, darker setting, and therefore the more “mature graphics” which suits the game very well.
Storyline – Bits and Pieces
The game starts out with Link living in a small village called Ordon and not Hyrule as we have gotten used to throughout the previous games. While Hyrule exists, it is far away from Ordon, and the people of the small village actually make their living by selling cows and other farm supplies to Hyrule.
There are also many other villages throughout the land, and every year representatives of each village gather in the kingdom of Hyrule as part of a large festival which is held in honour of strengthening the bonds between the different villages. While normally the chief of Ordon would go himself, this year he has sent (or tried to; you will see what happens as the story progresses) Link in his place, and it is then that Link stumbles across what will be the start of his adventure.
Princess Zelda makes a return in this game- Stated by Aonuma himself; the plot of the game will be about rescuing Princess Zelda, just like we’ve come to expect, and that it will also involve the king of evil himself, Ganon. Aonuma was, however, keen to point out that the story will be far from identical to that of the previous games, which is obviously a good thing!
One of the main aspects of the game is the “Twilight Realm,” in which humans cannot exist in their true form. While in the Twilight Realm, Link is a wolf, and accompanying him is the mysterious Midna, who only exists as a complete being in the Twilight Realm. Players will be able to control the two together, as Midna will ride on Link’s back, and will be able to help Wolf Link reach special places by guiding him and she will also enable him to attack multiple enemies at once.
Gameplay: Evolution, not Revolution
It is safe to say that this game will continue the evolution of the gameplay in the 3D Zelda games by building on to the mechanics that we’ve gotten used to through titles such as Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask and The Wind Waker. The fighting system will be very similar to the one in The Wind Waker, with the return of such features as L-Targeting (Z-Targeting), though with new elements that are supposed to “intensify” the combat experience.
What’s interesting however, is the return of Link’s trusted steed, a horse, and this time, as opposed to in Ocarina of Time, we will get to see a lot of action from the horseback. There will be fights with normal enemies as well as bosses that take place from the horseback, and you will have the ability to use several different weapons while fighting on your horse, both the sword and the bow and arrows.
This game will also include an exceptionally large landscape, much bigger than anything ever seen before in a Zelda game. With what Aonuma had to say about this, it is easy to draw the conclusion that Nintendo has discovered that bigger is in fact better, because he said that not only would the game feature large landscapes, but also other things such as buildings, towns and even enemies that are much larger and more dangerous than ever before.
In addition to this, the game will be full of different mini games, and even feature more of them than The Wind Waker did – This is of course great because it adds to the replay value of the game. Among the minigames that will be found within Twilight Princess, there will be the old favorite from Ocarina of time, fishing. Pull up those rods and get the lures!
This game, with all its beauty, promises of vast gameplay, and replayability; you won’t be disappointed!