I have now had two reasonable sized portions of Twilight Princess gameplay. This hasn't gotten me tremendously far into the game, only about four hours, but I am starting to form some initial impressions.
As with pretty much everyone else who has written anything on the Internet about this game, I am rather into it. It is great and I am happy and all that glory being heaped upon it is accurate and well-deserved.
This morning, however, I am at work and not playing Zelda, and that does not make me happy. That makes me petulant and cranky and so I will turn my irritation into rationalization and point out all the things I've encountered so far about this game that aren't great.
Please be aware that after this point there are some minor spoilers about the first 4-5 hours of the game.
First, there's Midna. Midna? Sweetheart? You're a bitch. There's a particular personality archetype that Nintendo really seems to enjoy inflicting upon its players. The smart-ass privileged know-it-all bitch shows up in many games and in the tradition of the Zora Princess from Ocarina of Time, it looks like once again it's up to poor Link to carry her around. I hope there is some charming element of her personality buried deep under that giant mask of hers.
Generally speaking I am well-pleased by all the audio call-backs to previous Zeldas, but two in particular seem like they're going to really get under my skin. First is the voice of the nearest bumpkin calling for your attention. If one more tubby chucklehead comes running at me yelling "he-ey" I'm going to have to call Wayne Brady, and my man is going to have to choke a bitch. I respect that this is ultimately a GameCube game so the voice acting is going to suck ass, but this particular clip makes me want to practice getting Deku Seeds stuck up his nostrils from the opposite end of his body.
The other noise irritating me, and I am actually in real life somewhat saddened by this fact, is the "secret revealed" jingle. This is probably my favorite Zelda noise. When I can't find my keys and I spend half an hour in the morning cursing in increasingly profane ways until I finally move aside the correct piece of paper from the living room coffee table, I play (in my head as I don't have a set of chimes handy for every occasion) everyone's favorite jingle. The jingle itself hasn't changed, but it's being routed through the unfortunately crappy speaker from the remote. Turning the remote volume down to two or three does reduce the suck quite significantly but not enough to prevent tiny bits of my childhood being ruthlessly daggered into submission every time it plays. When did I become such a fidelity queen anyway?
Finally, I can't let any discussion of the first four hours of this game passing without remarking in some negative manner upon the amount of video and exposition. Seriously Nintendo, it's time to look for a new story-telling device. There hasn't yet been a time monopolizing drama blitz like the one from Ocarina where you first awaken as the Hero of Time, but given how much time has already been spent pressing the A button to inflict the next 30 seconds of cut scene on my watching family I can only anticipate its coming with fear and dread.
The Zelda series of games is probably my favorite. They are extremely well executed and have never failed to live up to my expectations and hopes. It is sort of like negative space. On a plane that is otherwise filled with solid goodness, tiny specks of bad stick out and draw more attention than they are worth. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has all the signs of being an absolutely fantastic game just as its forebears did, and ultimatley the suffering caused by the strong anticipation of my next opportunity to play is probably the worst damn thing about this game.