A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD isn't a new game but rather a lightly altered remake of a decade-old action-adventure RPG. Players control a hero named Link who uses weapons including a slingshot, a bow, a sword, and bombs to fight fantasy creatures such as skeletons and plants. Combat, while tricky, isn't particularly graphic, save for occasional splashes of colorful (and quickly disappearing) blood. As in other Zelda games, Link is a good-natured kid who likes animals, helps villagers with chores, puts himself in danger to rescue others, and fights only when attacked or in danger. Parents should note that this game supports amiibo, most of which are sold separately and are necessary to unlock certain optional features, including perks that give Link additional hearts or more arrows.
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What's it about?
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: TWILIGHT PRINCESS HD is not a fresh Zelda game but instead a high-definition remake of a game originally launched for GameCube and Wii. It sees the series' perpetual protagonist Link embarking on a quest to save the kingdom of Hyrule from a new villain -- Zant, the King of the Twilight -- who has taken over. Link must journey through dungeons, both as a human and in his magical wolf form in the Realm of Twilight, to restore light to the fabled Light Spirits if he is to save the world. The remake remains faithful to the original, delivering combat, puzzles, and dungeons that returning players will quickly remember. The move to a high-definition platform has resulted in added visual detail, especially in character models and special effects. The HD edition also includes support for several of Nintendo's amiibo figurines, which can be used to give Link advantages such as extra hearts and more arrows, as well as unlock a new wave-based combat dungeon called the Cave of Shadows. Veteran players may want to try the new Hero mode, which is designed to increase difficulty. Players can choose to play with either the Gamepad or a traditional Wii U Pro Controller, but if they choose the former they'll be able to interact with the touchscreen to view local area maps, manage inventory, and easily assign items and weapons to specific buttons.
Is it any good?
When this game first launched on Wii in 2006, most people were focused on how it made use of the console's then-innovative motion controls. These controls had players pointing at the screen to aim ranged attacks and swinging a Wii remote controller to slash with Link's sword. These hardware-enabled mechanics took some of the spotlight off other parts of the game. With this distraction removed, Twilight Princess stands as a good -- though not necessarily exceptional -- entry in Nintendo's iconic franchise.
Its biggest innovation is Link's ability to transform into a wolf, which is fun at the start and gives players nifty new abilities (such as the ability to sense spirits). But it limits the ways that Link can fight, ultimately making combat less interesting. On the other hand, several of Twilight Princess' dungeons and puzzles stand alongside some of the best in the Zelda franchise, deftly mixing combat, conundrums, and Link's unique abilities. The excellent Temple of Time -- which sees players interacting with a series of statues in increasingly clever and satisfying ways -- is a prime example. These brilliantly designed combat and puzzle sequences constitute the moments that resonate most strongly and which players are most likely to remember. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD isn't essential for those who played through the original a decade ago, but it does provide younger players who missed the Wii and GameCube versions an opportunity to try a classic Nintendo adventure for the first time.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Is Link's combat always justified? Are there any instances in which he might have been able to avoid fighting his enemies?
Families can also talk about Link's treatment of animals. He clearly loves cats and dogs and his horse, Epona, but he can drive her pretty hard. Do you think his attitude toward animals changes once he finds himself transformed into a wolf? Would yours?
- Platforms: Nintendo Wii U
- Subjects: Language & Reading: reading
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, applying information, deduction, logic, solving puzzles
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release date: March 4, 2016
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Horses and Farm Animals
- ESRB rating: T for Animated Blood, Fantasy Violence
- Last updated: February 19, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.