998th played so far

Genre: Action/Adventure
Platform: Gamecube/Wii
Year of Release: 2006
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Publisher: Nintendo

As I’m starting to round up games, it’s time to say goodbye to another major franchise. I’ve always enjoyed the look of The Legend of Zelda series, my experience was always with the original 2D entries, with the Oracle of Ages/Oracle of Seasons series being the originals I owned. As I’ve played through more of them, I’ve begun enjoying the entire series and Breath of the Wild has become one of the best games ever – I am certain it would have been in an updated version of the list. While it breaks with the formula in many ways, one of the smaller joys of going through the other games have been all the nods shared between the different games in the series.

Twilight Princess is the last 3D console iteration of the game, with the DS games of Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks being more recent, but where neither of them count as the full series. The missing entry is Skyward Sword, which I guess I’ll have time to try a few months from now.

At the same time, with this entry I say goodbye to the action/adventure genre. Although for our internal tracking we counted them as separate games, it does feel like it doesn’t quite belong there – while the action genre is quite broad, the adventure genre is often about the avoiding of action in favour of puzzle solving, conversation and story telling. The methods in which it shows up in action/adventures is, as we’ve played through them, clearly being more about action puzzles and physics rather than inventory combination and such, and seeing it as its own time makes more sense. I’ve always enjoyed these more than pure action games as I enjoy the exploration elements, and I hope I’ll see that here too.

Our Thoughts

On the whole, a slow start to a game is a real detriment when I’m playing a game for the blog. Much as I want to experience the atmosphere, I also want to get a good feel for the game, its mechanics and separate features. As I approach the end of the list, though, I made sure I could take my time with Twilight Princess, taking my time in the early stages of the game, as you explore your home village and learn some basic skills while going through some simple side quests. It’s here where I did struggle with some of the controls, possibly because of the results of the Wii port – horse jumping has some peculiar timing that the game doesn’t explain well, as does fishing. It’s unfortunate, even if the latter hasn’t had much use yet.

That slow start takes you through your first exploration segment, a dark forest with some enemies and larger open areas. The game feels quite standard at that point, perhaps not the most creative, until the end of that section lands you in a twilight area, transformed into a wolf, having to learn a new skillset while accompanied by a weird devil creature. It’s a strange idea and even in the hours I played it I only scratched the surface, knowing both sides of the experience will feature heavily.

What probably felt more interesting is that at this point, the weird lore has come to the forefront. We see more of what Zelda is doing, but the twilight world seems to push that weirdness further. As much as your gentle life in the village seems simple, it’s the contrast of that with the dark world you have to struggle to survive in that feels good, down to having to crawl through bushes rather than go straight to an area to make it feel more cramped. It might mean that the game is a bit lower on puzzles, but the movement in the first castle-type dungeon already feels like its own tense experience.

Final Thoughts

The Legend of Zelda is a great example of a game that found its own place and is rarely matched in its genre. Twilight Princess again introduces some interesting new elements, but the style of the environments, the traversal and set up feels like it belongs to the series.ย  If anything, I felt this game was the one that invited me most to explore its world, getting used to your life there and immerse yourself in everything that’s going on. Together, possibly, with Link to the Past, this is probably the game of the series I’ll probably get back to first.