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Why Players Love (And Love to Hate) The Original Twilight Princess

In the last five years Nintendo has put out three updated remakes of classic 3D Zelda adventures. The titles, Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, and Wind Waker, always seem to be in the running for everyone’s coveted “Best Zelda of All Time” award. Twilight Princess? Not so much. Though there are plenty who love it.

And many who don’t.

Due to the release of Twilight Princess HD for Wii U I decided to reach out to the population of Talk Amongst Yourselves and ask them what they found so appealing or disatisfying about Link’s 2006 Wii and GameCube outing. Here are their thoughts.


Zelda Can Do No Wrong

I guess I didn’t have internet at the time or in general just stayed away from forums and the like (only coming to TAY/Kotaku much later in life) and learned that people disliked Twilight Princess.

I was dumbfounded, to say the least. I loved Twilight Princess, and had no idea that there was negative feelings towards it. I loved it because I genuinely enjoyed it, and was backed up on the notion that the Zelda franchise, of which I enjoyed two full Zelda games prior to TP to my name, could do no wrong. Only when I started going on the net and seeing people hate on it (and in general, many other games that I liked that also had “impervious” shields due to their lineage) did I realize maybe it had its flaws but they never ever bothered me. To this day I’m not sure what people didn’t like about it, but as they say; to each their own! - Bonny John (Stormborn)

Because Wolf

My favorite part of the game was how much my brother freaked out when he found out you turn into a wolf. His favorite series + his favorite animal = bliss.


- Shardik The Man Bear


Damn You, Grabby Hand Things

Love it! Tied with Ocarina of Time for my favorite Zelda. I really enjoyed, well,everything about it. The story, while pretty much following the typical Zelda formula, was engrossing to me, and Midna is like one of the best Zelda characters! Twilight Princess had really great dungeon design as well. I loved going through each dungeon from start to finish. And, of course, I have to mention the soundtrack. It’s just so freaking good. Best part of the game for sure.


Regrettably, I never finished it because I have the Wii version and the second to last dungeon was too hard for me to manage with my disability. Damn you grabby hand things! If I had a Wii U, I might consider trying it again.

- DisturbedShadow

Dark and Somber

Controversially, Twilight Princess is my favorite Zelda, though that could perhaps be chalked up to it being my first, so I didn’t have any feelings on the game being “Ocarina redux” (or however you want to coin it). What really stood out to me at the time, and what I most strongly remember, was the tone and atmosphere. It often felt rather dark and somber, which (from what I’ve played of the rest of the series, at least) hasn’t really been replicated before or since.


- Alex Cook | Grex

That Cool Ganondorf Tho

I know everyone is all “Nintendo only made this because of the backlash towards the artistic direction for Wind Waker”, but I like the grittier look. Mellowed tones, fantastical but with more of a “realistic” sense than any other Zelda game before (and after apparently).


Wind Waker may be my number one, but Twilight Princess might be my number two Zelda.

I bought the game on Wii launch day and loved the hell out of it. The models were unique, playing in Wolf mode was fun, the new characters and the Twilight Realm were really interesting, and Ganondorf has never looked cooler.


Also the theory that the skeleton knight that teaches you all of your moves is actually a Link from a previous game? Chills!


I mean, the game has a 95-96 out of 100 on Metacritic for a reason.

- Evan Chambers

Worth It

I stayed up in the cold outside a K-Mart all night to spend basically all I had on a Wii and Twilight Princess, then went home, plugged it in, and passed out mid-playing. My mother took a picture of me leaned over on the couch with a Wiimote hanging off my wrist and mouth wide open.


This is why I love Twilight Princess more than any other Zelda game.

- staindgrey

First Place

I’ve never played Ocarina (burn me at the stake, okay), so comparisons to that game have never bothered me. I bought this game used for $17. The copy I ordered online from GameStop didn’t work, so I dragged my mother twenty minutes on an awful highway to get another used disk at a (now closed) GameStop. The disk was scratched up and I’m still shocked it worked. I didn’t beat it until last year because I got sidetracked, but it turned my brother into a massive Zelda fan. I love the ice temple and Midna (especially the end :,( ) while also really not liking the wolf sections. It’s a great game and worth a play in my opinion. And it was my first Legend of Zelda game, so it’s got a place in my heart. - RTLewis


Duh Bess

I like it because it’s objectively the best Zelda. - ToxicBunnies

Enough Said

Midna. All the love. Probably the best character Zelda has had. - Meathead373


Higher Standards

I hate [Twilight Princess] too much. The amount I hate it is, frankly, undeserved, and I know it. My hate is entirely personal, it sprouts entirely from not how bad Twilight Princess is, but from what a huge disappointment it was. I was one of those grown adults who cried when they saw the trailer. I couldn’t WAIT to play this game. But I waited for nothing, because in no way, shape or form did this game live up to the pre-release hype. You could say that, perhaps, no game could have, and that’s probably true, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been good. Just because Phantom Menace had unreasonable hype doesn’t mean people were wrong for being disappointed in it.


But putting all that aside, trying to look at this game from as objective a viewpoint as possible, it’s just kind of okay. That’s it. And by Zelda standards, that basically makes it a bad Zelda game. Some Zelda fans seem to like it, but the most common opinion I seem to run into by people who are not hardcore into series are “It was okay,” “I remember liking it but I don’t remember anything about it,” or “I never finished it.” And that’s because it’s just okay. It isn’t memorable, it does nothing truly well. It’s an amalgamation of basic elements that make up a Zelda game, and that’s it. The one and only thing that sets TP apart is it visuals. Take that away, and there is nothing special about it. Literally nothing.


The biggest and most glaring problem with Twilight Princess is the story. The story makes no sense. It fools you into thinking its good, but if you really think about what’s going on in this game for more than 5 minutes, it’s terrible. It is completely devoid of stakes. Its villains are shortchanged. Narrative coherence is sacrificed for cool moments. It is Zelda if it were directed by Zack Snyder.

- sub judice (you can read sub judice’s comment in its silly hateful entirety here)


Cold and Dark

One of the reasons I didn’t want to play it was the art style. I mean, it’s great at what it does and everything, obviously not a bad looking game by any stretch of the imagination if the HD demo is anything to go by, but I never never really pictured Zelda being so cold and dark. You can imagine my fondness for Wind Waker. - NotGoodForYou



I got stuck in a temple. Restarted game. Got stuck in the same place. Maybe my game was flawed? - DamsonRhee


Imitation Game

Tried very hard to become OOT version 2.0. It did not succeed on that front, but was better than Skyward. - Slim Snerdy


Waggle Waggle

I love the art design. I love Midna. I love Link Wolf. Motion controls can suck my dick. - TheGizmofromPizmo


Can’t Catch the Wind

Really utterly indifferent to it now. It was a nice game, but it just never grabbed me with the music or art the way Wind Waker did, and it has aged rather poorly. It was the first Zelda game where I beat the final boss and felt okay with not putting the game back in again, too. I just had no desire to play it again, and I honestly haven’t touched it in the ten years since I beat it, while I’ve gone back to Wind Waker multiple times in the interim.


It just didn’t do it for me. As much as folks hated on Wind Waker back in the day for its art and heralded Twilight Princess as the Zelda that would do right by the fans, I never felt that while playing it. Wind Waker, for me, was the superior GameCube Zelda in every respect. - St. Ridley Santos


More Calm Than Storm

Twilight Princess: Awesome moments but absolute snore-fests in between. It has some of the best moments in Zelda, but also some of the worst. Worst 3D Zelda for me. Looks ugly too. - schwoopipoop


Shredding with my Snow Bros

There are certain aspects of Twilight Princess that I remember vividly, such as the ridiculous weapons and snowboarding on that ice shard down to the Yeti Party Mansion (as I called it). I don’t remember disliking any specific aspects of the game, but it certainly didn’t jump out at me visually. I think the motion controls (aside from shooting arrows and hookshots) were a bit too tacked on for my liking, so here’s hoping HD feels a bit better. - GiantBoyDetective


Lack of Tingley Feelings

I liked and disliked this game a lot. I’m really confused about whether I loved it or whether I hated it. On the one hand it wasn’t Wind Waker so it was pretty much the worst game ever. On the other hand it didn’t have Tingle so it was somewhat redeemed.


PS. Wind Waker was the most badass Zelda game ever made. - Aikage

A Forgettable Existence

Played it. Beat it. Enjoyed it, mostly. Don’t look back on it fondly, nor full of hatred. It just is what it is. - RerTV


No Hook

I felt like it was a really wonderful game but lacked the strong individual identity that other console Zelda games had; Ocarina of Time hooked us with our first time exploring a 3D world, Majora’s Mask gave us a truly strange clock system and a dark yet clownish aesthetic, distancing itself from OOT despite using the same engine, and then Wind Waker threw us off completely by drowning Hyrule both in water and the much maligned cel-shading.


Twilight Princess seemed to lack that deep individual streak each of those games had, and seemed to fall too readily back on the tropes of medieval / dark fantasy. Its finest moments where when it wasn’t afraid to be different to other Zelda titles, like making a dungeon out of a mansion fallen into disrepair, or the boss-fight with Stallord. To summise, great game, that I personally felt lacked the “it” factor. Though I work with a guy who swears its the best Zelda game out. - Cal K. Rool

Midna For The Wina

There were two things I disliked. The first was how much the game wanted to be Ocarina of Time 2.0. Rather than stand on its own, it just wanted to remind everyone about the game they all had nostalgia for. The other thing I disliked is something the series has been guilty of in one form or another for most of its existence, but was absolutely worst in this game: items as “keys”. So many items in Twilight Princess were only useful in specific situations that were built around them. Also, and maybe it’s just me, but I feel that dungeon design was really linear in TP.


On the other hand, we have Midna, the sarcastic imp who follows you throughout the game. One of the greatest NPCs in the franchise, and far and away the best of the companion characters that the 3D Zeldas usually stick you with. Her antagonistic disposition made for some great dialogue, and really kept the game interesting. - Tygore


Game Changer

Don’t love it or hate it, but at risk of pissing off quite a few Zelda fans, it was the moment I realized every post-OoT Zelda would just be OoT all over again, and that there would never again be a real “game-changer” Zelda like the leap to 3D was.


That said, Skyward Sword proved me somewhat wrong, and the upcoming Wii U Zelda certainly looks like it could indeed be another game-changer, though it’s still much too early to say for sure. - Tenshigami


Twilight Princess was only my second Zelda game, and first 3D Zelda. I doubt my memories of it can make much of an opinion of it, though I liked it. I was far too young (as a gamer) when I first got it. I’m pretty sure I beat the first 2 dungeons, put it down on my way to the water temple. and then came back when i realized i hadn’t even played like 1/3 of the game. - Krakken_Unleashed


What’s the Rush?

I love Twilight Princess because the combat, secondary weapons and level design are some of the best gaming has to offer. I hate Twilight Princess because everything after the excellent sky temple is just terrible level design that feels rushed, and is definitely needlessly frustrating. - PyramidHeadcrab


Have some feeling about Twilight Princess that you’d like to express? Feel free to leave some thoughts in the comments below!


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For more Zelda thoughts and general gaming silliness you can follow GBD on Twitter@SuperBentendo

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