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How I feel about Skyward Sword

Posted by Darth Robbo , 23 November 2011 · 1,491 views

Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword impressions
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To start off with, a quick disclaimer. I am about 20 hours in, and halfway through what you'd call the fifth dungeon. I am enjoying the game a great deal, and for clarification, I definitely don't hate it. However, there are some niggles, and I needed to get them out. Read on for more (possibly some spoilers, but they only related to very basic features which have been outed already by Nintendo themselves).

Things I like about Skyward Sword:
  • Combat, especially against tougher enemies. The stab motion is sometimes finicky to pull off, but for the most part it works very well. Enemies are spaced out enough so that the player savours the combat.
  • Art style, which pushes the Wii to its limits. I haven’t seen this great a use of the console’s technology since I was blown away by Corruption’s visuals. The impressionist filter is surprisingly fitting.
  • Story, which sucks you in very easily. After years of the same tired plot, it’s good to see a villain who’s a bit more ‘hands-on’ with Link, both literally and metaphorically. Character development is also excellent; Zelda is as real as a person as she’s ever been.
  • Puzzles, some of which are just genius. That feeling of figuring out that difficult puzzle is like crack in this game. Obtuse puzzles crop their head up from time to time, but it’s not a regular occurrence.
  • The music, which is superb. Some really stirring arrangements, they have nailed the background music for temples especially well. Desperately waiting on the soundtrack.
  • The Silent Realm. The dev team stated in an interview that SS would contain stealth elements from Phantom Hourglass and tear-collecting from Twilight Princess, some of the least favourite Zelda sections. However, they are amalgamated in a great gameplay diversion which I really enjoy.
Things I don’t like about Skyward Sword:
  • There is no overworld. You fly out from the hub village called Skyloft, and then you can either land on a variety of small islands with treasure chests or a minigame area, or you can go beneath the clouds to one of three defined areas: forest, volcano and desert. This streamlines the experience, yes, but I am sorely missing an interconnected field.
  • The game holds your hand too much. Too many times you will feel like the game is telling you too much, when you’d rather figure it out yourself - or already have. I would like to be able to turn hints off in some capacity. The hand-holding does become far less prominent a few hours into the game, though.
  • Calibration of the reticule. Because the game uses Motion Plus to aim the game’s various point-and-shoot devices, it needs to constantly be re-centered, so get used to pressing d-pad down. I would have MUCH preferred use of the sensor bar here.
Things I hate about Skyward Sword:
  • Fi. She is, hands-down, the worst character design for any guide in any Zelda game. Not only is she intrusive and annoying (Master, you are low on hearts! Master, your Wii Remote batteries are low! Killing immersion, even when there are already on-screen visual indicators for these things), but she is just plain condescending. Several times in the game she tells you that there will be something important behind a certain door because it’s barred off. She also likes to repeat what has just been made obvious to the player via dialogue or a visual cue, and assigns a random percentage indicating the likelihood of her hypothesis to be true. And the cherry to top the cake: her character design is terribly dull. Almost all she does is repeat the glaringly obvious. It’s so frustrating. Midna, Navi, Tatl, even Ciela »»»»»»»» Fi.
  • Harp-playing is incredibly tedious. Several sections of the game require the player to strum the harp in tempo with a pulsating light. This is accomplished by waving the Wiimote to and fro. The problem is that my strums barely seem to register properly, and what should be a fifteen second process is stretched out to several minutes, as the game constantly fails to recognise my motions.
So, overall, some mixed feelings on the game. It’s definitely not the best Zelda yet, but it has its moments and a certain undeniable charm. It’s worth buying, of course, because it is a superb game. However, these niggles do dampen the experience and make it less magical. Just don’t expect the messiah of videogames.

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