Here, as promised and without further delay, is my review for Skyward Sword! Oh, and there may be some spoilers in here. Obviously.
I want to start off by saying I loved this game, it was genuinely fun and awesome. A friend of mine described it as being like seeing your high school sweetheart again after 6 years and realizing that, in all that time, she is still the most beautiful. Now, I never had a high school sweetheart, so I can’t say whether that’s true or not. But I can say that this new Zelda is damn excellent.
While the nostalgia factor is certainly present – I’ve adored the Legend of Zelda for as long as I can remember, playing A Link to the Past as a small child – I will try to be fair in this review. That said, one of the things I LOVED about this game was the throwbacks to all the old Zelda games. Zelda is encased in a crystal at one point, just like in LttP. The bobkins play a tune to call more bobkins, and if you listen carefully, it’s the beginning of the flute melody from LttP. The Temple of Time gets involved, bringing back Ocarina of Time memories. Impa makes an appearance, and Zelda’s father is named Gaepora and looks suspiciously like a certain owl that we all know. Oh, and remember that creepy hand in the toilet in Majora’s Mask? Yepp, that’s back too! I liked that the game had treats like these for its long time fans.
And while the game certainly remembered its roots, it didn’t let itself become stale by fearing to stray from tradition, either. Awesome new features and items abound, such as Link’s new stamina gauge, the Beetle (controlled by your Wiimote, it flies around and is badass), and your very own bird to ride. And a pirate ship in a sand desert (not entirely a new idea), which was a really fun temple to do… except the boss which was, in my opinion, the hardest boss in the game. Damn tentacles (NO, not like *that*… get your mind out of the gutter)!
I enjoyed the combat, the Wiimote with the MotionPlus is much better than the old Wiimote. The game is good at moving Link’s sword along with your Wiimote motions, which makes battles pretty exciting. A lot of the enemies will have specific slashes needed to defeat them, and some will try to block you. One of the recurring bosses needs to be faked out with the sword, which is actually kind of tough until you get the hang of it. And then there’s my problem, where I get more and more frantic the harder the fight is, until I’m just flailing wildly with the Wiimote. This, of course, is not a very good strategy and I would not recommend it. You tend to get electrocuted.
Finally, I’d just like to give a nod to the music in the game. Fully orchestrated and beautiful as always. I also got the Zelda orchestra CD that comes with the Collector’s Edition of the game (not to mention a fancy Zelda Wiimote :D), and that is also quite excellent.
While I loved the game, there were several things that I wasn’t super pleased with. Firstly, the harp. All of the noises in the game were played by the harp (favourites such as “You Got the Thing” and the You Did Something Right noise), and I honestly was not really liking it. And playing Link’s harp wasn’t really very fun either, you basically just swing the Wiimote back and forth for awhile. Essentially, ocarina > harp.
Although there wasn’t a Water Temple that was long and tedious, there was a “collect the music notes” quest in the water. You swim around using the Wiimote, trying to collect all of these individual music notes that are hiding in the water and that dance away from you sometimes. I did not like this. I’ve never been good at swimming levels in games, and I’m really rather unobservant and horrible at looking for stuff (I can rarely even find the ketchup in my fridge), so this posed a challenge for me. And not in a fun way.
I found Fi (Skyward Sword’s version of Navi) to be rather infuriating. At first she was kind of amusing, with her statistics of probability and all. And then she started telling me the most obvious things. If you have ever played a Zelda game in your life, or have any sort of logic at all, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out where to go next in this game. But Fi likes to beat you over the head with it. She’s also unbelievably creepy when she sings. This is because the creators didn’t bother to animate her mouth properly, so she just opens and closes it like some sort of demon-puppet. Give me Midna any day. At least she was open about being a demon, and had a personality.
The final issue I had with this game is that I didn’t find the final boss hard enough. He was kind of difficult, I did die once while fighting him … but I was expecting just a bit more. More forms or more different attacks, or something! Once I stopped panicking and flinging my sword at him in hopes that this was the winning strategy, he wasn’t too hard to defeat. That said, he did look pretty Fucking Epic.
Okay so, you know how while you’re playing a game (or watching a movie, or TV, or whatever), you try to figure out how the story is going to end before it does? So I had this grand theory laid out. Skyward Sword starts off with this big guy, Groose, bullying you and wanting Zelda for himself. He comes down to the surface with you, and then starts to reform his bullying ways so that you gain some sympathy for him. He has red hair, a large build, and his name starts with G. Who else do we know that has RED HAIR, a LARGE BUILD, and whose NAME STARTS WITH G?! Oh wait, I know, GANONDORF! Since this was the origin story, it seemed like a good plot point for Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf to have known each other from the beginning. But Groose was turning into a likeable character, and it would be lame for Gannondorf to have just been a schoolyard bully anyway. So I devised an intricate plot wherein the spirit of the demon lord (Demise, featured above in all of his Fucking Epicness) melded with Groose accidentally, as Groose made a heartstring-pulling gesture of selflessness to save Link and Zelda from death. The evil takes hold of Groose, and this is why Ganondorf looks like Groose but is so much more evil, and also why he is after Zelda all the time. That would have made sense! And been great!
But I was wrong. That doesn’t happen. Groose just chills out, and Demise promises the following to Link: An incarnation of my hatred shall ever follow your kind, dooming them to wander a blood-soaked sea of darkness for all time!
I think that quote contributes to the Fucking Epic previously discussed. I need to start threatening people with that…
Fun Links about Zelda (which you’ve likely already seen)
VG Cats – Dead & Loving It: http://www.vgcats.com/comics/?strip_id=74
College Humor – The Legend of Link’s Distractions: http://www.collegehumor.com/video/5717300/the-legend-of-links-distractions
Brentalfloss – Zelda with Lyrics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_3hE8TOVxU