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Twilight Princess Hands-On Impressions
Last night at the Wii party, it was to my great excitement that I saw not one, two setups for Twilight Princess at my event (although at first, only one was up). Now that I've had time to think it over, I am ready to present my opinions and thoughts on the latest build of Twilight Princess, which was identical to the one at New York City this past Thursday.

Okay, so now for the in-depth, potentially spoiler filled impressions.

The demo is indeed a "mirror" of the E3 demo, with the exception of one thing - the door to the room with the "lava" is no longer in the back and the middle. It is in the back and to the right.

The new B button method for using items is a welcomed addition since the B button is in a much more optimal location, and the D-pad was just so small and hard to press accurate all the time.

However, I am very, very dissapointed with the sword fighting. While it will not necessarily make the game harder or more difficult to play, it is, in my eyes, nothing but an after thought and very gimmicky. All you have to do is "button mash", or, flick your wrist like no other, and Link will slash as you please.

There is no 1:1 control, meaning, Link's sword doesn't do what you do. He had exactly one slash animation for "slashes". I tried swinging every which way possible, and he slash the same way. There is also a "forward stab". The shield jab is also present, which you do by moving your Nunchuk forward, and doing a Jump Attack is still pressing "A" when you Z-target an enemy. The downthrust is no longer a "down stab" with the Wii Controller. You must press A when the game prompts you. The spin attack is also the same, you just shake your Nunchuk back and forth.

Additionally, in the demo, the ability to manually controlt he camera by holding the Z button, and then moving the fairy cursor, has been removed. I did, however, discover that Link can go into first-person mode by pressing the C button. However, this is also problematic. The fairy cursor can move your angle, as well as the analog stick. Until I realized this, I was having a hard time moving the camera around. You either have to just use the fairy cursor, or hold it in neutral (straight at center of screen) and then use analog.'

Also removed from the demo was the item menu. When I tried to toggle over the items, and press A, the items would not equip. Instead, you press the 1 or 2 button (I have to admit, I didn't pay attention) and it brings up the item menu, which you can then use either B or the D-pad to equip items. You can also toggle the map by mousing over it or pusing, I believe, the 1 or 2 button (one is map, one is items) and you can put the fairy over stuff and press A to learn more info.

The only other major difference I saw was when Link picks up a box or bottle, you no longer shake the Nunchuk back to front to "toss it". You must do like you have done in all previous games - press forward and press A, or press A to put it down.

There was a very bad ass addition. Link's idle motion with his sword out has him "twirl it". So fricking cool, but I thought I was making it happen. I gathered a crowd around and was rotating my Wii Controller, and then Link spun his sword, and I was like "bad ass" and the people there were excited, until NOA Jessie told me to stay idle, and Link did it anyway. Still sweetness, better than Ocarina of Time's slashing idle animation.

Now, for you speedrunners out there, I've got some horrible news. Nintendo has taken GREAT PAINS to "speedrun-proof" this run. I tried to backflip and damage boost onto place that weren't even higher than Link's stomach, and which he wouldn't grab or climb onto normally, and he would not even move an "inch" in that direction. They've done something to prevent Link from getting on top of things he's not supposed to.

I tried to bypass that cutscene with the Bokoblin archers by jumping onto the railing from a ledge, then backflipping along it. Sorry, it triggers no matter what - on the railling or in midair. I also tried to do acute angle bugs, I even landed on an area I spent 7 minutes trying to get to with a roll jump + slash attack, which I could have access an area I knew they didn't want us to, and Link, upon touching the ground, falls onto his butt, and slides down It wasn't even a real slope, barely a slant.

I did manage to find two shortcuts. At the start, you can use the Clawshot to grapple a caged side far up near the cutscene, or you can go into the water and climb a ladder that leads to a spot beyond the cutscene. You also, after you use that Clawshot shortcut that is well known (a sign tells you about it), can drop down to the ledge of Bokoblin archers. However, they made the ramp far away from the ledge down below, and had a railing along the entire side you needed to jump off! But I managed a slight angle on the far end, roll jumped, and jump attacked to barely reach the ledge.

Oh yeah, fighting the archers is awesome. I managed to use the spin attack to deflect arrows, and I sent a Bokoblin into the waters below, and he drowned. I also got a Bokoblin to get slammed into a corner of a railing, much like a beaten down boxer on the ropes, and he was still alive and it was hilarious as I beat him as he was slouching against it. Very awesome.

I also maneged to discover both the Gale Boomerang and Clawshot can stun enemies, I pushed a Bokoblin all the way around the area as people laughed. Both items can also deflect arrows, the Clawshot can break pots, and the Gale Boomerang brings them right back to Link.

The explosive barrels also changed design, they've got a whiter tint and have red markings on the top, middle and bottom. There were also a lot more crates lying around, and yes, they still float in the water when you toss them in.

I got to mess around in the water a bit. I am sad to report there was no dive function present. However, you can press A to swim faster. I put on the boots again under water, and did all the same things as at E3. However, the movements for all the sidehops and backhops were more refined, more realistic. I also let Link die, and it was a nice animation. He spawns back at the start of the level.

As for the fire boss...well...he has a name. During the same cutscene, right after he breaks his chains and "roars", the text "Twilit Igniter" appeared on one line, and below it in slightly bigger letters was "Fyrus". Too bad nobody caught this at New York City, something us fan sites get first for once! The fight is the same, although, you no longer have to press and hold A to pick up the chains. You actually press A once, and then you press A again to let go. I did notice that unless Pyrus landed on a pilar, they would no longer smash apart - at E3, sometimes he landed away from them, and they would shatter. You also can do the finishing move for a really, really far distance. Oh yeah, spin attacks do not keep him down forever.

After that, it's the same cutscene from E3, and the dungeo demo ends.

Now, for fishing.

IGN, here's your moment of fame. Nintendo actually changed the reeling to be just like how IGN did it at E3. You now, instead of pressing A to reel in, "twirl" your nunchuk. While doing this, you pull back on the Wii controller, and then to land a Fish, you press A+B I believe. I saw Matt Casamassina have a hard time in his video this afternoon, and I have to say, don't feel bad Matt. Everyone at my Wii party tried to do a "roll both hands" (think of the "traveling" motion in basketball that referees make) to do the reeling. For some reason, people had a hard time twirling their left hand, and pulling back on their right. It's like patting your head while rubbing your stomach.

Well, my advice is to old both like a fishing rod. Reel with the left hand, while holding it close to your Wii controller, and keep pulling back on the Wii controller. I hope I get a video of me doing it, heh. To confirm to everyone, seasons change in the fishing area. I saw the leaves change from brown/green to white to pink. Night and day changed as well, and the weather changed. I had it rain on me while fishing.

I still managed to find the Hylian Loach and the Toaru Catfish, but I couldn't catch another. I also did the fishing from the dock, which was fun, and I managed to run around. I tried to enter Hena's hutt, but the door was locked. Sorry, no spoilers allowed there, apparently. Link could run into the water, and just swim around, which was really cool. Still no diving, but it was just so fun to swim around.

Casting was the same as before, press A and hold back on the Wii mote to pull back, then toss your hand forward and let go of A to cast.

Now, for the finale. I got some juicy information and hands-on confirmation, though I'm not the only opinion...since I'm not lefty. I tried playing both demos as a lefty, and it is hard as hell. I am so uncoordinated as a lefty, it's not even funny. It's not that I didn't try, it's just so backwards and confusing. So, that's when I asked the NOA reps what's up with this righty business.

They said that the solution is for lefties to "switch hands. Honestly, this will work because there is no 1:1 control. You'll just slash lefty, and Link will slash with his basic slash. Shield jab with right hand, Link's left hand pushes out a shield. It honestly, in the opinion of lefties, was perfect for them - they had no qualms whatsoever. So by not including 1:1 controls, Nintendo did something smart for lefties. The cost, though, is gimmicky sword fighting, which I have to say, really ruins a lot of the experience.

The game is still fun to play, and still looks amazing. But without being able to play anything other than this dungeon, I unfortunately can't give Twilight Princesss my praise or rejection just yet. Based on the demo, Twilight Princess is a solid game with great visuals, but it still has mechanical issues ot be worked out and the sword fighting option is really gimmicky and does not add to the realism at all.

I mean, at first, I wanted to cry. To pull out your sword, you kept have to flick your wrist, and Link only swings so fast, and it was hard to judge how hard to swing or jab, and it was just a pain at first. It was fine later on, but it's just so mundane - it's not like the other titles I played where 1:1 is present it matters so much - the involvement factor is what makes the unique Wii control so fun - it's why the bow and arrow setup in Twilight Princess is so fun.

Now, the painful wait begins. Two months. Personally, at the moment, I still long for the GCN version, but since I am a Zelda fan, I will be getting and playing the Wii version first. I hope Fusion Tour has it, so I can play it again (perhaps new stuff this time?). I'll be back later with my party report in general.

Update: My friend Shane reminded me by asking about the Boomerang setup that there is a slight difference in aiming. When you aim now, you can only aim in the range of the screen. Link does not "turn" via pointing the Wii controller at a side or near an edge of the screen. You actually now use the analog stick to "survey", as it says on the screen, or to move Link's camera angle around. This actually, while at first was weird since I was used to E3's demo, is AWESOME, and much more like a PC shooter.
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