The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Review
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has received positive reviews, with many critics giving it a perfect score, citing it the best Zelda game ever created (even surpassing the hallowed Ocarina of Time). While, Skyward Sword is certainly not the best Zelda game in terms of innovation, it is a worthy entry to the franchise.
I want to start with a few frustrations and then move into what works. Skyward Sword changes the formula by taking a Metroid-approach to structure and layout. The over-world takes a page from Metroid Prime 3: Corruption in that there’s one large universe with numerous, smaller save points you can fly to. You’ll be revisiting these areas frequently as you upgrade your equipment and unlock new, previously hidden temples.
The problem with this structure involves the tedium of the multiple fetch quests. When it feels that you are finally making progress in the story, some random, unnecessary event causes you to fly around the massive universe, running errands for people you don’t like. Perhaps that’s simply the structure of Zelda, but it feels more frustrating than usual in Skyward Sword. I wanted to kill someone when that fat whale decided to rip up the music notes into a million pieces and scatter them in the ocean for you to find.
These numerous fetch quests could have easily been made optional, and though the game would have been shorter, it would have been more enjoyable. It’s these events that made Skyward Sword feel more like an assignment than a video game at times.
Also, some gamers might be dissatisfied with the graphical approach and conservative design. You won’t find voice-acting or photo-realistic images here. Nintendo takes a decidedly different approach that blends the worlds of Twilight Princess and Wind Waker. I personally like the style, and when you see what Nintendo did with some of the temples (especially those with the time crystals), I think you’ll agree that this was a wise choice.
Pacing and graphical limitations aside, Skyward Sword is an excellent and ultimately rewarding video game. The story is similar to what fans have seen before, and Skyward Sword cements the timeless story established in Ocarina of Time. It’s not the same tale but there are certainly parallels to be drawn. Skyward Sword is essentially an origin story of the Master Sword, and a fine one, at that.
Skyward Sword elevates itself above the rest of the series in terms of gameplay. The Wii Motion Plus 1:1 swordplay is spot-on and it’ll blow your mind as the game progresses. When you get to the final boss, you’ll revel in the new controls; in fact, it’s hard to imagine the series ever going back to a typical control set-up. From gently tossing a bomb with the flick of your wrist to flying your Loftwing with precision control, this is a game about accuracy and depth.
The clever layout, precision controls, heartfelt story, and wonderful music make Skyward Sword a solid investment. There’s so much to touch on in Skyward Sword, that I hope my introduction didn’t sway anyone away from purchasing the game. In fact, pages upon pages could be written about what Skyward Sword does right, and all the hits outweigh any of the pacing issues.
In the end, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a wonderful Wii title that really shows off the aging hardware’s muscle. While I wouldn’t say it’s the best Zelda title ever created, it’s a damn good one and deserves a high recommendation. Check this one out.