Monday, September 23, 2013

Twilight Princess worthy of Teen rating?

In the Legend of Zelda game series, the 13th installment, Twilight Princess is the only game that has received the T for Teen rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) due to fantasy violence and animated blood. Whether this rating is actually deserved will be explored shortly.

Hyrule Field before the Twilight
Twilight Princess is set in the land of Hyrule like most Legend of Zelda games. There are a few exceptions, of course. Link is a young farmhand who gets transformed into a wolf due to the Twilight that has descended over Hyrule.

Hyrule Castle covered in Twilight
Link discovers his destiny as the one to save Hyrule after he returns to his human form and goes on to clear dungeons, solve puzzles, and defeat many, many bad guys.

All of these are trademark parts of the Zelda series so why exactly has Twilight Princess received a T rating when fantasy violence is the meat and potatoes of the game series? One could argue that the realistic graphics have something to do with it.

Link exploring a cave full of Keese
Twilight Princess is one of the only Zelda games that focused on visually detailed graphics that looked lifelike. Link's enemies are more intricately designed, but the violence is the same as in any game. Our hero uses anything and everything in his inventory to eliminate his foes, but a sword is his weapon of choice.

In Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, sweet little cell-shaded Link finishes Ganondorf by plunging the Master Sword in his forehead. Now if that isn't fantasy violence then I don't know what is. So why Wind Waker was given an E for Everyone while Twilight Princess earned T is yet to be seen.

The other reason ESRB claimed was "animated blood." Now I've played this game multiple times and never have I seen anything that could logically pass as gore. When enemies are defeated they disappear in a puff of smoke just like in every game before them.

Link administering the Ending Blow to a Skulltula

So my only conclusion for this rating is the darker story line. Link is older, there are many people who die that he cannot save, and also a cursed people that he must fight and kill without having any way to save them. There is a grittier tale in Twilight Princess than most of the other Zelda games, with exception to Majora's Mask, which has a reputation of being the darkest.

Let's not forget about this creepy scene with the Dark Links

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