The lights are on
As I sit here reflecting on my experience with Skyward Sword, I notice a lot of good and quite a bit of bad. There was many great moments and ideas in this game, but was ultimately brought down a bit by some issues I noticed. Which ones? Read on for more.
Graphics: Generally thought of as an Achilles Heel for the Wii, I was pleasantly surprised here. While you may not be raving about the blast processing used to make it go 1000 FPS or something like that, the visual style supports the tech, and doesn't really leave you feeling unsatisfied. On the contrary, there are some beautiful vistas here that I thoroughly enjoyed. While there may have been a few rather blocky looking corners, overall the graphics are perfect for the game and are pleasing to the eye.
Sound: What can I say? Koji Kondo's composing talents continue to amaze and adapt to whatever situation Link finds himself in (he's the composer for pretty much every Zelda and Mario game). Whether he sits calmly under a tree or is in a fierce battle the music always supports the setting. As far as the sound effects, if you've played any 3D Zelda game nothing here will surprise you, just more of the same of Link's sword clanks, grunts, and shouts.
Story: Legend Of Zelda to me has never really majorly been about the story. Sure, you have your old archetypes like Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf, but they've never really amazed me. Skyward Sword delivers a pretty great experience in this department, and delivers what is most likely the best story ever to grace a Zelda game. Characters like Groose and the old lady residing in the Sealed Temple add extra layers of complexity.
Gameplay: This is where things started to fall apart, at least for me. There were problems with the shields having damage meters, most of them collapsed like they were made of pudding until later in the game. This made me forgo a shield entirely for a good portion of the time. One last problem I had was Link's stamina meter, it felt like it ran out too quickly, leaving Link with a physicality comparable to a fifty year old chain smoker. I was stuck having to consistently re-center the remote during fights, and there were several times where it not being centered got me irreparably behind during battles. There were a few times where my nunchuk wouldn't register a shield raise and left me open to damage. On the other hand, some of the items are improved substantially by the introduction of motion, and provide new, fresh experiences, in particular an item that flies around controlled entirely by the remote tilt and orientation.
Design: While still falling onto the old traditions of locales like desert, forest, and mountain, there aresome clever dungeons and logistical challenges due to new items and many other great ideas. There is in particular the entire Lanayru province, hosting some of the best design I've seen in any Zelda game. There are stones in this province that bring the area around them back to a long-past time when hit. Also, there's an entire area in it you discover later in the game that is utterly breathtaking which I will not spoil. But the game is mired down a bit near the end, where it seems like they're adding on fetch quests and breaking apart items into pieces all for the sake of lengthening the game. I wouldn't have been sorry to see some of the pre-ending missions cut (Tadtones anyone?).
Overall, there were some annoyances, but I still enjoyed the vast majority of my time with the game. I would recommend this to you if you enjoy Zelda, Nintendo, adventure games, or motion controls. While not offering a mind-blowing experience, it was a great play, and a worthy successor to the Legend Of Zelda series.
I wish I had Wii Motion Plus... Then I would TOTALLY pick this up, as I've heard such great things about it. I've (shamefully) never completed many Nintendo games, much less a Zelda, but having finished Mario Galaxy 2, I'm itching for another chance to use my Wii.
good review. as a wii vet, im hoping the motion control issues that bugged you dont affect me as much.
I'll definitely set my mind on getting this sometime, along with Xenoblade sometime... Haven't played with the Wii for a really long time and I'd have to get a Motion Plus to play Skyward Sword so I definitely won't get it soon...
But I appreciate the heads up with the difficulty of the shield and the stamina... I have difficulty with the Zelda games but I definitely enjoy them.
Good review, Stranger. :3
I have yet to complete the game, really not that far, but I'm loving it thus far. I really haven't run into those gameplay issues myself. Sometimes I have to recenter, but not very often even. I find the tracking is spot on for the most part. I do agree with the stamina, it could be a little longer, but at least its there. No other Zelda game has had the feature, so I like the addition. The shield thing for me isn't a huge problem. Many games have breakable weapons. Some shields though do break far to easily.
Good Review though.
While I disagree with this review, it's nicely written, and I can understand some of your complaints... some. Now go finish Arkham City!
Very nice first review, Stranger. Looking forward to more.