Skyward Sword is the newest installment in the Zelda series and with it, brings both old and new concepts that appeal to diehard fans and newcomers alike. Taking into accounts all the potential that the Wii motion plus has to offer this is certainly a game that the Wii was designed for, but was the newest installment everything that it could have, and dare I say should have lived up to?
If there is one title that stands out from the rest fully utilizing the Wii’s motion control capabilities this would be the 1st title that would come to mind with the sword swings almost (key word) perfectly mimicking my horizontal, vertical, and diagonal slashes in order to correctly attack a well-guarded foe. Each enemy brings a new challenge of having to learn how to attack using the Wii Motion Plus. At the core of the gameplay mechanics makes for a challenging but enjoyable experience from start to finish. The items earned though out the game also make great use of the Wii’s motion control capabilities with new items such as the beetle to old favorites like the bow just about each item in the game adds a beneficial degree of some kind.
The single gripe I would have with the gameplay mechanics….? The constant need to put absolutely everything into Wii Motion control. There was a lot that benefited from Wii motion but there were some elements that made the game more frustrating. The mechanics behind freefalling, navigating the world, and the occasional sword swing which sometimes was nowhere even close to the direction that I was swinging my sword took away some of the enjoyment. It was very frustrating when I finally found my window to attack only to have link swing vertical when I took my time making sure I had a horizontal slash. Another key factor that got old really fast was the need to recalibrate and center my controller each and every time I not only turned on my game, but also each time the remote went to sleep because I walked away for a few minutes. It just pulls me out of the game when I come back and I have to spend extra time trying to find a flat surface (the first few times I actually did not have a surface to put my remote on within the vicinity of my chair.) to recalibrate my remote. Overall the gameplay was solid and I found myself having tons of fun hacking and slashing through enemies, but the few buggy controls kept me out of touch on more than one occasion.
18/20(few bugs but overall not a ton of complaints.)
Nothing more gratifying then successfully landing an attack on a well defended foe
With a new storyline, new characters, and a whole new world to explore the developers were allowed to take any direction they wanted. The game world is set up with three central locations all different from one another and one central hub world to fly around in. You bounce back and forth between locations completing tasks and later on opening up new sections of re-visited areas. The formula has not changed much nor did I expect it to: complete a series of tasks in order to finally gain access to a temple, find the temple item as well as a master key, defeat the boss and then repeat. It is the standard Zelda formula and as always holds true. The story felt fresh, new, and original and kept me interested through the long haul. The story does something for the first time in the series in that really it starts to establish a timeline between some of the other titles in the series. I often found myself finding references to another Zelda title as I progressed through the events in Skyward Sword. The puzzles were very well developed sometimes leaving me stumped for quite some time trying to figure out what to do next. However the turn off from that was when I wasn’t involved with a temple everything else seemed to be spelled out for me. There was very little degree of confusion within the outside world of where I had to go and what I had to do next as if the game had an on and off switch on the difficulty. The game introduced the ability to farm items from creatures, collect bugs, and upgrade most of the items in your arsenal to be better than they already were. I would farm for hours in order to get the items needed from enemies in order to have the best gear I could get.
While I was determined to complete this installment I couldn’t help but stop and think during my play through, “Is this really necessary?” and the more time went on the more I found myself asking this question. The game seems to just add stuff in order to add length to the game rather than know when to progress with the important parts of the game. Out of my near 50hr play though there was about 38-40hrs I could justify of that time to stuff that needed to be there adding to the whole experience. The scale of the game also felt small looking back at everything I explored and unlocked. The game seemed to have a wide open sky with very few places to visit and 3 locations on the ground that did not feel very large either. You end up going to each of the locations time and time again for one task or another, and there was only so many times I could visit one place before I sighed in disgust when they told me that in order to complete the next task I would have to travel back to where I just was. The opening parts of my experiences with the game were filled with met and exceeded expectations while the tail end never quite gave me the epic close I was looking for. The side quests mostly mini games or fetch quests that I was able to complete a fair amount of them, but they weren’t very fun to complete nor did they really offer a must have item that I had to have or depth to the characters. It seemed like most of them existed for me to spend more hours playing the game.
16/20 (the good parts where great, but the game dragged on a bit too long coupled with a lacking latter game experience)
This got old fast, where’s my horse?
The Wii was never really built for stunning visuals, and unfortunately this does a great disservice to the Zelda series. The visual in the game are par from what I would expect from a Wii title and did nothing to stimulate my eyes as I progressed. The landscapes are generic for the series (I called pretty much all the landscapes before I even opened them up) for any seasoned veteran player, but I feel this category got sold short. I know that the Wii is capable of producing far better visuals using component cables but chose not to. The visuals look something I would expect to see on Gamecube and not the visual level I have seen the Wii capable of.
14/20 (Nothing terrible but nothing to write home about either.)
Hmm a mountain volcano how original.
When I think of this category songs from previous Zelda titles fill my head and bring a smile from ear to ear singing all the classics. For this portion I listened to the soundtrack that came with my LE copy of SS and took time to analyze the music throughout the game. The game did a great job of setting the mood and emotion with each piece that surrounded the game. Each orchestrated piece sounds magnificent and was used to the full potential where necessary for what was reflected at that time in the game.
19/20 (Great soundtrack but there wasn’t a single track that will be remembered long after this game is around)
With roughly 50hrs of play time invested in the title I still had another 10-20hrs left of side quests left to go back to as well as a boss rush mode. For those who cannot seem to get enough after the first play through and looking for a more difficult experience the game offers a more difficult play through.
18/20 (Game offers a lot of lasting replay value, but it’s entirely dependent upon your desire to want to.)
A great new installment in the Zelda series
This game is one to be enjoyed and treasured by all who own a Wii. If there was a title that would shine as something the Wii Motion controller was designed for this would be it. The game wasn’t afraid to try something completely new and in most regards it succeeded. A few setbacks of trying to make the game longer then it needed to be, Wii motion controls in a few areas that it wasn’t necessary coupled with constant recalibration, and repeated visits to the same few locations making the game seem smaller than it actually was kept this game short of reaching the pinnacle that this game had every opportunity to seize.
Final Score – 86/100 (Great score and a great contender for GotY, but not quite the best Zelda title in the series)
This game was purchased by me for $70 retail for the LE copy. I completed this game once with a play through time of 49:23 completing most of the sidequests the game has to offer.