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Zelda: Twilight Princess HD's new Hero Mode is the absolute best way to play

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I absolutely adore the Zelda series, but I think even the franchise's most hardcore advocates can admit that Zelda games aren't especially difficult. That fact is especially true of Twilight Princess — during my playthrough of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD, which launches tomorrow on Wii U, I didn't die once. I didn't even come close. Recovery hearts are so plentiful across every shrub-covered field and jar-filled dungeon, which makes the act of taking damage a temporary nuisance, and not a mortal danger.

It's for that reason that I'm going to make an impassioned plea, here: If you're going to play through The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD, you should do so in Hero Mode. This increased difficulty setting has appeared in the past few Zelda games, although the rules are slightly different this time around. In Hero Mode, no recovery hearts drop anywhere, and all damage taken by Link is doubled.

Across the board, Hero Mode just makes The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD more exciting

That may sound like an annoyance, but I can't stress enough how much it enhances the whole experience. Every hit you take has a permanent punishment, forcing you to take your time in each new room and combat encounter, instead of just recklessly barreling through to the finish. It forces you to prepare your inventory before heading into new territories, making Red Potions a mandatory pre-dungeon purchase, which in turn lends some weight to the whole economy of the game. It forces you to use Link's sword maneuvers wisely instead of jump-slashing every foe you come across; it also gives reason to use your tools while fighting enemies, hitting them with ranged attacks to give yourself a safe window to get in sword range.

Across the board, Hero Mode just makes The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD more exciting, without making it an absolutely impossible slog — even in Hero Mode, death just returns you to the start of the room you're currently in. If you need more convincing, you can watch me argue my case in the video posted above; although in said video I'm also using the Ganondorf amiibo, which, in Hero Mode, quadruples the damage Link takes. That ... might be pushing it.

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