Support Andy, click to buy via us...
When Nintendo released the Wii, they provide two games for two different types of player. Wii-Sports was aimed towards those who were more casual towards games. Zelda: Twighlight Princess was aimed towards their older fans who had followed the Zelda franchise from its roots on their console in the 80's, the NES.
Action adventure games are enjoyed for two reasons. They provide a variety of fast action encounters where you are fighting, fleeing or evading some enemy. They also provide a large world in which to explore and adventure. This exploration is usually driven by some particular plot-tension introduced early in the game that you must resolve.
As you adventure through the world, you encounter the action sequences through encounters with enemies and general hazards. Success in these encounters opens up more of the world to explore and provide new equipment.
It is the scale of each Zelda game and the attention to detail that makes them so enjoyable to play. Twighlight Princess introduces a magical world, already familiar to players of the previous games, in which to play.
Zelda follows pretty strict rules in its design. Within the overworld you slowly discover a series of dungeons. These represent the main structure of the game and provide a variety of puzzles and challenges to solve. A new weapon or gadget is usually discovered close the entrance of each dungeon, and it then put through its paces as you progress through.
Finally, Zelda stands unique as an Action Adventure game because it has developed a grammar all its own. Twighlight Princess for example, recognisably includes the same insignias, music, weapons and items in its unique new setting that have been used throughout the Zelda games since the 80's. This makes the world both familiar and believable. What's more if you enjoy this game you have a great back catalogue to explore (most of which is available on the Wii's Virtual Console).
Although cartoony in style, Zelda is successful at making you care about the characters you meet. It has become famous for re-visiting old locations at different times to create a sense of awe and connection to the world.
No other game has the attention to detail lavished over so large and interactive environment. This results in all sorts of incidental enjoyment. Exploring lake Hyrule at sunset is a memorable encounter from my play through, and one that is most likely unique to my experience. It is this genuine feel of open game play that attracts so many to the franchise.
You need a good hour for a session with Twighlight Princess, and preferably a good comfy chair and some snacks. Although it's only a single player game, families will enjoy taking turns to play and working together to solve the puzzles. Those who hope to finish the whole experience are looking at a good 40 hours or so of game play.
Although it has a cartoony art style (although less so than the previous game in the series, The Wind Waker), the depiction of monsters may alarm more sensitive children. The sword, boomerang and explosive weapons are by their nature a little violent, although this is always in context - fighting on the side of good verses evil.
Novice players will find the tutorials and easier early levels helpful, although things do ramp up after five or six hours of play. Anyone with a degree of inquisitiveness and determination should be able to get a lot out of the game.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: