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Twilight Princess Hands-on with Wii
game: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
posted by: George Holomshek
publisher: Nintendo
developer: Nintendo
date posted: 03:59 PM Thu May 18th, 2006
last revision: 12:58 PM Fri May 19th, 2006

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Click to read.While The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was already easily one of the most anticipated games of this generation, Nintendo has also decided to make it one of the most anticipated for next-generation too. With a full unveiling of how playing the special edition of Twilight Princess on the new Wii console would work, Nintendo not only added a few extra points to their hype meter, but also made those fearing that the game was only going to be a pretty version of Ocarina of Time feel a lot better. The demo they showed off at E3 this year was shorter than last year, playable only on the Wii, and consisted of a dungeon with a boss at the end, as well as a trip to the local fishing hole.

The dungeon was obviously very stripped down and shortened to allow players to reach the end in their allotted ten minutes of play time per turn. Still, it was functional and did exactly what it was meant to; show off the Wii controller. The first thing that happened as I set out on my quest was a little helper will pop up and suggested that I take a few swings at a nearby scarecrow to familiarize myself with swordplay. Moving Link is done by simply using the joystick on the nunchaku, and locking on to enemies is done using the trigger on the nunchuck.

Instead of physically duking it out with enemies a la Red Steel, swinging Link\'s sword is done in the traditional way by pressing the A-button repeatedly. Swordplay isn\'t completely button based however; a whole new spin was put on the spin attack by having the player quickly move the nunchaku in a circle to activate it. I found that you have to put a good deal of \"umph\" into the movement, but, seeing the spin attack is a pretty powerful move, this provides a real feeling of using your power to swing Link\'s sword. Also, Link\'s new parry move is done by literally shoving the Wii remote forward. This again really helps give you the feel of planting some cold steel into a monster\'s face.

After dispatching a few baddies with my newfound sword techniques, the little helper popped up again to instruct me in using the bow and arrow. This is where the Wii remote really introduces itself and shows off just how sensitive it is. Honestly, no matter how many people tell you how sensitive the controller is, you won\'t know just how touchy it can be until you play it yourself. When I first pulled out Link\'s bow the screen completely freaked out and started jumping all over the place as I drastically overdid my movements. Think back to the first time you used a joystick to control the camera in a game. The screen probably looked a lot like it would through the eyes of the Exorcist girl as her head spun around. But, after figuring out exactly how minute my hand movements needed to be in order to snipe an enemy, the experience improved quite a bit. And much like shooting a real bow, it is easy to know how to shoot, but it takes time and hands-on experience to learn how to aim and shoot consistently.

After dishing out a little more ranged and melee punishment, the first real Zelda puzzle was presented. Aiming the gale boomerang in a similar fashion to that of the bow, I targeted four spinners atop pillars and locked-on to each one in succession by pressing the B-button underneath the Wii remote. Throwing the boomerang unleashed a whirlwind that would travel the path I set for it. After nothing happened, I noticed a Z pattern on the floor linking the pillars. Locking-on to the spinners in the correct pattern, I once again let loose a puzzle-solving whirlwind of fury. The doors opened and the classic Zelda chime rang forth from both the TV and the little speaker located on the Wii remote.

Another quick encounter with the enemy and another simple puzzle presented itself. A switch on the ground which was \"too heavy to push down with my weight alone\" prompted a change into Link\'s classic heavy boots. But this time around the boots have a special feature, and that is to allow Link to be picked up by magnets and be carried around. And that is exactly what this puzzle was. After turning on the magnet, hitching a ride, and dropping onto a platform, it was time to make the final push to the boss. After killing a hefty wave of baddies and using the bow to cut through a rope holding a bridge in the air, the ominous giant door awaited.

The boss for the demo is the same one we saw in the first Twilight Princess trailer back at E3 2004. As the dark lump of coal came to life, burst into flames, and broke free of its restraints, an intense battle began. Fighting the boss was actually pretty easy, but this is also because I had just seen it done on the TV next to me. I assume the very first people to try and take this bad boy on hand to think for a bit before they figured it out. Using the bow to shoot a fiery crystal on the beast\'s head, he began to stumble, trying to regain his balance. With chains still on his feet, and a pair of super heavy boots hidden away in Link\'s pants, the solution was clear. Equip the boots and pull on the chain until the behemoth fell. Once downed, running to the crystal on his head and slashing away was the order of the day. After pulling off this pattern a mere two times, the fiery demon was done for and, after a cool death sequence, I was met with the \"Thank you for playing\" screen.

So after an intense battle such as that, what does a hero do to kick back and reward himself? Go fishing of course. This part of the demo was all about floating around in a boat and showing off another cool use of the Wii controller. Fishing was simple and, above all, great fun. Simply holding A until you want to release the lure and flipping the Wii remote forward as if it were a real fishing rod makes Link cast his line out into the pond. Then, you can reel the line in using A, or if you don\'t want to wait you can push downward on the remote\'s d-pad. Once a fish bites, reeling the line and tugging back on the remote will set the hook and let the battle begin. How you hold the remote directly effects how Link holds his fishing rod. This is important because if you are yanking back on the remote when the fish jumps, more than likely your line will break and you will be left with nothing but a fish story. Oh, and for those of you wondering, yes the legendary Hylian Loach is in Twilight Princess, I even had luck enough to be able to catch it.

While fishing was possibly one of the most fun things I did in the Nintendo booth, the experience wasn\'t completely golden. I was mainly disappointed that Link only held the rod in the set positions of left, right, up, and down, instead of emulating the exact angle you are holding the controller. This isn\'t a huge deal, but I do hope that Nintendo can clean things up and make the fishing rod look like a real extension of the controller in the final game.

Even after seeing it for three E3s in a row, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is still at the top of my most wanted chart, and it doesn\'t appear to be losing any steam in terms of hype either. The build we saw looked a lot like the one we saw last year in terms of graphics. There were a few jaggies here and there, and there is still some rather annoying clipping going on with Link\'s hat, but the game still looks very solid. Control wise, the Wii controller really made the game feel fresh again. Using the remote to aim and shoot was a little difficult at first, but after a few rounds my aim was leaps and bounds better than when I started.

My biggest concern for Twilight Princess, however, still lies in how difficult the game will be. By Nintendo\'s own admittance, the demo at E3 was dumbed down so novice players can still beat it in the allotted amount of time, but I still wonder just how much they nerfed it. Nintendo, if you read this, pretty please (with sugar on top) do all us Zelda fans a favor and give us selectable difficulty levels. Easy, normal, hard, and an unlockable \"Legend\" setting would be just swell. Even if this feature doesn\'t make it into the game, I still look forward to a great game with sweet graphics, fun controls, and an all new story. Now, all we have to do is manage to wait until the fourth quarter of this year.

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