The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

2006, Nintendo


Four years after the release of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, many fans of the series craved a return to the more adult tone and themes of the previous entry in the series, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The competing consoles of the generation, the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360, both boasted a library of darker, more realistic games that captured the imaginations of an aging player-base. These players had grown cynical towards Nintendo’s lighthearted earnestness and wanted a Zelda that spoke to their evolving tastes while still maintaining the fantastical spirit that made the fan favorite Ocarina of Time great. It was a tall order for any development team, but Nintendo was committed to making it happen, and so The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was born. 

Twilight Princess offers a compelling narrative, but structural defects in both the First and Second Acts overshadow the bright spots. The characters, themes, and motifs have their weaknesses, as well. Its protagonist, the silent Link, lacks the dynamic expressions and animations that have helped players empathize with the character’s previous iterations. Most of the secondary cast is equally one-dimensional, except for one multi-faceted outlier: the titular Twilight Princess, Midna. Her complex character benefits from a strong connection to the game’s theme, the role of a ruler. This theme is thoroughly explored in the back half of the game but is absent in the early sections due to the emphasis on tertiary characters later cast aside. The primary motifs of twilight and animals are also limited in their effectiveness, as they’re reinforced so sporadically that their meaning is obscured. Together, these myriad weaknesses substantially hamper the narrative. Still, the strength of Midna’s character and the growth of the central theme combine to create a memorable story that cannot be easily dismissed.



themes, Motifs, and Symbols