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Why The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is one of the greatest games ever made

With the reputation of quality that the Legend of Zelda games have, nearly any title in the series can be considered to be one of the best games ever, but The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is particularly special. It delivered everything we've loved from the last two decades of Zelda games and piled on a heap of new, gratifying experiences to create an epic adventure, culminating in one of the greatest games ever made.

Twilight Princess was like a spiritual successor to the Nintendo 64's Ocarina of Time. There was a similar world map, the majority of the Hero of Time's items made a comeback, and even Link's horse had the same name--but those parallels to N64's classic were welcome alongside the plethora of new locations and gameplay variety throughout the adventure. In typical Zelda fashion, Link's quest to free Hyrule from the Twilight realm's moody veil lead you through a variety of dangerous locations, including fiery mountains, deep lake beds, gloomy alternate dimensions, and ancient prisons. But Twilight Princess was much more than just a dungeon hopper.

There was plenty to discover just wandering around the massive overworld. You'd find dank caves, abandoned towns, and haunted graveyards full of secret treasures and story revelations--and it was all an absolute pleasure to discover. Between the mind-bending dungeons, heart pieces to uncover, and the vicious enemies to battle, Twilight Princess still managed to keep the gameplay varied with memorable plot-based events and chill hangout spots, like the majestic fishing hole.

Even with familiar locations and encounters, like meeting with the sumo wrestling Gorons and swimming with the fish-like Zora, there was always something new around the next corner. You'd never expect to find the bizarre-looking Oocca while breaking pots in the depths of a dungeon, transform into a wolf, snowboard down Hyrule's snow capped mountains with a Yeti, or chase down a burning carriage on horseback--but it all happened in Twilight Princess. Even the revisited locations, like Death Mountain, Kakariko Village, and Hyrule Castle had their own Twilight spin to them, making the adventure nostalgic but fresh all at the same time.

16 comments

  • Spec13 - August 27, 2014 5:18 p.m.

    An expertly written tribute to an expertly designed game. I completely agree with the article in every aspect. This game truly was one of the greatest ever made; I continue to enjoy it with every play through. I was thoroughly impressed with this title and am anxious and excited to see what Nintendo still has to offer in The Legend of Zelda Series. I believe the series has made the most impact and has been and will continue to be the greatest masterpiece in the gaming world.
  • GameManiac - February 15, 2013 9:20 a.m.

    Just reading the epicness that is this article, I recall those brutal execution scenes. I still remember how those sages tried (and failed) to kill Ganondorf, and how Midna VIOLENTLY felled Zant.
  • Pruman - February 14, 2013 1:02 p.m.

    I do like this game, and Midna is awesome, but I feel like its exaggerated grimdarkness was Miyamoto way overcompensating in response to the "Celda" outrage. How many more great Wind Waker-style games would we have gotten if that had never happened?
  • Fox_Mulder - February 14, 2013 11 a.m.

    One of the things I loved about TP was how much darker it was than all the previous games, second only to Majora's Mask. It was eerie, creepy, and the whole tone fit really well with the Zelda series. It's hard to rate all the games in order of favorite to least favorite. Majora's is my 1st, Wind Waker is 2nd. After that, I'm not sure, but they all would fit in as 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, etc. because they're all so close together in my mind. Long live The Legend of Zelda!!!
  • Infernum128 - February 14, 2013 4:18 a.m.

    i have to disagree it could have been greatest zelda game, if it had more challinge combat, the overal combat even against bosses whas no challenge 2 hearts lost at most even agianst the final boss on first try. Just an complete shadow world of the real world with dungeons,(i know to much like ALttP) would have made it a beter perhaps greaterest zelda game in my opinion.
  • RadgarLaser2 - February 13, 2013 3:06 p.m.

    Great game and nice change of pace from the string of childish Link based Zelda games before TP. It was also one of the few Wii games that actually used the wii control in a functional manner rather than just for mini-games.
  • Talvari - February 13, 2013 2:53 p.m.

    Hell yeah Twilight Princess. I really liked everything about TP even if i haven't really replayed it more than once, but hey i never really thought of zelda games to be the ones you replay a lot unless you missed a lot. Windwaker was really good but..triforce collection and lack of sea events made it a bit tedious :| Skyward Sword suffers the same kinda thing, not enough to do in the sky and there were only really 3 main areas :| But at least they were different when you went back. Either way great choice :D
  • Smash_Bro - February 13, 2013 2:06 p.m.

    Thank you for doing justice to my absolute favourite Zelda game. Midna is a great character, and surprisingly deep. I'm sad to say it, but I didn't care one bit for Navi nor Fi (well, at least until Fi's last cutscene). It's also a blast to run--or gallop--around Hyrule Field and fight those Bullbo-mounted Bulbins.
  • pl4y4h - February 13, 2013 1:39 p.m.

    The only thing that disappointed me about this game was how silly zant was. They play him up to be this big evil, bad ass dude in the shadows and then when you fight him he's just a big clown
  • slimjim441 - February 13, 2013 11:33 p.m.

    That was exactly the point. The whole game, he's play off like the bid, bad king of Twilight, wielding some great power (assumed to passed on from the 'late' Ganondorf) that only someone of his immense prowess could obtain. But he's just a tyrant and a usurper who throws a tantrum when you foiled his plans time and again. I'll admit, the fact that he literally stomped and whined and threw a fit was a little over the top, but I thought it was a great way to make a villain. Then Ganondorf showed up and everything was like 'aww shit, son.'
  • BladedFalcon - February 13, 2013 12:34 p.m.

    Hmm... If you're gonna name one Zelda game to be considered one of the greatest games of all time, (And there really should be one, let's face it.) I'd say Wind Waker is far superior, and holds up better than this one. Other people would probably mention A link to the past as well.
  • Redeater - February 13, 2013 1:48 p.m.

    I'd still say the original NES game. But then, not everyone had the privilege of being a kid with unlimited time and being thrown into a world unlike anything anyone had ever seen before and given no "owls", "fairies" or..(whatever the hell Midna was) to help. I played through Dark Souls and had to chuckle at the people who compared it to "old school NES games".
  • rainn'sgaydar - February 13, 2013 2:12 p.m.

    Agree with you, but to be fair the 100 greatest list this is based on includes the two you mention as well as TP, if I remember correctly. So while WW and LttP are better, if the true standard of comparison for TP is OoT and SS, I'm with Radar in saying TP wins.
  • slimjim441 - February 13, 2013 11:44 p.m.

    Gotta disagree. ;D I'm a firm believer that Twilight Princess is one of the greatest games of all time, and decidedly my favorite Zelda title. Wind Waker is a very close second, mind you, but everything about TP was right. Everyone calls it the 'spiritual successor' to OoT; I've always seen it as a spiritual successor to ALttP, but I've come to recognize it's the sweet, sweet love-child of both, taking the best of the two and making the most amazing thing I've ever played. I'm glad that WW is getting the HD remake on Wii-U; it deserves it. Honestly, I would think TP would have benefitted more from an HD remake though, especially considering Nintendo got their hands on owning the rights to Zelda Reorchestrated's Twilight Symphony and could have used the redone scores in a remake. Speaking of which, if you haven't listened to Twilight Symphony, it's the most beautiful thing I've ever heard.
  • SDHoneymonster - February 13, 2013 12:08 p.m.

    Plus: Midna was well fit. I'm not ashamed to admit it.
  • Fox_Mulder - February 14, 2013 11:04 a.m.

    I'll never forget when Zant sucks Midna's life out. That track playing when you deliver her frantically back to castle town is simply magic. How could I have grown so attached to a character who is clearly using Link only to get the fused shadows? Such is the power of Nintendo.

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