Release Date: Q4 2005
Live on Stage
Producer Eiji Aonuma demos Twilight Princess live on GameSpot's E3 stage.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was an unmistakable object on the horizon going into this year's E3. Nintendo reps had pointed out of the ballpark earlier in the year when they stated that the game would be playable at this year's show. So, amid all the crazy speculation on what kind of presence the Xbox 360 or the elusive PS3 would have at the show, the knowledge that you would be able to play this new Zelda ensured that there was something to get excited about in the current-gen titles. Consequently, this also ended up being why Zelda is our game of the show. While the 360 games showcased an uneven combination of either gorgeous graphics and inconsistent frame rates or solid frame rates and underwhelming visuals, and the PlayStation 3 "games" weren't quite ready for a hands-on close up, Zelda ably stepped into the spotlight with polished visuals and gameplay. Whether it was mounted combat on horseback, or plying dungeons with the help of friendly monkeys, the E3 demo of Twilight Princess offered a great taste of what's to come.
Though some were blasé about the game, there's simply no denying the appeal of one of Nintendo's key franchises. The four-stage demo served as an excellent teaser for the epic quest that Twilight Princess is poised to offer. The new variations in the time-honored gameplay, coupled with the appearance of some familiar touches like the lantern and the boomerang, all hit the right notes with us, as well as with the folks who stood in line for hours for the chance to get their hands on the demo. And we won't even touch on the unbridled charisma of the monkeys you'll encounter in the game…
Twilight Princess' biggest draw, however, is arguably the game's visuals. Whereas The Wind Waker's cel-shaded visuals polarized players expecting an adventure along the same lines as the tech demo that showed Link and Ganon facing off, The Twilight Princess' graphics united just about every Zelda fan at the show. The mature visuals and darker tone of the adventure are a powerful combination that was displayed to good effect at the show. While Microsoft and Sony both juggled trying to showcase current- and next-gen content while at the same time trying to slag each other, Nintendo's booth was an oasis that focused on the company's greatest strength: gameplay. You'd be hard pressed to find a better example of that than Zelda.
FinalistsBattlefield 2 (PC)
Burnout Revenge (Xbox, PS2)
Company of Heroes (PC)
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (PC)
Pursuit Force (PSP)
Super Mario Brothers DS (DS)
Super Mario Strikers (GC)