In the past few years of gaming, we have seen many unique games find their ways into our collections. Games like Assassin’s Creed, Uncharted, the ever popular Skyrim, and Batman. But these are all huge budget games that have been overshadowing the release of one of the greatest games of 2011, and possibly, the next greatest Legend of Zelda game: Skyward Sword.
Skyward Sword’s pre-release wasn’t the greatest, but, for those who knew about it, it was definitely worth the five year wait. Features such as one- to- one swordplay, courtesy of the Wii-Motion Plus, as well as a new world scheme, new gameplay mechanics and a storyline that leaves a sure impression on the heart make this Zelda the best Zelda game yet, and one of the best games of 2012.
For those seasoned Zelda-veterans, out there, the storyline is practically half of the Zelda game; without a good storyline, the game will just be a guy in green running around and solving puzzles out of the goodness of his heart; and who wants to see that? No, the real charm of the Zelda series comes from the storyline that Nintendo works so hard on in order to motivate the player into toughing it out and completing that next puzzle.
The storyline in Skyward Sword is definitely one that I will always remember, even if, at times, I felt a little let down that there weren’t plot twists at certain points. As a matter of fact, plot twists are never really a big factor to the storyline. But, this can be expected in the prequel to every Zelda game ever made.
The game focuses mainly on Link, a knight in training who is getting ready for the Wing Ceremony; a test to see who will become the next knight of Skyloft, the main starting area and Link’s home. Link manages to pull off a victory at the ceremony and earns the right to spend a little alone time with Zelda, Link’s best friend and, for the first time ever, love interest. The entire situation, basically, goes downhill from there and Link is thrown into the classic “save Zelda” situation that his descendants will repeat over the course of many years in the future.
From the point of no return, the storyline manages to interest the player and charm them too, with its witty dialogue and funny characters. And the game doesn’t disappoint visually either; this Zelda game is, cinematically, beautiful and deserves to be hailed as one of the most magnificent games on the Wii. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t really keep up the feeling of magic and wonder throughout the entire storyline. This is because the story never takes and risks with an unbelievable plot twist or new character. The game does, however, manage to pick itself back up around the end, by telling the story through the characters as you speak to them in-game, rather than through overly-dramatic, cut scenes.
What is even more amazing is that, even after the story is done, it still manages to progress through the fans. Fans post fanfictions and images all over the internet and create a deeper sense of connection the the characters, by learning more about them in a way the actual game never would have done. This is just one of the ways that the game manages to charm the player, and why it deserves a 9/10 on the scoreboard.
Skyward Sword’s gameplay was one of the biggest factors to making into a fantastic game. The newest feature, one-to-one swordplay, was probably the most awaited feature, as in Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, fans expected what they got in Skyward Sword. They expected to control Link’s sword themselves and for there to be a strategic way to fight enemies. Instead they got to wave the wii-remote in one direction and Link swung his blade in the complete opposite direction. It was a safe system, but that wasn’t what players wanted. So, the Zelda team completely overhauled that system and built on it, until they got a system that truly worked. The enemies in Skyward Sword are all designed around this system; they all have certain ways of being killed that can only be accomplished with the Wii-Motion plus’ capabilities.
From stabbing monsters, the making eyes dizzy, Skyward Sword has a hugely wide variety of puzzles. The classic “push this block to get here” puzzle still exists, but far less than it used to. Now, the game is made up of creative puzzles that involve using your items more than once in more than one dungeon. The game is built around puzzle solving, and usually never feels impossible, even if a little un-fair at times. What’s nice is that you won’t lose hearts from falling off ledges anymore, because you need hearts in this game more than you have in any other Zelda game before it. The enemies take more hearts than they have before, and although it seems a bit easy at times, the game can dish out a really challenging battle when it wants to. The battles require some creative thinking at times; so much, so, that I often found myself amazed that Link had pulled off such an amazing kill, and it wasn’t the final boss yet!
Overall, the gameplay is one of the best features in this game and it deserves the highest rating I can give: a 10/10.
The world was definitely an overlooked part of Skyward Sword, even if it was a little annoying at times. The entire game world is separated into two sections: the sky and the surface. In the sky, Link flies around on a Crimson Loftwing, the animal mounts in this game, and can explore a wide variety of stone islands that hold a bunch of fun events to play and weird people to meet. What’s even cooler is that goddess cubes, found on the ground, can be sent into the sky to reveal a treasure chest you couldn’t open before. And when you’re not looking for treasure chests, you’ll be looking for a new mini-game to partake in or a new side-quest to start.
On the surface, you will be performing most of the games main storyline. This involves killing monsters, finding musical fish and even re-sealing a monster 18x the size of you. But the game does all of this in a way that doesn’t get boring quickly. First, instead of using one dungeon then moving on, only about seven dungeons are used, but they are almost all spread out into the three basic locations you visited before. For instance, one area you couldn’t access before suddenly becomes accessible, and you find an ancient dragon with a cloud moustache. Or maybe you will re-visit an area later on in the game to find it has been completely flooded. The game definitely makes use of its areas whenever it can. However, it can become annoying when you have to visit the same area a third time to complete a series of tasks that just seem downright annoying. This is an instance where a newly themed area wouldn’t hurt.
Overall, the world is a big and fantastic place that combines the beauty of well-controlled flight, with a world that doesn’t ever seem to get old very often. My score for this section is 8/10.
Zelda Skyward Sword is a beautifully crafted game with tight controls that fans have wanted for ages, a storyline that practically tells itself (in a good way), and a world that you won’t soon forget about anytime soon. My final score for the entire game is 9/10. I would recommend this game to anybody if they ever asked me about it, and you should pick up a copy and have a grand ‘ol time with your Wii system.