Coinciding with the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Zelda franchise, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword brings the story full circle by providing an epic origin tale and raising the bar for all Zelda games to come.
The words “The Legend of Zelda” always pique the interest of all avid gamers. The franchise is one of the most well-known and masterfully crafted video game series of all time, with each title building on the success of its predecessors and taking the game to new heights. However, the bar has been raised at such a dizzying height that many considered the series to have reached its pinnacle. But that was before The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Wii game is the sixteenth entry to the Zelda franchise and also comes at the eve of its twenty-fifth anniversary. To sum it up, this game far exceeded expectations, and the series is now so close to perfection that it’s almost impossible to think what more future Zelda games could offer.
Also on the same dizzying height as the praises is the unique setting for the story. The Wii The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword game is the first in the franchise in terms of plot order. Link and Zelda are childhood friends and are inhabitants of a vast aerial nation known as Skyloft. Link is preparing to become a knight of Skyloft and is about to undertake the Wing Ceremony, a rite of passage into knighthood. As the story unfolds, Zelda suddenly gets caught in a storm and plummets down to the dark land below. It’s up to Link to solve the mystery, combat evil, and save his beloved Zelda.
The game does a great job of introducing an origin story for the two main characters. Although hardcore fans may be put off at first by the change in venue, they’ll soon be enthralled by Skyloft, an extremely rich and detailed locale. The artwork and graphics in the game are beautifully handcrafted designs which reflect the true nature of the Zelda series. From vast open skies to cramped dungeon quarters, you’ll want to explore every inch of these areas to your hearts content. Nintendo also takes full advantage of the Wii’s capabilities, knowing just how much detail to put in without compromising speed. For example, objects at a distance start to get blurry and resemble paint strokes the farther you get from them. Although unsettling at first, it grows on you in a good way, and may even remind you that you are somehow part of a work of art about to unfold.
Combat is really spruced up for the Wii; the Wii MotionPlus and Nunchuk combo delivers an excellent experience. Unlike before, you now have to follow specific hand motions and arm swipes in order to swing Link’s sword in the appropriate combination. If there’s ever a definitive game that fully lets you experience the essence of the Wii’s motion control, it’s The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Swinging your way into battle is as realistic as it gets. Motions are captured accurately, and the AI is smart enough to punish you relentlessly if you just randomly flick your wrist in combat without using specific combos. These are the kind of interactive controls and swordplay that fans could only fantasize about during the NES era, and to have it fully realized in this game is somewhat surreal.
The puzzles are back and better than ever. The boring block pushing and torch lighting are kept to a bare minimum and are now replaced by smart and clever traps that will make you use every item in your inventory. Gone also are long journeys to and from dungeons; the game utilizes a unique checkpoint system in order to minimize travel to places you’ve visited before.
In terms of sound, a full orchestra score has been implemented to match the scope of the game. Although the characters are still somewhat mute, that won’t matter much because the storytelling is fueled by clever lines and expressive actions. AI and boss fights are also topnotch, and enemies are smarter and more responsive to your actions, forcing you to try all your items and offensive combos. Finally, upgradeable equipment makes its long-awaited debut in this game.
With an unparalleled story, graphics, sound, and gameplay, there’s absolutely no excuse not to buy The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
But if we were to think of some excuses, it would be that the lack of voice acting, a long-time complaint of most fans, still puts a damper on the whole experience. It would have been the pièce de résistance had The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword implemented a full voice cast, but that will have to wait for future releases if Nintendo ever decides to break the silent tradition. Also, the Wii requires frequent calibration, which might interrupt play. Still, these issues are mere termites compared to the gigantic advancements made by the game
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is available exclusively on the Wii console and requires the Wii MotionPlus or Wii RemotePlus to work properly. It is for single player only.
The mission of every gaming enthusiast alive today, if they choose to accept it, is to play The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Calling it great is an understatement, as this game is an epic masterpiece that sets the new standard for one of the greatest gaming franchises of all time. This is Zelda as we’ve never seen it before, soaring to new heights with no end in sight. It’s that good.