8.8: The notorious Gamespot review was the Trope Namer. Averted with the HD version. Gamespot gave Twilight Princess HD a 9/10 score, meanwhile it was other sites who were giving the same game scores like 8.6/10 (IGN) or 8/10 (Destructoid).
As Ilia is scolding Link for injuring Epona's leg:
Mayor Bo: Now, now, Ilia. There's no need to get so hot with him.
Alternate Character Interpretation: Lanayru. His visions to Link of the past, makes for a thought-provoking and intelligent cut-scene (nightmare fuel not withstanding). But, is he a benevolent guardian who is looking out for Link's well-being? Or just a jerkass who is berating and scolding the wrong person for seeking a dangerous power? Midna is the one collecting the Fused Shadows for her own selfish motives, not Link!
Argorok. He's after one of the most challenging dungeons in the game. And he's a giant dragon you fight on top of the City in the Sky during the middle of a big storm. Despite the absolutely breathtaking setting and circumstances, he goes down with very little fight in a rather simple boss fight, to the point that many players will switch back to the Ordon Sword just to drag the fight out a little longer.
Zant to an extent. While he is the most diverse boss in the game and has an awesome battle theme to go with it, he is not that difficult if one remembers what weapon to use, not helped that Zant doesn't exactly have a vast repertoire of attacks. note he mainly fires energy blasts and when you get to Blizzeta's phase, he tries to stomp on you. Also, the sword duel at the end was pretty lackluster due to him only having about three attacks at his disposal, all of which are results of his insane breakdown.
A minor one for the HD remaster. The game is incorporating both the Gamecube and Wii versions of the game world, so this way people more familiar with one version can play the map they're most familiar with (with the Gamecube map being the one for the main game mode, and the Wii map for the harder Hero Mode).
When it was revealed the Ganondorf Amiibo's main function in the HD remaster is that it makes enemies hit harder, people worried that this meant Hero Mode was only accessible via owning said Amiibo. Nintendo later confirmed this to not be the case, and Hero Mode does not require Amiibo in order to play. In fact, the two can actually stack with each other, making you take quadruple damage.
Another minor one for the HD remaster. The Wolf Link mechanic received some criticism for being slow and clunky as you had to literally pause and talk to Midna in order to change forms. The remaster rectifies this by having you simply press a button, allowing you to change forms on the fly.
Arc Fatigue: The Mirror of Twilight arc during the second half. While it does take the same amount of length as the Fused Shadows arc during the first half, the story's progress itself practically grinds to a halt. No meaningful story events happen during that time, all of the characters except Midna introduced during the first half lose their importance, and the characters introduced during the second half have little importance beyond showing Link where the dungeons are. It isn't until you finally travel to the Twilight Realm that the story resumes progress.
Zant, partly due to him being Hijacked by Ganon, but especially because of his rather sudden Villainous Breakdown right before he fights Link. Does him being a Psychopathic Manchild hiding behind a calm facade undermine his previous badassery, or does it add depth to a previously bland and generic villain? Or was he better when he was still a seemingly completely cold, composed, and heartless antagonist, and should he indeed have been the only Big Bad?
Ilia, due to being portrayed by the game as Link's primary Implied Love Interest. Either she's a cute and heartwarming character who deserves Link's love or an annoyingly forced character who cares more for Link's horse and doesn't have any chemistry with Link at all. It doesn't help for her haters that a particularly long segment required to unlock the City in the Sky centers on her.
The Bulblin enemy race as a whole is this. Some love them for their surprisingly detailed society, varied methods of attack (melee club, shooting arrows, riding Bulbos, and alerting groups to Link from a watchtower), and the Hidden Depths of their leader King Bulblin. Others dislike them for being little more than generic orcs, lacking the charm that other Zelda enemies have, and being redundant when the Bokoblins already exist. Nintendo seems to have agreed with the last point, as their societal traits have been incorporated into the Bokoblins in later games, and aside from a very minor role in Spirit Tracks, the Bulblins haven't been seen since.
Stallord has been very well received, with its fight making good use of the incredibly fun spinner item: The first part of the battle being a game of pinball on its skeleton minions and the second involving bouncing between walls until you knock its levitating skull out of the sky, all while having a kickass remix of Volvagia and King Dododngo's theme playing.
Fighting your first Darknut in the Temple of Time. The fight is just wonderful (assuming you're not overpowered), you feel like you're fighting a worthy evil human opponent, rather than just another G-rated monster. His cries of pain/shock ring out as you strike him. His armor goes flying off, and when you reduce him to chainmail, he proves how much of a badass he is when he's had enough of your antics. Throwing his broadsword and shield at you, he comes at you with a longsword and is now quite agile.
For those with arachnophobia, Armogohma may prey on their fear for just a moment. But then you use the Dominion Rod to take possession of the giant statues around the room and slam a massive stone fist into the thing's chest.
Argorok is first seen when it takes down a bridge (and very nearly Link along with it) in the City in the Sky. It creates a pretty effective paranoid atmosphere as the players wonder if it's going to come back and try to finish the job, and confronting it at its nest is quite relieving. It's also got some neat gameplay to its boss battle, particularly the fact that you have to latch onto its tail with your Clawshots and then literally stab it in the back so that it falls out of the air.
Ganondorf's battle takes the form of a four-phase Marathon Boss and continues The Wind Waker and Ocarina of Time tradition of intense sword fights with him in the final section of the battle. And being able to distract him with your fishing rod for free hits is another plus, even if doing so makes him much easier to fight.
Best Level Ever: Many fans consider the dungeons in Twilight Princess to be among the best in the series, especially those in the latter half. Particular favorites include the Arbiter's Groundsnote a desert prison full of ghosts and traps where Ganondorf was once held, capped off by a great boss fight, Snowpeak Ruinsnote a creepy yet oddly cozy abandoned mansion on a snowy mountain, inhabited by a yeti couple, the Temple of Timenote an expansion of the Temple of Time from Ocarina where Link gets to manipulate statues, and the City in the Skynote a floating city that requires Link to use his Clawshot(s) and float with Oocca to get around. The Arbiter's Grounds in particular stands out so much that it recieved an appearance in Breath of the Wild, albeit nothing is left of the original building but a few fragments of its architecture.
Morpheel. The fight is sandwiched between a very frustrating dungeon and the emotional/plotline climax of the first half of the game. If anything, the fight is more finnicky than hard. In fact, you have to really try in order to take damage from the second form, despite the fact that if the game actually obeyed the laws of physics, Link would probably die quickly just from the pressure waves caused by something that huge swimming around.
Armogohma. The first phase of the battle is incredibly straightforward and the second phase is literally a joke. As with Morpheel, you really have to try in order to get hurt in this fight.
Breather Level: The entire second half of the game after the Sacred Grove. With no more Twilight in Hyrule, the ability to transform into a wolf at will, and the fact that you've grown stronger at a much faster rate than your adversaries, life is good.
The overworld, due to it being much bigger albeit less dense than Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask in particular. Detractors often blame the overworld for bringing the game down, as they feel that it was just too big and had nothing interesting to find or explore. Fans on the other hand defend the overworld for giving the game an unprecedented sense of scale for the Zelda series and fire back at detractors for ignoring the vast amount of caves and grottoes that peppered the overworld. Some Take a Third Option and say that the overworld was good in theory and did have much to explore, but it was bogged down by forcing the player to go through the dungeons, slowly open it up (which isn't helped by the dungeons being particularly longer than in previous installments), and having rather paltry Rupee rewards or just didn't have enough things to find per area. It was partly due to this debate that Skyward Sword went far in the opposite direction, itself an even more divisive choice more than anything.
Is a realistic style the 'correct' look and appearance for a colorful fantasy game such as Zelda? Many were divided. Some loved being able to see the world of Zelda, warts and all. Though others find those details less appealing at times (read: the Gorons). Other points of debate are whether the graphics are indeed more colorful and vibrant than many people believe them to be, and how well the graphics have held up over the years. Fans also tend to forget that Twilight Princess broke the Zelda series out of the Animation Age Ghetto after The Wind Waker came under fire for its "Disney-like" graphics, which had many people believing at the time that Zelda would skew in a more kid-friendly direction from that point forward.
One that is debated among both detractors and fans is Ganondorf's inclusion. It is either one of the series' greatest Boss Battles or an unnecessary addition which undermines Zant's character.
Wolf Link is either an awesome Noble Wolf and welcomed addition that sets Twilight Princess apart from other games in the franchise, or an annoying Scrappy Mechanic that feels clunky and slows the game down when you're forced to use it.
The Wii vs. GameCube argument. While the game was focused on the GameCube throughout most of its development, it ended up being released on Wii first. Some fans really enjoyed the then-new Wii Remote controls, while others preferred to wait for the GameCube release since they felt it more closely represented the developers' intention (which would make it something of a Mythology Gag later on, with a mirrored world in Ocarina of Time 3D Master Quest and a definitely right-handed Link in Skyward Sword), along with having a free camera. For the record, outside of the two major changes (control scheme and game orientation), they really aren't that different, but this came up again when the HD version was leaked, about which version it should be based on, and subsequently when it became apparent it was using the GameCube version as a basis, at least by default.
Some of the smaller gameplay tweaks in the HD remaster:
The removal of Link going off balance when Clawshotting to walls. Some find it less annoying and more convenient for speedrunning, while others think it makes the game feel less realistic.
Link's sword no longer bounces off against walls; instead, it simply goes through them in the HD remaster. Some gamers complained about the realism, others saw this as a blessing. It can be hideously evil to face down Darknuts in the Cave of Ordeals, finding your sword repeatedly striking the wall instead of them. Combat is now much more manageable in close quarters.
The game's Slow-Paced Beginning and the poorly-aged graphics. Fans are divided on how well the game's strengths (namely its story, characters, dungeons and atmosphere) counterbalance these flaws, and whether it's enough to make it a worthy competitor to the other 3D games.
The Gibdos in this game are some of the hardest enemies to deal with, since if you get in a certain range of it, it instantly does its infamous shriek, leaving you defenseless, then proceeds to hit you with its BFS, which takes off a big portion of your health.
Die for Our Ship: The three most prominent female characters all get shipped with Link, inevitably resulting in this for all of them:
Ilia. Link/Zelda and Link/Midna shippers blow her overreaction to Epona's minor injury out of proportion until she is a complete Jerkass, even though Ilia herself admitted she overreacted and apologized to Link for it.
There's some of this toward Zelda. Generally though, the more mature Link/Zelda and Link/Midna shippers tend to get along.
Midna gets this from some Link/Zelda shippers. It doesn't help them that Midna spends most of the time interacting with Link.
The Hero's Shade is a big one, as Link has never had such a badass mentor before. It helps that the Shade himself is anotherLink.
Agitha, the bizarrebut cute "Bug Princess", was apparently so popular that she made it into Hyrule Warriors as the only other playable character from this game aside from Midna and Zant.
Fandom Rivalry: With The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, as explained under Contested Sequel. As the two games have radically different artstyles and structures, such a rivalry would be inevitable. It doesn't help that Wind Waker has earned many supporters over time while Twilight Princess is treated as an Acceptable Target by the same fans while the opposite is quite rare, which only heats up negative opinions on both sides. This rivalry was rekindled with the announcement of Twilight Princess HD for the Wii U, as now both of the Gamecube entries have a high definition remaster on the same console. A common argument among both fanbases is which game received the "better" remaster treatment, particularly in areas relating to the graphics and gameplay streamlining.
Foe Yay: In a rather creepy scene with Midna right after the Lakebed Temple, Zant refers to her as "my Midna" and says he needs her "not just for [himself], but for all of [their] people". Midna even looks like she's listening to him for a moment, but is otherwise quick to refuse.
Friendly Fandoms: In contrast to their relationship with Wind Waker fans, the Twilight Princess fanbase generally gets along well with that of its spiritual predecessor, Ocarina of Time, due to how similar the games are and how both games were surrounded with similar hype, anticipation, and praise at the time of their release.
Mortal Draw. It takes a little practice, but is by no means difficult — if you can perfect re-sheathing your sword mid-battle, you can oneshot any regular enemy, and kill bosses in three or four hits. And you can get it about midway through the game.
Ooccoo within the dungeons. There is a trick that if you warp out of the dungeon and then save, you can go back to the exact same spot you warped from after saving. This is especially useful if you're short on time and don't want to go all the way through the dungeon again.
The Magic Armor makes you invincible, and takes Rupees in exchange. You get practically handed Rupees constantly. Do the math. The only thing slowing it down is that the largest wallet only holds 1000 Rupees. In the remaster, however, the wallet sizes were doubled with Colossal Wallet added, which holds 9,999 Rupees. The armor can run for an hour and a half if you avoid getting hit.
Genius Bonus: The description for the male and female golden snails ends with "it might actually be a [opposite gender]" in small text. This is a reference to the fact that real-life snails are hermaphrodites.
It only works in the second dungeon, but switching out the boots just before landing on a magnetized surface allows you to walk at normal speed across the ceiling (putting them back on and off to drop). You can't roll or use items, but it is a lot faster (and quieter).
The glitch that allows you to use infinite bombs and arrows (and thus infinite bomb arrows) through exploiting the minigames on Zora's River.
Twilight Princess has some amusing similarities to the Zelda-like Star Fox Adventures, including: both games being on the GameCube and the first Teen-rated entries in their respective franchises; a plot twist that involves the respective overarching Big Bad of the series revealed to be The Man Behind the Man, posing as a god to manipulate the apparent main villain to help him return; how Link can turn into a wolf, which is a canine like Fox, and the protagonist of Star Fox Adventures was originally going to be a wolf before the Star Fox theme was applied; the comparatively more realistic graphics from the rest of the series that were praised upon release; and the protagonists of both series being playable in all four Super Smash Bros. games. Even more amusingly, both games are regarded exactly the opposite way by their respective series' fanbases: Twilight Princess is sometimes criticized for being too formulaic for a Zelda game, while Star Fox Adventures is criticized for being too much of a departure from the rest of the Star Fox series.
Hype Backlash: Inevitable, but when released, Twilight Princess received critical acclaim from critics and audiences alike for returning to the roots of Ocarina of Time instead of being another "experimental" entry like Majora's Mask or The Wind Waker. Years down the line, reception ironically completely 180'd; with the former two games now getting more praised for their originality while Twilight Princess would get derided by fans of those two games (particularly The Wind Waker) for being too similar to Ocarina of Time, too linear for a Zelda game, and too brown.
The biggest fan complaint against the game from those on the "It's the same" side is that it is designed too much like Ocarina of Time, and not having an aesthetic difference like The Wind Waker or gameplay differences like Majora's Mask.
It Was His Sled: Ganondorf hijacks the plot. Midna's true form, to a lesser extent, is also well known now; her appearance as DLC in Hyrule Warriors (and by extension, default character in its 3DS version) helps a lot in this regard.
Les Yay: Midna and Zelda exchange plenty of meaningful dialogue and looks and are very motivated in helping one another, to the point of Heroic Sacrifice. Midna often gives Zelda a grin.
Love to Hate: For his fans, Zant is such an imposing yet despicable villain that it makes it all the more urgent to save Hyrule from him. And when you finally unravel his plans and come directly to him, his Villainous Breakdown just makes finally killing him all the more satisfying.
Memetic Molester: When Ganondorf possesses Zelda, a few people have to ask themselves if he "Enjoys being inside Zelda".
Memetic Mutation: Just as this was invoked in-universe, the Malo Mart dance also became a meme online — see here and here.
Mondegreen: Some gamers thought that Ganon's theme was telling them to get a job.
Moral Event Horizon: Zant crosses when he traps Link in wolf form and exposes Midna to Lanayru's light, knowing full well she'll be weakened to the point of near death. That is, if turning the Twili into Shadow Beasts or executing Queen Rutela in front of the Zora didn't count.
Most Annoying Sound: It seems Midna can't be bothered to properly remove that rattling chain still around Link's front paw. And the imp herself keeps yelling "Duh-Oh!" every single time you bolt.
The screech a Shadow Beast makes if you leave one of them standing during a battle, especially if you had just missed it when attacking them.
Most Wonderful Sound: The triumphant little snippet that plays when you start attacking a boss's weak point is incredibly gratifying.
Zant popping like a balloon thanks to Midna. Sure, he's been nothing but a total asshole, but that still doesn't make it any less funny.
Ganondorf's face after Link stabs him in the chest. It's clear he's screaming in pain, and the fight itself was epic (assuming you didn't use the fishing rod and we all know that could very well count as this), but could Ganondorf's mouth get any wider or more Muppet-like?
Never Live It Down: Ilia snaps at Link one time for accidentally injuring Epona's leg (and assumes it happened from him doing something far more stupid and selfish than what actually caused it). Her hatedom took the incident and ran away with it, by making her out to be a short-tempered shrew who cares more about Epona than Link. They completely ignore the fact that she apologized only minutes later. Plus, Link and Mayor Bo had shrugged it off humorously.
Nightmare Retardant: Zant is supposed to be the Big Bad, the dark lord of the Twilight Realm. His long arms and his squidlike helmet make him look downright goofy, and the sounds he makes during his battle are very timid.
One True Threesome: Midna / Zelda / Link, or "Midzelink". It helps that Midna decides the goddesses must have left the Mirror so the three of them could meet.
Pandering to the Base: The game was intentionally designed by Nintendo to evoke the same mood and atmosphere of Ocarina of Time. The latter is the highest-rated game of the franchise, so when Twilight Princess was announced, it was heaped with praise from both critics and fans alike as being a return to form for the series after two moreexperimental games. Upon release, it became a major commercial and critical success, but some players started accusing the game of trying to focus too much on the Ocarina of Time prestige and nostalgia instead of being its own entity.
Zant mortally wounds Midna, who, while still a jerk, had likely grown on the player by that point. You then have to carry her to Zelda as she begs you to hurry. When you reach Zelda, you learn it was so Zelda could help you, not her. You then watch as Zelda sacrifices herself for Midna, despite her pleas not to.
The way Rupees are handled in this game irritates most players. If he doesn't have space for a Rupee you find in a chest, Link puts it back in the chest. Since the game practically hands Link Rupees, he'll run into this often, leaving a lot of dungeons from being 100% cleared until Link empties his wallet. Since unopened chests do not disappear from the map, neither does it differentrate them from the rest of the chests i.e. containing important items such as heart pieces, this can also confuse players. Moreover, every time players start up the game, due to a bug, it will always remind them how much differently-colored Rupees cost... even the blue and yellow ones. Both of these mechanics were removed in the HD remaster, on top of increasing the size of Link's wallet.
Usually, changing into a wolf takes only a few seconds, but Midna will not allow you to change at free will if an NPC can see you. It does not help that it was responsible for a potential game-breaking bug in the Wii and GCN versions.
"Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Similar to New Super Mario Bros. released in the same year, Twilight Princess was highly anticipated and unanimously praised at its time of release for being a return to Ocarina of Time's beloved formula after the unconventional and controversial (at the time) Majora's Mask and The Wind Waker. Its Real Is Brown aesthetic was also praised for being a return to the "mature" Zelda style fans had been clamoring for, especially since The Wind Waker and Minish Cap had raised fears that the series was falling into the Animation Age Ghetto. Nowadays, Twilight Princess is more contested for these very reasons: some feel that its formula is too derivative, and that its "realistic" graphics come across as dull, drab, and slightly outdated, especially since Zelda games have shown a much wider variety of formulas, artstyles and tones ever since. Despite this, the game's very high production values and creative ideas show through, and it still has a lot of fans.
The fandom has tons of it for this game, especially since (except for the ones listed under Happily Married) there are no Official Couples. The Link/Midna shippers equal, if not outnumber, the Link/Zelda shippers. Of course, then there's the Link/Zelda/Midna threesome option. And then of course there's Ilia to factor in to the equation....
Shad's also very popular with the shippers, being the only other Bishōnen in the game. He's paired with both Zelda and Midna as often as Link, and also with fellow La Résistance member Ashei. Yaoi fans also enjoy slashing him with Link.
Ilia and Zelda was really popular on DeviantArt, often nicknamed 'Zelia' despite the two never even meeting each other. This is compounded with Hyrule Warriors, where part of the Twilight Princess DLC was a Ilia skin for Zelda.
Shocking Swerve: The main reason why fans reacted so negatively to the reveal of Zant's true nature was the fact that the story did absolutely nothing to foreshadow it. For most of the game, fans were led to believe Zant was this cold, aloof, almost menacing figure. But when we fight him in the Palace of Twilight, Zant suddenly breaks his earlier persona and reveals his true nature without any warning to it. And though a flashback reveals he was insane from the start, it's shown during the Villainous Breakdown. Thus, to many fans it felt like an Ass Pull. Justified, since this was basically one of the last-minute additions in development.
Silent Majority: If poll results and game and merchandise sales are any indication, one would be surprised to find out that Twilight Princess is one of the most popular games in the series with general audiences, and a contender for second place behind Ocarina of Time. However, the core Zelda fanbase is more divided, often praising A Link to the Past, Majora's Mask, and The Wind Waker more vocally while deriding Twilight Princess (and later also Skyward Sword), while the actual Twilight Princess fans are generally less vocal about their game preference.
Squick: Everything about the Deku Toad, from its weak point being its tongue, to it vomiting up the chest containing the Clawshot, is just gross.
That One Boss: Argorok. He is paradoxically an anticlimatic boss that dies too quickly, and yet a frustratingly slow fight. This is because the player must adjust their speed and wait for him to attack, which is a beginner's trap as you are hyped at this point. Going crazy with the clawshots means... he won't attack, and you circle him like a merry-go-round. And you have to go slower than you'd think you'd have to dodging his fiery breath. And when his HP is low and only one more round of sword attacks is needed to defeat him, he'll trick Link by changing the direction of the flame attack, so unless you switch to clawshooting to the opposite direction as well, the flame will burn you and make you fall to the ground, forcing you to climb to the top again.
The Sacred Grove. A twisting labyrinth of samey-looking chambers and passageways where you have to chase after the Skull Kid while fending off the endless Deku Puppets he summons, made even worse by Skull Kid's annoying giggling and trumpet playing. The first time, you're forced to get through it as a wolf and track down Skull Kid by sound alone. Mercifully, the second chase allows Link to use both of his forms and has Skull Kid carry a lantern so you can track him down more easily.
Snowpeak Ruins. Slippy-Slidey Ice World, block puzzles, and a bunch of enemies that can freeze you on contact. One of them breathes a stream of ice, one flies into you and freezes you, and the others slide and bounce around like hockey pucks after you strike them, requiring you to be quick with hitting them again when they slide back towards you. Not to mention the spear-chucking ice soldiers who are a total pain to hit from a distance, OR to fight up close... even with the dungeon's weapon, the ball and chain, which causes Link to walk slowly while carrying it, and takes a little time to aim and throw, leaving you open. Plus, the deep snow that only Wolf Link can walk freely on. Link sinks up to his knees and trudges around very slowly.
The City in the Sky, if you're short on time and can't complete the dungeon in one sitting. In any dungeon, Ooccoo will warp you out of the dungeon, where you can save and later reload the game, using Ooccoo to teleport back into the dungeon and pick up precisely where you left off. Unfortunately, the City in the Sky does not allow you to do this; if the player warps to the shop with Ooccoo and saves, the game reloads just outside the shop and causes Ooccoo to forget Link's warp point. Although Ooccoo does say that she can only warp Link to the shop and back (rather than warping in and out of the city), the game doesn't actually warn you that the usual "warp and save" trick won't work here. This can result in a lot of unnecessary and frustrating backtracking for unfortunate players who didn't have enough time to finish the dungeon and thought that they could simply continue later on as usual.
That One Puzzle: Guiding the statues back to their positions in order to be granted access to the Master Sword is often called one of the hardest puzzles in the game and the series. Even worse, you can inadvertently get yourself crushed by them if you both end up on the same pillar, or stuck, sandwiched in a corner by one of the golems, meaning you have to reset the puzzle for another attempt.
Beating Yeta in a sled race. The first race, against Yeto, is fairly easy, as long as you're careful. The race against Yeta is more difficult in comparison. To beat her, you have to take the high-up shortcut, which A) has a very small entrance point, and if you miss it you'll smack into the wall and thus never, never catch up and beat Yeta; and B) takes extreme precision to avoid falling off the edge. And though easing up on the control stick can make it easier to control yourself and thus avoid sailing over the edge, that's not an option here, as you won't beat Yeta to the finish line unless you go full-speed the whole way. And the controls often leave Link either refusing to turn or veering suddenly to the side. And if you get close to Yeta, she can bounce you off-course.
Bringing a barrel of spring water across Hyrule Field. Not only is the barrel a One-Hit-Point Wonder that doesn't survive being hit by enemies or thrown, the enemies are Giant Flyers (who flap in very close, making it difficult to see what's going on), plants (who circle around you in ever-tighter circles), and Bulbins (who shoot your barrel full of arrows). And to top it all off, it's a Timed Mission, killing all enemies before moving on only ensures the water cools down and is therefore useless. Fortunately, you get a Piece of Heart out of it.
Collecting all 60 Poe Souls. They only appear at night in the only 3D Zelda game where you have no control over night and day, and it ultimately leads to a Bragging Rights Reward.
Talking to 20 cats in the hidden village. There's nothing to do or see in this ghost town. After taking out 20 enemies beforehand, it becomes quite a borefest even if you're a cat lover. It really doesn't help that the wild west music drones over you. And you can't tell which cats you have or haven't spoken to, since they linger, and all look practically alike.
"Fruit Pop Flight Challenge". It's a mini-game that's far harder to play than watch. The objective looks so simple: pop as many Fruit Balloons as possible to gain points. Get 10,000 points and you're rewarded with a piece of heart. But the controls of the Kargarok are sluggish regardless of which version you're playing, and you need maneuverability to get all those fruits. If you crash, and you will, you're taken back to Lake Hylia, rather than the beginning of the course, which increases load-times AND you get the bird, Plumm, who organizes this event, continually insulting your failure, to the point where it starts to grate on your nerves because of his bad attitude. DON'T go for a perfect score: an insane 61,454 points, which will only net you a pathetic 200 Rupees reward.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks: People from the "they changed it" camp complain that Twilight Princess is not 'Zelda' enough due to being somewhat linear in comparison, especially towards the beginning where it has to open the sandbox.
Fairies no longer give full-health restores upon death. Many veteran players believe they can tank out whatever challenge the game provides and keep only one in reserve for the unexpected. Here, however, fairies aren't much of a back-up strategy considering that blue potions/jellies have greater healing capacity. While not worthless, they are effectively neutered. Bringing fairies to the Cave of Ordeals is not recommended.
Milk was only a "useful" series healing item in the quest's beginning. You don't have much life-force at the start, therefore it's senseless to invest in more powerful items until later on. In Twilight Princess, whether you're at the beginning, middle or end... it's practically worthless. Milk here only gives you 3 pitiful hearts per swig.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The Resistance, despite being a cool team of rebels who actually care about Zant and Ganondorf's takeover of Hyrule, do barely anything other than show Link where dungeons are and unlock new areas. Even when Link finally storms Hyrule Castle, they only appear in a brief scene where they take out a small group of enemies Link could have easily handled.
Zant's hidden insanity and Ganondorf's manipulation of the former are both seen as this. The prospect of the two villains interacting with one another to further each other's goals could have been an interesting plot, and the Mirror of Twilight arc in particular had a good opportunity to transition into Zant's Villainous Breakdown and Ganondorf's eventual takeover of Hyrule. Unfortunately, both developments happen rather suddenly at the conclusion of said arc.
The Twilight Realm could have been used as an avenue for more story and several more dungeons, but it's visited near the very end of the game and the player doesn't explore it beyond the Palace of Twilight. You can't even interact with the Twili outside the palace.
Tough Act to Follow: Midna's debut was so successful that fans believe that Nintendo will never attempt to create another character like her, based on the belief that no future character can ever come close to surpassing or even equaling her in many ways such as personality and role.
True Art Is Angsty: This is one reason why Twilight Princess was so widely praised and sold so many copies, in contrast to The Wind Waker suffering from the opposite reaction at the time of its release. To this day, Zelda games that feature Adult Link in some form or otherwise have more "realistic" artstyles tend to sell more copies and get more attention from the general public; for instance, A Link Between Worlds, which has a cartoonish artstyle and a lighter plot, didn't sell as many copies as said "dark" games.
Ooccoo, who is basically a chicken with a human head. Much more unsettling than it sounds. Her son, Ooccoo Jr., who is a child's disembodied head with wings on the sides, is even worse.
Zant. During the boss battle with him, and the scene immediately before, he twists into various unnatural positions, and makes some very odd high-pitched noises. He is possibly even more creepy-looking when he's not wearing his huge robe and helmet, due to his creepy eyes and proportions being easier to see.
Midna's true form is certainly quite beautiful, but hearing that same childish voice coming out of that Amazon body? REALLY unsettling. Mitigated by the fact that she does notably sound older.
The Twili in the outside portion Palace of Twilight dungeon both before and after you change them back with the Sols (with the exception of the little kid Twili). Before, they look like oddly shaped Shadow Beasts, but they don't attack you. They just stand there. And it doesn't stop when you change them back as like before, they don't attack you. They just stand there. It doesn't help that you can't even talk to them and every time you pass by them, they make that weird moaning noise. Hacking the game reveals that they were supposed to have dialogue, mostly imploring Link to save the princess by returning the Sols to their pedestals. The text is written in a way to suggest that they have lost most of their hope under the oppression of Zant's rule.
The Spinner is an infamous example among the fans. The rails it is used on form half of the Arbiter's Grounds with engaging timing puzzles as well as a creative boss fight against Stallord, but it's used very sparingly outside the dungeon it's obtained in. Only three puzzles in the overworld make use of it, and the only later use it gets in later dungeons are token uses just to make you remember you have it.
The Dominion Rod is also fairly notorious for this. The Temple of Time is another well-regarded dungeon for its creative use of the item, and at the very least, it gets a whole quest to itself involving running around Hyrule Field, which each use of the item including an optional puzzle involving moving the statues around. Unfortunately, the only dungeon use it sees after the Temple of Time is in Hyrule Castle, and only in an optional area at that.
Viewer Gender Confusion: It gets cleared up pretty quickly, but Colin is kind of androgynous-looking. Many players also assume the long-haired Renado is female at first.
Vindicated by History: There was a time after this game came out where it became socially acceptable not only to like The Wind Waker, but to start comparing it to Twilight Princess favorably. Once Skyward Sword came out, suddenly the same happened to this game. Though there are still some controversial aspects about it (such as the Hijacked by Ganon scenario, the Slow-Paced Beginning, and the dated visuals), it has been looked back as a good game because of the dungeons, the darker story, the new items and sword skills, and (among timeline theorists) the subtle-yet-plentiful background nods to Ocarina of Time. Also, the HD remake that brightens it up, addressing the complaints about the original's Real Is Brown aesthetic.
Win Back the Crowd: After the huge success of Ocarina of Time, between hands was a Tough Act to Follow, which neither Majora's Mask nor The Wind Waker managed to surpass (in fact, the former was for the most part overlooked, and the latter significantly fractured the fanbasenote years later, funnily enough, both would receive similar praise to Ocarina of Time). Then Twilight Princess was released and managed to put the series back on spot in sales, critical acclaim, awards, and nominations, very nearly eclipsed Ocarina as the most beloved game in the series at the time, became one of the best-selling Zelda games, and retroactively helped bring more attention to said "experimental" titles.