Review by Nintendoboy77

"Surpasses EVERY predecessor with a SKYWARD STRIKE!"

Nintendo has always surprised us with The Legend of Zelda franchise. We've traveled through Hyrule, we've traveled through time, we've even traveled to other dimensions. But Nintendo has taken us someplace we least expected. This time, they've taken us skyward in Link's most heroic, most cleverly thought out, and most powerfully gripping epic yet… The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword!

This game has a very interesting concept. The idea is that Link must travel between two places, the sky, and the surface. While the sky is a peaceful place, the surface is full of monsters and challenges for Link. But that's only scratching the “surface” of this game.

Skyward Sword begins with Link having a nightmare about a giant monster and a blinding light that tells Link to awaken, for his destiny is about to unfold. Link wakes up in the town called Skyloft, which is floating in the sky above the clouds. He is alarmed at the sound of a Loftwing, which are bird-like creatures that the residents of Skyloft use to travel through the sky. The Loftwing spits out a letter from Zelda that talks about the Wing Ceremony (which you find out a little later is the final test for those training to become knights of Skyloft). Zelda asks Link to meet her before the ceremony. Link meets up with her at the Statue of the Goddess. It is implied that Link and Zelda have a friendship with each other. Later, Zelda tells Link she has been hearing a voice as if it were calling to her. She asks Link if he's ever wondered what is beneath the cloud-barrier. Zelda says one day, she wants to see beneath them. Then, they take their Loftwings and fly to the ceremony. The Wing Ceremony starts with a race to catch a small statue from a golden Loftwing, which Link wins! The second part of the ceremony is a ritual between Link and Zelda. Zelda prays to the Goddess. A while later, Link and Zelda go flying on their Loftwings together. But then, a giant tornado appears and sucks Zelda in but flings Link away. Link wakes up later in Skyloft after having another dream about his destiny. He explains everything to Zelda's father (I'm guessing he's in charge of Skyloft) who tells him in return to get some rest. Link sneaks out and meets an angel-like figure who leads him into a secret chamber in the Statue of the Goddess. There, Link sees a sword in a stone. The angel-like person calls herself Fi. Fi tells Link, Zelda is alive and both of them have been chosen by the Goddess to complete a mission. Link takes the divine sword and points it skyward, acknowledging his destiny. Fi reveals the start of the great Goddess' mission lies on the surface. Link takes his Loftwing and travels to the surface. And so begins the long epic of the Hero of Legend.

This game's story will keep you wanting to find out more and doesn't disappoint. In fact, it is the most well developed Zelda story I've ever seen! It actually takes you deep into the characters, something the previous games failed to accomplish very well. Even Link, our silent hero, I can actually feel a connection with as a character. It's like you're playing in a movie kind of, even though there are only about six major cutscenes in a 30-40 hour game. If that does or doesn't sound appealing yet, wait! There's more…

The gameplay takes it even a step further with motion control plus technology. This game requires a Wii Remote Plus (or Wii Remote with Wii Motion Plus) and a Nunchuck. The Wii Remote controls your sword! In other words, which ever direction you swing it (right, left, up, down, diagonal, etc.) so does your sword! The Nunchuck controls your characters movement and your shield. The controls take full use of the game mechanics. For example, your sword in certain situations, you are required to slash your sword a certain direction, whether it be to get pass the enemies guard or to cut a rope to help solve a puzzle or whatever. Nintendo did what they could to make the controls seem so real, and they succeeded. But what would Link be without new moves? This game introduces a cool new technique called a Skyward Strike. Basically, you lift your sword to the sky for about two seconds as it charges up. Then, the next time you swing the Wii Remote, a slash-like wave shoots out of your sword. This really helps against certain enemies if you're in a hurry to get somewhere. Also, it's used to activate these ancient stone blocks that will unlock hidden treasure chests found on islands in the sky. This helps add more exploration to the game. These blocks are usually very easy to find, but sometimes pretty difficult to get to. Another feature of this game is flying which you use to travel to places when you're in the sky. It's not really better than riding Epona in previous Zelda titles, but it's very far from being awful. Kind of has the same feel as riding Epona except now you have to steer with the Wii Remote.

Although, there is one small problem with the controls. When pointing at something sometimes the cursor isn't lined up with the Wii Remote. I'm not entirely sure if it was a development issue that they couldn't fix it on time or what. Luckily, Nintendo came up with a solution. By clicking the down button on the D-pad, it realigns the cursor with the Wii Remote. Problem solved.

Playing through this game is so much fun it's hard to put the Wii Remote down sometimes. Each dungeon challenges your mind with puzzles, like previous Zelda games, but I must say that these puzzles will test your mind like no other Zelda game. However, these dungeons are long, especially the first few. But at least it's not so long to the point that the level drags. There are three areas that contain dungeons. A forest area, a volcano area, and a desert area. Now these places don't just have one dungeon each. As you progress through the game, you will explore more dungeons in these areas. These three areas have lots of exploration. This is the only part I felt was a little inferior to Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, but not by much. The surface is not as big as you think. It seems probably 2/3 of the amount of land Twilight Princess has so exploration is a little limited. The dungeons in these areas, not only are they creative in design, but you get this Ocarina of Time mixed with Wind Waker feel, and no, not because of the graphics, but because of how everything outside of the puzzles is structured.

This game introduces the stamina gauge. This part is a hit or miss for some people but I personally like it as it presents some realism to the Zelda universe and makes it more challenging. The idea is that after running or climbing or lifting, etc. your stamina gauge starts emptying and Link becomes tired. Luckily, this gauge refills automatically by not doing those stressful actions. However, if your stamina gauge becomes empty, you can't attack and move pretty slowly until it fully refills (which it does pretty fast).

An outstanding orchestra was used for this game. Not only were some of the old, famous Zelda tunes in the game, but new ones as well. Every piece of music fit and set up a terrific mood for the entire game. Wonderful soundtrack!

Overall, this game is basically a masterpiece. It makes Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess look mediocre. I highly recommend buying this game as soon as you can. Not only that, just the fact it has an amazing story, terrific gameplay, and an outstanding soundtrack is enough to make me want to replay it, even after collecting everything. This Anniversary game is very fitting for the Hero of Legend! And what a legend this game told.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 04/25/12

Game Release: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (US, 11/20/11)

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