Game Rankings 2016: Twilight Princess HD

I’m very thankful for this particular HD remaster, because my first experience with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was a rough one.  The better part of a decade ago, I had quit the game at the first dungeon. Now, I’ve returned to this incarnation of Hyrule and emerged victorious.

Is it good? Uh, yeah, it’s fucking Zelda. After Windwaker, Nintendo seemingly responded to the criticism by making Twilight Princess darker in tone, aiming for a little more grit and realism. This makes Twilight Princess feel feel closer to the original The Legend of Zelda, which showed the land of Hyrule as fairly desolate and in a state of decay, than any of the others.

Twilight Princess HD brings many great changes, making the new version feel much better than the originals. To start with, the Wii U game pad is perfect for Zelda games. Using the touch screen to manage items, view maps, and switch between human and wolf forms are all welcome changes. Also, gyro controls.

Before Splatoon, if you told me a game had gyro aiming in it, I would have considered it a negative. After Splatoon, I’ve become acclimated to the Wii U’s fairly precise gyro controls and love using them for fine adjustments while aiming. The only thing better than good gyro aiming is point and click.

I can’t hit all of the other changes without making this article a bloated mess, so I’ll just touch on a few non-game pad changes here:

  • The upgrade to 1080p and great anti-aliasing makes this a beautifully clean looking game, and shrinks the HUD so it no longer consumes half of the onscreen real estate.
  • Side quests have been streamlined. You only need 12 tears of light instead of 16, you can now get the Poe Lantern to help with soul collecting.
  • Maps are more detailed, offering a count of defeated Poes and the location of Horse Grass.
  • There are numerous quality of life adjustments, such as bigger wallets, faster animations, and Link’s sword no longer having collision with walls.

The biggest flaw with Twilight Princess was the barren field areas and boring towns. An HD remaster won’t fix those issues, but there was one change, though, that was a clear downgrade in this port: Epona controls like crap. She’s finicky and turns like a crippled tank. Hopefully she’s treated a little better in Zelda Wii U/NX. Maybe with the extra delay Nintendo took some notes from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain’s D-Horse, the best horse in gaming.

What Twilight Princess did great were dungeons and the darker tone. These are really elevated by the changes in Twilight Princess HD. The filler has been cut down so you get to the dungeons faster. Game flow isn’t constantly being interrupted to pause and switch items in the dungeons. The better textures and less intrusive HUD let you enjoy their detail and design even more. It’s a nice bit of synergy.

This all comes together to make The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD a great remaster, and a worthwhile purchase. It’s a great port of a great old game that has some wrinkles, but it easily earns my Seal of Awesome Approval. It takes the current #4 spot, right behind Gravity Rush HD.

Game Rankings 2016:

  1. Fire Emblem Fates (link)
  2. Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam (link)
  3. Gravity Rush HD (link)
  4. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
  5. Final Fantasy Explorers (link)

Games in Blue have received the Seal of Awesome Approval.

Games in Red have received the Seal of Dour Disapproval.

 

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