Review: Twilight Princess HD

Can added pixel density give this Zelda classic new life?

I never reviewed the original Twilight Princess. This puts me in an odd position when reviewing its 10-​year anniversary HD remake. Should I make this a full-​fledged review of the game as a whole? Or would that be unfair, what with most of the game being 10 years old and all? And how do my opinions on the game, never fully articulated or brought into the conscious, impact how I feel about my experience with the remake? Instead of rambling on about these questions I’ll go back to basics and try to answer what most people reading reviews are wondering deep down:

Is it worth it?

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Did Twilight Princess HD meet my pre-​play expectations?

I got something right and something wrong, for better or worse.

Recently, before starting Twilight Princess HD, I laid out some expectations for what I thought I would feel about certain aspects of the experience. I’m now about halfway through the game (just arrived in the Gerudo Desert), and I feel I have seen enough of the game to comment on whether I was right or wrong on the various points.

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Pre-​play expectations: Twilight Princess HD

Pixels, mirrors, and stamps – here are my expectations for Twilight Princess HD.

Dagnabit, I’m already a day late! Anyhow, I’m thrilled to finally have Twilight Princess HD downloaded on my Wii U, and if I write rapidly, I’m sure I can jot down some quick expectations for the pastime I’ll be cramming in between writing my dissertation and attending job interviews before the game’s beckoning becomes irresistible.

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Healing with fireballs in Divinity

Thawing AND healing allies using fireballs? Yes please.

In my review of Divinity: Original Sin I mentioned that you could thaw your frozen allies with fireballs, if they had the HP to withstand such a harsh treatment. Well, guess what? In Divinity, you (and enemies) can have more than 100% resistance to something, which means that you actually heal when “damaged” by that element or damage type.

So my co-​op partner upgraded/​found some gear that gave him more than 100% fire resistance, and now I can throw my mightiest fire spells his way and instead of waking from a frozen wasteland to a burning nightmare, he’ll wake from a frozen wasteland to a sunny beach with a warm summer breeze in his hair and a team of masseuses attending to his sore muscles.

You’re welcome.

Review: Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition

Divinity is a really good game. It just forces me to make a few compromises I’d rather be without.

I’m currently co-​oping1 Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition. It’s a fun game, with lots of attention to detail and thoughtfully implemented gameplay mechanics. But some poor choices on my part have left me wanting more here and there, and I’m not sure I’m willing to replay it to treat it more fairly. So here’s a kind-​of-​review that’s most likely a tad bit more critical than the game deserves.2

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  1. It’s a verb.

  2. I intended to just jot down a quick couple of paragraphs. Boy did I fail at that.

On my Zelda optimal equipment guides

The “why” of my no-​nonsense guides to help you get everything as soon as possible while playing Zelda games.

In games, I like to get some mileage out of my gear. On the occasion of the imminent release of Twilight Princess HD, I have just released an interactive, mobile-​friendly equipment walkthrough for Twilight Princess (both HD, Wii and GC) that you can use as a quick reference to get all the items and equipment as early as possible. The descriptions are short, concise, and clear enough that you’ll actually spend your time playing, not reading. Similar guides are also coming for Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Skyward Sword, and Wind Waker HD.

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A killer is born: On ludonarrative dissonance in Tomb Raider

Lara Croft’s origin story ends up being appropriate, just not the way the developers had envisioned.

Lara Croft’s origin story is supposedly one of survival. The introduction shows an innocent female archaeologist and her friends heading for adventure and fame. Circumstances quickly deteriorate, and the first Lara does in the game is to set herself on fire, fall several meters down onto a metal pin, and brutally pull it out from her side. The sequence is emotional and well executed, the subtext being that this hurts Lara mentally as much as physically. Before the credits roll, the screen fades to white and the text a survivor is born appears in bold, rough letters. And it might have worked. She has undoubtedly become tougher and more experienced. But she has also become a cold-​blooded, psychopathic killer.

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