The Legend of Zelda is a game series that has transcended its status as a mere pastime into the currents of popular culture and the main stream. I can not think of any other series that is subject to more debate or investigation than The Legend of Zelda. Just as any other piece of mythology: fans dissect, analyze, and theorize about an unending amount of facets that make up the series’ plotlines. Just when fans started loosing steam several years after the release of Twilight Princess, a new entry has appeared, and for the 25th Anniversary Nintendo has pulled out all the stops. The Legends of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a brand new Zelda saga for the Wii, and the best one in this generation of consoles.
The game’s story puts you in control of none other than Link. He is a young adult about to take a test to ascend into knighthood in a mystical flying kingdom known as Skyloft. Link and his giant bird must pass a coming of age contest in order to be ushered into adulthood and the next stage of his training. The headmaster’s daughter and Link’s childhood friend, Zelda, will be the one to give him his ceremony if he succeeds. As you can probably guess, things end up going awry and Link must journey below the clouds in search of Zelda, who has fallen to earth in a freak accident.
Gameplay in Skyward Sword is fun. The battles cater to the Wii Motion Plus controller which is required to play the game. Make sure to calibrate your Wiimote properly or you may be annoyed (But this is not hard to do). Believe me that the controls – although taking a bit to get used to – do work quite well. Link can swing his sword in multiple directions to attack enemy weak points. Enemies actually actively defend themselves and evade or block attacks most of the time. One feature I personally liked was the ability to shoot beams from your sword after charging it up. On top of combat, you will have signature Zelda puzzles which will require just as much thinking as always as well as utilizing a bunch of new gadgets and old ones. My favorite was the flying beetle which can eventually be upgraded to do new things.
The dungeons are designed to make use of everything you have picked up and not just the ones you picked up in this or the last dungeon. You can only save at savepoints but at the same time they aren’t really far apart. There is the main story line plus a ton of side quests which allow you to upgrade Link and collect items. You can upgrade your gear via a system of collecting objects throughout your adventure, sort of like Monster Hunter. Also, you can also collect badges which have effects like increased item drops or more direct effects on gameplay. Additionally Link’s bag space (for medals, bomb bags, bottles, and shields) is limited at first but can be increased by buying additional bag slots.
The music in Skyward Sword is beautiful and varied. I love that they listened to fans this time around and actually did an orchestrated or semi orchestrated sound track. There is no voice acting aside from the strange language spoken by the characters with an occasional English or Japanese word thrown in at the beginning or end of a sentence. However, the characters themselves are very colorful in both design and action. Graphics themselves are about as great as can be seen on the Wii. However, I would like to see this game in 1080p eventually on the WiiU. Sometimes the textures can look a bit squished, pixilated, and faded, but this is cleverly masked by making the background look like a painting as it zooms out.
Skyward Sword has not topped Link to the Past as my favorite, but it has a solid spot in my top five Zelda games of all time. If you enjoy the Zelda series do not even think – go out and buy this game. If you enjoy adventure puzzle games and have never tried Zelda before, despite this game being a bit more difficult than some of the other entries, I recommend it for a new player.
- Great characters and beautiful graphics
- Fun and challenging gameplay with motion controls that are not waggly like Twilight Princess
- Memorable and well made music
- Flying is a bit tedious, but it still serves a purpose.
- New menus take a bit of getting used to for series vets, but are still pretty useful.
- No harder difficulty selection from the start