Monday, June 25, 2012

Notepad for thoughts

This blog is usually something between a note for my mindflow thoughts and a vent, but I thought I could try to write something "real" every once in a while.

That could be, say, for example about The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess, that I happened to finish this morning (in between of trying to and constantly failing to get an appointment to a dentist).

 I have mentioned somewhere in the depths of this blog that Link of the TLoZ-series was my childhood love, and that's why I have insanely high expectations for guys I date. That is not, however, my biggest reason to like this game.

As the name indicates, Twilight Princess is about two realms, one of the light and one of the twilight. The polarity works well, and even when it would have given an opportunity to make the game just a bit darker, it contains a few more fractions of "grimdark" than other TLoZ-games. It doesn't make it any worse, in fact, the very opposite.

Media keeps talking about violence in video games, but when you grow older and no-one can honestly tell you anymore it's going to permanently harm you to kill shadowy creatures that don't exist in the real world, a right approach to violence can make a game a bit better than it would be without. That is, the approach that doesn't try to overindulge in it, and merely presents the violence as it is. It's not something desirable, but it is the reality sometimes.

That is, however, just an opinion, and I think Twilight Princess managed to keep a good, straight line between going overboard with the grimdark and harsh realities and creating a good game with a balanced amount of realism and fantasy.

Manly earrings.

I think what draws a line between this game and the others is also how they managed to make Link a bit less passive in here. True, it's his trademark that he doesn't speak (since it's an rpg, and they want that people are able to imagine themselves in the place of a hero - when you realize this, you will start seeing the pattern in many rpg's and eroges, that is, how the protagonists often lack personality of any kind) but his reactions, his expressions, his gestures - with all that they have created an immersion of emotions felt in the game.

I'm not saying that emotions are grimdark, though - or, well, yes, I am. Strong emotions are about as grimdark as it gets (no angst here) and therefore showing Link's emotions is a good way to build up the atmosphere. Even when it happens without words.

I'm certain that many people bought, or became interested in, the game for many reasons. One of the biggest reasons for many has been the intrigue towards Link's wolf form. Link of the Twilight Princess is able to change between a human form (where he can use his equipment) and a wolf form (where he relies on abilities and instincts).

I think that this has added to the richness of the game: the world has been made in an intricate way that allows exploring it using both forms; sometimes only one, sometimes both are required. It has also added to the battle, which is always an advantage and a quirk to keep the fighting from getting repetitive and boring.

A fair disadvantage.

 It's not just the protagonist, though. And it's not the interesting, perky, detailed characters you get to meet throughout the world and the game: the world itself (in fact, both of the worlds) are eeriely beautiful, hauntingly aesthetical. The landscapes vary from silent and serene to lush and vibrant.

I should probably point out that while I still haven't finished Wind Waker and I haven't been able to really dig deep into its storyline, I hated the graphics. Nothing against cartoon-look here, but it's somehow not fitting for TLoZ. Sure, many liked it, but I think that Nintendo realized that most people didn't approve such radical a change. Sure, change is nice, but "change" implies that there is something to have the "change" from, a norm. And I personally prefer the norm, with the cartoons tossed over to the side as an additional treat I can skip if I want to.

Twilight Princess is pretty. It is not, however, perfect: even when it's stunning and amazing, I was still left with a light gnawing feeling that they could have done better. One thing that saves this, however, is the animation. It flows fluidly and makes the game and the characters feel very alive. It makes the surroundings as amazing as they are. I don't think that there was any spot in the game where tacky animation had caught my eye; in fact, I was left breathless by the last battle, and how vividly and skillfully it was done.

Now that we're on the subject, in the last battle you'll get the final realization about the fact that this game's battle is not just ramming the sword-swinging button down. All the skills you learned feel worth it simply because you get to watch (in fact, you get to fight) one of the most amazing boss fights ever made. I shit you not.


The ladies of the game.


I didn't, at first, know how I should feel about Zelda being left pretty much out from this game. She has her role as a princess, but what takes her place is a little imp Midna; between frustrating and helpful, selfish and apologetic, she is heart-warmingly real and energetic without being annoying. You know, energetic without the "wahaha".

But when Midna's role as the Twilight princess is revealed, it makes you think the game on a deeper level than what simply meets the eye. Midna is Zelda's equivalent in the Twilight realm, and her story could be thought to symbolize Zelda's own struggle. After all, the two worlds are connected, as it is repeatedly told you in the game. And maybe due to this connection Zelda and Midna seem to share a deep, mutual understanding and respect for each other. So maybe Zelda was present there much more than you'd think.

I played it through with Gamecube, but I also had the opportunity to try it on Wii. Let's be honest here, most people who bought it bought it on Wii just so that they could swing a sword with the Wii remote control. And I admit, it's a good idea. But when I tried the game on Wii, I was fleetingly reminded of all the things I got frustrated over while I was playing Shadow of the Colossus. Namely, the controls that didn't work as intended.

So, yeah. I think the -cube experience might have been better than anticipated. I'm not one for grading games with points and numbers, But I'll settle for "play it if you ever possibly have the opportunity". It's not a life-changing experience, at least it wasn't for me, but it was an experience I shall forever remember.
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And what now? With both Vesperia and TP finished, I would be in troubles if it wasn't for Zack, a friend of mine. He bought me Okami for my last birthday, and while I was last visiting them, he gave me a couple of games he didn't need anymore. One of them is titled "Shinobido", and since ninjas are always good, it can't hurt to try it out.






        




















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