Making Nice with the Twilight Princess: Update #1

Early last month, I made a promise to myself, and all of you, that this year I would complete The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Bolstered by my previous success with Xenoblade Chronicles, and with a new entry into the Zelda franchise on the way, it seemed like as good a time as any to actually play and finish Twilight Princess. (Plus, it would give our poor ol’ Wii something to do.) I started but stopped the game many years ago, and last month, I started up the game again. How has it been going? In short: great! The long version of that follows.

To begin, I’m currently about eighteen hours into the game, and I’m miles beyond where I stopped years ago. That’s such a good thing! Of those hours, I think I spent the most time exploring Ordon Village, which is where the game starts you as “normal” Link (i.e. without his famous green clothes). As a trusty villager, there are lots of things for Link to do, like goat herding and fishing, and there are plenty of townsfolk to chat up. So I took my time getting to know that lay of the land, as well as the controls of the game.

I mentioned in my last post that I had no trouble with the motion controls at this early stage, and this held true at least through Ordon Village and the nearby Faron Woods. Even with some light combat training, I got the hang of using Link’s slingshot, and later found his first (wooden) sword. However, I had forgotten how the control scheme for the sword relied completely on swinging the Wiimote and nunchuk in various ways. That I do not like…at all. Granted the “swordplay” and “fire and aim” uses of the Wiimote were once true novelties, but now, my wrists just don’t like it. If I harbor one groundless dislike of this game, it’s that it is not compatible with the Wii’s Classic Controller. (It was never made to be so, hence the “groundless” there in my claim.) But I do so wish that I could simply push buttons to use the sword, shield, boomerang, and bow and arrow. Especially the bow and arrow since it’s a two-step process to aim. Oh, how I just do not like that.

Aside from that gripe, the rest of the action in the game…hang on…maybe I have once more gripe. A small one that’s also Wii-related: using the analog stick on the nunchuck to move Link. Maybe my nunchuck is grumpy from being ignored for so long, but placing link the right direction to move or jump has been a terrible hassle. So many times have catapulted Link to his death inadvertently because I’d think he was headed in a safe direction when it turned out he wasn’t. Or I’d fall off a long path and have to start the whole thing over. It’s possible that I’m just overly excited with the analog stick. What I’m forced to do now is to use the C-button to center Link’s view to where I want him to go, and then I move him. As I alluded to, I hate extra steps when it comes to controls, but I can’t figure out any other way to control Link’s herky-jerky movement. (Don’t even get me started on the King Bulbin fight – nearly crushed my controller in anger more than once.)

Okay, these two (mostly personal) issues aside, the gameplay is pretty great. When I first played, I had only made it through the Forest Temple. I enjoyed its puzzles then, and I especially liked those same puzzles now. And how about those monkeys! I can’t say that I was once a fan of character renderings in this game, but those views have softened. If anything, Twilight Princess looks quite beautiful atmospherically, and its characters are acquired tastes, I suppose, but fitting. The people and animals of Zelda games have always looked a little strange and exaggerated, no?

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. As the game unfolded, more familiarity came back. Entering the Twilight, Wolf Link, meeting and teaming up with Midna, finding the first set of Tears of Light. And having all that wrapped up in a short, compelling story. I was a little surprised at how much I actually missed delving into the lore of Hyrule and Princess Zelda. Paying more attention to the story certainly paid off! And I also took extra time to explore Hyrule Castle and Faron Woods. Treasures lurked in every corner.

Back to the Forest Temple, had a good time there, and a decently fun boss battle awaited. (Diababa – lots of bomb and boomerang fun there!). After gaining my first fused shadow, it was on to find the second one. I got myself through Kakariko Village without too many problems (though finding all those Tears of Light was a challenge), and from then on out, everything in the game was new to me.

Before proceeding with the next fused shadow, I took some time to explore Hyrule Field. I had gotten Epona back and had a lovely time just riding around the field’s vast expanse. I didn’t realize just how large it was, and I made note of several “locked” paths. Can’t wait to get back to do some more exploring there.

With horse riding out of my system, it was onto Death Mountain and the Goron Mines. At this point, my failings with the motion controls became evident. The climb up the mountains wasn’t too terrible, but I flung Link into lava in the mines waaay too much. Turned out that the Goron Mines were huge, and having to start over just killed my spirit on multiple occasions. However, the mines did offer up some really fantastic puzzles. And I loved the mechanic of Link’s iron (and magnetic) boots – simple but effective. Putting all that into play with the mines’ boss, Fyrus, was pretty fun too. Though it took me a couple tries to figure out just exactly what I needed to do to beat him.

And that’s as far as I’ve gotten. Here I remain, with two fused shadows, ready to find the third. Despite my problems with the controls, I couldn’t be happier. I managed to get in more play time with the game last month that I thought, which is good considering that, due to other projects, I might have to set Twilight Princess on the backburner for a few weeks. Rest assured, I’ll be back with further updates in the coming months, because this train has left the station, and there’s no turning back now!


  1. duckofindeed says:

    Good luck in getting through the game! I agree, the motion controls are a pain (I have both versions of the game because my GameCube started acting weird, but then I bought a new GameCube, so getting the Wii version of this game seems silly now), and I also agree that the character design is strange, too. I find some of the people rather unpleasant looking compared to the characters in other Zelda games. One other issue I specifically had with the Wii version of this game is the sound in my Wiimote would sound like static a lot, which was rather annoying. It made Midna’s giggling sound weird….

    Aside from all that, though, the game should just keep getting better. I just loved the dungeons in this one. They were really fun, but also challenging, which I can’t say about the dungeons in many Zelda games. What’s the point of puzzles if they’re too simple to solve?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      You’re right about the dungeons. I was amazed at how large the Goron Mines were, and I didn’t even explore the whole thing! (Yet.) And the array of puzzles within it was pretty great too; kept everything very interesting. Though the whole Link and lava thing really got to me sometimes. I swear the controls were just pitiful at points. And I had to turn off the wiimote’s sound/rumble completely. I also got static and found it generally annoying.

      Beyond that, things are going quite well. I’m really enjoying the story, and I can see why many folks favor this over other Zelda games.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hatm0nster says:

    Oh man, I forgot about how awkward controlling Link with the Nunchuck was! It was just so clunky; especially when riding on Epona! Looking forward to hearing about your take on the Arbiter’s Grounds dungeon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      Oh. My. Goodness. Trying to do combat while riding Epona is just about the worst. As I said, that King Bulblin battle nearly did me (and my wiimote) in!

      Ooo, the Arbiter’s Grounds sound quite interesting. Can’t wait to get there!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, there’s some great stuff in this game but I found the controls dampened my experience somewhat. It’s manageable, but the fact this was a launch game for Wii shows – I suspect, had it come out a year later, the controls would’ve been smoother. In hindsight I think I would’ve enjoyed the Gamecube version more. Shame it’s so expensive to get hold of nowadays.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      Yeah, I also looked round for the GameCube version. It was a very brief search — it’s not cheap, as you say. I’m very much hoping that the controls run a bit smoother from here on out. I am willing to put up with some motion control nonsense, but if things get bad…like *really* bad…

      …well, let just hope things don’t get *really* bad.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think if you’ve done the early part of the game and you’re finding it OK, you should be fine for the duration. There are a few moves – the shield bash and the spin attack – that require shaking the nunchuk, those are pretty unreliable… thankfully they’re not essential.

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