The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword review
Repetitiveness holds it back

The good:

+Motion controls
+Upgrade system

The bad:

-No item short cuts
-Graphics lose detail when in the background


Graphics: Up close, there is a very good marriage of the graphics of Wind Waker and the graphics of Twilight Princess. Solid colors and a painting like texture compose the animations on the screen. Unfortunately, many of the details are lost as character and places move into the background. It reminded me of an impressionist painting. For anyone who didn’t take an art class, enter Monet in a search engine. This made it difficult to tell what exactly was coming when looking through the first person view. (3.0/5.0)

Gameplay: Since 2011 was the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, there should very few surprises to anyone who has played a previous Zelda game while playing this game. The number one feature of Skyward Sword is the motion plus controls. Link now swings his sword that closely mirrors how you swing your arm. There was one time where I had to recalibrate the remote, but there were several times where I had to re-adjust the remote pointer to the center. Fortunately, the latter is easily fixed by pointing the remote at the center of the screen and pressing the down part of the D-pad on the Wii Remote. There is a definite learning curve to the controls. I had very few issues because of my previous experience with the sword play games from Wii Sports Resort. However, it took me a few tries to master the horizontal and vertical spin slices. I can imagine though some people having a hard time adjusting to precision swings. This is demonstrated in battling enemies. Most of the time, one must study enemies movements and weapon placement before attacking. Players must then select an appropriate attack pattern. One simply cannot just dive head first into battle swinging away like a lunatic.

The motion plus control is also used in the equipment Link uses. The best example is probably the beetle. Players use the Wii Remote to pilot the beetle to pick up items and later in the game, drop bombs on enemies or other places. Other equipment items include a whip, wind bellows, and classic items such as bombs and bow and arrows. Only one piece of equipment can be assigned to the B button at time. To change, one must press and hold the B button and move the pointer to the desired piece of equipment. This isn’t a fast process, and it isn’t ideal in the heat of battle. Link has now an adventure pouch where power up medallions, bottles, and equipment upgrades to arrows, bombs, and slingshot ammo are kept. The most annoying thing about equipment and items is that there are no item shortcuts. In Twilight Princess, three of the four D-pad directions where used for shortcuts. In Skyward Sword, no D-pad shortcuts exist (or any other button for that matter). To access items in the Adventure pouch, one must hold down the Minus button on the Wii Remote and drag the pointer to the selected item. Players must finally press A to use the item. This is a huge pain during boss fights. I sorely missed not being able to easily access my potions. I had to find a safe place away from the boss and perform the previously described actions to access my bottles with health potions. I do have to say that I like the item upgrade system. It gives a good reason to take the time to collect the various materials needed for upgrades.

My biggest complaint with the game play is the repetitiveness. There are two main worlds: sky and earth. The sky world is similar to the ocean world of Wind Waker. People travel on giant birds called Loftwings. The main hub of the entire game is a place called Skyloft. With the earth world, there are three main realms: Faron, Eldin, and Lanayru. Link visits each three quite often between trips to the sky. The puzzles in each realm remain relatively the same. For example, it’s a safe bet that there will be a puzzle in Lanayru providence involving time shifting stones. There is an evil entity called The Imprisoned that Link has to fight at various points in the game. I feel it was too many times for my liking. Upon the third time dealing with the Imprisoned, I shout at the television: “Again?!” Indeed, the feeling of “Again?!” seeps it way through the entire game. Skyward sword feels more tedious than other Zelda games.

In addition to the main quest, there is the gratitude crystals side quest. Helping characters gives you these gratitude crystals. Collecting certain amounts of gratitude crystals can give certain items like a heart piece and wallet upgrades. (3.0/5.0)

Plot: This game is meant as a prequel to the events of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. We are given a story how the Goddess fought the forces of evil. She barely won. She sent humans on island to the sky (Skyloft). In this game, Zelda isn’t a princess asking for Link’s help. Zelda and Link are good friends with the hint that Zelda would like to be more. While flying on their loftwings, a giant tornado causes Zelda to plummet to the world below the clouds. Link is then told of his destiny and his role to help Zelda fulfill her destiny. I found the storyline somewhat interesting, but it wasn’t too compelling. (3.0/5.0)

Music/Sound: I enjoyed most of the music in this game. It seemed to suite Link’s surroundings whether it be the environment or the situation. However, the music became a little redundant after awhile. There isn’t much sound in the game. Most of the sound is what player of past Zelda games would expect. Now here is a topic for controversy: Does Nintendo give the characters actual voices for the next Zelda? Purists would probably say no, and I respect that. However, I think it would be a needed enhancement (3.5/4.0)

Replay Value: As with any other Zelda, if you finished the game with less than 20 hearts, there are heart pieces to find although there are less heart pieces in Skyward Sword than past games. There is also weapon upgrades to obtain. There are goddess cubes and treasure chests to be found. Finally, there is a more difficult adventure mode to unlock once the normal game is completed. (4.0/5.0)

In summary, I found Skyward Sword to be a good game, but not an overwhelming excellent game. Repetitiveness has held this title from being excellent.
3.0 + 3.0 + 3.0 + 3.5 + 4.0 = 16.5/5 = 3.3

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