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The New Zelda

I've been a hardcore Legend of Zelda fan since Ocarina of Time, and when the Collector's Edition came out on Gamecube I beat the first Zelda game and attempted the second. Skyward Sword innovates and pushes the series into a new direction yet at the same time stays true to the gameplay that has been in effect since the original Legend of Zelda.

I'll start by talking about how gorgeous the game looks. Everything that I saw was amazingly detailed, the draw distance never got in the way of playing, and I found myself admiring my surroundings more than I ever do in a Zelda game. The impressionistic art style suits the game so well that I didn't find myself pining for the days of realistic Link a la Twilight Princess.

Gameplay wise the game performs exceptionally well. The sword fighting has a good learning curve to it. Fifteen to twenty hours in I was finding new ways to defeat enemies that I had been fighting the entire game. Usually in Zelda games you get the item in the dungeon defeat the boss with it and then hardly use the item again (except for the coveted hookshot). But all the items in this game I was pulling out to find secrets, and use during puzzles late in the game. The controls are tight and I never saw a death that I didn't have coming. Not having complete control of the camera was never an issue in Skyward Sword as it keeps up with the action and you can always push Z to center the camera if you feel it gets out of control. Also the ability to center the Wii pointer at any time in the menus or pointing an item is great and should be put into every Wii game in the future.

The sound in a Zelda game is as it should be. The tunes are memorable and imaginative. I love the fully orchestrated sound they went for as it adds to the game in many ways. Jumping on your bird for the first time and having the music swell up and intensify really makes you feel like you have a purpose for having this bird. 

The story is phenomenal, and easily the best in any Zelda game. They stepped their game up from Twilight Princess and created characters that I found myself actually wanting to talk to in the town instead of avoiding unless I knew they had a quest for me to do. The main villain is by far my favorite in the series, and having a motive for wanting to save Zelda (instead of she's the princess) they made you care about her. The dialogue in the game feels natural and cements the relationship Link and Zelda have with the characters caught up in the story.

Skyward Sword is an amazing game by itself and an extraordinary entry in the Zelda series. That's not to say that it does have one issue that I found myself not enjoying and that was the first of a series of  fetch quests that happens when you're about 3/4 of the way through. It is only one of the fetch quests and doesn't make the game any less amazing as it has altered the world in a way that it felt fresh, but when the story is in full swing and you have to catch notes to get a character to tell you the first part of a song it brought me into a state where I was wondering how much longer I would have to find notes and not enjoying the game.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is my favorite entry in the series. Fighting with the Wii motion plus and thinking of how to swing my sword instead of just swinging it really adds depth. I didn't touch much on the upgrade system in the game, so I'll quickly comment on that. It doesn't feel like something that was set in so that you would spend Rupees. I found myself going back often and searching for ingredients to upgrade my bow or shield so that I would have higher attack power or a stronger durability.

If you own a Wii and have motion plus and don't play this game, you are doing a disservice to yourself. This game deserves the 10/10 it has in my eyes, because of how much it innovates the series yet stays true to the Zelda roots.

 

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