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Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

The greatest Zelda ever? Find out inside

Well there's your score right there - 10 out of 10. But we all knew Nintendo's biggest Zelda yet would snatch the top marks, but is it really the greatest Zelda game ever?

As always the answer to that question comes down to personal taste, but if it's just a question of 'does it stand toe-to-toe with Ocarina of Time' then the answer is a definite yes; as Nintendo have long promised, Twilight Princess holds no punches, offering a truly gigantic Zelda experience with some superbly-designed dungeons, gorgeous environments and finally a story worth writing home about.

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It goes without saying that upon booting-up any Zelda game you're embarking on a particularly special gaming romp, but we could tell that this really was the premium of Link's adventures when - like Ocarina of Time - we managed to spend five minutes staring at Twilight Princess's majestic title screen, before clicking through to the game entry screen a letting that well-known fairy fountain music wash over our heads and sweep us away to a land of pure gaming ecstasy.

As we are well aware of the fondness surrounding the series, we'll do our best to avoid any spoilers in this review - be assured that in the words that follow, the story will remain largely unspoilt but the obvious gameplay features demoed in early E3 trailers will be discussed in brief.

The story tells the tale of a new struggle in Hyrule with the coming of the all-consuming Twilight Realm, which has engulfed Hyrule in bloom-shaded darkness. When Link travels to this bizarre realm the twilight transforms him, via some Majora-esque cut-scenes, into a blue-eyed wolf who, with the help of a new friend, has a set of all-new abilities.

We'd love to go into detail why playing as a Wolf is so enjoyable and downright cool - but as promised we're doing our best to avoid spoilers. Combat mechanics are totally against the Zelda convention, yet aren't wild enough not to feel at home with the series. Travelling and adventuring brings some equally-unique features, but we'll leave that for you to discover.

Of course the real meat of Zelda is its dungeons and Twilight Princess doesn't disappoint, with a massive dungeon count surpassing any Zelda game before. Thankfully they're not lacking in quality either; the usual variety of dungeon themes are in there, and will strike as familiar to seasoned Zelda fans.

Yet, far from feeling stale, all of those familiar themes greatly benefit from Twilight's gorgeous art direction and enhanced realism, creating rich atmospheres superior to any previous Zelda quest.

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Puzzles occasionally drift close to clichéd series conventions, but there's plenty of surprises and twists in store. Some weapons in particular are used very cleverly to turn traditional Zelda puzzles on their heads, and the boss encounters are simply the most impressive we've ever seen - even mini-bosses make Wind Waker's bad guys look like angry Animal Crossing neighbours.

Thankfully the quality doesn't drop in later challenges either, which is something that marred the otherwise sound Wind Waker. Gamers looking for a challenge will be please to hear that one of Twilight's dungeons in particular rivals even the mighty Ocarina of Time's Water Temple in terms of difficulty - our telly would be well and truly smashed if it wasn't for those handy Wii Remote wrist straps.

One of the most striking things about Twilight Princess over previous 3D Zelda games is the sheer scope and scale of its version of Hyrule. Sure, Wind Waker had its vast ocean but it was a largely empty and uninteresting blue void. Twilight's world is easily the best version of Hyrule yet; not only compelling in a design sense but also in terms of artistic flair as well; quite simply it's gorgeous.

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