The Wii might not have the most pristine reputation, but it gave me some great memories. The first, and possibly the most, cherished memory came from the first time I played <em>The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess</em>. After spending two hours struggling with the game’s fishing mechanics, I finally got hold of the wooden sword. While it wasn’t Link’s Master Sword or an actual blade, swinging my arm and seeing the action mimicked in the game was mind-blowing for my teenage self. In reality, all I was doing was furiously waggling something that could be easily mistaken for a TV remote or a phallic object. </p>
As silly or dirty as that sounds, this moment is the first thing that pops in my head whenever I think of Twilight Princess, before the mature story, iconic imagery, deep combat, excellent dungeon design, and epic boss battles (the final multi-stage Ganondorf fight is the best in the series). So with Nintendo deciding to remove all motion control for Twilight Princess’ HD remake on the Wii U, how would somebody that grew up on the Wii version adapt?
Actually, pretty well. Despite my nostalgia for the motion controls, Twilight Princess HD has the definitive control scheme of pressing buttons that is more intuitive than flailing your arms. Plus, the ever-present map and menu featured on the GamePad make menu navigation buttery smooth. The streamlined controls aren’t the only change in the transition to the Wii U.
Considering the game is built off of the GameCube version of Twilight Princess, Hyrule is back to its original “unflipped” state. For the Wii version, everything in the game was mirrored in order to make Link right-handed like the majority of players. Although it might seem superficial, this decision makes everything feel a little different for veterans of the Wii version like myself.
The last addition found in Twilight Princess HD comes in the form of the Wolf Link amiibo. Currently, this amiibo is only available with the physical version of the game. The Wolf Link amiibo adds a new dungeon to the game: the Cave of Shadows. This dungeon is a series of progressively difficult challenges that can only be completed while Link is in wolf form. It is a fun, little diversion from the main game, but feels like a re-skin of the Cave of Ordeals rather than a brand new mode.
In all honesty, the Amiibo’s quick save functionality is the more impressive feature. Being able to jump right into the game without having to go through multiple menus is so convenient. I don’t know how I’ll ever go back.
Twilight Princess does well in transitioning into high definition. The models are smooth, the textures updated for the higher resolution, and the vibrant colours of the Twilight Realm pop in HD. Since this is an HD port rather than a full-on remake like Wind Waker HD, there are a few graphical issues that slip through the cracks. The animations found in the cinematics are particularly stiff, especially when characters flap their gums to simulate talking. Plus, clipping issues stick out like a sore thumb. These issues aren’t anything major, but will break your suspension of disbelief from time to time.
Nintendo always puts a lot of love and care into its re-releases and remakes, and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD is no exception. Outside of the occasional graphical issue, the game plays just as well — or even better than — it did back in 2006. While some may dismiss Twilight Princess as being nothing more than a mere update to Ocarina of Time, they’re missing out on one of Link’s darkest and most emotional journeys ever burned to a disc.