The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword

The box art for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a game for the Wii, as well as the most recently released Zelda title. It also notably takes a plotline radically different from the titles before it. This game follows Link, a student at the Knight Academy in Skyloft, a city created above the clouds because of a supposedly ravaged surface existent below after a divine conflict. In this city, everyone has their own Loftwing to navigate the sky.

Everything goes wrong, however, when Zelda is lost in a dark tornado and goes missing. Link, having been informed of his role by the mysterious figure Fi, goes down to the surface in order to search for Zelda, and learns of his heroic destiny along the way.

Overall, this game is fantastic. I really enjoyed the general layout of the game, in the way that you can return to the docile, peaceful hub of Skyloft apart from the search for Zelda and interact with the characters and islands there so as to enhance your ability to progress through the game. This made it superior in a big way to Twilight Princess, the only other Zelda title specifically for the Wii, as it simply had you on a walkabout with no real place to go for retreat; the darkness loomed wherever you went, practically. Of course, this was a good characteristic for TP, and one that was key to its character, but the setup of Skyloft as the unchanging hub in this title was one that fit in well with its more lighthearted air.

In conclusion, it was a good move by Nintendo to make the game have an advanced format, but not necessarily have it go completely dark. The graphics were fantastic, combining the current standards overall in the gaming world with the adventurous and colorful appearance of Zelda that held true since the beginning.

The motion control aspect in this game is much improved over the last one, as the controls are now 1:1 with arm movements; this mechanism isn't limited to only the swinging of the sword, as you can also apply motion control with things like the bug net, which allows you to collect bugs that can be used ultimately to upgrade your gear. You could also calculate the angle of bomb-throwing in order to pull out strategic blows to bring down opponents.

Now, while the previous Wii title did have motion controls, they didn't follow movement, so strategy of movement in combat wasn't as much of a prevalent issue. To a certain degree, this was more enjoyable, since part of Twilight Princess's combat was using the proper moves on the proper foes to win most efficiently; however, considering the novelty of 1:1 sword combat in video games, Skyward Sword more than makes up for style with immersion. I do wish that there had been a bit more to sword combat than simply choosing the right angle at which to swing, but now that Nintendo has perfected the mechanic, it will probably be expanded at some point.

The level design in this game is excellent; they provide you with challenging, sensible enemies that required real finesse and cunning to figure out, and the overworlds and dungeons themselves look incredible, making you feel as though you were really there (scary). I'd say that the dungeons in Skyward Sword are probably my favorite of any title in the series, because few others gave me such a feeling of satisfaction and triumph when I reached the end.

There were only a few things I didn't like about the game, and they're relatively pretty slight. I was sad that they removed the advanced move roster that they had in Twilight Princess for this game. I really enjoyed the special feints and trickeries, as well as straight up fight-coordinator-like combat moves that you could pull off, because they made it feel more realistic in a way, with things that you would expect an experienced knight to do. Now, I'm not saying that the moveset in this game is particularly bad, but the specials that you could do in the other game added an awesome element to the gameplay that I think they really should have kept up for this one.

Secondly, I gotta say that I kind of miss Epona. I mean, I know they replaced her with the Crimson Loftwing, which is really pretty cool, but I felt that Epona was really one of the things that tied the games down to the series, along with the weapons and characters. Yet, this is made up for by the fact that the Loftwing will most likely be a one-time appearance made specifically for the prequel, and even then, the experience of flying in the Sky overworld was nothing short of exhilarating.

There is one third issue, and it's one that I'm sure many other people have as well. In order to appeal to the 90% of consumers who are right-handed, they made Link unalterably right-handed, so that no matter which hand you use generally, you can only use the right to motion control. The reason this aggravates me is not because I'm a lefty myself, but because the issue could been fixed easily; even in Wii Sports Resort, which was the first ever application of one-to-one controls, they allowed you to change hands in just about every single sport. I don't see why you can't have the option for every save file to change the hand you use.

The biggest problem I could find with the game was that finding new locations in the Sky and locating the entrances into new areas below the clouds felt a little too effortless. Much of the time, you had access to every new location immediately by putting in the stone from the previous dungeon finding the tube of light, and you had access to every new area simply by looking at the map and setting a beacon. It would have been nice it there were mote secrecy to finding new locations, and if you had to perform some kind of on-site task to access new worlds to overcome.

In the end, though, this game is more than worth a buy. It has great gameplay, a down-to-earth, complex layout, and an exciting story, and it is generally good example of what the series is all about. If you're a Zelda fan, do buy this game now; with the advent of newer Nintendo consoles, you'll want to try this out for your Wii selection.