After 50+ hours of adventuring I finally finished the main quest of the latest Zelda game, Skyward Sword (SS). Overall I was, let’s say, fairly satisfied with the Wii’s first true iteration of the franchise, as every fanboy knows Twilight Princess (TP) was developed for the GameCube and ported to the Wii. I want to give the game a higher rating because the ending leaves you with such a sense of wonder and astonishment. But there were times throughout the quest that left me a little wanting.
Lets talk about the things I liked in SS first. The big new feature in SS is the motion+ compatibility. This was greatly welcomed over the previous method of sword fighting they called “shake your wiimote like a madman” employed in TP. They truly did nail it this time and not only that, they really baked the new technology into the solving of the puzzles and the backbone of the storyline (accurately pointing your wiimote straight up causes Link to raise the Goddess Sword skyward and charge it with energy). Also, the idea of an overworld in the sky was fresh and well executed. There are lots of places to explore in Skyloft (Link’s hometown) and even more to explore on the various floating islands in the sky. There is a lot of empty space but I think it just adds to the expansiveness which is a must-have in a Zelda game. Lastly, there are some fresh new puzzle ideas that are really fun and add to the experience, one being “timeshift stones”. These are glowing blue stones that when struck produce a sphere inside which time is shifted backward, usually turning a dry desert into a green field or an ancient ruin into a functional temple. Some timeshift stones are raw and un-mined, others you can pick up and take with you.
There are unfortunately some things I didn’t like in SS too. Lets start with the shield. First off, it breaks which is really annoying but I suppose more realistic. This means you may have to leave the temple you’re in, fly back to Skyloft, fork over the money for a new one, then get on with your quest. Then there’s the fact that every time you swing your sword you toggle your shield “off” and it doesn’t turn back on until you shake your nunchuck which is just not a clever control choice for raising your shield. This resulted in me just not caring much about my shield and resorting to dodging and jumping instead. Speaking of controls, I was not very pleased with the entire control scheme. I NEVER got used to it. I didn’t like TP’s control scheme either but it was a tad better than SS’s. For example, I think the trigger should be use to fire arrows not the A button and I didn’t like that you couldn’t have an item equipped without using it (if I wanted to switch from bombs to bow, it immediately brings up the reticle assuming I want to fire it. This also means you can’t sport a bow in your hand while you’re just running around which, I think everyone would agree, looks totally cool à la TP). And finally, my last complaint, there were times when I felt like the devs got lazy and gave you some busywork to do just to make the game longer. Collecting things that are playing hide and seek from you is not my idea of a fun time. Just wait till you have to find the Tadtones : (
That being said, the game ends superbly. The story is good, the sense of adventure is definitely there, and some of the temples give you that classic Zelda “questy” feeling with their giant Goddess statues and what not. While this game does rank high, it in no way matches the perfection that is Ocarina of Time (OT). And yet lots of game review websites were giving it perfect 10’s as OT customarily received. Maybe I’m not reviewing it with an unbiased opinion though. Had I never played perfection (OT) would I then feel this game deserved a 10? Maybe so, but I have indeed played that goddess given adventure of Time and Ocarinas, and in my opinion it easily continues it’s reign, high above the rest.
On that note, I found a used copy of Wind Waker (a rare find I’m told) and have decided to make it my next quest. I won’t stop – I can’t stop – till I’ve beaten them all.