Most The Legend of Zelda games aren’t entirely dark. Yes, there are parts of the lore that can be secretly terrifying, especially if you think about things, but most of the games aren’t haunting adventures. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask are the two games that offer a darker, scarier approach to the adventure. They’re haunting, and two of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD’s new features make the gameplay match the unnerving and dire atmosphere.
It’s one of those situations where the world has never been so visually threatened. In The Legend of Zelda games, we know something is wrong. Link wouldn’t be on his journey if everything was okay. But The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (and Majora’s Mask) are two were we see things going wrong. The darkness and danger is obvious, and in such a situation it’s almost ridiculous to see a massive attack from a foe only take away a fraction of a heart.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD’s Hero Mode and Ganondorf amiibo crank up the difficulty in a way that isn’t exploitive. The enemies don’t suddenly get smarter, “cheat,” or change their tactics. Hero Mode alone will allow enemies to deal double the damage to Link, cause the world orientation to shift to match the Wii layout of Twilight Princess, and keep hearts from appearing, like when grass is cut or enemies are defeated. The changes require the player to employ more skill and behave like the hero a mature The Legend of Zelda game would expect them to be. If you’re experienced, as many coming to the game might be, it’s a way of absolutely proving yourself. Do well, and the different layout, lack of hearts, and enemy attacks won’t have any effect on you.
But the Ganondorf amiibo’s influence is even more genius. It’s Hero Mode for people who aren’t sure they’re ready for Hero Mode. You still get the same double damage effect, but can still find hearts and the assurance that the world will remain the same. The element of danger is still there. You get to be tested. Yet, you also aren’t presented with what could be an insurmountable wall. It’s a more manageable chaos.
Of course, you can combine Hero Mode and the Ganondorf amiibo to create a The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD where all enemies deal four times more damage than usual, the world is flipped, and no hearts dropped. It’s essentially a game of potential one-hit kills. It’s such a daunting feat that I only did it to confirm it worked, but was too scared to proceed any further.
Perhaps the realism is what makes The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD’s Ganondorf amiibo’s effect or Hero Mode so welcoming. The Link here isn’t a warrior by any means when the game begins, even if he is a chosen one. He starts out the game with a wooden sword and, after some careful scrounging, a slingshot. He’s more experienced as a ranch hand than a warrior. Kicking up the odds with Hero Mode or the amiibo shows what it would probably be like for someone inexperienced to suddenly become the hero. It enhances the theme and makes it feel more real.
Especially when you take his equipment and environment into account. He has a sword and a shield, yes, but nothing else that could be considered armor. When bosses hit him, those hits should be as hard as they are in Hero Mode or with the Ganondorf amiibo scanned. This is a world where magic and fairies exist, but random hearts floating around seems far fetched in such a case. One where you have to depend on potions makes much more sense. It’s almost like the two features here are allowing people to see what sorts of danger they would face if they were Link.
Yet, they do it in an inviting manner. Instead of offering one more difficult option and leaving it at that, Nintendo offered multiple options. While they can be scary, you won’t be scared away. The Ganondorf amiibo lets you get your feet wet. Hero Mode is for people who are ready to commit. Combining the two, well, that’s for true heroes. All three let you enjoy more improved ambiance, because the difficulty matches the danger Hyrule and its people face in the game.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD is immediately available for the Nintendo Wii U.