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The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (Wii U) Hands-on Preview

by Daan Koopman - February 4, 2016, 6:00 am PST
Total comments: 13

Somewhere between light and darkness, there is this HD remaster.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was always an odd one for me. I was never that in love with it, but the experience was enjoyable. I played through it to completion on the Wii during its launch period and found it a fresh and new way to control a Zelda game. Looking back at it, I was more forgiving of its faults and just took it at its fun face value. Daan in 2016 has a different set of expectations though, in particular when you are going to call something a new HD version. The previous Zelda remakes perfected games so much, which made me excited to give this game a look. While there are some improvements, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD left me wondering why it exists.

On paper, an HD re-release of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess sounds like a fantastic idea. If there is one thing I adored about the game, it is the development throughout its story. You have a Link that is not experienced with the outside world, who has to become a hero that saves everyone. The variety of story threads explored in this title feature some of my favorites, even if the execution leaves something to be desired. The young lad has to travel a compact but sizeable world to seek the mysteries of a brand new evil threatening the land. All in all, it’s not vastly different from past Zelda games, but it’s a shining example of all this, at least to me.

Like the original version, there are some pacing issues, especially in the beginning. It bounces all over the place, from unspecified chores to chasing a monkey into Faron Woods, in a way that doesn’t gel with me. Once it gets good though, everything flows together naturally and it is a smooth experience. It just takes its sweet time getting there.

The Wii U version feels a lot closer to the Nintendo GameCube release than the Wii game in any given way. You use very similar button prompts, which feels nice at first glance. Using the Pro Controller makes this feels almost indistinguishable from the classic Cube version. If you want to play on the Wii U GamePad, you get the ability to use motion controls to fine-tune slingshots and the like. The motion controls are optional, and I preferred playing the game with the Pro Controller mostly due to the bulk of the GamePad.

Although the GamePad is a little more viable because of some of the touch screen elements. There is an inventory screen for your item management and a mini-map that shows you the direct surroundings. There are no crazy Miiverse functions like in The Wind Waker HD, but there are stamps to collect throughout the game to brighten up your posts. I do like the functionality of the Wii U GamePad, but it’s just not as comfortable as the Pro Controller. You can keep the GamePad in front of you, but I am not sure that is not perfect in every household.

Many of the basic actions are still the same and I have not felt many improvements while going through Twilight Princess HD. Both regular and Wolf Link still feel pretty solid, with the roll and dash being my best friends in the entirety of the universe. There were articles out there claiming that the horse riding has improved, but it felt the same to me. There has been no discernable difference in gameplay in my playtime thus far.

One thing that is included now is Amiibo support. When you touch Link and Toon Link, your arrows will be replenished. Zelda and Sheik do the same for your hearts, but Ganondorf is your health’s worst enemy. The damage done by enemies will be doubled, making one hellish ride from the beginning to your untimely death. There is no real reward for using this functionality, which makes it sort of pointless. There is also a brand new Wolf Link Amiibo, which I got to toy around. With the Wolf Link Amiibo, you can link a save file. By holding it to the NFC reader on the title screen, you will instantly start that game. It also unlocks the brand new Cave of Shadows, in which you have to clear rooms of enemies. Once you cleared it, you will save your remaining heart score to the Amiibo. This score can be constantly improved upon, which makes it quite a neat score attack challenge. After your initial victory, you are also presented with a nifty prize.

The biggest bummer of this whole package are the graphics. They barely got an upgrade at all and the textures have just been slightly upscaled to a higher resolution. Thanks to this change, some of the faces look way worse than the originals. Some of the environments also really show their age, which is clearly shown in Faron Woods. The trees look a little sparse and the ground has seen better days. My favorite moments were in the Twilight Realm, because it seems to hide the problems a lot better. You can clearly see the effort in The Wind Waker HD, but I need more time to see that in Twilight Princess HD's case.

The basics are still there. A lot of the gameplay and storylines will still hold your interest, but all of that is mixed with boring moments and barely any improvements. There is nothing really absurdly wrong with the game, but The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD is barely better than its Wii and GameCube counterparts. In the Zelda remakes, that is sort of shameful, because I know there are capable of doing just a lot more. It is a shame that Tantulus and Nintendo didn't take any risks with this one, but if you are in the need of playing the game on the Wii U, you can likely do a lot worse.

Talkback

Evan_BFebruary 04, 2016

Hmmm.

Disappointing to hear. I guess my money is going towards Pokken Tournament in March. Wolf Link Amiibo be damed.

rlse9February 04, 2016

Disappointing.  Twilight Princess is the one console Zelda game released in the past 20 years that I haven't played so I was excited when this was announced.  Might still pick it up at some point, but not for full price if it hasn't gotten the same treatment as the other re-releases.

Triforce HermitFebruary 04, 2016

Quality is disappointing, but I'll be buying it on launch nonetheless because the GCN version still costs more and I refuse to get the Wii version

Mop it upFebruary 04, 2016

I didn't feel like Wind Waker HD was much of an improvement over the original in terms of graphics. The thing about the game is, the textures are a lot more simple than they are in Twilight Princess, so simply making it HD is enough to make it look better, whereas Twilight Princess needs a lot more work to make better since it has a lot more detail. It sounds like they put in the same amount of work as Wind Waker, it just doesn't have the same result since the graphical style is different.

Triforce HermitFebruary 04, 2016

Wind Waker seemed to be mainly improved lighting. Which is all it really needed as you can see because it is gorgeous with it.

LemonadeFebruary 04, 2016

TP is my second favourite Zelda game (after Wind Waker), so Im definitely looking forward to this.

Luigi DudeFebruary 04, 2016

Original Twilight Princess
https://abload.de/img/tpwiivfsn3.jpg

Twilight Princess HD
https://abload.de/img/tphdf6ukl.jpg



Yep, no improvements alright. ::) 

"Bawww, they didn't spend over 100 million to make it look like the E3 2011 tech demo so it suck."  Seriously, the self entitlement with some people is just sickening.

Evan_BFebruary 04, 2016

To me, there's little actual improvement to be made with Twilight Princess- it's polished and pretty complete, and despite the kind of open and sparse Hyrule Field, it's got very few flaws. The improvement in the graphics is welcome, but like others, I was pretty turned off by the alien-looking Ilia from the story trailer. If that's the case with other characters in the game, I wonder if an update was really necessary.

I'm a bit torn. On one hand, I'd love to see the entirety of how much the textures have been improved here, but I'm not sure if I'm willing to throw down the money for it. Not when there's a bizarre technical Pokemon fighting game coming out a week later.

LemonadeFebruary 04, 2016

Wow, that second screenshot is impressive.
The difference is real

pokepal148February 04, 2016

Quote:

... the ground (in Faron Woods) has seen better days.

Uh, Daanny boy? Look at the ground from the original. I have a feeling it's better then the days of smeared crayons.

http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/zelda/images/f/fe/Faron_Woods_(Twilight_Princess).png/revision/latest?cb=20100417210407

Quote from: Luigi

Original Twilight Princess
https://abload.de/img/tpwiivfsn3.jpg

Twilight Princess HD
https://abload.de/img/tphdf6ukl.jpg



Yep, no improvements alright. ::) 

"Bawww, they didn't spend over 100 million to make it look like the E3 2011 tech demo so it suck."  Seriously, the self entitlement with some people is just sickening.

Hey, if the game becomes better later, I am all for that. I am just not really blown away by it at the moment. The E3 2011 demo didn't even pop into my mind until you said so!

GintamiFebruary 05, 2016

I think if people are expecting a remake, they will be disappointed. It's just an HD remaster and I am more than fine with that. I remember popping Twilight Princess into my Wii and just seeing how blurry everything looked because I was playing an SD game on my HDTV. This is a good way to curate the game now that we have all moved on past SD sets. Sure I can hunt down the GC version and play it on my CRT, but it is so expensive. I have my Wii hooked up to a CRT as well as that gets me the best picture quality, but I want to play some games on my regular television and not plunk down in front of my CRT in a small corner of my living room.

Mop it upFebruary 05, 2016

Quote from: Triforce

Wind Waker seemed to be mainly improved lighting. Which is all it really needed as you can see because it is gorgeous with it.

Um, I actually prefer the lighting style of the GCN original...

*runs*

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Zelda no Densetsu: Twilight Princess HD Box Art

Genre Adventure
Developer Nintendo,
Tantalus

Worldwide Releases

na: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
Release Mar 04, 2016
PublisherNintendo
RatingTeen
jpn: Zelda no Densetsu: Twilight Princess HD
Release Mar 10, 2016
PublisherNintendo
Rating12+
eu: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
Release Mar 04, 2016
PublisherNintendo
Rating12+
aus: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
Release Mar 05, 2016
PublisherNintendo
RatingMature
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