The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword Pierces Game Reviewers' Hearts

Has Nintendo finally release a console instalment of The Legend of Zelda series that critics don't immediately fall in love with? Look at that chart. Does that look like hate to you? No sir and/or ma'am, that's love right there.

One could almost feel the bulging hordes of game reviewers pressing against Nintendo's review embargo for Skyward Sword, eager to burst forth and regale you with the news that Link was back and better than (almost) ever before. That this was the Wii game you've all been waiting for, and that yes, you should buy a Wii just to play it. You'd think it was Skyrim or something.

Please don't hurt me, Zelda fans. You know I love you, and Nintendo loves you as well judging by these shining reviews. Imagine me holding them aloft as the "item get" music plays.

Giant Bomb The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is Nintendo's closing argument on motion controls with Wii, especially as it relates to traditional games. It seems fitting that saving the world alongside Link will, for many of us, act as the first and last time we spend dozens of hours with a game inside our Wiis.

And boy, how far we've come. It takes only minutes with Twilight Princess again to understand how tacked on those motion mechanics were, and Skyward Sword's evolutionary leaps only compound the idea that we should have played Link's last adventure with a GameCube controller in both hands. How you come into Skyward Sword partially depends on how you took to Link the last time.

Top to bottom, I found Twilight Princess painfully boring, which is, perhaps, a fate worse than bad. My reaction was fuelled by a combined indifference to the game's uninspiring world, characters, and gadgets, and the tepid, half-hearted implementation of motion to make the mechanics more physical.

Especially as it relates to the last point, Skyward Sword could not be more different. It's not just the added fidelity from Motion Plus that makes the difference, it's that your physical actions are truly meaningful when it comes to engaging in just about every combat scenario in Skyward Sword. The very first enemies in the game will beat your arse to the ground if you're not reading their moves, and Skyward Sword quickly teaches players that "waggle" will not work here -- period.

To be successful in combat, reacting to the placement of each enemy's hands is of utmost importance, and while one becomes extremely adept at taking out the early combatants after a few hours, from start to finish, Skyward Sword asks much of your wrist. When the credits rolled, my hand ached and it felt great.

Joystiq As the flagship component of the Zelda franchise's 25th anniversary, you couldn't ask for a better identikit of the series. As it moves through the all-too-familiar cycle of temples, tools and time-travel, it touches on the franchise's lowest points, adopts its most stellar attributes and, at frequent intervals, taps into a kind of magic that no game ever has before.

That magic doesn't come in the form of a bold reinvention of the formula that's served as a backbone for the entire series. You, as the emerald-clad saviour of the golden-haired apple of your eye, are still going to make your way through temples, collecting relics and handy tools while dispatching final bosses.

That's set in stone, as is most of the order of these dungeons -- can you guess what treasures you'll find in the forest and fire-themed temples? If you answered "a slingshot and bombs, respectively", congratulations, you've played any Zelda game ever.

Computer and Video Games (CVG) Yet, for all its big talk, Skyward Sword is surprisingly economical with space. The Surface - a kind of proto-Hyrule where Link spends 80 per cent of the game -- is split into three unconnected regions. Coming from Twilight Princess' hulking continent it sounds stingy. What, no Hyrule Field to gallop across? Instead, every acre is crammed with purpose.

Link's dowsing ability -- point the sword and follow the bleeps -- is basically an excuse to pump the land with treasure hunts. By the end you're collecting so much tat -- Goddess Cubes, upgrade materials, insects, heart containers, rupees, side-quest doodads - you'll wonder if the game was co-developed by Rare circa Donkey Kong 64.

And Nintendo make up for the smaller acreage -- although, in fairness, the map dwarfs Ocarina's -- by modifying landscapes for meaningful return visits. Some tweaks are small: increased enemy presence, perhaps, or new items hoisting Link to unseen heights. Others renovate entirely, turning safe ground treacherous and turning dry ground... wet.

Official Nintendo Magazine UK Alongside birdy, your closest ally in Skyward Sword is Fi, a spirit contained within your sword and sent by the goddess to offer assistance. She can be called upon at any time, Navi-style, to chirp about the enemy you're facing, detailing the best tactics.

Yet as far as Link's guides go, Fi is refreshingly non-intrusive. It helps too that she's a charming character. Characters like Fi, the cutesy Kikwi folk, the roaming Goron tourists and Skyloft's own barmy cast of uniquely strange inhabitants give Skyward Sword's world real flavour and texture.

Game Informer I had concerns that carefully plotting my attacks for every swing would get boring or frustrating, but the opposite was true. I've never felt as engaged or interested in the combat portion of a Zelda game as with Skyward Sword. If you run into a group of enemies waggling the Wii remote like a madman, you will be torn to shreds.

Success in swordplay depends on studying opponents' moves and attacking at the right time and from the right angle. When the correct method to defeat each foe finally clicked, I felt a sense of satisfaction that repeatedly tapping the A button never provided.

This impressive combat system leads to some of the most interesting boss battles in the series' history. Whether you're fighting a giant scorpion or a sword-swinging robot, Skyward Sword rarely falls back on the formula of using a tool to knock out the boss and then attacking it three times in a row.

You need to be much smarter and much more persistent to best these bad guys. In fact, the last two boss encounters are the most difficult fights in any Zelda game thus far.

Wired The most important change is that most everything feels new. The fights against giant boss creatures at the end of each dungeon don't rely on old ideas. The classic characters are replaced, for the most part, with novel ones.

If you already know what's going to happen, is that really capturing the spirit of the original Legend of Zelda, in which we all went in blind? Skyward Sword shows that "a real Zelda game" is about more than certain items or certain gameplay rituals, which in the end is more meaningful than adding better sword controls.

Oh Link, it's nice to have you back.


Comments

    Game of the ye... No, wait... Game of the century!

    Can't wait! November 20th is almost upon us!

    IGN gave it 10/10 as well.

    and yet they still don't have voice acting? 7/10 at least. Hell, FFX had voice acting and it was last gen and on a DVD! Shame Nintendo, SHAAAAAME!

      Nope.

      No one really wants voice acting in Zelda...

        Agreed. I like Zelda games better without it

          Thirdededededededed.

      Can't tell if JediKillas actually being serious or not.

      Does anyone remember the last time Link was given a voice? I sure do
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPxY8lpYAUM

        ^^^This is why Link does not have a voice, I would rather shoot myself than listen to that again!!!

          Why the hell are Nintendo fanboys so narrow minded by immediately pointing out the CD-i games whenever someone mentions voice acting in Zelda?

          Do they also not realize the CD-i Zelda's had 1/50th of the budget that the current Zelda games have, You'd have to be an idiot to release a top notch product with shotty voice acting.

          Lack of voice acting was one of the main reasons I could just not get into the Twilight Princess storyline, it just made the cinematic experience feel hollow.

          If you want examples of high quality voice acting try looking at games outside Nintendo consoles like Mass Effect, Half Life 2, Bioshock or Red Dead Redemption.

            Yeah but those games you mentioned were made by Western developers. Voice acting and script comes easy for them as their first priority is the western audience. However, when it comes to things such as JRPGs, voice acting is generally horrible. This is not because the actors suck, but because they're forced to speak English through a Japanese mouth, which is unnatural. The same problem no doubt would apply to Zelda, and as such sticking to a silent script whose success is dependent on the player's imagination is an acceptable alternative.

        That is right, these games are charming enough without paid voice actors.

        Voice acting would probably RUIN the franchise, especially if a lot of time and money was not poured into the translation and the actors themselves.

        Look at how voice acting ruined Metroid! Samus should have remained silent!

        At the very least if they put voice acting in Link should also remain silent!

      If Zelda had voice acting, it would just wouldn't be Zelda. It's awesome the way it is, so leave it the way it is.

    definitely don't want voices on a zelda game. i want it stay forever mute. it's something that makes it special. who cares if everything else follows suit? it's zelda! we won't want zelda-esuqe. we want THE zelda. and if this is 'zelda' and more than we've ever thought possible, then i agree with all of these amazing ratings. i'm so happy to see a 10 was given purely because the game was so fun that a lack of words or ultra realistic graphics, we rendered unnecessary to be assessed with a game of this much substance and calibre.

    I hope they put an upgraded version on the Wii U.

      ^ this is what makes me angry. Very angry D: I hope they do release it on the wii U, but don't alter it at all X3
      Seriously though, the art style is lovely and it doesn't need voice acting. It look like it'll be fun =D Can't wait.

    Glad not to have voices in Skyward Sword. If they ever do add voices though....Zelda Williams to do the English language voice for Zelda, with Robin Williams doing the King (if he's actually in the game, how many has he been in besides Wind Waker?).

    The Legend of Zelda: Skyrim Sword

    I'm guessing it's Wii Motion only which sucks meaning you can't play it with a GameCube controller or that Wii controller. But if you want to play it with a controller, you can always "ARRRG" it and play it on http://www.theoriginaldolphinwatch.com/images/dolphin1b.jpg . Get it? xD

    I feel sorry for Zelda fans. To be excited for this franchise every 5 years is just sad. They clearly havn't had the opportunity to play real franchises like Metal Gear Solid, Uncharted, Halo, Elder Scrolls, COD, Grand Theft Auto. You know... franchises that actually give the player something new in gameplay and story with each sequal.
    The fact that Nintendo spend 5 years in development only to release the same garbage story and gameplay is unbelievable.
    I lost faith in Nintendo and Zelda after the dissapointing Twilight Princess.

      I feel sorry for you, what with inability to spell and your utter lack of irony.

      You mentioning COD and the phrase "actually give the player something new" is more than enough to tell me you don't know what you're talking about.

      And don't feel sorry for us Zelda fans... it's we who feel sorry for you.

    I'd like voice acting. I'm sure they wouldn't botch it if they decided to do it. They need to get with the times.

    Remember that episode of The SImpsons, where Mr Burns was an 'alien'?
    That top screenshot reminds me of Alien Mr. Burns so much...

      Hahaha, thankyou for that, it just made my day!

    Wow, I'm impressed with the reviews so far. I'll probably give this a go, but Wii games have been on the decline lately. I'm so used to the HD graphics of my Xbox and always have trouble going back to the Wii. I have a lot of great games on it that I just haven't gotten into because of this. I'm not a Zelda fan, but I do have fond memories of Ocarina of Time and some are saying Skyward Sword is as good as that. Interested to see what its like.

    What the hell? The third photo down looks like Twilight Princess collecting the tears from the dark world. I hope thats not what it is...

    Honestly Nintendo fanboys, if you want Nintendo to survive, then they should go 3rd Party....I'm serious!

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