Web Toolbar by Wibiya The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Review - Nintendo Friend Codes News Blog
For just over 25 years now the Legend of Zelda series has been gracing our screens with what many would consider to be the epitome of videogaming. The series takes its followers to various memorable locations within each game: the original pixelated plains of Hyrule, Majora’s Mask’s ominous land of Termina, Wind Waker’s vast and epic sea, and finally the series has taken to the skies… literally! Skyward Sword yet again presents an additional revamp to the classic series, not only introducing several additional gameplay mechanics (while still sticking to its roots), but also a control scheme that makes this Zelda title stand out from the rest. And yes, it is a Zelda title so without a doubt it’s bound to be amazing, but is Skyward Sword worth all those precious gameplay hours? The answer is a clear and resounding YES.

As with most Zelda games, the player is first introduced into the same scenario, and with each time a different setting. The player is thrown into a plethora of floating islands atop vast scapes of clouds into Link’s hometown, a quaint little village by the name of Skyloft. Unlike most Zelda titles, Zelda herself is no longer a princess, rather she is a childhood friend of Link, and this serves to be of great importance to the early story of the game. Suddenly you find yourself upon the back of a great crimson bird known as a Loftwing, racing others and exploring the great land above the clouds. And yet again, Link is accompanied by a trusty sidekick, this time a mysterious being who goes by the name of Fi. Soon after meeting Fi, this is where the story really begins…

Possibly the most noticeable feature of this new instalment of the Legend of Zelda series would have to be the graphical style. As with previous games such as Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass, the game utilises a form of cell-shading that delivers crisp, colourful scenery and displays excellent emotion among Skyward Sword’s many quirky characters. However, unlike previous cell-shaded games, Skyward Sword makes the most of the Wii’s limited graphical capabilities by applying a sort of impressionistic painting artstyle to the environment and objects in the distance. This seems to work exceptionally well, as close-up objects seem to smoothly change into a palette of colourful artistic blurs. Although completely different from Twilight Princess’ semi-realism, Skyward Sword manages to create a unique graphical style unseen in any other game. While it may not sound too impressive, to really grasp the true beauty of this game you really need to play it for yourself.

The first game in the Legend of Zelda series to feature a fully orchestrated original soundtrack, Skyward Sword’s music is better than ever. Epic symphonic movements accompany Link’s journey through the vast sky, and every now and then you’ll notice subtle differences in the music depending on where you’re positioned in the environment. For example, in the Skyloft plaza the music changes with each stall you approach, and when in combat the music will change pace when an enemy is near. Although the game still lacks voice acting (which isn’t necessary for the series’ silent protagonist), characters still make amusing and emotive noises, especially the unique and ridiculously cute species called the ‘Kikwi’ that you meet early on in the game. Sound effects have also undergone an improvement, from the calming environmental noises of each area, noises that enemies make whilst wandering around, and especially the clashing and swinging of Link’s sword. Not only is the game a true feast for the eyes, but is also a true audial pleasure.

The standout feature of Skyward Sword is without a doubt its precision sword combat. Making excellent use of the Wii Motion+ feature, your every move is followed out on screen by the tip of Link’s sword, and this makes for some very interesting gaming mechanics, puzzles and enemies. Being the first Zelda game specifically designed for motion controls, many features of the game require precise movements: various items that Link picks up along the way, the ability to roll and walk along tightropes, and I’m sure there’s much more that I’m yet to discover! While these motion controls are excellent and deliver an overall enjoyable experience, often they can become cumbersome and frustrating. The use of the first person camera, slingshot and other items requires the pointer to be constantly re-centred, and this is quite a hassle especially during tense fights with enemies. Some lagging of the sword can also occur, and although not a serious problem, this can prove to be a slight hassle when fighting enemies or solving puzzles that require precise sword movement. Another new implementation is the addition of a stamina bar (or circle to be precise). This allows Link to perform dashes and various other moves, a lighter version of the parkour seen in the Assassin’s Creed series, giving Link the ability to access areas which would usually be out of his reach. However, the addition of a stamina bar means this along with health must be maintained.

For 25 years we have witnessed amazing level and puzzle design from the Legend of Zelda series, and Skyward Sword is no different. Although block pushing and sliding puzzles are seemingly a thing of the past, many puzzles within Skyward Sword’s vivid and characteristic environments are rather based around adventuring and experimenting with motion controls and items. Boss and enemy design are varied and extremely clever, with each enemy possessing a weak spot to exploit that often requires a certain sword movement to defeat. Each enemy and boss requires a different tactic to defeat, and it’s nice to see the way that the series has gone, steering away from the constant mashing of an attack button to defeat an enemy. Although waggling the Wiimote can help you in certain situations, if an enemy requires a certain movement waggling will soon see you out of hearts. And some may think that the introduction of 6 starting hearts may seem as if the game has been simplified for new players, but this is anything but, as you’ll need every single one of those hearts and more! This difficulty in combat is also assisted by the fact that you can now level up all your items by using items and parts dropped by certain enemies, which proves to be a great help, especially the creation of a more durable shield.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the end of an era, what many consider to be the Wii’s swan song, and what a better way to go? Skyward Sword offers a unique and revitalising experience to an already exceptional series, and will bring joy to both hardcore Zelda fans and casual gamers alike. Stunning and vibrant visuals, a beautiful orchestrated soundtrack, memorable locations, quirky characters, and innovative controls make this one of the best Zelda games Nintendo has ever produced, and undoubtedly one of the greatest games of this generation. Skyward Sword is a definite purchase and also a gaming investment for those of you who own a Wii even if you aren’t already a fan of this amazing series.

Visuals: 10/10

Sound: 10/10

Gameplay: 9.5/10 (due to some control issues)

Completion Length: 10/10 (what Nintendo are claiming to be the longest Zelda game of all time)

Overall Score: 98%

Doesn’t get much closer to gaming perfection than that! This has been Ben Qualbert Schuster, Legend of Zelda fanatic and dedicated Ninty fanboy.



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