We’ve been playing through the early parts of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD since launch after getting the opportunity from Nintendo to review the game. Here’s a look at our first impressions of the remake!
While I’ll definitely be putting together a full review at a later date, I’m writing these early impressions first as our review will likely take a while given the lengthy nature of a full Legend of Zelda title.
Some background first: It’s been nearly a decade since the original release on the Wii/Gamecube and unfortunately I’ve played little of the game since then. Despite picking up the game at the Wii launch, I never progressed past the first dungeon so I’m looking forward to offering a new perspective on the game as a whole in my review.
The first thing I noticed when starting up my playthrough of course was the updated visuals inside this remake. While the graphics won’t be fooling anyone into thinking Twilight Princess was developed in 2016, they do a serviceable job of removing the muddy and often unpleasant nature of the Wii version.
Here’s a handy screenshot comparison of the Wii and Wii U versions sourced from Digital Foundry’s TP:HD Face-Off at Eurogamer:
I’ve chosen this comparison in particular as I think it does a good job of displaying the blurry aspect of the Wii version in contrast to the crisper updated remake. So while Twilight Princess HD may not feel like a complete graphical overhaul from top to bottom, a definite improvement can still be felt here just from the textures.
Elsewhere in the remake, the great inventory and map systems on the GamePad from 2013’s The Wind Waker HD have been implemented to a great benefit. It may not matter for everyone, but I’ve definitely had my fair share of confusions inside dungeons and the map controls on the GamePad really ease those frustrating moments.
Moving onto the gameplay of Twilight Princess HD, I was a bit disappointed to find that the original’s lengthy tutorial at the beginning still remains in its full form. It would have been nice to see this section cut down in length as it can be pretty draining, even for the first or second time.
With my petty tutorial complaints aside, the adventure does start to pick-up once you reach the first dungeon at the Forest Temple. While it’s nothing spectacular, I would place it higher than other comparative first dungeons across the Zelda series. The second dungeon, Goron Mines, impressed me even more with its clever use of iron boots and other mechanics. It’s cliché to say this, but I really didn’t want it to end yet!
Despite these great dungeons, it often feels like quite the unpleasant drag in the story getting from one dungeon to the next. I already can feel myself just wishing these segments would go by faster so I can get to what I really want to play sooner — the dungeons! If there is one plus to these parts though, it has to be Link’s sidekick Midna. More recent Zelda games have often felt like a drag with their sidekicks but Midna manages to strike a good balance between humour, helpfulness, and not being a complete nuisance.
To sum up my experience so far, the dungeons of Twilight Princess feel great but the story segments between them are longer than necessary and frankly boring at times. The high quality of the dungeons is enough to keep me going, but I hope the rest begins to improve soon.
As of writing these early impressions, I’m just about to start the third dungeon — Lakebed Temple. I look forward to continuing my playthrough of Twilight Princess HD this month and writing my full review soon when I’ve completed the main story. Stay tuned!