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Your Questions Answered

by Steven Rodriguez - November 5, 2006, 9:59 pm PST

You have Zelda questions, and I have Zelda answers. Loading times, difficulty and the new direction of the series are just some of the topics covered in this all-Zelda mailbag special!


hello planet gamecube

As we alll await the return of zelda, my mind drifts to dungeons and vast exploration, but then im reminded how short windwaker had been. Now Nintendo has said there will be more dungeons for Twilight Princess but are they going to be fully realized like Ocarina's Desert Collusus, or the piss poor Forsaken Fortress from Wind waker?, the gerudo stealth fort was much better in the sneaking around department. i actually wouldnt mind seeing more of the co-ed dungeons or dasre i think of a all new Turtle Rock???

Art_de_Cat

Word on the street is Twilight Princess will have nine dungeons. (I've even heard reports of there being ten, but I don't know how true that is.) I've gone through the first two. They're about as difficult as any initial dungeons of any previous Zelda game (I'll comment a bit more on overall difficulty later on in this mailbag), but with two major differences.

The first one is their size. They be huuuuge. As I said in my spoiler-laden preview, the first dungeon alone took me 45 minutes to get through, and that was done at a brisk pace; it took many other people playing the game at the media event at least an hour to cover the same ground. I could have conquered the area sooner, but the place was so big I found myself getting a little lost. It was hard for me to remember every corridor because there were so many of them, in other words. I had to refer to my map many times to double-check where I was relative to everywhere else.

The second difference is how the dungeon's special item is acquired. Again, I mentioned this in my preview, but I don't think it will ruin the game for anyone: Dungeons have sub-bosses, and you need to defeat them to claim the item. It's not like acquiring the boomerang is as simple as solving a door switch puzzle and opening a chest. You have to fight a half-boss character that is as involving as some of the full bosses in the dungeons of Ocarina or Wind Waker. The game doesn't give something important unless you earn it, is what I'm trying to say.

Remember kids, I'm only talking about the early dungeons. They only get larger, more complex and more difficult as you go on. I would not be surprised to see a double-dip dungeon similar to Ocarina's Desert Colossus, only with Wolf Link and regular Link. I kind of expect it, actually. And I totally expect to be spending two hours (or more!) battling through the final dungeon.


So, I'm just wondering ... how's the MUSIC in the game? Seems no one ever mentions the soundtrack anymore, and it's even more important, to me, than the graphics. Is the soundtrack orchestrated with a real orchestra or is it all sampled again? If they're sampled, are the samples at least better than those heard in WW?

Thanks!!

Nigel

To tell you the truth, I didn't really pay attention to the game's music. I was too distracted by the awesomeness of the rest of the game to make out any distinct qualities of the soundtrack. (That, and the audio on our TVs were just quiet enough to simultaneously not distract neighboring TVs and wash out the game's music.) Any music I did make out was top-quality stuff, though. Definitely better than Wind Waker.

I do agree with you that game audio is critical. In fact, it ranks above gameplay on my list of "what makes a game important." It did get a good listen to the title screen sequence, though, and there's no way that can be sampled. It's got to be a real person chanting Zelda music.


I realize this is a completely trivial question, but I'm curious nonetheless. I have seen a couple of pictures of actual game discs on the internet (specifically Zelda and what I assumed was Wii Play) and I noticed that they were aesthetically dull. Just wondering if you knew if this is how final labels will be, or if they'll be full-color like we've seen on the other consoles? I was initially disappointed in the simple and seemingly uninspired disc labeling of the 'Cube, but I've gotten used to it and I actually think I like it better than usual full-color discs - it's simple and it presents a certain standard (i.e. two colors on every disc, rather than completely different labels), and I am a fan of uniformity and continuity across a series of objects.

Thanks!

Jason M.

I've seen a picture of the Japanese Twilight Princess disc, and it's basically white with the game's logo, the Wii logo and all the art etched into the disc. Like the golden U.S. Wind Waker GameCube disc. The Wind Waker disc in Japan was also not golden, however (it was blue, if I recall), so just because it is over there doesn't mean it will be over here.

But outside of that, I have no idea what the final discs will look like. It is indeed a trivial question, but still, there are a lot of people that would like their disc to be gold for tradition's sake.


It appears that Link's first appearance on the Wii is gong to be a T rated game, which is some what surprising. I had expected that it might move from E to E10 based on some of the new graphics, but a T rating seems to be a large step away from the audience that originally enjoyed the Zelda series.

I understand that Nintendo has often attempted to distance itself from the "for younger players" stigma, but there was something rather appealing about having a game, like Wind Waker, that was engaging for adults and kids alike. My now-10-year-old son and I have enjoyed playing many of the Zelda titles together over the last couple of years, but we generally steer him away from Teen games because, well, he's only 10.

There are, of course, certain T games that have sort of compartmentalized the "teen" parts . For example, the ship-to-ship combat levels in the Rebel Strike series would probably get an E or E10 rating if evaluated separately from the on-ground levels (at least in my opinion). But something like Twilight Princess doesn't really have that flexibility - you can't just skip certain sections of an epic tale and still enjoy the adventure (I say that, of course, without having actually played Twilight Princess yet).

And, of course, I realize that the rating system is only a guideline, and each title should be evaluated for the specific content and context. I already have my "Yes, honey, I'm just trying to fully evaluate Red Steel before I pass judgement on it" schtick ready.

But, seriously - I'm hoping that Nintendo will still produce some E rated Zelda titles.

Thoughts?

Dave

I was curious about that, which I why I asked NOA's Nate Bihldorff to comment on the Zelda rating matter. You can read our conversation about that here, but I've some things to add to that.

Twilight Princess is very deserving of a Teen rating. The game has some fairly violent moments of the fantasy variety, which you'd sort of expect with a realistic graphics style and a Hylian legend swing a sword around and killing things. That's nothing to say about the game's story, either—before we left, NOA showed us a sequence of the game that called out to a wide range of human emotions; not all of them are on the sunshiney end of the spectrum, if you catch my drift. TP is not a "happy" game like Wind Waker is. Then again, Wind Waker had some moments that might have pushed it closer to a T rating (the ending, to name one), but Nintendo toned them down a little. In fact, WW would have easily recieved an E10+ grade from the ESRB had that category existed at the time of the game's release. It's not like an "E" given to a Zelda game is the same as an "E" given to a Mario game. But that should be obvious to anyone.

Judging by what I've seen in the first 10 hours of Twilight Princess, it is my opinion that the Zelda series should stick to this more mature format. There are things you can do in the T-rated range that you can't do in the E-rated range, and it's not just to do with how violent something is. Like I said, there are some powerfully emotional scenes in the game, which would definitely not have the same impact had Nintendo had to cut things to work it down to hit a lower rating. Zelda has always been more of a game for the hardcore anyway, and I think making it an "Everyone" series has been holding it back, given the nature of the gameplay.

If Twilight Princess turns out to be the legendary epic that it's looking like it will become, what will Nintendo do to one-up things next time around? If Nintendo works the content of the next console Zelda game to get an E10+ rating, could it still be as good as Twilight Princess? Hard to say. Regardless of where the future of the console series lies, you can be assured that handheld Zelda games will always be for everyone, and really fun to play. So the "Everyone" Zelda audience has Phantom Hourglass on the DS to look forward to. But I hope that Nintendo takes a good hard look at the eventual success Twilight Princess will almost certainly enjoy, and consider whether or not it makes more sense financially to continue angling and marketing the series toward the older demographic.


Hello,

I have 2 questions regarding Zelda: Twilight Princess.

First, during your time with the game, were you able to decide is the game difficult enough? I know that many others can relate to me when I say that Zelda games are becoming to easy. Take the Wind Waker for instance, it seemed like you could just throw your hearts to the wind because whenever you got hurt it only cost you like half a heart. Does Twilight Princess fix this? Even better, is there a setting to adjust difficulty?

My second question has to do with the pause that occurs when you hit enemies with your sword. This pause was added in the Wind Waker....possibly to add dramatic effect, but it really seemed to take something away from the gameplay. Is the slight pause just as noticeable in Twilight Princess? Again, is there by any chance an option to disable it?

I appreciate what you guys do here at Planet Gamecube. Thanks for the Zelda write up too.

Later,

Jamie

The difficulty is a little hard to properly gauge given that I've only played through the first two dungeons of the game. There's also the matter that I'm really good at games in general, so what may be easy to me may be harder for most other people. I don't say that to boast—I say that to give people fair warning that my estimates of gameplay length or difficulty may be skewed, compared to your abilities. I will say that during the second dungeon, I died three times. Twice against one foe in particular. I can't get into the particulars of why as of yet (it is embargoed until this Friday), but suffice to say a misstep in the dungeon can cost you half of your heart meter. Not having all of your life available doesn't make the battle against that foe very easy, basically. A lot of the other people at the event were dying a lot more than I was, that's for sure. (That, I say to boast.) I'll guess the game will get quite difficult in the more advanced areas, based on what I've seen so far.

Now, about the sword question. I only noticed the "pause" effect when Link delivered a big-time sword strike on an opponent. There won't be any option to disable it, and really I don't think it would be a good idea to do so. It's a visual cue that signals how hard you hit the guy, adding emphasis to finishing strikes. It doesn't do it with every hit. But I wouldn't want the critical shots to look the same as a glancing blow.


I have a couple Twilight Princess questions.

In the Zelda games I tended to get lost. The game FF12 has a red X mark which is where you need to go.

1) Does Twilight Princess have some kind of marker?

2) How is the map system compared to the other 3-D Zelda games? (I felt the map system in the 2-D games where easier to understand.)

3) If you have played these games compare town size to FF12 (which is huge!) and Hyrule field (I was hoping for something along the lines of Shadow of the Collossus.)

Thanks,

Brandy

1) There are no arrows or markers to directly tell you where to go next. It's still up to you to get to the next location, but like any game with RPG elements, talking to the right people will get you pointed in the right direction.

2) The mini-map in Twilight Princess has a lot more information on it this time. Like it always has, it shows your real-time location as well as the place from where you entered the current room. In wolf mode, it shows every location of a certain type of enemy you need to seek out, kind of like a radar. I believe it also marks the locations of any dungeons you've located. It's a lot bigger, too. There are different zoom options on the map sub-screen, and if you highlight a region on the map with the remote pointer, you can see its name. I feel that maps in TP are very useful, and crucial for success. I referred to them a lot while I was playing.

3) I haven't played those PS2 games yet (though SotC is in my queue), so I can't make comparisons to thm. I can say that Ocarina of Time's Hyrule Field looks absolutely pathetic compared to the expansiveness of the Hyrule Field in Twilight Princess. Or at least, the parts of the field Nintendo had shown us...


Hi, quick question about load times. How long are we looking at for loading:

1) the game itself?

2) dungeons/towns/ exiting dungeons and towns?

3) cut scenes and whatnot?

4) is there a cut scene for every time you turn into the wolf?

Lastly, are these load times comparable to most of the other wii titles that you have played?

thanks

-scott-

1, 2, 3) Oh wow, the loading times. Seriously, there were like, none. The only time I noticed that I was waiting for the game was after a cut scene, where the screen gently blurred and faded to black to help hide them. The maximum had to be four seconds, tops.

4) I only turned into a wolf twice during my playtime. There was a long cut scene the first time, but the second time was a quick one. Compared to the other actions you'll be doing in the game, you won't turn into a wolf all that much. So don't worry too much about it.

Lastly) The last time I was with Wii games was at E3. It would be unfair to compare the loading times of E3 builds to the loading times of the near-final version of Zelda, so I won't. I expect Wii loading times to be just as fast (or slow, depending on the developer) as those encountered in GameCube games. They definitely won't be 30+ seconds like they are on the 360, that's for sure.


Hey PGCers,

So I’ve been intentionally leaving myself in the dark as much as I can over Twilight Princess, as I do with most in the Zelda series but have a quick question for you…

A friend who didn’t know my “closed door" policy on Zelda slipped that there was some tie to Orcarina of Time in this new series. I usually assume that a LoZ game will stand on it’s own legs… enough so that you can play start to end without having to have played (or remember) a past one. I’ve long since put away the N64 (So Majora’s is out) but would playing Orcarina and Wind Waker be a good idea before this one shows up in December?

Thanks,

Tommy V

Ontario, Canada

You can if you want, but it's not necessary. Although every Zelda game adds to the overall lore of the series, there is no prerequisite to play any game in the series. You could maybe make a case for playing Ocarina before Majora, but even that's optional.

Every time a new Zelda game is released, the Zelda fanbase scrambles to fit it into the so-called "Zelda timeline," as if every game in the series absolutely must have a logical place in the official canon. I'm sure Miyamoto and Aonuma have a general idea of where it could be placed in comparison to the other games, but ultimately, why does it matter? Some of the Links might be the same, and certain games may be direct sequels, but in the end each game stands on its own. Playing through the series in the chronological order, if there is such a thing, wouldn't add anything to your enjoyment of each individual game.

However, you should eventually play Wind Waker if you haven't yet. It's really good. Ocarina too, though it hasn't aged well.


I have a couple of quick questions:

1) Do enemies drop weapons that Link can pick up and use, like in Wind Waker?

2) Do you have any control of the shield, or is it automatic when you're locked on to an enemy? Also, if it is automatic how do you use you shield if you aren't locked on?

Thanks,

Gabe

1) Not really. The Joy Pendants, Chu Jellies and all those other items that Wind Waker enemies dropped were optional things. Regular enemies in TP will only drop the usual stuff, like rupees, hearts and item ammo. However, Wolf Link needs to seek out a certain type of enemy (as mentioned above) that carries it a critical item. Killing it will "drop" the item, and collecting enough of them will trigger an event. Think of it as a miniature collect-a-thon with Zelda gameplay.

2) Various videos have shown that you can (eventually) thrust the shield forward as an attack, but other than that you don't have control over it. As long as you don't attack, Link will do a good enough job to fend off any incoming attacks by himself. He's pretty good with that shield, you know.


That wraps up the Twilight Princess special edition of the PGC mailbag. Regular mailbag service will resume next week, so if you've recently sent in a normal question, look forward to seeing it answered then. Don't stop sending in Zelda questions, though! We'll have more details on Nintendo's flagship launch title next Friday, so there may more be yet to ask about the game. Just make sure it's a good enough Q to make the grade, yeah?

Until next week, try to stay out of the Twilight!

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