WiiU

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The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (Wii U) Review

by Neal Ronaghan - March 1, 2016, 6:00 am PST
Total comments: 26

9

After all these years, Midna still shines the brightest in the twilight.

Over the past few years, Nintendo essentially created a new sub-genre of video games: the Zelda remake. The latest one, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD on Wii U, is the fourth remake in less than five years. We’re at a point where Nintendo is running out of games to remake in the series. So, with so many before it, that makes looking at Twilight Princess HD a little different. We’ve seen the wonders Nintendo can do with Zelda remakes in the past as they elevate great games to higher levels. With Twilight Princess HD, that’s not really the case. This remake seems more akin to a remaster as it doesn’t do that much to make a great game better. It does however, offer the definitive version of a 10-year-old game and in the process, makes it control and look like a modern game.

Regardless of whether Twilight Princess is on GameCube, Wii, or Wii U, it is an absolutely fantastic adventure. Replaying the game now made me remember why that is. The dungeons, of which there are numerous, are some of the best in the series. Arbiter’s Grounds and Snowpeak Ruins are especially incredible, but truth be told, I can’t think of an underwhelming dungeon in the bunch. While every Zelda game has noteworthy dungeons, I don’t think any single game is as consistent or magical as Twilight Princess. The way each dungeon makes use of different items and weapons in unique ways is wonderful, and you can see the kernels of Skyward Sword’s deliberate focus on blending dungeons and the overworld together developing here.

Outside of the dungeons, I’m not as hot on Twilight Princess in comparison to other games in the series. While Hyrule Field is lightyears beyond what it was in Ocarina of Time, it is still rather barren. None of the side quests were that compelling to me back in the day and nothing’s changed to make me like them much more now. While the entrepreneurial baby is a hysterical concept, that’s about the extent that I cared for any of the Ordon cast, despite the gorgeous musical pangs telling me otherwise. Still, Midna is as compelling as ever as the driving force of the narrative, primarily because of her snappy writing. While the overall cast might not be too gripping, Midna might be the single best developed character in Zelda history. The spectacle of Twilight Princess’ locales holds up visually and while it isn’t a cutting-edge graphical masterpiece, it doesn’t look dated. If anything, Twilight Princess HD makes me appreciate the game’s unique art style and direction way more than I ever did before.

In the HD version, the tweaks and changes outside of the visuals are very minor. The Wii motion controls are all gone (save for optionally tilting the GamePad to aim projectiles) and the normal mode is based off of the GameCube version. The mirrored version (aka the Wii version) is found in Hero mode, which makes the enemies hit twice as hard. Nestled throughout are some nice enhancements, most evident in the Tears of Light quests that only required you to collect 12 tears instead of 16. Those looking for major changes will be disappointed. Nothing in here compares to the reformed Triforce hunt and Swift Sail in Wind Waker HD or the fine-toothed comb that refined Majora’s Mask 3D.

The major additions are found in Amiibo support. The Wolf Link Amiibo opens up the Cave of Shadows, which is an amusing score-based combat challenge. It lets you screw around with the wolf combat more, but it’s just a little bit more than a neat bonus. The most underrated part of the Wolf Link Amiibo is that you can tie it to a game save and instantaneously load your game when you tap it to the GamePad at the title screen. The other Zelda Amiibo from the Smash Bros. line all add to Twilight Princess a bit as well, with the Link Amiibo refilling arrows, the Zelda and Shiek Amiibo refilling hearts, and the Ganondorf Amiibo adding double damage that can be stacked with Hero mode for quadruple damage.

And aside from that, this is just Twilight Princess with a new graphical sheen on your Wii U. It runs fine, though I ran into an issue where it took an unusually long amount of time to load up my save file (no word from Nintendo about this yet, though I theorize it might be an external hard drive issue). Playing through this 2006 Zelda game, though, made me rekindle my love for it. This is a fantastic game, even with the lame side quests and overworld. If you missed out back in the day or only have fuzzy decade-old memories, this Wii U remake is, no doubt, the new and best way to experience Twilight Princess.

Summary

Pros
  • Amiibo support
  • Definitive version
  • Midna
  • Series best set of dungeons
  • Visually impressive
Cons
  • Every character except Midna
  • Few additions and tweaks

Review copy provided by Nintendo

Talkback

ejamerMarch 01, 2016

Kind of weird to think that this Zelda title has been a tent pole release on all three of Nintendo's most recent consoles now.


Sounds like a good release.
Doesn't sound like there is any reason for me to buy since I already own the Wii version - moving away from the waggle controls is mildly tempting but doesn't justify the cost unless there is a very good deal at retail in the future.

fred13March 01, 2016

I've never played Twilight Princess. Theoretically I'm exactly the person this game was made for. However, I have played the first couple hours of this game (Wii Version) and that has convinced me to not buy. I'm sorry, but I always (except Majora's Mask) struggle with the intro part of Zelda games they're always too slow and too long before the game actually starts. This game, however, is slower and longer. I'm quite certain that I'd never get through it. I'm going to just stick to Xenoblade X and Fire Emblem Fates for now.

MythtendoMarch 01, 2016

Losing the Wii Remote controls is a BIG negative because it's why the Wii version was so much better than the GameCube version. I think they should have based it off the superior Wii version.

Ian SaneMarch 01, 2016

Quote from: ejamer

Kind of weird to think that this Zelda title has been a tent pole release on all three of Nintendo's most recent consoles now.

This is a Wii U "tent pole" release?  Seems like obvious filler to me.

Odd that they just outright got rid of motion control.  I figured the challenging part would be offering the mirrored world.  I figured they could really only cram one world in there so they went with the one with more traditional controls.  But this has the mirrored world as well so why not offer the motion controls to those that want it?  Maybe it's a sign that Nintendo is done with motion controls but we've got Star Fox still to come with motion controls front and center.  Nintendo's approach to these controller gimmicks is wildly inconsistent where they'll have a span where they'll pretend something like the Gamepad doesn't exist but then suddenly go with a game that pushes it hard.  No more gimmick controls for Twilight Princess, thank you very much... but we'll go nuts with then with Star Fox in a few months.  Huh?  Ever get the idea that the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing?

kokumakerMarch 01, 2016

This and Majora's Mask are the only two Zelda games that I never really managed to get into. This one in particular had the longest, most boring intro sequences ever. The dungeon puzzles were also rather unintuitive. I ended up giving up on the Wii version after a week or so.

broodwarsMarch 01, 2016

I'm looking forward to seeing if my overall impression of the game has improved without Wiimote Waggle & with slightly improved visuals. I remember the original game being very rough, even on GameCube.

Luigi DudeMarch 01, 2016

Quote from: Ian

Nintendo's approach to these controller gimmicks is wildly inconsistent where they'll have a span where they'll pretend something like the Gamepad doesn't exist but then suddenly go with a game that pushes it hard.  No more gimmick controls for Twilight Princess, thank you very much... but we'll go nuts with then with Star Fox in a few months.  Huh?  Ever get the idea that the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing?

Well no shit because Nintendo isn't one giant studio.  Once again, Nintendo is made up of dozens of different studio's, each studio run by a different person, with many of the studio's having different teams, each team run by a different director as well.  Its the teams that decide how they plan on using the controller and what type of controls it'll have, hence why some games will try to take full advantage of the controllers features while others will ignore them.

Unlike the conspiracy theories you've created in your head, the president of Nintendo doesn't overlook every single game and set a mandate how each game needs to play.  Iwata even said himself during the Wii era the developers themselves can decide what controls are best for their games and if they feel motion controls wouldn't work, they don't need to use them.

http://iwataasks.nintendo.com/interviews/#/wii/rhythmheavenfever/0/0

Quote:

Iwata:  At first, I suppose you figured the Wii Remote controller was for swinging around, so you tried to figure out how to make that compatible with the series.

Tsunku♂:  Yes. But if we had focused too much on swinging the Wii Remote, you wouldn't be able to play the game.

Iwata:  Compared with a game like Wii Sports4, this series requires an overwhelming amount of input from the player per time of gameplay. I actually never thought of the Wii Remote controller as something you absolutely have to swing. Then you guys came to me and hesitantly said button input alone would work best, and I said "wouldn't just buttons be perfectly fine?"

Star Fox still has full motion controls because Miyamoto himself is fully in charge of that game and Miyamoto has been the biggest advocate of them at the company.  In comparison he hasn't had much involvement with a lot of Nintendo's other games this gen like Zelda, hence why a lot of them have had limited to no required Gamepad controls compared to their Wii counterparts where Miyamoto was more active.  There's a reason the Wii games Miyamoto had nothing to do with usually had classic controller support or non motion Wiimote controls.

broodwarsMarch 01, 2016

That's the thing, Luigi Dude: there may not have been an official mandate during the Wii years that all Nintendo devs had to use motion controls, but with Miyamoto approving games as a die-hard motion control fanatic, there might as well have been one.  It's one of the reasons I feel Nintendo as a whole is better off if someone other than Miyamoto is approving projects these days. His obsession with peripherals tends to shoehorn game design. It's like if Sony insisted that all 1st party PS4 games used the damn touch pad, speaker, & gyro functions of the DS4. Given some of Nintendo's more recent titles and Miyamoto shifting towards game development again, hopefully tacked-on peripheral design won't be a concern going forward.

SorenMarch 01, 2016

A game made for Wii U designed with the GamePad as the main controller? Color me shocked!

Quote from: broodwars

It's like if Sony insisted that all 1st party PS4 games used the damn touch pad, speaker, & gyro functions of the DS4.

Considering the price of the damn controller, maybe they should start insisting.



alegoicoeMarch 01, 2016

grab your legit copy of the gamecube version, run it on dolphin ishiruika version, add a texture pack and you have a game 10 times more graphically impressive than this quick upscaled port nintendo made in order to sell an amiibo. I mean, if Nintendo had put the same effort they put into wind waker i would've probably bought the game, but they decided to go the easy route, i guess my wii u is meant to play mario kart 8 ad nauseum!!!

Ian SaneMarch 01, 2016

Quote from: Luigi

Quote from: Ian

Nintendo's approach to these controller gimmicks is wildly inconsistent where they'll have a span where they'll pretend something like the Gamepad doesn't exist but then suddenly go with a game that pushes it hard.  No more gimmick controls for Twilight Princess, thank you very much... but we'll go nuts with then with Star Fox in a few months.  Huh?  Ever get the idea that the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing?

Well no **** because Nintendo isn't one giant studio.  Once again, Nintendo is made up of dozens of different studio's, each studio run by a different person, with many of the studio's having different teams, each team run by a different director as well.  Its the teams that decide how they plan on using the controller and what type of controls it'll have, hence why some games will try to take full advantage of the controllers features while others will ignore them.

Unlike the conspiracy theories you've created in your head, the president of Nintendo doesn't overlook every single game and set a mandate how each game needs to play.  Iwata even said himself during the Wii era the developers themselves can decide what controls are best for their games and if they feel motion controls wouldn't work, they don't need to use them.

http://iwataasks.nintendo.com/interviews/#/wii/rhythmheavenfever/0/0

Quote:

Iwata:  At first, I suppose you figured the Wii Remote controller was for swinging around, so you tried to figure out how to make that compatible with the series.

Tsunku♂:  Yes. But if we had focused too much on swinging the Wii Remote, you wouldn't be able to play the game.

Iwata:  Compared with a game like Wii Sports4, this series requires an overwhelming amount of input from the player per time of gameplay. I actually never thought of the Wii Remote controller as something you absolutely have to swing. Then you guys came to me and hesitantly said button input alone would work best, and I said "wouldn't just buttons be perfectly fine?"

Star Fox still has full motion controls because Miyamoto himself is fully in charge of that game and Miyamoto has been the biggest advocate of them at the company.  In comparison he hasn't had much involvement with a lot of Nintendo's other games this gen like Zelda, hence why a lot of them have had limited to no required Gamepad controls compared to their Wii counterparts where Miyamoto was more active.  There's a reason the Wii games Miyamoto had nothing to do with usually had classic controller support or non motion Wiimote controls.

I think Iwata was bullshitting us.  For example no way Retro Studios looked at DKC Returns broken ass motion controls with no option for normal controls and thought "yep, this is the way to go".  Something like that reeks of a corporate mandate.  Someone made them do it.  If it wasn't a formal mandate it was a de facto one from Miyamoto like broodwars suggests.  Besides the Wii felt committed to it's weird controller, while the Wii U does not.

Besides it's quite a flip flop that Miyamoto insists on motion controls for Twilight Princess on the Wii and then this remake comes out and it is nowhere to be seen.  So what was right for the game then isn't right today?  Seems more like Miyamoto isn't really involved in the remake and he's the only one these days pushing for the gimmicks so it just uses the traditional controls.  That suggests to me an inconsistency in Nintendo's direction.  Seems like we've got some that want to push gimmicks and others that don't, to the point that they'll remove motion controls in a game that had them before.  Removing the motion controls is the sort of thing that a very anti-motion controls person like myself would do.  It seems like someone carrying out an agenda.  On the flip side you have Star Fox which is going nuts with gimmicks and everyone sees them at E3 and groans but, no, you're going to take your second screen and motion controls and like them dammit!!  It too comes across as carrying out an agenda.  So I suspect some significant differences of opinion in Nintendo about what direction to go in.  You didn't see during the Wii years alternating between games that doubled down on gimmicks and ones that don't use them at all like you do with the Wii U.

OedoMarch 01, 2016

Or they decided motion controls didn't belong in Twilight Princess HD after all and that has nothing to do with whether they're a good idea for Star Fox Zero since, y'know, they're two completely different games and this is a decision that should be made on a case by case basis. Nintendo is showing signs of possibly being introspective and being more flexible in their thinking here... and somehow that's a bad thing?

broodwarsMarch 01, 2016

I think Star Fox's current situation is more a case of no one at Nintendo having the balls to tell Miyamoto "no." I suspect no one's actually denied Miyamoto anything he wanted since at least the GameCube years.

rlse9March 01, 2016

I haven't played the Wii version of Twilight Princess but my guess would be that a lot of it is that motion controls have come a long ways since the Wii launched and using the motion controls the game had would have made it feel dated (like going back and playing Wii Sports, which was a blast back in the day but now broken as much as anything in my opinion) and making the motion controls good would have been too much work.  Also, the audience they're targeting at this stage of the Wii U probably wants motion controls far less than the audience they were targeting early in the Wii era.

WindyManSteven Rodriguez, Staff AlumnusMarch 01, 2016

Quote from: Mythtendo

Losing the Wii Remote controls is a BIG negative because it's why the Wii version was so much better than the GameCube version. I think they should have based it off the superior Wii version.

This is my big dilemma at the moment. I don't think people fully appreciate how integral the pointer controls were to the Wii version and how much it elevated the game. Being able to use the bow and arrow as fluidly as the sword opened my eyes, big time. Not having that on the Wii U HD remake is giving me pause as to whether or not I want to buy it.

Thing is, I desperately want to go back to Twilight Princess. It was the ultimate Zelda game for me. I was so thoroughly satisfied with everything about it—the scale, the combat, the controls, the hard bonus dungeons, etc.—that I didn't feel the need to pick up Skyward Sword. Why play another Zelda game when I had already played the Zelda game, you know?

I could always go back and get the Wii version again, but I'd love to see it in HD. Too bad I can't get it all on the Wii U.

TOPHATANT123March 01, 2016

Quote from: WindyMan

Quote from: Mythtendo

Losing the Wii Remote controls is a BIG negative because it's why the Wii version was so much better than the GameCube version. I think they should have based it off the superior Wii version.

This is my big dilemma at the moment. I don't think people fully appreciate how integral the pointer controls were to the Wii version and how much it elevated the game. Being able to use the bow and arrow as fluidly as the sword opened my eyes, big time. Not having that on the Wii U HD remake is giving me pause as to whether or not I want to buy it.

Thing is, I desperately want to go back to Twilight Princess. It was the ultimate Zelda game for me. I was so thoroughly satisfied with everything about it—the scale, the combat, the controls, the hard bonus dungeons, etc.—that I didn't feel the need to pick up Skyward Sword. Why play another Zelda game when I had already played the Zelda game, you know?

I could always go back and get the Wii version again, but I'd love to see it in HD. Too bad I can't get it all on the Wii U.

I'd say gyro controls are just as good as pointer controls. It's not about flailing about like a mad man, you just need to make subtle adjustments that would be difficult using a stick. I notice when people who are new to video games play racing games with a standard dual stick controller they tilt the controller going round corners,not because of Mario Kart or anything just because it is intuitive to do so. On the other hand when I see people try to play something like Mario Kart for the first time with only tilt controls they find it really difficult. With the gryo controls in Wind Waker you get the stick to do wide movements and the angle of the gamepad for small adjustments, you also don't need line of sight with the sensor bar, just a movement of the wrist and you're off again without having to possibly change your seating position.

ejamerMarch 01, 2016

Quote from: Ian

Quote from: ejamer

Kind of weird to think that this Zelda title has been a tent pole release on all three of Nintendo's most recent consoles now.

This is a Wii U "tent pole" release?  Seems like obvious filler to me.
...

I'd agree if I could think of any meaningful Wii U release on either side of it. But I can't.


It's a shame. This remake might end up be the biggest Wii U release of the year... it probably won't be, but are you going to bet that SMTxFE or StarFox sells more than Zelda?  Or that the new Zelda game is released here before the end of the year?  I'm not.

KhushrenadaMarch 01, 2016

Quote from: broodwars

I think Star Fox's current situation is more a case of no one at Nintendo having the balls to tell Miyamoto "no." I suspect no one's actually denied Miyamoto anything he wanted since at least the GameCube years.

After Wii Music, I don't see how people could still be intimidated. There's the ammunition you need right there.

Quote from: ejamer

It's a shame. This remake might end up be the biggest Wii U release of the year... it probably won't be, but are you going to bet that SMTxFE or StarFox sells more than Zelda?  Or that the new Zelda game is released here before the end of the year?  I'm not.

I think StarFox could outsell it. The reviews on TP HD seem to find the game the same satisfactory entry it was before but nothing is really improved or greatly changed in it. As such, there doesn't seem to be that much hype around it like WW HD seemed to get. Plus, I still see the Wii version in stores which is like 60% less than this. Although maybe that's partly why this was released with traditional controls in order to provide a value to the Wii version still. I don't think there is going to be a big demand for this re-release. With the drought in Star Fox releases and the fact that it actually is a new game, I think the demand and sales will be there to propel it over TP HD's sales.

Ian SaneMarch 01, 2016

I think Nintendo's intentions are that this is quick 'n' dirty release schedule filler while Star Fox is the big 2016 Wii U release.  Will that be reflected in the sales?  Who knows, but I figure Nintendo is expecting it to be a hit, by Wii U standards anyway.

Of course supposedly the new Zelda is supposed to come to the Wii U this year and that would naturally be the major release for the year but... come on.

Evan_BMarch 01, 2016

STOP SAYING ZELDA WII U ISN'T COMING THIS YEAR

THAT MEANS I ONLY HAVE SMTxFE TO BE EXCITED ABOUT AND THAT MAKES ME SAD

broodwarsMarch 01, 2016

Quote from: Evan_B

STOP SAYING ZELDA WII U ISN'T COMING THIS YEAR

THAT MEANS I ONLY HAVE SMTxFE TO BE EXCITED ABOUT AND THAT MAKES ME SAD

Welcome to being a Nintendo gamer in the final year of their console's life.

LemonadeMarch 01, 2016

Even though it was only about a year ago that I finished TP (gamecube) for the first time. Im really looking forward to playing through the HD version.

Quote from: Mythtendo

Losing the Wii Remote controls is a BIG negative because it's why the Wii version was so much better than the GameCube version. I think they should have based it off the superior Wii version.

I very much disagree with this.

KhushrenadaMarch 01, 2016

Hey! It's the 10th anniversary of the last year of the GameCube (and the GBA for all intents and purposes).

In that last year we got Chibi-Robo, Odama, Harvest Moon: Magical Melody, Baten Kaitos Origins, Mega Man X Collection and Twilight Princess while the GBA got Drill Dozer and Mother 3 (in Japan.)

There were other titles as well but those seemed like the ones most worth mentioning. That's a pretty good last year from Nintendo. Nintendo seems to be celebrating this 10 year anniversary by re-releasing Twilight Princess on the Wii U console's last year. That's some clever parallelism Nintendo. Can't wait to see what other events you have in store for the "Year of Luigi Last Minute Releases."

CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterMarch 01, 2016

I have such a negatively strong impressing of this game that I can't wait to go back through it with traditional controls and free moving camera and see if my feelings are just.


- That first trailer we got seemed so crisp and clean and when the game actually released I was very disappointed with the graphics.
- The art style bugged me but I only noticed after I was finished with the game. Everything just seemed so dark. Maybe it was my tv but visually I can't remember anything that I liked.
- The dungeons get so much praise but I think I'm the only person in the world who was completely underwhelmed with every single one. Aside from one single room where I was stumped, I walked into every room of every temple and immediately knew exactly what to do. Skyward Swords puzzles were tricky because they were fresh and didn't require pushing blocks and lighting torches.
- The music while not bad was too moody and ambient for me. I want some actual music that would take off. That death mountain theme when you first meet the Goron's starts really well and then it just repeats the same little (insert music term) over and over and over. I wanted some cool happy music and not just jingles that repeated. The canoe mini game had some nice music, that is the one song I remember very well besides the over world theme.


Despite all that I am very much excited to see if my feelings will have changed. Those new textures and that Ganondorf Amiibo certainly won't hurt. I've been waiting to do a full 2nd play through since the Wii launched but could never bring myself to do it. Now I'm mentally prepared!

michaelbaysuperfan616March 03, 2016

I think in this case it makes more sense not to push motion controls this late in the console's life cycle. The audience that had Wii Remotes were early adopters they are a smaller percentage now, the rest are people who got the machine for Mario Kart, Smash, and Spaltoon, there is a good chance they don't have Wii remotes and this is Nintendo marketing the game to the largest audience possible instead of trying to sell people on remotes, which is what their goal was when it came to Wii but doesn't make sense now.

KhushrenadaMarch 03, 2016

Plus, it's a single player game and the main controller for the console is the gamepad which is great for single player games and the gamepad is set up for traditional controls. Thus, it makes sense that the controls are traditional inputs because it's designed around the main controller which isn't the Wii remotes this time around. The Amiibo functionality is because the gamepad can read those things unlike the Wii remotes. It's actually a case of Nintendo supporting the console's main controller just like they supported the Wiimotes on the Wii. It's not a case of giving up on or making a statement about motion controls. This is a game that was released on two different consoles with different control methods. To use the gamepad, it just so happens that it's easier or makes sense to port the Gamecube method of control over the Wii.

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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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