Review by LinktheMan46
"Skyward Sword is the Wii game everyone has wanted to see since launch."
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword a prequel to Ocarina of Time, and kind of a starting point of the series. It is the second Zelda game to be released on the Wii, and the first to be built from the ground up to perform for the Wii, with Twilight Princess being designed for the Gamecube and then ported to the Wii as a launch title. Skyward Sword is a great addition to the Zelda franchise, and makes some changes to the tried and true Zelda formula, but avoids a drastic overhaul, making the game still feel like a Zelda game.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword starts with our hero, Link, a freshmen at the Knight Academy in Skyloft, preparing to take his exam to graduate to the next class. Zelda gets kidnapped and taken down to the fabled surface, and Link must go down to the surface as well to save her.
Now, that sounds like a fairly basic Zelda plot, but that's just from the opening hour of play. The story has much more twists and turns than other Zelda games, which generally favor gameplay over plot, and the story really draws players in and makes them connect with the characters. Zelda is a much more fleshed out character than she is in the other games, where she really doesn't do very much, and she and Link have more connections than they do in the other Zelda games.
Overall, the story of Skyward Sword is nothing unbelievable, but it's very good. It's a lot better than previous games in the series, though. 8/10.
Here we are, the meat and potatos of a review for a Zelda game... the gameplay. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the first game on the Wii to use Wii Motion + and motion control and show that it is a valid control scheme for hardcore games. The swordplay is the key point in this, and, when you're not attacking, the sword follows what you're doing with your Wiimote exactly. When you are fighting, Link will do a different sword slash corresponding with the direction you swing your Wiimote, and can do a Spin Attack and a Skyward Strike, which is basically a vertical spin attack.
Enemies in this game have gotten upgraded as well. No longer are they defenseless drones like in Twilight Princess, they can actually think and act. When I fought my first Moblin I nearly died because I didn't realize he would move his axe depending on how I tried to attack in order to block me. A lot of the enemies in this game require very specific slashes to defeat, and some of them will guard all of the areas on their body but one, which you can only hit with a specific type of slash.
Tools in this game have been changed as well. There are less, but you can change them on the fly without pausing the game by holding B. All of the tools are useful throughout the adventure, and the mantra of, "get dungeon item, use dungeon item to solve puzzles and slay boss, forget dungeon item exists," is gone entirely.
Dungeons haven't been neglected either. The puzzles are interesting and will stop you a few times, and make great use of the Wii Motion + controls. The bosses in dungeons are well designed too, and the overworld has become more like a dungeon itself. In order to get to the dungeons, you will be solving tons of puzzles that you wouldn't expect in the overworld of a Zelda game, which is generally just used as a means of getting from one dungeon to the next. Three or four of the games twelve bosses are also fought in overworld, making the game feel much more alive and engrossing than previous titles. 10/10.
Graphics and Sound:
The graphics in Skyward Sword are great for the Wii. Nintendo went with a mix up of Wind Waker's over the top cel shaded style, and Twilight Princess's dark and gloomy art style. Nintendo used Impressionist style painting to blur objects that are far off in the distance, instead of everything fading out that's not in your range of sight. Of course, the graphics aren't as good as Xbox 360 or PS3 games running in 1080p, but for a system as powerful as the Wii, they're great.
The sound in Skyward Sword is good too. The music is fully orchestrated, and there's new songs as well as remixes of classic songs that fans of the series will instantly recognize. The lack of voice acting hurts the game a little, and it can make cutscenes drag a bit because you have to sit there reading everything. Link's grunts whenever he does something can also get kind of irritating after a while, but I only found it getting stale after playing for a few hours in a row. Overall, graphics and sound gets a 9/10.
The replay value in this game is quite high. Skyward Sword features a new difficulty called hero mode that is unlocked after you beat the game, and in hero mode all damage taken is doubled and recovery hearts are completely gone. There's also a lot of bugs and treasures to collect, Pieces of Heart to find and Gratitude Crystals, which you get from doing side quests. 8/10.
Skyward Sword is the game everyone expected to see on the Wii. It's a great addition to the Zelda franchise, and the motion controls are what everyone hoped for when the Wii was first announced. There are some flaws, like every other game, but overall, if you're a fan of the series or own a Wii, this game is a must have.
Overall score: 9/10
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/29/11
Game Release: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (US, 11/20/11)
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