Developer & Publisher: Nintendo Series The Legend of Zelda Platform: Nintendo Wii Mode: Single-Player Genre: Action-adventure Available Now
By: Matthew “Son of Lugosi” Watts
FANatics Gaming Contributor
Hey there, my fellow gamers! Yes, it’s that time again, where you enjoy another one of our reviews. In this review, I will be discussing a title from a much beloved series, “The Legend of Zelda”. For me, this series of games represented everything that games should be; adventurous, action-packed, fun, humorous, horrifying, romantic, and of course, legendary. Each and every one of these games have stuck to the formula and succeeded every time. In fact, one game in the series was so good, it is still voted the best game of all time by many. The game I will be reviewing in particular is the latest console entry, “Skyward Sword”. However, does it hit the mark? Is it as good as previous games? Pick up your Master Sword and Hylian Shield and let’s find out.
In the beginning…
As with most Zelda games, you start the game with a short intro explaining the backstory of the game. With this story, you are told of an ancient war between the Goddess Hylia and the creatures of the land against the demons and their followers. When the evil had been defeated, the humans were taken to safety and sent skyward to be protected should the evil ever rise again.
Fast forward some years and things on the floating isle of Skyloft are harmonious and peaceful. As Link, the main character, you wake up on a very important day, the day of the Wing Ceremony. However, things don’t go quite as planned, as your friend Zelda is knocked down to the surface by a giant tornado. Thus, starts your quest to recover Zelda, and in the process, discover your true path on the course of your adventure, as the truth behind the past reveals itself.
The visual style of Skyward Sword is a joy to experience. It almost seems to me as though it is a cross between the cel-shaded design of The WindWaker, mixed with the realistic graphics of Twilight Princess. Add to that a beautiful color palette and you get a brilliant combination of bright vibrant colors with relaxed detaisl that is a visual feast for the eyes. If you’ve been playing a lot of games with meticulous detail, give your eyes a nice welcome rest and view this spectacle.
Speaking detail though, there’s one thing I can’t quite put my finger on and it’s the design of the environment such as buildings, trees, platforms and sun. The shape of said items have almost a blocky look to them. Whether they were made with less polygons or intentionally designed that way is unclear. Now don’t get me wrong, the look of everything is pleasing and enjoyable, but one can’t help but notice this. I can say however that I don’t consider this a design flaw.
As with all Zelda games, the audio tracks and accompanying sound effects are memorable. The amount of times when I’ve had a piece of music stuck in my head is incalculable. The music covers a variety of locations, situations, and scenarios. Depending on your location, the music fits very well. If you are in a forest, you will hear playful, forest-esque music, or maybe up in the sky, adventurous music will play. Nintendo has a way with music. If you hear the Zelda overworld theme, or even the Mario theme, it is instantly recognizable. Everyone who hears these instantly recognizes each melody, whether you have played games or not. They have an ability to write music which is catchy, recognizable and almost impossible to get out of your head.
The music changes as you enter situations, such as a battle or impending danger. Small touches like this adds to the ambience and general feel of the game. It can go from relaxed to full on battle music within a split second.
There is so much to the gameplay that I really don’t know where to begin. I guess I can start with the controls. Controlling Link is simple and very fun. What makes it fun, and is completely new all-round, is the ability to fully control the sword. If you turn the Wii remote, the sword will turn in Link’s hand. If you point the Wii remote upwards, you can charge the sword for a skyward strike. Moving the remote gently in any direction, Link will move the sword in that direction also. Move it quickly, and Link will strike opponents faster than you can say Triforce. Using the bow can be a lot of fun. If you hold the Wii remote and Nunchuk as if you were about to draw an arrow, Link will do the exact same. Motion controls in this game can be very fun. Other times though, it can be frustrating. For example, if I am controlling something that flies, you need to use the remote to control whether it goes up or down, and turn the remote to go left or right. It’s not the easiest thing to do, and I still struggle regardless of how many times I’ve played.
In terms of battles and puzzle solving, Skyward Sword excels. It’s not a simple hack and slash to defeat your opponent. You need to be quick and calculate your enemies next moves. If you hold your sword over to your left, the enemy will defend that side. Anticipating where your opponent will defend is key to success and brings a completely new form of battle to the series. Be wary though, if you make the wrong strike, some enemies can counter-attack your attack.
Puzzles use classic Legend of Zelda style, with new twists to them due to motion plus and new unlockable items. Don’t expect anything too easy, you may have a bit of a tricky time if you’re not familiar with the series. Sometimes, the answer can be right in front of you and you’ll miss it. Keep an eye out for everything.
The biggest downfall of the game is that the regions on the surface are not connected. You can’t just go from the Volcano region to the desert region with ease. The problem with this is that to get to another area, you need to go back up to the sky, fly all the way to the entry point for the area you want to visit and skydive in. When you’re going back and forth doing sidequests or main missions, this can become tiresome, frustrating and repetitive.
Pros and cons
- Brilliantly crafted story
- Gorgeous visuals
- Clocking in at 30+ hours, you will have a good long game to sink your teeth into
- Catchy soundtrack
- Fun control scheme
- It’s Legend of Zelda!
- Badly designed way of getting from one area to another
- Whilst most aspects of the controls are fun, sometimes they can be irksome
B (Your Genre; Your Choice)
Playing this game from start to finish was an absolute joy to do. Whilst some aspects of the game let it down, it makes up for it with a fun, beautiful, brilliant story! And now for a spectacular trailer to see for yourself.