Well, yesterday and today at E3, Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was announced. Here's from 1UP:
From what I understood from the trailer, Link turns into a wearwolf at night, and some compainon rides on his back. Although this isn't what I hoped for, I'm still a die-hard-core Zelda fan, and I cannot wait for its release.Originally Posted by 1UPAs gamers, we are tied up with Zelda. Many of us have Zelda histories, relationships stretching back over many years and many games, with all the intimacy and nuance this implies. Even those of us without such Zelda experience have smelt traces of the franchise on countless other games. We don't come to Zelda clean; we bring quite a lot to a new Zelda game. Our responses are bound to be strong, and they're bound to come in layers. An advance press session with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess contributes its own intrigue: the haste, the secrecy, the discreet hotel assignation. And as we come face to face with the new Zelda, our responses are stirred.
The first and most obvious response is enthusiasm: this new Zelda is ruthlessly eager to please. One demo segment places Link in a battle on horseback against a pack of warthog-riding goblins. The battle ranges over a wide expanse of plain, Link's mount galloping hard, the goblins harrying Link with arrows. Epona, Link's horse, moves beautifully. The sensation of the ride is both inherently thrilling and a conscious reference back to Ocarina of Time: this twofold pleasure, this two-pronged attack on our pleasure centers, is something few games are so capable of. The battle initially appears to be freeform: Link brings Epona alongside the warthog riders and knocks them from their perches with quick sword strikes. The control difficulties we might expect simply never arise. Eventually Link encounters an armored goblin on a massive armored warthog, who's just fast enough to stay out of range; as Link pursues, the seemingly open field is revealed as a path to a castle looming on the horizon. Link cuts down this last foe just as he gains the castle gates. This intermingling of freedom and choreography is very clever and very satisfying. It feels like new territory for Nintendo.
As the shock of the new subsides, we begin to compare the new Zelda to our past Zelda experiences, and we begin to wonder how it's kept abreast of the last several years' progress in game design. Its virtuoso take on equestrian combat aside, Twilight Princess follows much the same blueprint as the other 3D Zelda games, and certain design archaisms grate. The swordplay -- with its deliberate pace, limited move set, and dramatic pauses on impact -- seems flimsy and dated. Link's inability to jump or climb on command can turn knee-high dirt mounds into impassable obstacles.
Twilight Princess's presentation is altogether more successful. The realistic visual style is wonderfully executed: Toaru Village, Link's idyllic hometown, is gorgeously soft-focus and sun-dappled. Epona's muscles are visible along her powerful flanks. But to call these evocative and stylized graphics "realistic" isn't quite accurate: they're only realistic relative to Wind Waker's overt cartoon style. And though visual similarities to Ocarina of Time are obvious, Wind Waker continues to exert a strong influence, particularly in Toaru Village. The townspeople are comic gargoyles in the best Wind Waker tradition; they are endearing freaks with outsize quirks. A squat, sallow-faced man with a pencil moustache flings rocks at a beehive and is chased off by its angry inhabitants. A little girl shimmies with ridiculous delight as Link demonstrates his sword thrusts on a scarecrow. Though Twilight Princess continues to eschew the voiced dialogue and cinematic presentation that have become commonplace in high-production games, its storytelling is striking. The characters act in pantomime, communicating through gestures and broadly drawn facial expressions. The accompanying text reads nothing like a screenplay; it reads like a videogame. A scene in which the mayor's daughter scolds Link for riding Epona too hard is highly distinctive.
The demo also offers a glimpse of a forest dungeon, and here both enthusiasm and skepticism recede as we encounter some very elaborate challenges. Too elaborate, in fact, to be readily tackled in a timed demo. Some of the puzzle segments involve sending friendly baboons, telltale purple hindquarters on display, down crisscrossing zip-lines. Baboons are deployed in sequence to lower bridges or carry Link across gaps. It's an inspired bit of silliness. A demoed boss fight is similarly complex. It centers on the new charge function of Link's boomerang, which sends out miniature tornados that track, lift objects, and can be retargeted in mid-flight. Link uses these abilities to retrieve baboon-carried bombs and send them into the waiting mouths of carnivorous flytraps not unlike Mario's Piranha Plants. Where older Zelda games were divided into discrete puzzle and action segments, the lines here have been blurred: this Zelda seems pervaded with puzzles. Against such intricacy and ingenuity of design, our layered expectations and responses seem irrelevant: even this cursory demo showcases problems worth solving and a world worth getting lost in. It's remarkable that such a venerable franchise can still transport us in this way. No doubt it holds its choicest secrets in reserve.
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