The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Review

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Review


Article by: Malb0t

For those of you whoíve lost faith in the Wii due to the lack of exciting titles, and forlornly traded in your console at an extreme loss, I have important news for you.

You need to go get it back.

Forget Rock Band, Wii Fit, and all the other major Wii titles that quickly lost their appeal along with their novelty. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a game whose charms will stand the test of time.

Though Twilight Princess was released on both Wii and GameCube, Skyward Sword is the only Zelda title that is exclusively playable on Wii. Released four years after the Wii, nearing the end of the consoleís time, this game has the bittersweet honour of being almost inarguably its best title.

One small disclaimer before I proceed, in case it is not made evident by this article: when it comes to Zelda, the extent of my bias is extreme. Whereas in real life, overzealous nationalism makes my eyes roll, I am fanatical about the realm of Hyrule. All this aside, I will readily admit that the game isnít flawless.

Skyward Sword begins above the clouds in Skyloft, an idyllic island in the sky. The surface world is fabled, but not known to the people of this land, who travel between the various land masses on large birds called Loftwings. In true Zelda fashion, Linkís beloved Zelda is kidnapped, causing him to leave the comfort of his home and seek her on the surface. The main plot is a quest to rescue her.

Many criticize the Zelda franchise for the repetitive nature of its narrative. But perhaps having that familiarity is part of what makes the games so enthralling and immersive. Evoking nostalgia from that first play through Ocarina of Time, both game and hero are instantly endearing. But this early start does not inherently make the game a success. Skyward Sword does a great job of refreshing the story. Incorporating islands in the sky, where the only way off is to dive into thin air and be scooped up by a bird, makes traversing the map more exhilarating.

Boss fights are more satisfying than ever, characters are memorable, and side quests are rewarding. The colour scheme of the texturing reminds me of Wind Waker. It is beautifully detailed and goes a long way to disguise the hardware limitations of the Wii. From afar, scenes take on an almost painterly quality. The musical score is fully orchestrated and honestly just plain amazing. I have Fiís Theme stuck in my head right now.

This game makes use of the Wii Motion+ feature, which is an upgrade from the standard Wii controls in Twilight Princess. Still, though, itís not perfect. It needs to be re-calibrated frequently. Itís also so frustrating to see your blade slice through an enemy while doing no damage whatsoever! I have rage quit a few times. Flying the bird, as novel as it is, can be infuriating. Aggravating enough to me is that this is not a winged Epona- The bird tends to handle with the accuracy of a lawn mower.

I will own that the Motion+ is not without its benefits. Many of the puzzles make use of this feature, allowing for new and more challenging puzzles. Executing the Skyward Strike, where you hold the blade skyward to power it up, is distinctly enjoyable. Despite all this, I still wish that the game had a classic control option built in.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that RPG-like elements were expanded upon in this installment of the franchise. Beyond the standard items, Link also has the Adventurerís Pouch, which he can fill with non-essential items that aid the quest in various ways. Examples of these are shields, bottles and medals to augment heart or treasure drop rates. You can also collect materials and insects to upgrade your weapons, shield and potions. The efforts expended in amassing these items were not always worth the payout. I hope Nintendo makes this system more rewarding in future titles.

Hey, Listen.

Whether or not youíre a Zelda fan, you gamers out there need to remove your Wii bookend from the shelf, dust it off and play this. This is the most immersive gaming experience I have had in a long time. All in all, Skyward Sword is a worthy contribution to the Zelda franchise, and a game worth investing your time and money in. 9/10.


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September 26 2012

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