First off, I'd like to apologise in advance if I gush but damn I love this game! When I first turned it on, after years of anticipation, and a brief taste at this year’s E3, I had high hopes. Upper atmosphere-like expectations that had me giddy the whole way home from the midnight launch. I very nearly trembled with excitement. I was, of course, disappointed. It didn't look as great as I hoped.
The controls were good and felt like the Zelda
I knew, but they also seemed to have the same issues I'd known since 1999's Ocarina of Time
. Was this really all that three years of the big N's best developers could muster? In spite of my initial let down, I pressed on. I herded some goats, helped out a remorseful cat and put up with an obstinate girl who stole my horse. Then, magic happened. The story slowly, oh so slowly, began to unfold. Hours rolled by, and I was completely sucked in.
I was around five hours in when I got to the first dungeon. I’d already fought multiple enemies, explored a patch of land as big as the Hyrule field from Ocarina of Time
and learned a fighting technique or two. It was then that it struck me, the biggest difference between this and previous Zeldas
was not in its graphic presentation, nor its new Wii-specific control scheme. What makes this Zelda
special is how well its story is not only written but how it is told. In between the nine main dungeons is a deeper, more well-told story than I had ever hoped for.
Now that I've seen every square inch of the latest version of Hyrule, killed everything from a tiny rat to a giant sea monster, and dramatically rescued all sorts of things via exciting horseback sword play, I can safely say, this is the "best Zelda
ever". There, I said it. Look for that on the back of the platinum edition next year.
Everything about this game is just as good or better than its predecessors. The world has the stunning “realistic fairy tale” look of Ocarina of Time
, but thanks to a few more years of practice and better hardware the characters have beautifully believable expressions. Rather than messing with perfection, the control scheme matches that of the Wind Waker, but with better aiming and more tactile fighting thanks too the Wii Remote. Most of all though, for lack of a less clichéd' term, this game is epic.
The story, in as non-spoiler form as possible, is that you, Link, are charged with delivering a special sword from your village to Hyrule castle as a gift. On your way there however all hell breaks loose, so to speak, and the whole world as you know it is cast into perpetual twilight. Then you turn into a wolf, with earrings.
You come to find out, by way of the slightly annoying but still endearing creature Midna, that this is the work of the self-proclaimed king of twilight, Zant. Midna, who rides on your back while you're in wolf form, is a bit standoffish but appears to be interested in rebelling against the king and helping to restore your world to its once sunny self. Together you set off to talk to people, solve puzzles and save princesses.
Of course the first thing that grabbed my attention when starting the game up was the Wii “enhanced” control scheme. As you may or may not know, sword swinging and biting (when in wolf form) are mapped to the motion sensing in the Wii Remote itself. A quick shake of the Remote will unsheathe your sword and continued thrusts will string together multiple hit combos.