E3 2006 was do or die for Nintendo. After a poor 2005 year with Gamecube, and overall a lackluster impression in this generation with it, people wondered if Nintendo could stay alive in the home-console business any longer. Luckily, they came out swinging.
Wii has shown that they’re still one awesome company. You had the excellent presentation of the system which brought some of the longest lines recorded, and a legion of exciting videos. The Wiimote was finally given to the public, and so far it appears that it will make our gaming experiences all the better come Q4. And of course, we were shown quality titles like Metroid Prime Corruption, Project H.A.M.M.E.R, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Red Steel, and even Twilight Princess Wii.
…oh yes, Twilight Princess Wii.
Most of us thought it’d be just on Gamecube this November, but instead, the hottest Zelda game will also be a launch-title for Nintendo’s new console, featuring a unique control system exclusive to the Wiimote. At E3, visitors were allowed to play a short demo of a dungeon, which sported combat and puzzle solving. Both of those gameplay elements had you using your trusty items via the Wiimote, whether it was just pressing some of the buttons, or aiming to throw the Gale Boomerang and shoot arrows. You could also play a relaxing fishing game, which had you using the Wiimote like a real fishing rod.
A lot of people liked it. There wasn’t a Gamecube on the floor at E3, so to play Twilight Princess, you had to play the Wii version. The overall consensus of those that played it is that it played well enough, but it still needs a bit of improvement. However, there’s also a lot of people that don’t like it. Whether it’s from the visuals on Wii, or how the game will play, Twilight Princess Wii has not warmed up to everyone just yet.
Me? Well, to tell you the truth, I’m not one of the people. I’m not planning to buy Twilight Princess for the Gamecube; I’m too hyped to play it on Wii. You can say that I’m just following Nintendo like a dog, or that I’m too quick to jump, but there are definitely some good things about the Wii version, and there are reasons why I’m so excited to play the game in the new style.
I’ve seen people gripe about the graphics, saying that as a Wii game it’s unimpressive. I hardly agree; there’s a noticeable difference between what we saw on Gamecube and what we saw at E3. On Wii, the lighting’s beautiful, the texture and details are better, and the colors are simply stunning, whether they were brighter, or just had more tone than originally seen. Those aspects are the most important things in the way a game looks; with them, you set the entire mood of the game.
The Wii is not looking to make its games photo realistic, either (thank God), it’s just looking to enhance them in terms of color, lighting, polygon count, frame rate etc. Twilight Princess isn’t going to look like Call of Duty 2 or Heavy Rain; it’s going for its own art style instead of trying to make everything look like real life. It’s creating graphics with the basics of video-game imagery; and that’s exactly what the Wii is improving on. I don’t see why people are complaining about the graphics when what’s being boosted is what matters to Twilight Princess’s visuals.
Furthermore, there’s still so much time before it’s released. In six months, there’s a ton of tweaking that can be done to make the game look much better. We’ve already gotten a few reports about additions to the Wii’s hardware since E3, which will in the end, help it in one way or another. If Twilight Princess looks as good as it did at E3, then come October, November or December, I can guarantee that it’ll look even better.
Of course, the big reason for my enthusiasm for the game is the Wiimote. I’ve been a fan of the thing since day one. The moment I saw it, I realized that it had so much potential to give gamers a whole new way to play games, and in the long run, make it so much more interesting and enjoyable than before. I simply like the controller as a whole.
But, I’m not interested in every single Wii game and how it uses the controller, so a part of why I’m looking forward to Twilight Princess Wii so much is because of the specific controls for the game. So far, they don’t look bad at all. From the presentation at E3, they were far from perfect, but they were also far from being poor. The only major problems that I noticed, or that were prevalent among gamers were the bow and arrow shooting, and the camera.
The bow and arrow gave us a bit of an awkward aiming system with one or two glitches, but it was hardly unplayable. As for the camera angle, it’s not so much that it’s bad, but that there’s not as much freedom with it as there was in the Wind Waker. You won’t be able to move it all around Link during gameplay. But when you think about it, the camera angle for Twilight Princess Wii, at worst, is like Ocarina of Time or Majora’s Mask. Frankly, I don’t see much of a problem with that based on how well those two games played.
However, one problem I have with those games, as well as Wind Waker, is their difficulty. In the 3D Zeldas, puzzles have all been easy, and the combat has rarely been a challenge. I remember when I first picked up Wind Waker, I had no trouble getting used to the controls, as it had been right after I finished the Master Quest of Ocarina of Time. Then once I got into the deeper elements of the gameplay, including the use of my items, I grasped it instantly, and I was tearing through the game with little trouble.
I now know why- it’s because I had basically mastered the controls after playing the Master Quest. The Wind Waker’s controls were so similar, and I was already great with them going into the game, but then I as progressed through the adventure on the Great Sea, I became more and more confident with them, to the point where I knew them so well that I couldn’t get much of challenge from anything.
I fear that for Gamecube’s version of Twilight Princess, I fear that I’ll be so used to those controls that I once again will be able to play through it with no trouble at all. I know Nintendo has said that it’ll be more difficult than previous installments of the series, but we’ll all still be so fluent with the controls that I can’t imagine finding true difficulty anywhere. I’ve been waiting a long time for a challenging 3D Zelda, and I believe that playing with the Wiimote’s new controls will make that possible.
The Wiimote, plain and simple, is going to bring a totally new way of playing Zelda, and personally, I’m enthralled by that idea. The franchise has been around for twenty years now, and while some games have brought several new things to the series, there’s never been a significant change to how the gameplay goes down. I’m ready for something new, in fact, I want something new. I’m the kind of person who loves to see fresh ideas and mechanics incorporated in games, especially for sequels. If Twilight Princess is going to be as huge as it appears to be, bringing in a unique way of controlling the journey will make it have all the bigger of an impact.
I have no problem with tradition, and I have no problem with any fan that shuns Twilight Princess Wii because they want to play one last Zelda game the way they have all their life. But to me, it’s time to start a new tradition. I feel it’s time that Zelda goes down a new path, to give us new, creative experiences in our adventures with Link. And I couldn’t think of a better time to start it than with what I believe will be the grandest Zelda game of all time.