The Legend of Zelda : Skyward Sword *Revised*

Date Completed: May 24th, 2012

I decided to have a do-over with my post completion review of Skyward Sword.  I wasn’t happy with my previous review but it was late and I was tired so I posted it anyway.

It’s hard to say what I liked about Skyward Sword.  I suppose the most accurate thing I can say is that I liked the fact that it said ‘Zelda’ on the cover and featured characters that I’ve been familiar with for my entire life.  It’s the same fully realized 3D environment that has been a staple of the series since Ocarina of Time with a few new items and mechanics thrown in for good measure.  The biggest change with this game is that instead of traveling between locales on Horseback you do so on a giant bird called a Loftwing.  I personally would have liked to see Link’s trusty horse Epona appear as a Pegasus but I guess birds are good too.

The big innovation – Birds!!!

Flying around was a lot of fun but it turns out that the sky is a pretty dull place.  There are a few floating islands here and there but if you’re really looking for some action the surface world is the place to party.  The surface world is separated into three distinct areas – a Volcano, a Desert and a Forest.  The areas are completely separated so the only way to travel between them is to return to the Sky and land somewhere else.  Zelda used to be known for open exploration but this game ends up playing fairly linearly.  You have to explore and conquer all of the surface areas in order.

Combat in the game heavily relies on the Wii Motion+ peripheral.  Many enemies require that you attack them from a particular direction or to stab them by moving the remote directly forward.  This was fun when it worked but even with the Wii Motion+ Link can’t quite track what you’re doing.  I found that I had to be a lot more careful and precise with the remote on the more complicated battles.  None of them were overly difficult but I was frequently irritated Link wasn’t doing what I thought I was telling him to do.

Only a Horizontal slash will work here…

More so than any previous Zelda game this one is driven by the story.  Unfortunately I found the story to be mostly un-fulfilling.  I guess I was hoping for more believable villains, a more purposeful Hero or for the back story to make more sense.  Without giving too much away I guess the most I can say is that the story is merely adequate.

Irritations are frequent in this game.  Every time you start up the game you need to go through the same controller calibrations, watch the same unskippable explanations every time you pick up an item, and listen to your sidekick chime in and tell you the same irrelevant and uninteresting things.  Motion control calibrations get messed up frequently and you have to recenter your view.  I found it impossible to play the game sitting down due to the needs of the motion controller.  25 years ago I didn’t have to put up with any of this.  It seems like Nintendo should have a “I’ve been playing Zelda for 25 years so shut up and just let me play the darn game” option somewhere but sadly such a setting does not exist. 

I played the game mostly with my 3 year old son watching.  It may have been a little too violent for him but he didn’t try to beat up his little brother any more than normal so I just went with it.  He really enjoyed watching the game and often asked to play ‘Princess Zelda’.  I would give him a remote he could hold while we played together and he’d happily swing it around and play along.  I think my favorite memory of the game was ‘playing’ it with my boy.

Princess Zelda!!!

Overall the game is good, but not great.  It is a Zelda game though, so if you’re a fan of the series it’s definitely worth playing through at least once.

Pros

  • Zelda in the Sky!
  • Motion+ optimized game play

Cons

  • Frequent Irritations
Is it fun: Yes
Score: 7/10
Length:  ~50 hours
System: Nintendo Wii
Genre: Action / Adventure
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