January 21st, 2007

Tom Baker

Dude, Zelda rocks

I haven't played a Zelda game since the Adventures of Link (that'd be the second one released for the NES in 1988). So I'm not a terribly big fan of the franchise. I've seen bits from the Ocarina of Time, it looked okay. I might even have played it for ten minutes.

But with all the Wii related hype, I was pretty excited about The Twilight Princess- and as it turns out, rightly so. Minna surprised me with it on Friday, and we've played it a bit this weekend- the controls are tight, the graphics are gorgeous, the gameplay is well thought out and the storyline is captivating. And heck, in this game you spend a decent part of your time as a wolf- you're not even playing as the Link you might be used to from other games.

The lush characters and environments are reminiscent of some of the Gaiman-esque movies that have been coming out lately. Very cool game. The only complaint- and I've heard this from others, and agree- is that the use of the motion sensitive controller leaves a bit to be desired. Basically, the motion sensitive controller is little more than an extra button- swing it from side to side to swing your sword. If you want to do some actual move with the sword, you have to use button combinations. An overhead swing requires a button held down and the same side-to-side motion, not an overhand swing.

Contrast this to Madden- which I haven't played much of. To take the snap, you lift the controller like you're picking up a football. To pass, you swing your arm like passing. To tackle, you push the controller away from you like you're pushing someone to the ground. Very intuitive, using a range of motion. In Zelda, the range of motion is swing the Wiimote (normal attack) or swing the nunchuck (spin attack). For ranged weapons, you can use it to shoot in a point-and-click fashion. So, that's a little weak. It's compensated for by the fact that your character is smart enough to keep it from being an exercise in button-mashing. Routine movements like climbing a ledge are handled clearly and automatically. The same for jumping. Not your concern- you play at a higher level. But I gotta say- some of the fights really kill your wrists.