Sunday, November 26, 2006

Zelda Twilight Princess – my first 10 hours

NOTE: Some spoilers about the game so if you haven't played it yet or wish to remain spoil free then this isn't for you.

It has been a very Zelda festive thanksgiving weekend here at the house. First I picked up Zelda for the Wii (still a dumb name) the first day it came out. Then my girlfriend decided to start making Link out of pixel art. She took a mario pixel art (which can be found here) and re-arranged it to form Link. He came out a lot better than I thought he would.

Then my friend Victor came over last night talking about how he decided to pick up Ocarina of Time yesterday (gold cartridge!). Which was completely random because that guy only really talks about X-men Vs. Street Fighter. We started discussing how going back and playing Ocarina is a little rough because it really doesn't hold up visually. Thats how I kinda feel about Twilight Princess - I think 10 years from now this game will be hard to go back to. Don't get me wrong it does some really nice things visually (damn you Nintendo and my lack of component cables!) but it reminds me a lot more of Ocarina than Wind Waker. I think 10 years from now Wind Waker will completely hold up visually. Too bad it might be the most boring Zelda of all time.

I had my Wii for a couple of days prior to picking up Zelda. My and my girlfriend had spent all weekend playing Wii Sports and making Mii's. So on Sunday when I picked up Zelda I was looking forward to playing a 'real' game. The game does a good job of introducing the controller to you and some of the nuances. However, the first hour and a half or so is absolutely terrible. You are in this village with no real objective. You sorta just hang out and talk to the same 3 people trying to figure out what to do next. Not to mention trying to fish which for some reason I completely suck at and can never catch a fish.

While the controller does feel good it also feels tacked on. The sword swinging stuff is a little annoying. If you are running around with nothing in your hands and you see a monster you wish to attack, you first have to swing the controller to pull the sword out then do the same motion to attack. Kinda wish there was almost a, 'pull out my sword' button or something.

There also isn't 1 to 1 representation of how you are swinging your arm to what Link is doing. The combos he is doing for the most part are canned out. So you kinda lose the feeling that you are controlling him to attack. Fortunately he also has attacks that don't require you to swing your arm around like a mad man.

While walking around if you swing Link stops to perform his combos. However if you are running around and swing then he will keep running and perform 2 slashes back and forth. This part is actually fun as it lets you run around and chop up grass and other boring stuff to keep you entertained as you trek through Hyrule.

The slingshot and all other projectile weapons that you get however don't feel quite as good. The main problem is that you aim with the Wiimote and half the time you really aren't pointing at the screen. So when you go to target someone the game grinds to a halt and screams at you, 'Point the Wii Controller at the screen!!' Not really sure how they coulda fixed this one though although I'm sure something could have been done. The cursor as a whole is annoying though. It makes this terrible sound every time you move it while not in targeting mode.

However the worst thing in the game so far has to be the Camera look around mode. By pressing the Camera button you enter into a first person mode to look around. Standard, nothing new and revolutionary. However there are 2 things that control how you look around - the wiimote cursor and also the nunchuck controller. The wiimote seems to take priority though. So the way I play is by having the wiimote on my leg not really pointing at the screen then I enter Camera mode and the cursor goes absolutely crazy and I end up looking at either the sky or the floor. Then I try to move around and it just gets worse. I really wish there was a way to fix this but I haven't been able to find anything to suggest so.

So...once you do make it out of that damn village you end up getting transformed into a dog. You know, I kinda forgot I had to play as a damn dog. Not sure why Japan thinks people want to play as dogs (Okami, Zelda, etc) but here I am, playing as a damn dog. They do some cool stuff with senses but the thing I really hate is this dumb attack where you hold down the B Button and a gigantic circle forms underneath. When you let the button go you attack all of the enemies inside the circle. They force you to do this (even with a dmc door!) but maybe I just skipped over the text but it took me forever to understand this attack. The problem is that you aren't invincible the first few frames of the attack when you let the button go. So you get everyone in the circle then let the button go but get hit and the circle is now gone and you are taking massive damage waiting for your invisible meter to recharge so you can do this attack again. Yeah, I'm not a big fan of this attack what so ever. It sucks just as much as looking around in camera mode.

Once you are done being a dog and return back to Link with the sword and shield the game returns back to being awesome. Exploring the first dungeon you are reminded of why Zelda is such an amazing game. I'm around 9.5 hours into it and I just finished the first dungeon and I'm making my way to the 2nd one. I'm really not looking forward to playing this for the next 70 hours or whatever (especially since I will have no free time starting tomorrow) but I have enjoyed it a lot so far. The game definitely reminds me of Ico for some reason.

Off to find the next dungeon.


Anonymous said...

For starters, happy TG day. Glad you got some gaming in.

Also, I met a friend of yours while I was visiting family in Texas - Doctor D :)

Anyway, interesting thoughts on Zelda. I'm just about to hit the second dungeon.

I agree with most of your concerns except for the special dog attack. They later give the player some situations where the use of that move becomes a sort of strategy game (I've only seen this once). Regarding the charge meter, you can do the move again when your tail has a little twinkle at the end of it (in case you didn't already know that).

I could never get into Zelda: OoT. I've heard a number of fans for that game say Zelda: TP is like OoT on steriods, which isn't a bad thing but not great. While I'm personally loving this Zelda and finding it to be one of my favorites, it's a bummer that might not hold up to be a timeless classic for the vast majority of fans out there.

I kind of wish they had kept it cel-shaded myself...

Good luck with work.


whiskeypail said...

i have a feeling youre dead on about the art style they chose for this new zelda. it kind of sucks balls.
as for the review, tell me more about the awesomeness, less about the suck.
i wont be buying a wii for a while(because im poor), but i still want to know about the goods.
second, who is this new lady friend? where the fuck have i been?
third, i ran into liu kang today. i kind of miss all you px turds. peace.

Anonymous said...

Come on man...this game is getting 10 out of 10 everywhere! Its "perfect! WTF is wrong wih you :P

I played it here at work for about 20 minutes and just could not fight my way thru the tutorial crap at the beginning...guess I won't be playing this Zelda either :)

John Edwards

Anonymous said...

This game was pretty bad. It lacked an extreme amount of originality (I know it's zelda and its essentially the same game, but they've changed it up in the past and they should have changed it up again). Always fighting some other enemy only to discover that you're really fighting Ganon AGAIN (In the past couple of zelda games they've tried so hard to hide the fact that he once again is the bad guy) - It's getting old.

I enjoyed horseback riding/fighting, the art style was extremely well done (I liked it better than cell-shading), although sometimes the people looked kind of really weird (like the postman or some of the village kids). The goron mountain dungeon with all the lava and the revision of iron boots as magnetic was an awesome idea (The final boss looked so cool... but was incredibly easy to beat). Then later racing the dimwitted yeti and then fighting his possessed wife? - lame. Although running up the mountain in a snowstorm as a wolf and having to fight off white wolves - pretty cool idea in my opinion. The Temple of Time where you have to go back in time was a pretty sweet idea, but the item that allows you to use statues to your advantage - stupid. End spider boss - very cool, except once again another incredibly easy boss and boring.

I was excited to find the hidden sheik village, that could have earned them originality points... only to be royally disappointed by a wild west showdown and a tiny old man. Finding spiders for some weird little girl? - hated the idea. Then again, I thought hunting skutulas was the greatest side objective ever.

Fighting the end dragon of the sky dungeon miles up into the air was a thrill ride and somewhat challenging at first, I'll give them props for that. The crazy clown and his giant cannon to shoot you up there? - I have no idea what was going on there.

Overall, the game had a lot of promise, but I thought it was a massive letdown. At first I was happy to see a more mature zelda title that wasn't hippie colorful. They kept pushing the delivery date back and back, making my anticipation grow and grow until I had forgotten about it all together. So I'm going to have to agree with this post and say this zelda game sucked.

Kyle said...

And what the hell happend to the 3 Goddesess and the Triforce?

Where is the tiniest back story to OOT that we fans deserve after all that hard work with the imp yelling in our ears worse then Navi?

*I mean even if it's just a text scene or 2 we would sigh in relief*

I really believe the real problem is that the nintendo generation kids are grown up and Miyamoto is not looking into his inner self to respond to it.

He is always trying to find outer source faith to try and "cling to his job".

I almost thought that this game wasn't sponsered by yours truly.

This is kinda of like the Ace of Cups reversed where that creative flow in you is being blocked and you need to look inside yourself asking yourself.

"Why is my imagination being blocked and what addictions do I need to let go of in order to reach inside myself*

Sorry for sounding so cliched. :o

Kyle said...

*continued from post 1*

I am serious:

Just because a guy is great doesn't mean he will be great forever as there is no such thing as a "free lunch" in your life-path.

Stagnation is NEVER okay and there is something deeply wrong with you if that's so.

Just looking at the game and reading the history I get the impression that Shiggy isn't feeling that flow anymore for whatever reason.

If it got delayed so many times then there is really no excuse to not put more into it.