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I really hate to be negative when talking about a Zelda product, but for me, this is the first Zelda game that I have played and not thoroughly enjoyed. It is by no means a bad game, in fact compared to most game releases, it is still an exceptional product, but I feel that this game has been the first stumbling block for Nintendo for a variety of reasons.
My first big complaint is with the wii motion + controls. I frequently found my cursor to drift, usually at the most inconvenient times, causing immense frustration. I would often not perform the strikers I would expect with the sword. I found the flying sections to be extremely difficult at first and a real strain on my arm. It seems unnecessary too since these sections don't feel particularly fun to play even when you do have the hang of it. Also, a lot of the new weapons require quite a lot of use for the WM+ controls and I found this to often be frustrating and unreliable too.
My second complaint is that the long-used technique of getting the user to do some fetch-quests and then a dungeon (with some other odd jobs between) is getting a little tiring and predictable. Perhaps this won't be such a problem for new players.
My final complaint is that I found it much harder to get stuck in this game and very frequently had to refer to online help when none of my peers could offer assistance too. Some overground sections are also very frustrating, especially trying to figure out where to go next.
Overall, this is still a great game and has much of what you would expect from a Zelda game, it is long, has varied gameplay and great music, but I found the motion controls hard to get to grips with.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is probably Nintendo's most important Zelda title in a while. In fact, it's most likely Nintendo's most important game in a while. Not only because it's one of their last big games for the ageing Wii, but because it marks the first step in the evolution of a franchise that has touched the hearts of gamers, old and young, for 25 years now.
You'll have no doubt heard about the deliberate efforts by Nintendo to change a formula that has become familiar territory across the majority of Zelda titles. Zelda is well-known for changing up its graphical art style, but the basic ingredients have always formed part of the same recipe, with maybe some new seasoning here and there.
Skyward Sword attempts to change this with many alterations to Zelda games past, from the game progression, the cinematic story-telling, and to the much-publicized controls. Whilst the effects are noticeable, and I'll say right off the bat, that it is absolutely one of the best adventure games in the past decade but, for me (and I might as well get that out of the way now), it is not my favourite Zelda game. That isn't to say I haven't enjoyed Skyward Sword immensely - I absolutely have - but whilst the game excels in certain areas, in others it feels like something is missing and that Nintendo have held back.
Every Nintendo fan knows that Zelda magic and it is this magic that draws you into every experience. From the beginning, Skyward Sword is no different. The game develops characters that you actually care for and have a geniune interest in their story and progression. This is felt right from the opening hour, where you spend time as childhood friends with Zelda. In terms of character building, this is the most fleshed-out Zelda Nintendo has created. She has a personality, charm and wit. When the inevitable happens and she is sucked into an abyss below the clouds of her hometown of Skyloft, you feel a desire to actually help her. This is achieved by that opening hour spent with her - performing seemingly meaningless tasks with Zelda is done so that a relationship is built. It's akin to (and bare with me on the odd comparison [which contains spoilers]) the very end of Red Dead Redemption (told you it was an odd comparison!). After John Marsdon finally rescues his wife and son, you spend an hour or so doing missions which appear to be quite pointless. Helping round up cattle and shooting crows with your son don't appear to progress the story in a way, but it's done to build up some form of feelings towards Marsdon's relationships, so that the final showdown and eventual death become all the more emotional.
Skyward Sword achieves this character depth with, not only Zelda, but various secondary characters, such as his nemisis Groose, Zelda's aid, Impa, and even down to the Demon Lord himself, the super-camp Ghirahim, who you'll encounter more than a couple of times throughout your quest, each time learning a bit more about him and his agenda - and that he is not actually top dog...
As with Navi and Midna before, you're given a new companion throughout Skyward Sword, in the form of Fi, who was sealed within Link's sword. And as with any of Link's companions, you are going to love her or be constantly irritated by her. She will regularly tell you information you already know (or don't need to in the first place), however, for the most part, her robotic, analytical personality does come across fairly endearing. I just wish she would stop trying to inform me that my health is low -the beeping does a good enough job already, thanks Fi.
Skward Sword introduces a new level of game progression. In past Zelda adventures, the structure was very similar - home town; embark on adventure; field; town; dungeon; field; town; dungeoun; lather, rinse repeat. This structure has all but gone and been replaced by a far more refined direction. Some may say it's a lot more linear - which is true to an extent -but it means the game has far more clear direction and less of the "aimless, not having a clue where to go next" wandering.
Another aspect of the progression that has been changed is the treading of familiar grounds. Previous affairs would lead Link to various new locations throughout his adventure, however, Skyward Sword only really features three main locations. You'll often come back to the same location numerous times within the game (including returning to dungeons on occasion) and each time you return there will be something new to do, or some new, unexplored area within each location. It's a change that some will love, though some may feel a little bit disappointed once they've completed the third region and realise you have to go back to an area you have already been. The differences when you return are extensive enough that it doesn't feel repetitive, but it can be difficult to shake the disappointment of knowing that there are no major new areas to discover.
With that being said though, some of the later trips back to previous locations include some spectacular moments - a notable one being returning to Lanayru Desert and exploring a sea of sand in a boat which contains a crystal that turns back time, reverting the area around the boat back to the calm sea that was once there before it turned to sand.
Whilst the progression feels fresh for the Zelda series and trips back to familiar territories rarely feel repetitive, you'll come across a few unneccesary tasks within the game which seem like a deliberate attempt to flesh out the play time. In order to gain access to the thunder cloud within the center of the sky, you must deflect light from a couple of windmills within Skyloft. However, one of them has lost its propellor to allow it to pivot. You must then travel back below the clouds to recover it. I have to admit, I did let out a little groan at this section as it did seem a little pointless and a way to back up the "over 50 hours gameplay" claim made by Nintendo. These moments are few and far between, but you'll wish they weren't there nonetheless.
Skyward Sword also shakes up the definition of what a dungeon actually is. Before, puzzles would be presented in the form of dungeons and wouldn't really find a place elsewhere. Bosses would also be strictly confined to dungeons. You would often find an item which would be key to your progression in said dungeon and also key to the eventual slaying of the boss. Now, the line between what is dungeon and what isn't is hazier. Puzzles present themselves anywhere you go and boss characters can be encountered outside their normal confines of a dungeon. It's a welcome change, as you're never entirely sure what you're going to encounter next. Dungeons and temples do still exist, but the completion of them is handled much more openly than previous affairs.
Discovering new items and weapons is always an exciting aspect of any Zelda game, but one common complaint is that, once the dungeon is done and dusted, the item (save maybe the bow and bombs) is near redundant, never to be used again. Skyward Sword allows for the use of each and every item in a variety of different ways throughout your adventure. Don't think that, just because you found the Beetle in the first dungeon, that it's not going to be required to advance past a particularly tricky moment in the last. Items are given much more of a use this time round and can also be upgraded - but only to a point.
You will regularly come across treasure throughout your adventure, which can be used to upgrade various equipment at the local Bazaar shop in Skyloft. You can find this treasure in various places - enemies, chests etc - but the frustrating thing about them, is that once you save and exit the game, when you go back in and encounter any piece of treasure, even ones you have found before, the game will inform you about the item as if it's the first time you've discovered it. There's no question here - this will eventually grate..
The item upgrade is a nice little feature, however there's great room for improvement here. Not every item can be upgraded and their upgrades often produce little excitement. You'll come across the familiar Gust Bellows from The Minish Cap, which can blow away sand, lava and the occassional enemy. However, you'll not be able to make it do much more than this. It would be nice to be able to upgrade the item to spawn a mini-hurricane to rip through enemies, for instance. Ultimately, each item upgrade does little to actually enhance the experience of the item and many may just neglect to upgrade anything at all.
Much has been said about the controls of Skyward Sword and whether they enchance the experience, or hinder it altogether. From playing through the entire game, I have to say, there were very few occassions where I struggled with the controls at all. You swing left, Link does too; swing diagonally, from bottom left to top right and Link does too. It works seemlessly and fights with regular, seemingly easy, enemies become based on skill, rather than the frantic waiving from Twilight Princess. There are a few enemies where you'll engaged in a 1-on-1 swordfight and it's these enemies that you'll notice how intuitive these controls really are. Fights are far more exciting and, by the time you feel you've mastered the controls, you'll encounter an enemy who seems much more skilled with a sword and you'll have to rethink your strategies. The final couple of boss fights (including the sensational final showdown) require complete skill and quick swordsmanship. The only move that seems to not work quite all of the time is the forward jab. There are enemies that can only be defeated with this move and it can be a bit hit-or-miss -you'll notice this mainly with a mini-boss later in the Sea of Sand that requires forward stabs and they don't always connect the way you would expect, making the boss potentially harder than it ought to be.
Many would argue that the Wii cannot compete when it comes to the HD graphics kings of the XBox 360 and PS3, but one area Skyward Sword absolutely shines, is in the graphics. With perhaps the exception of The Wind Waker, this is one of the prettiest Zeldas yet and this is largely due to the unique art style. It's immediately obvious that Nintendo were trying to capture that watercolour painting style and you'll see many areas that would look just gorgeous with a nice frame and above your fireplace. Take one look at Floria Waterfall and it's easy to see that Nintendo know exactly how to make a visually-appealing game with limited hardware. Just make sure your Wii settings are correct if you're playing on a big screen HD TV, as you'll notice regular pixelation (especially in the blue sky) and jagged edges.
It's easy to see the direction Nintendo has taken with the Wii's last big game and the attempts to change up the formula are obvious for anyone who's been with Link from 1986. The controls have been overhauled, the game is paced completely differently and the story has been given a lot more depth than ever before. Some are going to welcome these changes, but, for others, they may feel like the change takes away a lot from what essentially made Zelda... Zelda. That being said, it's Nintendo's most abitious game in years and will still go down as one of the greatest they've ever created.
Final Score - 9.3/10
Ever since I've had Nintendo consoles I've had Zelda games and even now that I have my Nintendo Wii I still can't resist buying the latest games in the series. The franchise has actually been about in one form or another since 1986 and with the new developments in gaming technology it only seems to be getting better. The original Legend Of Zelda is still my favourite game from one of the most successful game franchises ever, but the new games with their stunning graphics are really starting to take over, but the original will remain my favourite for that reason, it was the original.
The latest release in the Legend Of Zelda series is Skyward Sword and it has become the 16th story to be told as part of the Legend of Zelda series. It was released on the 18th November and at first slipped under my radar whilst I was engrossed in Modern Warfare 3. I soon put that right however and picked up a copy last week. Despite being the 16th release in the series, this game actually tells the earliest story and slips in front of 1999's Ocarina of Time in the list of chronological game play.
Plotting The Story
The game begins with a ceremony in the land above the clouds at which your character Link is to become a Knight and after completing a flying contest, he takes his close friend Zelda for a celebratory flight. A freak tornado hits and Zelda is transported to the land below and to save his friend, Link must head to the land below and rescue Zelda before she is lost forever. To aid your character you are given the famous green cloak and a Goddess Sword containing a spirit named Fi. Together with Fi it is the players responsibility to help Link complete his mission by overcoming any enemies or obstacles that stand in his way and rid the lands of evil, whilst saving his best friend.
Controlling Your Character
In order to play the latest game in the Zelda series you will require a Wii remote with the Wii MotionPlus technology. The developers have amended the control system for the characters and for fight sequences so that this is a required piece of kit and you'll really struggle to play the game without it. The idea behind it is simply because the Wii motion system tracks your movements a lot closer and seems to be comparable to the Xbox Kinnect and Playstation Move. In fact the addition of the motion element seems to be a requirement for just about every action your character does.
The last Zelda game I played on the Wii was happy during sword fights if you got the swing right, however with the addition of MotionPlus you now have to get the swing and direction correct, making the sword fighting more realistic than on previous games. You will need the system to enable you to perform the majority of actions you are required to undertake. It's increased the involvement for the player and made the game slightly more complex, but its certainly a positive addition.
A Nice Mix
The game is a very reasonable size and uses a new feature to the Zelda games in that you do have to go back to places you've already visited where new elements have opened up. This has perhaps made the game a little longer than it would have been in the traditional sense but I felt that with a game time of around 16 hours it was a reasonable size. There are a number of different puzzles and bosses ranging in difficulty, however for older players it is a little bit easier than you might have expected but that is to take into account the large age variance of Zelda players.
I found that the developers got the mixture of bosses and puzzles just right and I actually really enjoyed playing this game. It is a decent addition to the Zelda series and the decision to alter the control settings I feel have been more than justified by the results.
Being the owner of a PS3 means that I rarely expect much from the Wii in terms of graphics but Skyward Sword has really pushed the Wii to the edge of its capabilities. It is the best looking game I've seen on the Wii and that also makes it worth the purchase. The basic design of the game has really moved on and the characters look slightly different but I feel it really works quite well. Given the restrictions of the Wii, I really felt that Nintendo used this latest Zelda release to really highlight that their console isn't just about party games such as Wii Bowling.
Using the traditional Zelda musical inspiration the game carried on the sound track from the previous games and it sounds really good. The sound effects have been well thought out and really suit the style of game with decent sounds during the sword fights it works well. This was an easy win for Nintendo and thankfully they didn't let themselves down with poor sound effects.
Worth a Punt
If you have the Wii MotionPlus already then this is certainly worth buying. It retails at £32.99 on amazon at the moment and it is certainly one of the best games I've played to date on the Wii. It looks far better than any of the other games I've played and the more interactive movement systems really add a new dimension to the game. The size of the game is reasonably large and combines a good mixture of exploration, puzzles and battles. I have to admit that this is easily my 2nd favourite Zelda game now after the original.
For fans of the series this is a must buy and shows Zelda in its best format to date. A lot of time and effort has clearly gone into making this game look great and it certainly pays off. The game isn't perhaps as difficult as it could have been and players looking for a game to tax them will be disappointed with Skyward Sword. From a personal point of view though it's good to see the Zelda series still developing and what they have created here is a positive step towards any future outings and id have no hesitation recommending this latest outing to fans of the series. All that's left to say is perhaps a reiteration of the fact this is the best game I've played on the Wii so far.
Other Platforms: None
Age - 12
First of all because the game is expensive I will like to say that you must have the Wii MotionPlus to play the game if you don't then you cant play it because it needs it for many things especially the combat and archery that the game has. The Wii MotioPlus can be bought with the game from certain places but it cost considerably more but you also get a golden Wii Remote. On its own you're looking at around £10.
== THE LEGEND OF ZELDA SKYWARD SWORD ==
The Zelda games haven't really been close to being in my all time favourites up until now with the latest game The Legend Of Zelda Skyward Sword really impressing me. The Legend Of Zelda Skyward Sword is similar to most of the Zelda games but a lot has been improved and changed and a few times when playing the game it doesn't seem like a Zelda game. The game is of course an action-adventure game with role playing elements in it and the game is available only for the Wii console. The game was also developed by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development and published by Nintendo. There is also a limited edition bundle available for the game that includes a golden Wii Remote Plus with it as well as a few other bits. Also the story to the Zelda games have always been quite good and in Skyward Sword the story is brilliant and one of the best to a Zelda game and it really stands out.
=== STORY ===
This game is a prequel to Ocarina Of Time and once again you play as Link (or what ever you would like to call your character). Link and his friend Zelda are to attend a ceremony which involves Link entering a flying contest which he wins. After to celebrate he and Zelda decide to have a fly around but a freak tornado hits and sweeps Zelda to the land below. Link is then given the difficult task of saving her and to help on his quest his villagers and friends give him the famous green clothes and the Goddess Sword. In the sword is a spirit that goes by the name Fi. Fi decides to help Link on his quest to find and save Zelda before she is lost forever. Along the way many obstacles stand in Link's path and you must overcome them. Can you save Zelda and rid all evil from the land and make the world a much safer place.
=== GAMEPLAY ===
The Legend Of Zelda Skyward Sword uses a lot of Wii MotionPlus controls as you playthrough the game. The sword play for example is really good but quite sensitive with the MotionPlus and to utilize the controls all you need to do is swing and or aim in the direction where your enemies stand and strike them down until you're successful in defeating them. Also the controls allow the user to use the sword and the direction to better advantages for puzzles and more than previous Zelda titles. Basically the Wii MotionPlus tracks the players movement in finer detail with greater accuracy. You also use the Wii MotionPlus for many other bits in the game as well and its a very important part of the games gameplay as you cannot play the game without it.
There are numerous items in which require you to use the Wii MotionPlus such as using bombs, using your whip, slingshot and other bits too. You can also upgrade Link's items with certain items that you recover from certain enemies. Also in the game you will use the famous Zelda's harp which will also require the use of the Wii MotionPlus. Something that I like about the game is the sprinting because Link now has a stamina meter which enables him to sprint for certain distances but you always have to be wary where you're sprinting. Also you cannot change the handedness of Link and he is right handed from start to finish which will probably put a lot of left handed people off because the controls are more trickier to get the hang of if you're left handed.
Something you do a lot in this new Zelda game which didn't really impress me so much was that you do a ton of backtracking in the game which basically takes you to places over and over again. There are still a lot of places you go to in the game but even more could of been added and the backtracking at times seems pointless to some degree. Also most locations except the main village may seem small at first but later on in the game parts to those places open up hense with all the backtracking you do. Also the game doesn't let you know about backtracking and you must work most of it out yourself. The game is split into so many different areas in which all have numerous areas you can visit. You will come up against tons of different enemies and a decent amount of different puzzles. The puzzles are quite easy to be honest but they are a lot of fun. Link can also travel between the lands of Skyloft by summoning a loftwing.
There are many different bosses in the game and usually each Zelda game has a lot of variety and surprise surprise so does this one. There will be some bosses that are mini boss battles that require you to do certain things to beat them and some that will require you to approach carefully unless you want to be killed. Link can also basically use his sword to do different attacks and he can use his shield for different types of blocks. There is a lot of variety in the battles as well as exploring. Exploring is a quite big thing in Zelda and in this game most isn't accessible at first but you will come across plenty of secret parts to the game that can contain some really good items. There are lots of items in the game along with lots of platforming elements that don't really offer much of a challenge mainly because these type of games are aimed at everyone. Overall The Legend Of Zelda Skyward Sword has lots to offer fans and new comers to the game series.
=== GRAPHICS ===
The Wii isn't best known for great graphics and if I'm honest this is probably going to be the best the Wii can offer and for a Wii game its really good but I don't see them competing against the Xbox 360 and PS3 in terms of graphics not even with the much older games. The Legend Of Zelda Skyward Sword does feature some really good graphics at times. By far the best is the scenery in the game as its astonishing and stands out the most. All of the characters in the game are designed well and Link especially looks good and slightly different from most Zelda games. Enemies and bosses are really well detailed as are most of the places you visit in the game. I do feel the way the game looks its more aimed at the younger gamers but it does have enough quality to be classed as good.
=== SOUND EFFECTS ===
The Legend Of Zelda Skyward Sword features some quality sound effects which was never really going to surprise me. The music is very similar to most of the Zelda games and it actually works well with the game too. Also other sound effects in the game are reasonably well especially the sword play effects as they bring the game to life. There are a few bits that are a little disappointing with the sounds but its nothing major at all. Overall I like the sounds to the game and feel there is enough for them to be classed as good as the graphics.
=== DIFFICULTY & LONGEVITY ===
Zelda games have always been fairly easy as the game has many fans of all different ages. Also the puzzles in the game are suited for everyone and aren't very difficult. The game however isn't the biggest Zelda game and is a little of the length of Ocarina Of Time. I finished this game a little under 20 hours which isn't the best because of backtracking and such but its not the worst. Just the main plot alone took me only around 15 hours but the game is still worth having. Average gamers will love this and I'm sure it will last up to 30+ hours. Its not too difficult as you playthrough as there are tons of enemies and quite a few bosses but I don't think they will cause many gamers too many problems. Also most of the platform elements are quite easy and only a few of them might take a couple of attempts. The controls to the game can be awkward but with the Wii MotionPlus its certainly much more accurate than what it would be if you were able to play just using your normal Wii remote. Overall the game isn't difficult and its not the biggest but its still a really great game overall.
=== PROS ===
*Its Zelda what more needs to be known for it to be a good thing.
*The Wii MotionPlus controls are really intriguing and work really well.
*The graphics are really good for a Wii game as are the sound effects and both are the best the Wii can offer.
*The story is very interesting and the games has different elements in its gameplay.
*The game is suitable for gamers of different ages.
=== CONS ===
*YOU MUST have the Wii MotionPlus to play the game otherwise you will need to get one if it doesn't come with it.
*Also the game isn't the biggest and a lot of backtracking is involved in the game.
*Could be a little too easy for the more experienced gamers.
*The price of the game is quite hefty depending where you purchase it from.
=== FINAL THOUGHT ===
The Legend Of Zelda Skyward Sword is a fantastic game that can offer fans something slightly new but offer the new gamer something different. Its not a hard game and in my opinion its suitable for all gamers. I do feel its a little disappointing that you need to buy either the packed version of the game or buy a Wii MotionPlus separate just to play the game. Skyward Sword is both a nicely designed game and a fun game to play with the story being quite exciting most of the time.
This is one of those games that I would recommend to all gamers because of what it has to offer and that includes a lot of fun and entertainment. If you are a fan of Zelda games and have played many then this will definitely be a must buy. Also if you like a good action adventure game that features role playing and platform elements with a hint of puzzle then you will adore this game because it has everything. The game manual is a typical Wii manual but it has some cool artwork on the back.
I bought the game when it was first released but I got it from a Catalogue for the price of £45 which isn't too bad because you don't pay straight up for it unless you want to. The game is much cheaper and one of the cheapest places is of course Amazon who retail the game around the £35 including packaging. Most game shops have it for around £40. ASDA is also a good option because they tend to sell games a few quid cheaper than Amazon sometimes. Overall I think its worth its money because its the type of game you can play again and again.
Overall The Legend Of Zelda Skyward Sword is a great game and I would give it a very respectable 8/10! Not the best Zelda game ever but definitely worth owning!
Review also on Ciao under the username: MrBrightside1987!