Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Giving up on Twilight Princess

About a year ago a friend of mine lent me a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. She just asked for it back, forcing me to admit that I never got very far in the game. I told her I never really ended up having time to play it, which is true, but I also have to admit that the game never grabbed me.

I first put it in my Wii during a family Christmas gathering; my brothers wanted to see it. I plodded my way through voiceless text only to finally be allowed to prove I could ride a horse. I then got to talk to more towns-people, catch a fish for a cat, and finally got to go off to a cave where I had to fetch someone or something.

I imagine that a big moment was right around the corner; some event or even a puzzle that would draw me in for the rest of the game. Sadly, it just didn’t happen. For me, the bottom line was that Twilight Princess felt like a much slower version of every other Zelda I’ve played. I was sure I knew what would happen every step of the way. I kept thinking “Next they will teach me to use the ____.” There’s a Zelda formula. Granted, it’s a great formula. And granted, I didn’t make it far enough to see all of the places where the formula presumably got turned on its head. But it’s a formula that I know all too well.

Honestly, Twilight Princess also felt even more restrictive and linear than other Zelda games I’ve played. Certainly the original Zelda throws you in without much instruction, but the immediate action and exploration keeps things going. Twilight Princess made me perform a series of fetch quests before I could do anything interesting, and each one had to be done in a certain order.

What’s funny is that I enjoyed the Phantom Hourglass a lot this year. It also felt fairly narrow – never really letting me go too far off path. Still, I find that I am excited about more top-down Zelda games. So while I want to say that I am excited for games that are like Zelda, but aren’t exactly Zelda, I don’t know that this is true. So maybe I just didn’t give Twilight Princess enough time, or maybe I just didn’t get it at the right moment.

While I can’t figure out exactly what went wrong for me this time around, I am sure I’ll still want to give the next round a shot. 

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