The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD is still a great game. There really isn’t much more to say; Twilight Princess is still easily one of the best games in the Zelda series. Just as Twilight Princess was redone for the Wii, it has now been remastered for the Wii U. When The Wind Waker was remastered for the Wii U, most changes either improved the graphics, added gamepad support, or removed repetitive gameplay. Twilight Princess HD is the same: shiny new graphics at 1080p, some of the more repetitive missions removed/reduced, and a lot of touch pad gimmicks. For the most part though, it is still the same great game fans loved before–just updated. Same great characters and a story conclusion that made even me feel a little emotional. Since a majority of the game is identical to the original and well known at this point, I will focus primarily on what’s new.
For starters it looks great. Some graphics have been updated or entirely redone in order to work at full HD. Unlike The Wind Waker HD where the upgrade wasn’t as obvious (mainly due to the cartoon design), it is extremely noticeable in Twilight Princess HD. Looking back at the previous two versions kind of makes you feel like you played them with dirt in your eyes. Many of the character models appear to have been at least partly redone; Link’s hair for instance no longer looks like a bad toupee. While everything is much sharper, there are certain things that were not updated or replaced. An interesting design choice but it does help the game keep its unique twilight atmosphere.
When Twilight Princess was updated for the Wii, Nintendo had to throw in a bunch of Wii-mote flourishes and ridiculous hand movements. Apparently lightning can strike the same place twice because Nintendo had to throw in a bunch of Wii U gamepad gimmicks this time. Many of the actual changes to the game revolve around features connected to the gamepad. To be fair, the gamepad is a lot more useful than waving my arms around like a madman. You can access your map or switch items from the gamepad without pausing the game; which as I found out is an interesting challenge when you are fighting a boss. It does make things faster and more convenient, especially when a giant monster isn’t attacking you. There is even a button now to automatically switch back and forth from Wolf Link.
There are some changes to the game itself, mostly cutting back on repetitive missions to make gameplay smoother. An early example of this is the fetch quest for the Tears of Light, which has been vastly reduced. Some cutscenes have also been reduced slightly in order to keep up the pacing. One thing that was added is the new Hero Mode, a concept originally added to Skyward Sword, which is a higher difficulty setting where the player takes double damage. An interesting challenge for any Zelda fan but not the ultimate challenge. Unlike Skyward Sword, the player doesn’t have to beat the game before Hero Mode unlocks; it is available from the beginning.
The major change in Twilight Princess HD is the use of amiibo and their effect on gameplay. Link and Toon Link fully refill arrows (once a day), Zelda and Sheik refill hearts (also once a day), and Ganon doubles damage taken. For those paying attention: yes, if you use Ganon while in Hero Mode it will quadruple damage; the ultimate test of skill and a nightmare to do. The Wolf Link amiibo, which comes with the game, unlocks a special dungeon called the Cave of Shadows. This dungeon presents an interesting semi-rogue-like challenge, as the player (stuck as Wolf Link) must fight increasingly difficult waves of enemies in order to reach the bottom of the dungeon. There is no way to heal once the dungeon is started except for hearts stored up during previous runs. One issue is that the player is forced to stop at certain intervals and start over before going deeper. While I have not reached the bottom yet supposedly there is a massive wallet that holds 9,999 rupees.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a great game and timeless classic, and Twilight Princess HD makes it that much better. In this case I would suggest buying the game new, because the Wolf Link amiibo is where you will really get your money’s worth. Not only does it look great and opens the Cave of Shadows but it can also be used in the upcoming Zelda Wii U. How it can be used is still a mystery, but apparently it will be useful. Not to mention the amiibo by itself is pulling in around $80 dollars on eBay; which is ridiculous when you can buy it and the game for only $60. Any gamer would go amiss by never playing Twilight Princess, and those who have a Wii U are just letting the opportunity go to waste. That ending gets me every time… but Malo will always scare the hell out of me.