Friday, July 29, 2011

Heroes of Newerth - Now Free To Play!!

Heroes of Newerth (Hon) Is a multiplayer online battle arena (Moba) Just like League of legends. Just recently it has gone free to play.

Hon has over 70 "heroes" to play as. Hundreds of items to choose from, as well as many special perks around the maps.

I personally am a League player, So I'll be trying Hon out and giving you guys an impression of how it stacks up against Lol. It looks fun, and its one of my favorite times of game to play. Game on!

You can download the game here:

League of Legends - Wukong Champion Overview

The long-awaited Wukong, The Monkey King has finally made his way to the League of Legends. From what I have seen in-game with him, He has some great escape capabilities as well as strong initiation. 


Crushing Blow ['q']: Wukong swings his mighty staff with incredible speed, crushing his opponent. This attack deals additional physical damage and reduces the enemy’s armor for a short duration.
Decoy ['w']: Wukong utilizes his cleverness to trick his foes. He becomes stealthed for 1.5 seconds and leaves an uncontrollable decoy behind that will deal Magic Damage to enemies near it after 1.5 seconds.
Nimbus Strike ['e']: Wukong dashes on a cloud toward a target enemy and sends out images to attack up to 2 additional enemies near his target, dealing physical damage to each enemy struck. (Note: although it doesn’t mention this in the patch notes or even in Wukong’s profile (yet), Wukong also gains an attack speed bonus for 3 seconds following the dash. This can only be seen while playing in-game.)
Cyclone (Ultimate) ['r']: Wukong’s staff grows outward and he spins it around, dealing damage and knocking up enemies. Wukong gains movement speed over the duration of the spell.

Stone Skin (Passive): Wukong’s armor and magic resistance are increased for each nearby enemy champion.

In the Plague Jungles, Kong ruled as king. He could wield a unique, natural form of magic and he was driven by zealous ambition. The Plague Jungles were the ideal setting for fostering his growth - he thrived on challenges and flourished in adversity. However, when he had surmounted every obstacle and defeated every opponent, he grew restless. Worried that there was nothing left to overcome, he sought counsel with the monkey sage who lived behind the Grand Waterfall. The sage told him a tale of hairless monkeys to the north who, with wits and strength, bent the world to their will. Kong was overjoyed at the prospect of such worthy competition, and he immediately set out to the north, hoping that the sage's story was true.
Traveling north, he crossed the Southern Wastes and then the Great Barrier. Unaware of the League, he arrived outside the Institute of War where he found Master Yi in meditation. Kong was eager to test the strength of these northern warriors, so he challenged Yi to a duel. Intrigued by Kong, Yi decided to humor him. Within moments of his first strike, Kong knew he was no match for Yi. To be the best, he would need a mentor. He asked Yi to take him as a pupil and to show him the wonders of the northern lands. In return, he would honor Yi by becoming the greatest warrior Runeterra had ever seen. Admiring his passion, Yi agreed, but only under the condition that Kong would one day teach the lessons of Wuju to a pupil of his own. In the spirit of this agreement, he renamed Kong Wukong, and gave him a weapon suited to his unusual nature - an enchanted staff that the young Doran had crafted. The weapon was an unrivalled masterpiece. After rigorous training, Wukong joined the League of Legends to fulfill his promise and show the world the true power of Wuju.

League of Legends - The League Coming To Poland

The direct-to-consumer video game developer and publisher is releasing its popular free online multiplayer strategy games to Polish players in fully localized version

Dublin, Ireland - July 28, 2011 - Riot Games, leading independent developer and publisher of online video games, is happy to announce the release of a completely localized League of Legends in Poland today, including dedicated services and a new website at

Boasting a userbase of millions of players, Riot Games is moving to further increase the success of League of Legends by making the game more accessible to players worldwide.

We have seen a lot of momentum for League of Legends in Europe, said Brandon Beck, CEO of Riot Games. The popularity of our game in Poland, as well as the flexibility of our business model has made us excited to further improve players experience through a localized service and communication with the Polish community.

League of Legends is also currently available to play in English, French, German and Spanish throughout Europe.

Since its North American and European launch in October 2009, League of Legends has attracted millions of players together to fight on the Fields of Justice -- huge arenas where the objective is to destroy the enemy base. Combining elements of the role-playing and strategy genres with thrilling player vs. player action, League of Legends brings gamers accessible, competitive and endlessly replayable gameplay that deepens with the players commitment.

Players can register and download the game for free from to begin playing immediately. North American Players can register and download the game for free Here.

About Riot Games, Ltd.
Riot Games is a direct-to-consumer video game developer and publisher of premium, competitive online games. Riot Games, based in Los Angeles, is funded through venture capital firms Benchmark Capital and Firstmark Capital and Chinas largest online services corporation, Tencent. The company was established in 2006 and has quickly become a leading global developer and publisher of premium free-to-play online video games for hardcore gamers, launching their debut title, League of Legends, in October 2009. To date, several million of gamers play League of Legends and log more than several million hours of playtime each month.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Minecraft "Adventure Update"

Here is a little sneak peak at the next update, Minecraft 1.8 (dubbed "The Adventure Update") which is quickly turning into the biggest update we've ever seen. Adding in tons of new items, game mechanics, and even creatures, it aims to make adventuring in the massive Minecraft world even more rewarding, as well as making combat much more enjoyable.

So, what can we look forward to in this update? Here's a run-down of a few things we know so far taken from the wiki:

    • Dubbed the Adventure Update, meant to flesh out the game a bit and make exploration and combat more rewarding. Note that this is not Adventure Mode.
    • 46 new features planned (as of July 4th, 2011)
    • New features in the terrain generator; things which will only appear in new worlds/new generated areas.
      • Underground Ravines including canyons on the surface and ledges to walk on.
      • Ruins, consisting of 4 new blocks: Stone Brick, Mossy Stone Brick, Cracked Stone Brick, and Iron Bars. (names unconfirmed)
      • Strongholds, which might be an expansion, improvement, or continuation of ruins and could be underground.
      • New Mushroom biome which will include Huge Mushrooms, both brown and red.
      • Larger Biomes
    • Shift+Click on items will work correctly.
    • Labels for items will be added.
    • Multiplayer server list
      • Improved server join screen: The server join screen will feature a list of servers
    • Spike blocks, Jeb initially considered Spike Pistons, but then decided to make a Spike block that can be pushed by the Sticky Piston.
    • Player List - Press tab in multiplayer and player list comes up.
    • At least one new mob.
    • New improved lighting — day/night cycles will not require chunk updates. Lighting will be updated via a texture, whose coordinates are the block's sky light and block light levels.
      • Warmer light from torches.
    • Maybe Experience Orbs
    • Redstone circuits not working after time set (x) glitch going to be fixed in SMP.
    • NPC Villages with farms.
    • New combat Mechanics
    • New texture for Moss Stone
    • New and more farming options/items.
      • This could be the Cocoa Bean tree Jeb was talking about.
      • Plantable pumpkins and melons, each with a central stem that grows to max size and spawns a fruit next to it.
      • Possibly farming animals and baby animals 
    • Different game modes.
      • Limited flying in Creative mode
    • The ability to allow moderators to enter creative mode in SMP.
    • Sliders for field of view, gamma and brightness in video options.
    • New launcher (Possibly).
      • Possibly a web Applet launcher.
      • Confirmed new launcher "features".
    • User placed leaf blocks won't decay.
    • A lot of new sounds and some changes, such as minecart sounds and shear sounds, also a change in the sound of rain.
      • New bow sounds (including hits), new door sounds, big slimes sound, and walking skeletons sound more skeletony.
    • Sprinting: By double pressing the forward button, the player will move faster.
    • Critical hits
    • Hold-to-charge bows[45]
    • Animal breeding[46]
    • Player blocking attack animation and hostile mob attack animations, possibly more player animations[47][48]
      • Food eating animation 
    • New achievements
      • Possibly Shoot the Moon with an arrow.
      • Kill a skeleton with an arrow at 50 meters
    • Perhaps new particle effects.
    • New Food & Hunger System:
      • Food no longer heals directly but indirectly
      • There is now a hunger bar
      • Food will be stackable 
      • Food takes now 1.6 seconds to consume
      • There is now a food eating animation There will be most likely sound effects for consuming food.
      • Hunger is possibly optional since according to Notch it will be possible to play without food
    • 5 new food items
      • Cooked Chicken 
      • Raw Chicken
      • Potentially Steak (or some other food item from cows)
      • Possibly Melons as food.
    • Redesigned HUD, including two new features, hunger and possibly XP bars.
    • Modding Support
      • Including easier Modding of the max level (map) height.
    • Glass Panes are introduced.
    • Other secret projects

    I personally happen to be a huge fan of Minecraft as you can see from some of my earlier reviews/articles on the game:  

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Over 200 Followers!

Thanks for all the support everyone. Its a real treat to have people reading what I put my heart and soul into. Thanks a bunch :D <3

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Link - Legend of Zelda Hero

Link is the main protagonist in Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda series of video games. Link has been featured in other video games from Nintendo like the super smash brothers series, including its merchandising, comic books, children s books and an animated television program. Link was awarded with a star on the Walk of Game in 2005, alongside Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog.
Link is depicted in some games as a human and in others as a Hylian boy from the fictional land of Hyrule. His age varies in each game, usually varying from pre-teen ages to a young adult. Link often travels through Hyrule, defeating creatures, evil forces and the series' primary antagonist, Ganon, while attempting to save Princess Zelda and her kingdom. To defeat him, Link usually requires the mystic Master Sword and Light Arrows, or a similar legendary weapon, obtained after many trials and battles gathering magical objects or using other items such as musical instruments and weaponry. Each Zelda storyline (normally) contains a different incarnation of Link, as whenever a new threat emerges in Hyrule, a new hero must arise.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Limbo - Amazing Indie Game Review

 PLATFORMS: PS3 (also on the Xbox360)
GENRE(S): Puzzle/Platformer

You are a boy in a dark forest, a mere silhouette who must traverse a harsh landscape fraught with one trial after another, with little to break up the aura of despair. Sounds a bit like the description you might find on a painting at a pretentious art show, doesn’t it? Instead, it is the world of Limbo, a game from PlayDead that was a hit on the Xbox360 and has now made it’s way to the PS3. Can Limbo grab the attention and provide hours of entertainment, or is there just a little too much darkness and despair?

Your first glimpses of Limbo set the tone for the entirety of the game. Your character, and much of the items in the game, are dark silhouettes against a stark grey background. This grey and black color scheme is broken up only by the occasional hint of white, such as your characters eerie eyes, and the lovely wiggling brain suckers that you fall victim to at unexpected moments. There is really no story to speak of given to you; you wake up in a forest that is set in this harsh world, and proceed to make your way through the game.
In addition to there being no explanation as to what your character is doing, or what his goal may be, there is very little structure to the game. I don’t mean this in an open world sort of way, as you must progress through things in a very specific order. What I mean by “no structure” is that there isn’t any sort of levels or anything else to break up the gameplay. Your character simply proceeds from one challenge to the next throughout a seemingly endless world. While the game does save automatically at fairly regular intervals (as you get past certain points), you won’t know if it has saved or not until you die and are placed back into the game at the last checkpoint.

And die you will. While Limbo has around 40 “levels”, they are actually quite short when measured in distance. When measured in time it takes you to get past them, however, many of them will take what seems like eons. Limbo has the basic “walk forward, fall off ledge, die, walk forward, jump over ledge, land on spike, die, walk forward, jump over ledge, roll ball onto spike, climb up wall, get smashed by giant falling box, die” sort of schematic down to a science. While there are parts that you pretty much breeze through, it more often seems like you are crawling your way through the game, one inch at a time. There are no time limits, and you have unlimited lives (you’ll need them), but even with that Limbo can be an exercise in sheer frustration, with each level more ridiculously hard than the last.
Limbo is a game for those who like to be challenged–constantly. To progress in the game, you’ll need to think creatively and find seemingly impossible solutions. Oftentimes, though, finding the solution is not the hardest part–carrying out is. Many of the puzzles require absolutely perfect timing, and even if you’ve made it through before, you won’t always nail it the first (or the fifth) time. When you do finally make it through, you are greeted by yet another seemingly impossible task.
The look and feel of Limbo is very stark and unforgiving, but also quite beautiful. The harsh black and white landscape will appeal to those with an eye for art, and it has a somewhat dreary industrial style to it. The sound of Limbo is very suited to the art style, as it is similarly utilitarian, forgoing music or speech for just the sounds of whatever 

machinery/water/massive black spiders may be inhabiting that portion of the game. The controls are quite basic as well: your character can only walk and jump, and he can’t do either of those very impressively. You won’t see any spectacular double jumps here, but the plodding gait of the main character does fit in well with the feel of the game as a whole.

Final Thoughts:
Limbo is a very dark, challenging game that will appeal to many for its avante garde visual style and often frustratingly difficult gameplay. The stark black and white backgrounds and mute characters are certainly a break from the norm, and one certainly can’t complain of a lack of challenge. However, these same traits that appeal to some will turn others off. I recommend Limbo to gamers who are into solving difficult puzzles, creepy yet strangely beautiful art, or just want something entirely different.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

L.A. Noire

Release Date: May 17, 2011
Publisher: Rockstar Games
ESRB Rating: Mature

At this point in Rockstar's history as a video game company, you wouldn't be wrong to assume that their next title would be along the same lines as Grand Theft Auto, Bully, or Red Dead Redemption-all of which carry most of the same core concepts. It is this fact that makes L.A. Noire, their latest game, such a welcomed surprise. While it doesn't reinvent the game world the way GTA 3 did or manage to cleanse itself completely of the mechanics of their previous titles, L.A. Noire is an achievement as an industry-advancing game that treats the player as an intelligent adult instead of a babbling teenaged boy who is only compelled by headshots and half-naked ladies.
L.A. Noire, which is set in Los Angeles in 1947, puts players in the shoes of Cole Phelps, a "by-the-books" detective who struggles with the corruption of the LAPD, as well as with internal conflicts resulting from his actions as a soldier during World War II. The game begins with Cole as a simple patrolman and continues as he gets promoted to the assigned desks of traffic, homicide, vice, and finally arson. Each desk comes with its own set of cases as well as a new suit, car and partner.
What sets L.A. Noire apart from previous Rockstar releases is how little the game focuses on action sequences and the open world mechanic. For anyone whose interest in this game is based solely on experience with Rockstar's other games, know right now that this is not Grand Theft Auto in 1947. If you want to be able to run around a city, stealing cars and popping pedestrians in the face, this is not the game for you. If, however, you want to be absorbed into the lives and motives of dynamic characters in a fully realized city and time period, L.A. Noire will reinvigorate your excitement in video games.
Cole's main tool for bringing crooks to justice is not a weapon, but a notebook. With the ability to open it at any time, the notebook is the player's main tool for reviewing evidence in investigations and the high points of each case. There are several locations the player must travel to for every case, each containing clues to discover and people to investigate. Clues are found by simply walking around a location until the controller vibrates, notifying the player of object that can be explored. When a sufficient amount of evidence has been discovered, investigations can begin.
There are preset questions to ask each person of interest, which are determined by the evidence found at the crime scene or person's house. To successfully advance the investigation, the player must figure out whether or not the person is lying by interpreting their facial expressions. Rockstar put an incredible amount of effort into their facial animation system, choosing to record actual actors and morphing the footage with the character models. The result is the most realistic example of facial animation in video games, and it is both convincing and captivating. The investigations quickly become the real meat of the game, to the point where you will almost want to skip everything in between to get to the next interesting character.
The problem is that those in-between segments do exist and somewhat tear up the continuity of the game. The majority of these segments turn out to include elements taken from Rockstar's previous games that they can't seem to completely shake off. For instance, driving or riding to and from locations in GTA or Red Dead Redemption was very necessary in order to grasp the complexity and intricacies of each of their game worlds. While L.A. Noire contains a fully realized city in which the player can drive around, it doesn't present any reason to do so.
There are other small hiccups in the gameplay- such as the rather annoying cutscenes of Cole's backstory haphazardly spliced between each case- but fortunately none of them are enough to detract from the innovation or fun that is to be had with the core of the game. While it might have been to Rockstar's detriment that they were too afraid to ditch every gameplay mechanic that made them so much money in previous games, L.A. Noire is still an impressive accomplishment that creates an exciting hope for future games.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Spiral Knights Review - Spiraling Out Of Control

Spiral Knights is a game by Three Rings, the same group responsible for Puzzle Pirates. It is also a game with a visual style heavily influenced by one Ian McConville, a web-comics artist who's material you may be familiar with from Mac Hall (no longer updated), or his newer site Three Panel Soul. Being a fan of Mr. McConville's work, and knowing that he was hired on at Three Rings some time ago, it wasn't hard to notice his artistic influence in Spiral Knights. You can hear a bit about his contributions to the game in a post by him here. Personally, I feel the style is utilized perfectly for this type of world, and adds immensely to its atmosphere.

So what kind of game is Spiral Knights? It's a "free-to-play" MMO of the action-adventure variety that involves dungeons, swords, and co-operative slaying. The game has clearly seen a lot of love, feeling very polished and approachable thanks to a clean UI and an intuitive, visceral combat style. Zelda seems to be the common analogy, and it's not far off. Dungeons involve a variety of challenges, from key/switch hunting, object manipulation, to hazard traversal. Combat can take place with a variety of weapons (the current crop: Sword, Gun, and Bomb), and each enemy type has a set of unique behaviors to learn and adapt to, which evolve slowly as you progress deeper into the game. Seeing the Zelda connection yet?
I bet you are. Although there are plenty of qualities to spice up the hacking and/or slashing, including a variety of status effects, power-ups, and elemental resistances, the combat experience seems clearly tied to the Nintendo variety of action-adventure puzzle solving and monster bashing. However, when it comes to the construction and arrangement of the dungeons themselves, the game is somewhat unique. The levels that comprise each dungeon (or "gate" as the game terms them) are rearranged randomly every few days. Or, not so randomly, as players can contribute specific materials to a gate's construction to manipulate the type of levels it will eventually produce.

Even further than that, the path of levels within each finished gate are variable to an individual play-through. The planet Cradle (on which the game is set) is described as a gigantic piece of clockwork machinery, with the innards rotating and ticking slowly to new orientations over time. So the changes are constant, and every trip towards the core will feel a bit different. In that sense, the terrain harkens more to Diablo than it does to Zelda, with its stacked, randomly-arranged layers.

Out of combat, the game feels much like most other adventure-style MMOs, with player avatars running around the central hub shouting trade requests, crafting, or organizing PvP brawls. It is a socially minded creature in its co-operative adventuring (up to 4 players may take on a gate together), guild system, and its communal focus on the construction of new gates via shared resources.

There is one factor which distinguishes the game even from other free-to-play MMO models. Although there is no monetary subscription fee, the world of Spiral Knights runs off of one very limited resource: Energy. With every level completed, you must pay a little energy to run the elevator down to the next. For every item you craft, you must pay a little energy to charge the crafting machine. Energy, of which each player is allotted about 100 points daily, quickly becomes the defining resource for progress in the game. And, for those with cash on hand, it can be purchased in large quantities.

You might think that an arrangement like this would cause an imbalance between those who spend money for piles of energy and those who work off of the meager 100 points-per-day handout. But, in the end, this is a skill-based game. Proceeding deeper into a gate means keeping yourself and your party alive, avoiding damage and correctly exploiting each enemy's weaknesses. And while it certainly helps to have a massive stock of energy, it really only helps you play more, not better. There are other ways to gain additional energy, including spending the game's monetary resource, Crowns, in the active energy/crown market. And, as you adventure and successfully complete levels, in addition to Crowns you will also accumulate crafting materials and recipes that allow you to construct better equipment at a reduced cost -- although that too will require a bit of energy.

So, with patience and prudent use of resources, you can progress at an acceptable rate early in the game without spending any real dollars. Whether this holds up at higher level play isn't as clear, but, if the experience is enjoyable enough, would spending a little money on it now and then really be such a bad thing? I mean, someone's got to feed those cute little birds. Or would you have them go hungry? You monster!

With its gorgeous art, engaging co-op gameplay, and creative level design, Spiral Knights is a lot of fun to play and feels set to become a successful MMO if the player base manifests (and if the Energy model ends up being financially viable for Three Rings). I would recommend this game to anyone interested in some co-op hack n' slash with plenty of twists. Just watch your energy tank -- the first charge is always free.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Five Must Have Wii Games

If you are an owner of the Nintendo Wii, then you might be thinking what are some games that I must have for it? You probably want some games that will keep you entertained and will never get boring. Finding great Nintendo Wii games might be hard if you do not know which ones are the must have games. The following is a list of five must have Wii games.
Super Mario Galaxy 2: The first Super Mario Galaxy was great, but the sequel to it is even better. This game has gotten perfect scores by many reviewers and has often been cited as the best Super Mario ever. This game is a must have platformer for any Nintendo Wii owner.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl: This is quite possibly the best fighter on any video game console. This game includes characters from many popular Nintendo games and lets you brawl it out against each other. You can use or not use items against each other. The game features many characters, unlockables, items, and maps to play on. This is definitely a fighting game that every Nintendo Wii owner should have.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: When it comes to every generation of Nintendo consoles, you should buy Legend of Zelda. These games are great adventure, role-playing games that everyone loves. Although this one was technically first on the GameCube, it plays even better on the Nintendo Wii by utilizing the motion controls.
Mario Kart Wii: When motion controls were introduced, it was obvious that racing games will be awesome. This game is awesome because it also includes a wheel to use with your Wii controller. Just tilt the wheel and your kart turns in the game. This makes racing games even more fun.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption: Metroid Prime 3 is probably the best first person shooter on the Nintendo Wii. In addition to being a first person shooter, it is also an adventure game that lets you explore vast worlds. It might be wise to play the other Metroid Prime games before embarking on this one.
If you own a Nintendo Wii, then there are five games that you should have in your video game collection. These games are Super Mario Galaxy 2, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Mario Kart Wii, and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. These games are all classics and will bring you lots of fun.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Zelda Skyward Sword - My Most Anticipated Game of 2011

The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword has been a huge hit even before its official announcement at E3 last year in 2010. The year prior Nintendo released one single piece of art work in a round table and speculation began to rise up from nowhere just like that.
The Zelda series has always been one of the most popular and anticipated games in the industry but this next game is promising even more. As we are now playing with the motion controlled Nintendo Wii and we have yet to have an actual Wii based Zelda title.
So the question burning in everyone's minds is "how will Nintendo innovate the series to use motion controls?"
In June of 2010, at E3 we finally got our answer. In a spectacular display of creativity, Nintendo once again managed to amaze us with brand new 1:1 motion controls. Everything you do with the Wiimotes is done by the character, Link, on screen. The accuracy is dead on as Skyward Sword will be using the Wii motion plus.
Since last year's E3, Nintendo has been hush hush about Skyward Sword. No real details have come to light and we all remain in a state of anticipation. Almost every Legend of Zelda title to date has been a best seller and with all the hype building up for this game, sales should be even higher.
The combination of an already established fan favorite series and new motion controls have helped to make Skyward Sword by far the most anticipated game of the year.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Review

Since the first time Link circled the lands of Hyrule on his epic quest to save the Princess Zelda and set right the evils of Ganon, his and her names have been synonymous with brilliant game making. The first mention of Twilight Princess some three years ago was met with as much excitement and hoopla as any Zelda game in development. But then they showed us a video of the gameplay. There in full glory was the grown Link of Ocarina of Time fame slashing away with the Master Sword. The vision was beautiful and after the cel shaded diversions of Wind Waker, nearly brought tears to fanboys the world over.
The Legend of Zelda was back, and with a vengeance. The name of Link would filter between avid Nintendo fans for months and years to come until it finally saw the light of day. It took a long time for Link's newest adventure to finally show up on the shelves, and a good part of that delay was announcement and late 2006 release of Nintendo's newest console, the Wii. The Big N held back their biggest game of the year to retool and revamp it for their next gen console entry.
But was it worth it. The controls, the gameplay, the little changes made - were any of them worth the wait and the dual release of the game on two consoles? The answer to that question is the simplest thing I get to say to you here. Absolutely.
The newest Zelda adventure, Twilight Princess, is by far the best reason to own a Nintendo Wii. The game is a masterpiece on almost every level, to the point I'm almost willing to call it the greatest game ever made. We've heard this a lot, that this game is the greatest. That it surpasses what Ocarina accomplished 8 years ago. And as my own favorite game, it's hard to ever put anything above Ocarina in terms of scope, depth, and innovation. But we're going to try.
The first thing you notice when you boot up the game is the scope. You'll notice it even more later, but even right off the bat, at the title screen, Link sits atop Epona looking up at the great ruins before him and his quest. The ambience is darker, matching the game's title, and by far more adult. Everything is drowned in sepias, browns, and grays. The vibrant yellows and greens of Wind Waker are gone in favor of something more earthly and grittier.
And then there's Link. Full grown and already a local hero to the children of his village, this is the first game in which Link spends his entire adventure as an adult, with fully realized emotional range and involvement with the other characters. Whereas some other Links are detached from their surroundings by his age and the lack of voice acting, this Link is as carefully entwined with these characters as any Square Enix game.
And the world. Well, this is Hyrule as it oughta be. It's huge. And by huge, I mean massive. And by massive, I mean incredibly large, beyond even the earliest visions of previous games. Imagine the Hyrule Field of Ocarina of Time and that's one screen in Twilight Princess. Now multiple that tenfold and you have a rough idea of how big this game is.
Quests are still formulated in the basic dungeon crawling formula, but this time around Nintendo throws in a few twists, all the while creating something much more seamless and organic in terms of storytelling than any of their earlier entries.
The Story
The story picks up our young hero in his village in the farthest corner of the map, a wrangler on a ranch and the hero to the village children. One day, without notice he's taken from his home and transported across a strange black frontier into a Twilight world. In this twilight world he encounters Midna, a strange creature of the twilight who will help guide him through his upcoming journey. More importantly, we find our favorite green clad hero transformed into a wolf.
It might remind you of Clover's recent Okami, and it should, because the two characters are similar in their execution, but Link's is different. This is temporary. You'll change back into Link, don't worry. But for now, have fun with your wolf version. Midna sure does.
You'll meet the Princess and then it's off to battle, as Link attempts to unwrap the folds of Twilight from Hyrule and defeat the dark thief who unleashed it. This is a darker story than the previous games. All throughout, as you fight and defeat the denizens of twilight you find yourself engaged in epic battles with hoards of enemies and included are some of the greatest cinematics in any game so far. The eye for drama here could craft a beautiful film with the same energies.
Link's quest lead him to save the children from his village, then the entire world, and all the while you're as entangled in his quest as any game on the market, or any novel in the book store, or film in the theater. This is epic with a capital E, and there's messing around with that statement.
The gameplay is probably the one thing most of the new Wii owners out there were worried about. For a game designed for the Gamecube, how does the Wii remote handle? Beautifully. Honestly, I can't imagine playing this game any other way. The precision gained while shooting an arrow or swinging the sword, or fishing is incredible and makes the entire process that much more enjoyable, because instead of worrying about the accuracy of your left thumb, you can focus on how incredibly cool it is to shoot a shadow beast down from half a mile while on horse back.
And that's where this game grows so well on its predecessors. It strives in every instance to think of a new and exciting way to craft a scene. From jousting sequences to rail shooters, to scavenger hunts in the dark Twilight Princess again and again displays its innovations with a big smile and a sweeping gesture.
And the dungeons? Dungeons are the key to any Zelda game. They make up over three quarters of the game and the difficulty combined with the methods in which one solves them makes the game fun or not (Wind Waker...I'm looking at you). Well, first off the dungeons don't take up quite the volume of gameplay here as they did in the past. Wait, don't gasp yet. This game is long. Very long, the longest one by far, and the dungeons are just as long, and full of innovative puzzles and solutions, each of them unique and fun in its own way. However, the rest of the game is so packed with content that it balances out better than any past Zelda game.
The Ocarina of Time's themed dungeon format returns here, with battles in the trees with monkeys, Goron wrestling matches in the bowels of a volcano, and underwater antics with the Zoras. And they're even more fun this time around.
It's not perfect. I'm sorry, I feel bad about it, but I have to tell you that this game has a few flaws. They're small, but they're there and they do detract a bit from the game. The music first off is still stuck in the midi formats from the cartridge days. You've moved to DVDs Nintendo. Full orchestration is not a reality you can ignore forever in your games, and it would have made those epic scenes that much more jaw dropping. The game also skews away from voice acting in the same mannerism of its predecessors, but this isn't necessarily a flaw as hearing Zelda speak might only detract more than it would add. But, the orchestra would have been great.
It's epic, it's amazing. It's one of the best games of all time. Is it the best? I still won't give it that title, withholding my supreme adulation for its Nintendo 64 forefather, but it's mighty close, and the best reason around to buy a Nintendo Wii right now. Call it an even 9.5 out of 10. Genius.