The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Review
The Legend of Zelda is a series that holds a big part in many gamer’s hearts. It is the reason for countless memories and has bestowed the gaming world with many innovations while still managing to revere tradition. Skyward Sword brings with it both of these accounts. With a new and innovative control method as well as a few more traditional gameplay mechanics, it manages to blow every other game in the series away.
Your adventure begins on Skyloft, a small village floating above the clouds. Link is a knight in training, and on the day of the Wing Ceremony, Zelda is captured, which forces Link to descend to Earth. The story in itself is very lengthy, with many side quests to keep you going. Not only that, this game features over hundred minutes of cut scenes, which makes it one of the most cinematic Zelda games to date. The story is a wonderful one, and will give players answers they’ve wanted for years.
Although the Wii’s graphical fidelity isn’t up to par with other systems, Nintendo has managed to create an art style that can make the most of this shortcoming. Skyward Sword‘s graphics take a cartoony approach, which is different from that of Wind Waker; and not so much a cel-shading effect is used, but a water-colour look is used for Link and the world that surrounds him. It’s obvious that things like draw distance influenced this art style. Instead of simply having blurry textures when far away from things, the game utilizes this water-colour look to its advantage, as it displays something that looks more like a beautiful canvas with colour splotched onto it. While the game won’t win any awards for having the best graphics, it can easily be regarded as one of the best looking games on the Wii. The art direction is in fact brilliant and bold. Characters are wacky and fun and show plenty of personality in the way they look. Animations go a step further as well. For example, Link swings his sword in all directions and it looks and flows perfectly.
The music this time around, while not as memorable as something like Ocarina of Time, will definitely leave a good impression on you. Those who truly take a moment to listen to the music, will definitely feel just how inspired Nintendo’s composers were at the time of composing these songs. Songs like “Chasing Fi”, ” The Ballad of Goddess” and ”The Sky” are absolutely timeless, and rivals any other title in the franchise. While not every song will leave you in awe, there are more than enough fantastic tunes in this Legend of Zelda game. A weak point in the game is the harp which is a large part of the game. It simply doesn’t sound as good as previous instruments. And Fi’s singing along to your playing isn’t always spectacular. The sound effects are all very good: Clashing swords have never sounded better and the usual grunts and “oooooooooo’s” are back. The lack of voice acting does however take away from the overall experience as reading can become tedious, however as many long-standing Zelda fans can attest to, it’s always good to use one’s imagination to determine what different characters could sound like. Overall, Nintendo did an uncanny job, but there were some blemishes none the less.
Gameplay is this game’s strongest facet. Wii MotionPlus and Nunchuck have finally been used to their fullest potential. Nintendo has expertly implemented motion controls, something that other developers haven’t quite been able to do. Swinging your sword, tight rope walking, swimming, flying, and controlling your various weapons and items is all done seamlessly with the Wii Remote. Link replicates, with stellar accuracy, your every move, making this Legend of Zelda title by far the most fun and impressive one yet. The immersion you will feel as you navigate Link through his adventure is unparalleled. Some of the best moments will be when you find a new item, and will have the privilege of learning its unique control scheme. The beetle for instance, a small bug like flying contraption that allows you to hit objects at a distance is by far one of the most fun items to use. By simply tilting the Wii Remote to control its flight path, you can easily dispose of hanging Deku Babas, or pick up bombs and drop them on unsuspecting Bokoboblins. And most weapons you’ll be able to upgrade with the various items scattered throughout the world. Other features include slicing in certain directions to dispose of particular enemies or your adversaries will also attempt to block your vertical and horizontal strikes. Other aspects include having to make your sword spin in order to confuse the enemy. This game shows off the Wii Remotes capabilities so greatly, that it is hard to envision ever going back to a standard remote. The world itself is divided into three sections and you will continuously return to all three as you progress. They will generally be different every time. You will also be flying above the earth quite often.
The amount of content is quite extensive for a single player only game. The adventure will last between 35 and 50 hours, depending on what the player hopes to accomplish. Gratitude crystals, heart pieces, as well as bugs and birds must be snagged. Side missions usually involve helping someone in distress. The game also features a boss rush mode as well as a second play through on a higher difficulty. The stellar game play itself makes the replay worth it.
Nintendo knows how to make video games that last solely on their stellar and unique gameplay. Their ability to put all other things aside demonstrates their knowledge of video game design. Their mastery of this art leads to creations of games just like The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. And this timeless attitude is why they have managed to create the single best experience on Wii to date.
Version tested: Wii | Buy |Price £32,86