Community Review: Skyward Sword

Community Review: Skyward Sword

I wanted to wait longer for this Community Review, mainly because I’m very excited for this game, but I have to put aside my selfish desires and let everyone else talk about the game. Also — I’m keen to hear what you guys think about the game.

My experience with Skyward Sword so far was a hands on preview that had me gushing. I loved the intuitive controls, and I loved the art style. Part of me wishes that Wii Motion Plus and Skyward Sword had made its debut four years ago, to show other developers precisely what was possible on the Wii. That said, I’m happy that, at some point in the next month, I’ll get the chance to play this game and fall in love with Zelda all over again.

How are you guys finding it so far? Let us know in the comments below.


  • The game is as amazing as the reviews are saying.. I’m about 20 hrs in and just adoring the style, gameplay mechanics and overall pacing. If i had one criticism it would be that its been a little easy and i haven’t really been stuck so far, but maybe that’s because the game is so well made and intuitive. Looking forward to the next 20+ hours!

  • Personally, I find this version slow and dull. Having to fly the bird is more annoying than fun, the pointless npc dialogues are frustrating and you can pretty much win just frantically shaking the control instead of actually playing. The game is reasonably fun but I don’t feel it’s as good as reviewers are making it out to be. There are past versions that have been better.

  • I also love the art-style, but I play it on a HD TV and it truly is one of the most aliased games i’ve seen. I’m disappointed in it’s appearance, but adore the gameplay.

    • Ditto. While the art style and direction is awesome, the jaggies are really bad and annoying… Wish it could have been left for the Wii U

  • I’ve said this before, but Skyward Sword is my GOTY. I’ll try not to gush too much, but it will be difficult…

    I loved how it felt familiar, but at the same time completely new. The characterisation I also thought was really cool, especially Zelda. Even the side characters were pretty funny in their own right. Some people didn’t like the slow-start to the story, but I really enjoyed it. It set the mood well.

    Anyway, this game did motion control right. It did take a bit to get used to, but once you were into it, it was so fluid and just felt ‘right’. Every battle now feels like a challenge. In past games you could get through pretty much everything by sniping them with arrows from a distance, but now a lot of enemies will block arrows and force you to engage them with your sword. A lot of the challenge now comes from “OK, how exactly do I beat this guy?”.

    And the boss battles! Amazing. I was blown away by the first one, especially. I was not expecting that.

    It’s not perfect though. I did have trouble with having to re-centre the Motion Plus pretty often, which was a problem for me because I tend to shift positions a lot while playing (luckily the game lets you do this without having to go through menus most of the time). I also felt that the game was a little bit too quick to help you out (one puzzle in particular, I input the wrong combination one time, and then it basically told me the answer before I could try again).

    Oh, and the art style was really effective at covering up the Wii’s shortcomings, but still made the world look beautiful. Aaand, that’s about all I can say. Excellent game and probably up there as one of my favourite Zelda games to date.

  • Unfortunately, I’d have to also say that this version is pretty dull. The dungeons are way too simple, nothing interesting like what we’ve seen in previous versions. The boss fights are just way too straight forward. Hack and slash here, don’t have to trigger anything, and again, unlike previous Zeldas, the items you receive in each dungeon are either not fully utilised against the boss or they’re not used at all. I dunno, maybe I’m just comparing too much to previous Zeldas but this would be the first game to actually disappoint me. Many would disagree with me here by saying that even Twilight Princess was a lot more enjoyable than this one. Still, as a Zelda fan, I’m making sure this game is checked off my list.

  • I’m not super far through it yet, done a chunk of the volcano land stuff as well as a few side quests up in Skyloft.

    Needing to strike enemies from the right side at the right time has certainly added to the difficulty (especially for low level mobs), and that first fight with the purple hand dude was the first time in a long time since I nearly lost a Zelda boss battle.

    I like not using the items you get in boss battles as much, in fact all the item usage feels much more intricate than previous games with you actually having reasons to go shopping for a change.

    Still a lot more game to go, but it’s shaping up nicely.

  • Brilliant game! Starts off a bit slow, but once it has its deathlock on you it wont let go!! The only game ive had trouble putting down this year, been half dead at work a few times due to late nites from Skyward Sword!

  • I personally loved it. I prefer these kinds of story compared to OoT’s ‘Hey Link, here’s your fairy, now get out of bed and save hyrule’ kinda thing. The Story in SS actually has a beginning.

    I also love the controls. I also wish these kinds of control came out when TP was released.. I probably would love that game more if that was the case. Also, of course you can win by waggling the wii remote – Nintendo can only program how the game reacts to your movement, the least you can do is play the game how it is meant to be played, not with waggling. It’s more satisfying this way, and to quote IGN: every enemy fight becomes more like a chess game, rather than a button mashing exercise. Love it.

    The NPCs I think are very very interesting – goofy and memorable (coughgroosecough). I don’t know about other people, but I love a story-driven game, so I don’t mind long dialogues, especially in cutscenes. Some of the cutscenes were fantastic. People were complaining about the slow start of SS, but again I don’t mind a story driven game – the beginning is crucial for the story.

    If I had any complaints about this game.. it’s the harp. It’s so bloody annoying. Also, the bird is also a bit slow.. Wish it would fly a bit faster. I wish there were more interesting sky islands to explore. Other than that, I think this is the best Zelda game ever created.

  • I agree with previous posts. It is not up to the standard of past Zelda games. I think what we all have to remember is that Zelda really is in a league of its own. Even though this game is not as good as its predecessors, its still a bloody good game, great even.

  • Yeah look, I think it’s a great game on it’s own, and probably one of the only games I had fun with this year.

    But I have to say I’m kind of let down by it a bit. Having completed the game, I found the bosses pretty easy and rarely as exciting as the bosses were in Twilight Princess, and the lack of an open Hyrule ala Ocarina was reaaaaally missed. I really loathed having to retrace through the same three areas over and over and OVER again. Gah. Pretty uninspiring.

    Sounds like I only have hate for it but it’s not true. Just… disapointment.

    • Totally agree.with you about the lack of open area. It;s the First Zelda game since ocarina that has made me feel every….confined. And really, that is want made Zelda so great, The feeling that you could “go anywhere”

  • Worst. Game. Ever.

    The part where Nintindoo Man steals your laser cannon and you have to chase him down in the steam powered D-wing was just an exercise in pure frustration. And don’t get me started on the underground orphan orc mine level. Jesus.

    Truly not the Zelda I remember.

    (note: I may or may not have actually played this game)

  • Good Zelda game, all in all.

    I’m only just up to the desert, (maybe 15hours in, after doing sidequests) but am enjoying all the usual Zelda puzzles and dungeons. My only issue is that it’s starting to become all too familiar, and that the series needs a shakeup. When i knew that a forest temple would be first and a fire temple second i felt like i had done this before.

    I love it though and am looking forward to finishing it so i can get back to Skyrim or COD.

  • It’s very difficult to put this game down. I’m the opposite to the comments above, I found the start of the game quite exciting, and the middle, dungeon crawls less so. That’s probably due to the narrative slowing down though, which really draws me in.

    At first I found the motion controls awkward, but every time i thought an action was “broken”, I would eventually find that I was just “doing it wrong”, which is quite exciting really. I had to reinvent the way I interface with Legend of Zelda games.

    I still maintain that sword thrust is broken though (this is the one action that doesn’t utilise the wii remote + gyros). That either goes off a second later or not at all, making all those segments where thrust is required, quite awkward.

  • Having completed Skyward Sword just on 45 hours I certainly was left wishing for more actually. Not in the way that the game was missing something because it felt well thought out from start to finish but for myself when I started playing (and yes, being a huge fan of the past titles I went into Skyward Sword with plenty of scepticism) from the moment I started to the times where I had to put the controller down or turn it off for the night I really felt compelled not to because it took me in right from the start and I was hooked right from the beginning.

    Of course that wasn’t the earliest feeling I had about the game because I was stuck in the past thinking of Hyrule and trying to find things of the past that would at least ease my mind to convince me that this game wasn’t going to be as bad as my mind was making it out to be when I first saw the trailers and stage demos etc. But soon enough, probably around 1-2 hours in after getting through the how to use the controls and meeting this person and doing this task etc etc I pretty much absorbed everything with plenty of joy really, the characters were either likeable or laughable at least, you don’t have to like everything you see and thats what makes elements of the game great.

    I specifically remembered not liking parts of Ocarina of Time as well but in turn those were the things like made me like the game 10/10 over time as well as I grew to accept them (I’m referring specifically to things like the Forrest Temple and Water Temple etc, initially I just didn’t like them and then just grew to accept them as a challenge) – same thing with Skyward Sword.

    And I’ve rarely had time to actually put decent hours into a game anymore unlike the old days where life’s more important things weren’t so important but I found myself making excuses not to do anything BUT play Skyward Sword till it was finished so there was defiantly more than enough in this game to make me want to see it through and not only that, but I’m ready to put another 40+ hours into it again because I throughly enjoyed the story and hope the second time around I find more things to enjoy as I now understand everything a lot better.

    In fact the last time a game really took me in from the start, had a compelling story and characters and enemies that you could immediately love or hate, memorable musical score where subconsciously if you hear the tune you know where in the game you’ve heard it etc was (for me at least) Final Fantasy X and even Metal Gear Solid. I put plenty of hours into those game because of every detail and its some of the few greats in my opinion and I strongly hold Skyward Sword equal to how those games of the past made me feel.

    There were definite things I didn’t like about skyward sword, one thing was for the amount of times I had to re-calibrate my controller because slashing side to side or holding the remote up didn’t register every time and when the game emphasises cunning tactics and you’re limited by accuracy because of the controller it makes you look stupid real fast – I wouldn’t call that a flaw in the game but more in the hardware, the idea behind 1 to 1 input to action I like but how its represented at least in my case was really bad and made me annoyed more than 50% of the time when it mattered most (like in boss battles)

    I do miss Hyrule, I did keep my eyes pealed for hints all the way through and to some extent I was slightly disappointed there wasn’t much more told about how what we already know becomes what we know if that makes sense. The ending to the game resolved plenty of open enders to Skyward Sword itself but didn’t do much to linking the past (Skyward Sword) to anything beyond and all along I was hoping for more and perhaps this was intentional to leave the door open for more stories or just you’re own interpretation.

    Anyway personally, besides the motion control (and probably half of it being me dead tired anyway) Skyward Sword is still very much 9.8 – 10/10, I picked up one of the Wii remotes with motion plus built in and it already feels better than my old remote with the attachment for some reason, that plus I find it easier to hold being smaller so I’m still waiting on this second play through to be fully convinced that its worth my 10/10.

  • I’m really enjoying it overall, but not without a few gripes, which I like to get out of the way first:

    I read faster than people with learning disabilities. Let me press A to show the entire dialogue bubble, and again to skip to the next one.

    It’s actually a bit too easy. The few times I’ve died have been through sheer laziness about using a potion rather than it actually being hard. No damage for falling off a cliff into lava? Really?

    The graphics of course are unremarkable, but my phone has a better GPU than the Wii so I can’t really expect a great deal of visual impressiveness.

    The actual gameplay is good for the most part, other than the tedium of flying around with the bird sometimes. I’m only about halfway through the game, so there’s likely a lot more to see.

  • I played it for a bit on the weekend, just finished the earth temple. I stopped playing to play Terraria 1.10 with mates tho.

    My gripes with it so far are:
    Dungeons too easy and small, I hope they get harder.
    NPC’s dialogue moves too slow… Let me skip & show all text Instantly, I read faster than a 5 year old -_-

    Other than those small annoyances, I’m enjoying it and will be playing it after I’ve got all new loot in Terraria.

  • I haven’t had a chance to play it yet, but it’s in my santa sack so I’ll be playing it Christmas day.

    Sounds like it was a good gift to ask for 🙂

  • I didn’t get very far yet – just starting on the Forest temple. It’s okay, but it could be so much better. I still haven’t gotten rid of the strong nagging feeling that everything I’m doing would be easier, more precise and less frustrating with a proper controller. MotionPlus makes the waggle less waggley, but it’s still there. I’m constantly having issues with it deciding I’m not slashing at the angle it wants. Possibly a practice thing.

    Camera controls are absolutely dire. Is it really that hard to make the camera follow you when you turn? I’m constantly having to reset it because it simply refuses to let me see where I’m going, and that’s caused me to run off the edge of cliffs, into enemies and so on. Seriously, has anyone at Nintendo actually played a modern 3rd person game they didn’t develop themselves? These camera issues are a completely solved problem and the fact we run into them makes it feel archaic.

    Add to this the fact that the game does not snap to interactive features. You have to stand in the exact right place infront of a chest to open it, for example. Or much worse, tightropes. You walk toward them and in most games it’d think “you’re walking toward a tightrope, you must want to walk on it”. But in this, get the angle marginally wrong and it decides what you really want to do is jump off the cliff right beside it!

    Contextual controls are inconsistent too. A is confirm, B is cancel. That’s cool. Hang off the edge of a platform, or climb some vines. Get to the top, and you want to pull yourself up. In any other game, you’d hit the A button here to pull yourself up, the B button to drop. Instead, you push ‘forward’ (whatever direction that may be because it’s relative to the orientation of the camera) to pull up, and A drops you off, often to your death. Dammit. Why do you keep breaking my flow, game? 🙁

    Despite the issues I was having with the slash direction being difficult to get right, I was enjoying the combat most of the time. Until I got into a situation where I needed to block, that is. It just doesn’t work right. Every Legend of Zelda since Ocarina, you hold down the lock-on and it pulls up your shield. But in this, you’ve got your sword forward at all times, and any enemy can attack you with no way to block. You can shield bash to deflect things, but the movement feels unnatural and more importantly, your shield can only take 3-4 such blocks before it’s destroyed forever and you’re 50 rupees in the hole for a new one, so you might as well never use the thing as it’s a liability to rely on it during combat. You’re going to get hit a lot, because the only other option is dodge, and you can’t dodge easily while you’re wailing away with your wiimote because the dodge is the A button on the remote. It feels very unintuitive to press a button to do this action when every other thing in combat has motion control. When the motion control works, it works well, but there were so many times I was crying out for a real, precise control method instead. The flight controls are absolutely terrible too, I sincerely hope I’m not expected to do this beyond flying between islands, because it’s unintuitive waggle at its very worst. On the other hand, the way that the menus work with the Wiimote feels awesome.

    The addition of a stamina bar to all your climbing and other actions is the most arbitrary and unnecessary thing in the whole game. All it does is put unnecessary limits on what I can do at a given time and slow me down. It adds absolutely nothing to the gameplay and feels like them adding stuff for the sake of having a new mechanic, not because it enhances the experience or opens new avenues of play. It seems so utterly pointless, since it recharges so quickly but depletes so fast.

    The other thing that was really pissing me off was how much hand-holding was going on. Where’s the “I am not an idiot and have played Legend of Zelda before” option to skip all the laborious explanations of everything? It started before I even got into the game, with the unskippable condescending video explaining how to attach the motionplus to my remote. Really? Even if some people might have issues doing this, a lot of them will have a remote with this built in, and it still shouldn’t be unskippable. Show them how if they don’t have it connected. The fact mine is attached should suggest I already figured this shit out.

    Underneath all this, it’s still a solid Legend of Zelda, but I’m pretty disappointed with it. While I’m still going to finish it – it’s Legend of Zelda, and still has a reasonable amount of fun in it – it feels like they’ve been making the exact same game since Ocarina. Not in terms of plot, but in terms of structure and gameplay. Nothing has evolved, nothing has improved. Better graphics and a worse control scheme spread over the top of the same core mechanics. It’s time to improve the *game*. The controls were fine already. It used to be that these games were the absolute peak of the action-adventure genre, but this feels tired and conventional, with ‘innovation’ added to it that doesn’t improve the experience. Compare this against Phantom Hourglass on the DS, which took the older styled games and actually evolved the way they play. I’m starting to suspect that the team at Nintendo responsible for their main console Legend of Zelda games actually don’t know what made Ocarina special, their attempts since have felt very cargo cultish, repeating the same actions in the hope that the magic will return and bless them again. Put someone who isn’t fifty in charge of the game, get some new blood and new ideas into it.

    • I agree with most of what you said, but I thought I’d mention something about the shield controls. I find it works most consistently when I slightly torque the nunchuk as if it’s the throttle on a motorcycle and move it forward very slightly. This results in the little ‘shield bash’ animation, but then the shield stays held out, exactly the way it had in the past any time you locked on :-P…
      It only disengages the shield when you swing the sword next or put away the both of them. I *do* think it’s frustrating that the shields degrade and then break the way they do.
      I would much rather have it ‘break’ but still be usable, just smaller and less useful. Then we could have the option to repair it with any number of things we find in the environments, such as wood or whatnot… But no, it’s just gone 😛 Gotta go buy a new one *sigh*

      Quite frustrating.

  • Yeah really enjoying it so far, about 21 hrs in. Feels a bit like wind waker, flying around on the bird instead of the boat. Personally I loved the long sailing trips in wind waker although I think Im alone in that regard. The motion controls can be both a blessing and a curse at times; the bug net can be very frustrating to maneuver with precision at times. The challenge feels about right, I just love the dungeon design, the way they wrap around on themselves revealing short cuts once you’ve beaten puzzles is awesome. The boss fights so far have been a lot of fun. Im definitely in love with Skyward Sword and will happily breach the 100 hr mark at this rate. Long live the legend of Zelda!!

    • That stupid stamina bar… seriously…wtf? they make me climb things quickly instead of just letting me sit back enjoying things at my own pace, then it makes me slow down in places i want to move quickly. For example a boss fight, not that the bosses are that hard at all. If they did have a big open plan area (like Hyrule Field) they could not use a stamina bar. So i guess, in some way, this is something they could get away with in this game. But why?

      • Exactly! All it does is adds frustration. Slows you down when you want to do stuff faster, and speeds you up when you want to slow down.

    • You are not alone. I loved the sailing in Wind Waker, to me that was the best part of the game. The open feel that it had, the exploratory feeling of discovering new islands and everything. When I was a kid I lived near a large lake and during the summer at school we would spend every Friday by the water, learning to sail small one-man Optimist yachts which were almost identical to the boat in Wind Waker (sans the dragon on the front obviously). They managed to capture the exact same feeling in the game’s sailing, to the point that I assume someone in their team had sailed the same sort of boat. The way it handled was incredibly similar – rudder to turn, pull in and let out the sail to keep it in the wind…

      Wind Waker is my favourite Zelda, actually. It wasn’t the best in terms of the core elements, but the sailing mechanics just brought everything together for me so well, plus the lower amount of hand-holding and the higher amount of exploration. Also the visuals – other LoZ games have seriously dated, but Wind Waker’s art style is such that it will always look striking.

  • The game suffers from low quality graphics (admittedly a Wii limitation) and annoying dialogue and transit systems.

    Flying the bird is annoying, a fast-travel mechanism would be nice.
    Talking to NPC’s is slow and frustrating, there should be dialogue-skip buttons and the NPC’s shouldn’t repeat themselves so much, some variation would be lovely.

    • Good call, i played wind walker a few months ago. It’s still golden! But I’m sorry, I’m still a Ocarina fan. That game simply blew my 13 year old mind when it came out. It feels like my childhood when i hear the music.

  • I love it! I think the art style is incredible. This is honestly the first game I can think of that’s made me look at the Wii as being able to cater for hardcore gamers. The use of the Wiimote + has been perfected in this game! Wrestling with Skyrim for my GOTY!

  • I’m 20 hours in, and I think the GameTrailers review hit the thing on the head. The stamina bar is kind of different but once you get used to it it’s pretty natural and helps make some of the climbing puzzles actual puzzles, and it does enable you to do some pretty useful moves. I’ve been finding the game pretty challenging with some great puzzles and combat (the waggle ability to defeat enemies wears off after the 3rd dungeon as they start learning new tricks, making things feel more like sword fights). Two things I have to say are annoying…

    Fi talks too slow and gives you 4 paragraphs per answer. Navi/Tatl only gave you one paragraph at most to help you out. That said, the story around her is pretty cool, it’s just when she’s not in a cutscene she can drag on.

    Dowsing. If you’ve played the game, you know what I’m talking about. You need to do it too often. I suspect the next time through I’ll just try to remember where things are instead of playing with the hide n seek mechanic.

    Amazing game I must say. Soundtrack is great (although nothing too memorable as yet except for some of the boss and character themes). The controls work very well with the different items and switching between them is awesome. The game rewards you very well for solving puzzles in the dungeons and environments. You can definitely see MMO influence in the game, such as in the questing and item crafting. The main town is pretty much an MMO hub.

    If you still own a Wii, it’s because you were probably waiting for this game, and you should definitely get it if you like any of the previous Zelda games.

  • Liked:
    – The art direction
    – The controls!!
    – Stamina Gauge
    – Story
    – Layered area/dungeons
    – Skyloft

    – Fi’s constant unnecessary dialogue
    – Harp
    – Flight controls (should have mapped flapping to shaking nunchuck instead of remote)

    • i agree completely with your points, spot on!
      Finished the game and it really is an epic story. Completely loved it from beginning to end. Your skill with the controls makes you feel like link, as you grow together as swordsman. Last boss was a tad easy though, bug really fun.

      The story begins everything we have experienced before, and establishes the mythology from previous games.

      For those gave trouble with the controls, you just need to keep at it. Think before you swing. Also waggling will only get you so far, try that with a stalmaster and you will rapidly end up dead!

  • It’s certainly a good game, but I’m not sure it’s deserving of a lot of the hype it’s received a la “best zelda game ever” from IGN.

    I have three major gripes: the first is the lack of towns and side quests. There is only one proper town, that being skylodge. There are some populations of other creatures around, but they only give a few lines of dialogue and possibly a single minigame. OoT had 6 or so towns, I would have like seeing proper towns for the mogma, kikwis, parella etc. Maybe even a robot town with a giant timeshift stone – I think places like sailor’s rest could have been very interesting in the past. Side quests are pretty much limited to the lumpy pumpkin chain and earning gratitude crystals. Only about 15 in total, most of which are short fetch quests.

    The second is that Fi is way too vocal. I know there’s a whole SHUT UP NAVI meme, but at just about every moment you’re given a clue for something, Fi immediately pops up, usually pointing out the complete obvious. It’s like nintendo was afraid of making the game too difficult, despite the fact that fi can give you a clue at any time and they have the sheikah stone to further hold your hand.

    The third is the amount of backtracking. Each zone gets visited about 3 times, though the amount of extra area unlocked is quite lacking. Lanayru desert gets a significant amount of new terrain on the subsequent visits, but it’s quite lacking for the forest and volcano environments.

    There is of course a lot of good stuff to point out, but it’s most of what you’d expect from a zelda game. There are some quite creative puzzles. Combat is significantly more dangerous than previous zelda games, where the average attack will take off a whole heart. Combat is generally built around slashing in a general direction which works, but I don’t find particularly amazing. The game looks good for a wii game, though that’s not necessarily saying much.

  • im loving skyward sword.
    im up to the 5th dungeon and its been great fun all the dungeons except for the first one have been great with the 3rd and 4th being particularly great for me. getting to them has been heap of fun, the journey to the 5th dungeon was awesome.
    you really feel like you are exploring a long lost world.

    i dont like the small size of skyloft, all of your character interactions are placed here but its not nearly as densely interesting as clock town and most of the side quest so far have just been running around delivering shit and trying to find people.

    i love and hate the combat. i am having to resync my lovely golden wiimote+ almost every time i use a pointing tool and there are plenty of times where i want to do a horizontal strike and i get an angled one and vice versa. which is fine when im cutting grass but not so good in a boss fight where there is only 1 direction that will work for an attack.

    when it works it is fantastic but it unfortunately doesnt work way more than i was expecting.

    i am really liking it and very much looking forward to the rest of the game but gezz i dont have the time to play as much as i want to

  • loving it so far, was difficult getting used to the controls but now love it (even the flying which isn’t that bad) the graphics are pretty crap but all the other elements make up for it. Definitely my second favourite zelda title, after majora’s mask.

  • I like everything about it except the intrustive-more-often-than-it-should-be UI/HUD…

    but I’m just a grumpy old ass ;-P

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