With nearly ten years since its original release, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess still lives on as one of the most compelling installments in the series. Following the announcement of an HD remaster, Zelda fans around the world waited for the moment that they could play this fan-favorite once again, only this time, with enhanced visuals.
Although it seems to be a simple remaster, Twilight Princess HD features many new improvements. Aside from the ever-present 1080p resolution enhancement (previously 480p), the Wii U gamepad serves as a well-functioning device to eliminate tedious menu shifting. In addition, medial tasks such as running and swimming have been sped up and Link no longer hits walls with his sword, making close-quarter combat more manageable. These upgrades and more make the 2016 playthrough of this originally released 2006 game, much more enjoyable to play — as if it wasn’t already.
When it comes to the visual aesthetics of Twilight Princess this time around, it cannot be denied that it has received major graphical touch-ups. Minor elements such as the movement of Link’s hair are more detailed, the spirits Link encounters feel much more angelic and vivid, water looks far more realistic, and the dimly lit lighting style present in the realm of Twilight looks far less fuzzy than it did before.
Although the more fixated objects in-game have been profoundly enhanced, some of the textures in the background still feel somewhat flat and act more as backdrops than actual focal attributes to the game. Sure, some of the nauseating patterns found on places such as the walls or sand floors have been smoothed out, but the overall environment could have used a more evasive makeover. Brush still appears in random spots surrounded by flat floors, sand walls still go up to nowhere with no cap, and terrain dips and cut-offs look awkward and outdated.
Regardless of the flat backgrounds, the major visual attributes to the environment have been upgraded significantly. Similar to how we felt playing Twilight Princess for the first time ten years ago, Link looks just as good now and the regional focal points (Death Mountain, Hyrule Castle…etc.), look even more breathtaking this time around.
Another major addition includes the use of amiibos. For Zelda amiibo collectors, this is a good and bad thing. Good because each Zelda amiibo is very useful to scan in-game and bad because you have to actually open them.
By scanning the new Wolf Link amiibo, players are able access the all new Cave of Shadows. With 40 different playable floors, players will acquire the Giant Wallet once they have cleared the dungeon. By scanning Toon Link or regular Link, players will have replenished arrows, by scanning Sheik or Princess Zelda, players will fully restore all of Link’s hearts, and by scanning Ganondorf, players will be able to take twice as much damage. However, before you start opening your amiibos, take in mind that they can only be scanned once per day.
In regards to the actual mechanics and play-style of Twilight Princess HD, there have been slight improvements to relieve the player from constant, tedious activity. Some reviews of the game stated that they wished Wolf Link had more combat moves or that items acquired in dungeons had more use outside of their acquisition location (boomerang…etc). However, focusing on the title “HD” should alleviate those expectations.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess in the truest form is a remaster not a reboot in any shape, way, or form. You will still accidentally jump off cliffs, jump back-and-forth as Wolf Link waiting for birds to swoop down, and find yourself wanting to kill Epona for getting stuck on the slightest inclines while chasing down burning wagons in escort missions.
Story, dark ambiance, and character progression alone makes Twilight Princess HD well worth another playthrough. With visual improvements, the new stamp system, the use of amiibos, and the removal of dated medial tasks, this is the best time to jump back into the realm of Twilight and experience Link like you never have before. Of course, who doesn’t love Midna too?
This review of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD is based off a physical, limited edition copy which was paid for out of pocket.