‘The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword’
Released: Nov. 20
“The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” is the most daring Zelda game to come out in years and surpasses its beloved predecessors. It is by far the best offering the Wii has given players in years and has set a new standard for the series as a whole. Many players may think they know what they are getting with a Zelda game, but “Skyward Sword” takes those expectations and plays off them perfectly. “Skyward Sword” has recaptured the magic that has been lost in recent Zelda games and also realizes all the promise of the Wii.
“Skyward Sword” attempts to establish a sort of origin story for the series. Past Zelda games have always relied on a deep history to the land of Hyrule and “Skyward Sword” sets out to establish that history. The game focus on Link and Zelda, two childhood friends living happy lives. Tragedy then strikes and Link must set off to save the day.
The set up to the game follows the Zelda formula to a tee but the way the narrative is presents itself is very different. Zelda games have been at time very lifeless; the characters have been static, standing in place only turning to spout some text at Link. “Skyward Sword” drags Zelda into the next generation of gaming, giving the player an active role in the story and giving the game meaningful cut scenes.
It is an absolutely welcome change that helps raise “Skyward Sword” above the rest. The game is still told entirely with text, and even though hardcore fans to the series would have protested, seeing voice acting in a Zelda game would have been fantastic. The story is a heartfelt tale but what really sets the game apart it the characters.
The best example of this is the character of Zelda. Previous games have presented her as the stoic princess locked away from the word. The Zelda of “Skyward Sword” is totally different. She is a real character this time around and her relationship with Link is at the core of this game.
The motion controls on the Wii have been hit or miss with games since it first hit the market, but they have never worked as well as they do in “Skyward Sword.” It is, in many ways, the fulfillment of what the Wii set out to do. The last Zelda game for Wii, “Twilight Princess,” had motion controls as well, but you could practically flail the Wii remote around and still beat the game. This time around, the angle and timing of Link’s sword are incredibly important. The control picks up the player’s movements and pitch of the sword exactly. It really feels like you’re swinging a sword and it adds a level of tactics to the game that has never been there before.
Zelda has always had two main zones, the land of Hyrule and the dungeons. The dungeons have always acted as the levels in Zelda games and Hyrule as a way to tie them together. “Skyward Sword” has begun to blend these elements. You will find dungeon-like obstacles in the main world that gives the game a cohesive feel.
“Skyward Sword” has one drawback: pacing. It will last you upwards of 40 hours, which is a long time for a Zelda game. Some of the things Link will be tasked with will involve backtracking through already explored areas and annoying fetch quests, but these issues are minor, as most of the backtracking is done in a clever fashion.
“The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword” is the best Zelda game ever made. While the magic of the Zelda series may be buried under meaningless tasks at times, those are not the things that “Skyward Sword” will be remembered for. The sense of adventure and rising up from nothing to become a hero are at the core of every Zelda game. “Skyward Sword” captures all of this like never before, so get ready to be blown away.
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Video review by Travis McKnight