The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD Review: Welcome back to Hyrule
It has been 10 years since Twilight Princess originally released and with the Wii U remake available has it changed for the better?Well the simplest answer to that question is yes, Twilight Princess HD retains all of the elements that made Twilight Princess so good and offers players some new ways to play the game. For anyone unfamiliar with Twilight Princess the game revolves around the green-garbed hero Link as he tries to find a way to liberate the Kingdom of Hyrule from an invasive force from the mysterious Twilight Realm. It terms of design, this Zelda title strays far away from the cel-shaded look of The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker and is instead colored with darker and dirtier visuals, making it a much more adult title. Despite the game’s gritty aesthetic, it does manage to be both lighthearted and epic at the appropriate times so it still lives up to the Zelda standard of quality.
In terms of gameplay, Twilight Princess does not deviate much from its 3D predecessors. You explore the game overworld uncovering secrets, collecting items, clearing dungeons, and killing bosses in order to progress. There is a variety of new items in this title like the ball and chain and the spinner, so you will always have plenty of toys to play with while on your quest. Twilight Princess has other new features as well like the ability to transform into a wolf and the ability to perform intricate sword skills used to dispatch tough foes. All of these new features add a sense of freshness to the familiar Zelda formula, making Twilight Princess a more than welcome addition to the pantheon of Zelda titles.
The biggest change with Twilight Princess HD is the controls, when you start the game you are given the choice to use either the Wii U Pro Controller or the Wii U Gamepad before beginning a new game. This new control scheme is a welcome departure from the awkward Wii Remote because you no longer have to point at the screen and wave your right hand around maniacally to execute sword strikes. A lot of Twilight Princess HD’s intuitiveness derives from gamepad usage because you can use it to look around or to aim you shot with a bow. Moreover, you can use the gamepad as a separate screen for your inventory if you are playing the game on your TV, this allows for faster item equips. I loved this feature in particular because it allowed me to play the game traditionally with a simple button and it enabled me to equip the right item for the right situation without any delay. Of course this convenience is only available if you play the game with the gamepad so if you decide to go Pro be prepared to do the traditional pause and select to equip items and armor.
Perhaps the best change that Twilight Princess HD received is the inclusion of a Hero Mode. A common criticism with the original title was its easy difficulty and its frequent tutorials, but with Hero Mode not only do you take more damage, you are given harder puzzles and mirrored dungeons. In addition, the game is compatible with the Legend of Zelda amiibos, unfortunately I do not own any so I am in no position to judge them, but I will say from what I have read that they add some nice little bonuses to the game. The Wolf Link amiibo for example will open up a challenge room called the Cave of Shadows which is reserved exclusively for Wolf Link. The other amiibos will grant more arrows or hearts, but if you are really looking for a challenge use the Ganondorf amiibo to greatly increase the damage you take.
As I played through Twilight Princess HD I noticed the same problems I experienced with the Wii version, but most of these problems are just nitpicks. There are points in the game where you have locate these tears of light to unlock a new region of Hyrule to explore and they can become tedious really quickly. Another issue I have always had with Twilight Princess is that some of items that I collected during my playthrough have limited uses, rendering them frivolous while exploring the overworld. A problem I encountered with the HD release is that when playing on the gamepad alone there is some lag during gameplay. My gripes are few and far between and overall Twilight Princess HD is a faithful remake that still lives up to the puzzle solving, horseback battles, and dungeon crawling of the original Twilight Princess. It also serves as the perfect appetizer for the next big Zelda installment to come out later this year, so grab your amiibos Zelda fans and purchase or download one of the Zelda franchise’s finest titles.