Grab your Wii remotes and dust off those sensor bars because Nintendo is going to the well one last time on their cashcow of a system, this time with the latest entry in the Legend of Zelda series titled “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.” Skyward Sword looks to be Nintendo’s last big hurrah for their console and they have delivered big time with this one. Their have been quite a few good quality/fun games to come out on the Wii over the past five years, but Nintendo just hasn’t been able to develop a game that captures that Nintendo magic that appeals to their hardcore fans as well as the mainstream audience until now. This will surely be met by some debate, but The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is without a doubt the best game to come out on the Nintendo Wii by a longshot and is possibly the best Zelda game to date depending on who you talk to. This has been one of the most anticipated games in Nintendo’s history and certainly one of the most anticipated on the Wii, so with my limited edition gold Wii remote in hand, I am ready to jump into Skyward Sword!
The story of Skyward Sword is one of the best to date, with Nintendo telling a sort of origin story where Zelda and Link having known eachother for some time rather than having Link going on a quest to find some locked away princess whom he has never met. The two start out up in the clouds in a floating city called “Skyloft,” where birds are the only means of transportation to and from the city which was created by the “Spirit Goddess” to protect the Hylians as well as the Triforce from the evil “Demon King Demise.” After Zelda is swallowed up by a mysterious tornado, Link’s quest to rescue her begins with his descension to the surface world to defeat the evil Ghirahim as he attempts to resurrect his “Master.” Along the way with Link in his adventure is a little blue spirit named “Fi,” who acts as the Spirit of The Goddess Sword and is essentially a servant to Link and pops in every now and again to help you out and let you know what you should be doing if you ever get stuck in a particular spot. The story of Skyward Sword is extremely good and I absolutely loved the premise of Skyloft and the origin style story telling that gives you a different spin on one of the older franchises in gaming. As for character development, the redeeming qualities in Link are always present, but this story really pulls on your heartstrings at times and certainly keeps you interested and invested in these characters. As someone who has played every Zelda since “A Link to the Past,” I can honestly say that this is the most interesting Zelda to date even surpassing the greatness of Ocarina of Time and “Majora’s Mask” as it is absolutely spellbinding and really pulls you into this world and plants you there emotionally from start to finish.
The controls in Skyward Sword are a bit of a departure for the franchise, but that is a very good thing in this case. When “Twilight Princess” was released for the Wii way back in 2006, it was simply a port of a game that was really developed for the Gamecube and was simply strapped with some arbitrary Wii controls and passed off as Wii game. Twilight Princess also suffered from not being able to utilize Nintendo’s patented Wii Motion Plus which gives gaming on the Wii a true 1:1 motion control, so Twilight Princess’ controls felt clunky at best. This is not the case for Skyward Sword as it takes full advantage of the Motion Plus and gives you the feeling of actually being in Link’s shoes with incredibly accurate sword fighting and an extremely fun system of traveling to and from the different lands on the backs of the Skyward birds. Skyward Sword provides the most accurate controls of any Wii game to date as well as the most enjoyable, in most Wii games the controls are mostly accurate, but you inevitably have that moment where you are pondering what exactly happened and why Mario jumped off that ledge for no reason at all. The controls are truly revolutionary and Nintendo did a great job in reinventing The Legend of Zelda series that had made a habit of sticking to the norm with their last few releases rather than revolutionizing the series in the same way that Ocarina of Time did back in 1998 for the Nintendo 64.
Perhaps the biggest staple for the Zelda series is it’s diverse dungeons and the difficulty that goes along with them, and fans will not be disappointed with the selection in Skyward Sword. The dungeons that Nintendo have put together for this one are the best since Ocarina of Time and are neck and neck with Ocarina with me probably giving the edge to Ocarina simply for nostalgiac reasons. A very fun part of the dungeon system for me was tailoring your items such as your shield to combat the different types of enemies that are present in each of the dungeons, ie: bringing a wooden shield to the fiery Eldin Volcano might not be such a great idea.
Now onto my only problem with Skyward Sword, and that is honestly something that the developers had no control over, and that is the underwhelming visuals that unfortunately is a problem cause by the platform and not the game itself. It’s important to look at Skyward Sword visually for what it is, and that is a standard definition Wii game that doesn’t have the great power of Blu-Ray or HD graphics and that is quite unfortunate. Nintendo did a great job at developing a somewhat cellshaded graphical style that covers up these flaws somewhat, but in the end it’s just too much to overcome for me. However, I think that the visuals shouldn’t effect consumers opinions of this game too much considering the hardware that Nintendo had to work with. If this game was being developed on a Blu-Ray disc in full 1080p this game would easily score a perfect score from almost anyone who plays it. Skyward Sword is the best looking game on the Wii, but at the end of the day, that’s really not saying much when you compare this game to something like Skyrim. On the flip side of things, the musical score is absolutely amazing(as is the case for any Zelda game.) Nintendo has always put a great emphasis on the music for Zelda and that is no different here, the score is thrilling and serves as the perfect backdrop for this great adventure.
Skyward Sword looks to be Nintendo’s last celebration of their revolutionary console, and they certainly saved the best for last as Skyward Sword is certainly the best game to be released on the system and will be talked about as one of the best Zelda games for years to come. The controls are revolutionary to say the least, and when you combine that with a great story and extremely fun gameplay you get the masterpiece that is Skyward Sword. The game is handicapped by it’s lack of HD graphics, but that is something that is unfortunately not controlled by the developers who created this game. This game is, in my opinion, the game of the year so far and is a great way for Nintendo to celebrate Link’s 25th anniversary!Pros :
- Spellbinding Story/ Fun Dungeons
- Incredibly Accurate Controls
- Powerful Orchestral Soundtrack
- Underwhelming Visuals