Review by Horsie_Walker

"Change of formula? It's still: Zelda = (stimulation of the brain x captivation of the mind)..."

Well, I suppose the body of the review is somewhat unnecessary given the apt title (he he); however the chaps at GameFAQs require the submission of at least a few paragraphs...

Ok,

So,

Game design: 9

Doubtlessly engaging adventuring and the most challenging Zelda game since "A link to the Past". Boss fights are tough and collectables are plentiful; so there's plenty of value here. A lot has been made of the changes made in the structure of the game but in the grand scheme of things (as implied), they haven't. However, when there's such a high level of inventiveness and attention to detail on display one wouldn't really notice. Dungeons have been simplified slightly but their even distribution throughout the game vindicates this fact.

The controls are majestic for swordplay but one wonders why they didn't keep the perfectly intuitive aiming system of Twilight Princess; instead opting for a gyro-based aiming system that requires a fair bit of re-centre-ing. Also the trigger button "B" is not used to "trigger" the items... Odd...

Visual design: 8

.... Ahem...

HELD BACK BY RE-MODIFYING THE ALREADY MODIFIED "TWILIGHT PRINCESS" ENGINE!

Some parts (especially character models built from the ground up) are still lovely to behold but not quite the work of art "Wind Waker" was and still is. And no, the poor jump/backflip animations from "Twilight Princess" haven't been fixed. They tried to go for a "brush-touched" paint effect which works in theory but; in reality,is hard not to perceive as pixelation.

Sound design: 10

While not quite as hummable as Koji Kondo's own 8,16 and 64 bit masterpieces, the music was beautiful and -- strangely -- sensual (see: Bamboo Hut theme)... The games main theme (Ballad of the Goddess) as well as the "romance" themes are amongst the best pieces of music conveyed; period. Contrary to the popular belief, the lack of voice acting does not hinder the experience at all and such is a testament to the strength of the characters and quality of the translation.

Story/Characterisation: 8

Well, in a nut shell, long periods of the game will likely be spent in isolation of any immediate narrative with only trusty companion Fi providing light discourse. They set pieces that do occur however were worth the wait in many respects.

Lacked dramatic tension due to:
- The relationship between Link and Zelda (as well as Zelda and another integral character) not being exploited enough throughout the game (only in snippets at the beginning, middle and end).
- The villains' monologues not being as effective as some live exposure to their deeds would have been. As a result, little felt at stake ultimately undermining the triumph of victory.

Closing Comments:

Zelda is a special series that means a lot to many a gamer. Whilst your favourite Zelda will prolly never change, this game surely will be the favourite of a fair few in 10 or so years
(Mine's Majora's Mask, but you guessed that, right?). 9.3


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/04/12

Game Release: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (EU, 11/18/11)


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