The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Description official descriptions
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword once again places the player in control of Link, a Hylian boy who this time around lives in the floating nation of Skyloft. Link is in love with a local girl called Zelda but one day while flying on their bird mounts, a tornado shows up out of nothing and takes Zelda away from Link. After that Link teams up with Fi, a spirit living within a sword and he descends to the long-forgotten surface to search for Zelda.
The game is structured very similar to previous Zelda games: you travel through an overworld in search of temples to visit and once in you solve a series of puzzles before fighting a boss at the end and receive the next bit of plot. The biggest change is that the overworld is more focused on puzzles this time around with only a handful of action. Also new is the implementation of the Wii Motion Plus which allows full 1:1 controls and new puzzle possibilities.
The 2021 Nintendo Switch HD version includes:
- Enhanced Graphics and framerate
- Improved Motion Controls and all-new Button and Stick Control Scheme
- Free Camera Control at certain points of the game
- An intuitive auto-save function, which let the player automatically save when passing an Owl Statue. Instead of manually stopping and saving
- Streamlined opening tutorials and Item descriptions, as well as skippable cutscenes and dialogue (including Fi's interaction with Link).
- Amiibo support, using the new Loftwing amiibo to instantaneously transport Link to The Sky and The Surface and vice-versa.
- ゼルダの伝説 スカイウォードソード - Japanese spelling
- ゼルダの伝説 スカイウォードソード HD - Japanese Nintendo Switch spelling
- 젤다의 전설: 스카이워드 소드 - Korean spelling
- Animals: Birds
- Console Generation Exclusives: Wii
- Gameplay feature: Auto-mapping
- Gameplay feature: BASE jumping
- Gameplay feature: Day / Night cycle
- Gameplay feature: Drowning
- Gameplay feature: New Game+
- Games made into comics
- Japanese Nintendo Switch games with full English support
- Legend of Zelda series
- Protagonist: Elf
- Theme: Time travel
Credits (Wii version)
319 People (296 developers, 23 thanks) · View all
|Cinema Scene Programming|
|[ full credits ]|
Average score: 91% (based on 81 ratings)
Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 41 ratings with 3 reviews)
Remember back in 1998 when Ocarina of Time launched and the 3D suddenly treated us on so many new puzzles and possibilities? I got that exact same feeling while playing through puzzle sections in Skyward Sword. Almost every single puzzle was new and it was nearly impossible not to feel like receiving a treat after Twilight Princess turned out to be just Ocarina of Time with a paint-job (essentially making it an expansion). I haven't had so much fun with puzzles in thirteen years, so that alone makes Skyward Sword worth the purchase.
Skyward Sword refuses to simply lift on the success of the series and gives us a complete redesign of the characters and races.This may seem like it would upset the veteran fans, but it doesn't. SS (worst acronym ever) references the older games and some of it gets really clever along the line, there are still Gorons and Hylians to be found, but you also meet new races such as the Kikwi and the Mogma, making it both a fresh experience without abandoning the things everybody loves and expects from the game.
Instead of a huge overworld with nothing but padding, we now return to a formula very similar to the original game. The overworld is a lot smaller, but it is full of secrets and the areas serve as puzzle sections before the actual temples. You have to find ways to make it past easier obstacles and monsters in order to find where you need to be, the actual temples have puzzles that are a lot harder, but this is still a fun way to keep us going.
The actual temples have improved a lot because no longer will you have to travel all around the place in the hope of finding the right path, linearity is what Nintendo went for and it works great. Your path is not hard to find, you know where to go, but it is up to you to find out how to manipulate the room in a way that allows you to actually do so. It is a lot better than say... the Water Temple from OoT or the Arbiter's grounds from Twilight Princess that were overwhelming and annoying.
If you like dialogue, this is the Zelda game for you. why? Well because the dialogue in Skyward Sword is the best we have ever seen in this franchise and possibly even Nintendo. When characters talk it actually feels like they have a character and motivations, flaws and all that stuff that people in the real world have as well. Ghirahnim is easily one of the creepiest characters I have seen in a long while.
The graphics style really rubs me up the right way, people talked about a mix between Twilight Princess and Wind Waker, but I disagree. The graphics put me more in mind of Majora's Mask with modern day animation and it looks great, from the beautiful areas that could be straight from a painting to the details in the character design, it is all done so damn well. I love it how character clothes move, it sounds like something odd to pick up on, but it is just so entertaining to watch Fi's attire move in the wind.
The side-quests were done very well, if a character has something for you to do there will be a small speech bubble following him around and they will clearly tell you what they need and where you should start looking. This is a lot better than in previous games were finding side-quests was either pure luck or meant asking every single NPC in town if they needed Link and his trusty sword for something. Doing side-quests also yields Gratitude Crystals which are needed for another side-quest.
There are a lot of things to collect in Skyward Sword; bugs, treasure, quest-items and the list goes on. However, instead of just been collectibles for the sake of been collectible you can actually use these items to upgrade your tools and potions. I didn't really need to do any of this and could get around very well with my items at a basic level, but this is sure to help less experienced players get themselves and edge in this adventure.
Aside from the mandatory items that Link carries with him (bow, whip and all that), there is also a separate section for items Link doesn't really need, but help him on his travels (shield, extra space for ammo and bottles). The twist is that there is only limited space, so you will have to decide which items to carry with you when travelling. Are you going to carry a lot of potions with you and a shield, or do you prefer carrying as many medallions as you can find to boost the rate of treasure and hearts you find.
Skyloft is beautiful, it only serves as a HUB world from which you can enter the provinces of Hyrule below, but the time you do spend there is worth every second. I admit getting very excited to play more when I first emerged from the academy and saw the knight of Skyloft fly around on their Loftwings while the floating islands stretched as far as the render distance allowed. When I was allowed to step on a Loftwing myself, damn, that is one sweet moment...
Finally, Link is a lot more agile than in all the previous games. For the first time ever we get a sprint function which allows Link to make a run for it in difficult times at the cost of stamina, once stamina runs down you will have to wait for it to regenerate. Also amusing is his ability to climb on Walls Prince of Persia style and use this to reach areas just slightly out of reach.
There is relatively little to complaint about and only two things are real problems, but I will write everything down anyway starting with the aforementioned "real problems":
The story is not paced very well and tends to drag on, it is certainly a great story with Zelda and Link been classmates (a refreshing idea after years of princess and hero), but after a while it keeps finding arbitrary ways to keep going. The game told me to create a portal to travel back in time, but first I had to spend hours doing three dungeons and a load of puzzles and in the end it was all just for one cutscene that never seemed to end, one puzzle and a boss-fight that could have been avoided if we didn't create that portal. The scene at the end where everything is wrapping up is also abruptly broken up to fit in two more boss-fights (I got the feeling someone showed up at the office with sprites one day and they felt obligated to put them in last-minute) and then there is the final FINAL cutscene where they spend eight minutes wrapping everything up and emotional states jump up and down more often than a hearth monitor with Parkinson during an earthquake. In the end only one minute of that entire scene was actually touching and that came out of bloody nowhere with no rhyme or reason.
The combat is heavily reliant on the Wii Motion Plus which is a shame because the damn thing doesn't work. I got the limited edition, so I have the Wii remote with the built in Motion Plus and Zelda paint-job, but even with that I had to configure the settings every thirty seconds to get the pointer back where it has to be. Fighting often ended up in just wailing on the enemies, leaving them with no chance to fight back. The final boss-fight took me three hours to complete because the second phase required me to hold the sword in the sky to use a special attack, but it has to be 100% 0 degrees into the sky or it does not work >.<
Now unto some minor stuff.
I can't really figure out what to think about Fi, the companion for this game. She is a lot like GlaDos from Portal, she is a robotic character with no real grasp of human emotions and who always talks about scientific stuff and calculations. The calculation jokes start getting annoying and she is often uncanny to the point of been scary from time to time, but the problem is that I get the feeling that this was Nintendo's goal for the character. If that is the case it is a job pretty well done because the scenes where she suddenly acts spontaneous and unpredictable are very memorable.
Some of the puzzles got a little cruel, such as one where I had to find a key to open a door, but the key was apparently located on a small rock outside of the map. Fi doesn't really help here either because all her advice can be summed up as "Look around and experiment" and she only gives advice about boss-fights after you lost half your lives. For real advice you have to go back to Skyloft and visit the Sheikah stone, but that is a waste of time in a day and age that everybody has a phone with internet access.
The music was probably Koji Kondo's worst I have seen so far, which is like saying you just found the ugliest $100 bill ever lying on the grass. The music is not bad by any means, but it is just so forgettable to the point I only cared to look up the song "Message of the Goddess". Unlike previous games that had a musical instrument in it, there is no real way to just jam on the harp you get this time around because you can only play songs during scripted moments and everything else is just randomness.
This entry makes a bit of a mess out of the established story, suddenly and of out nothing there is only one goddess and Din, Naryu and Farore are not really explained despite of been named quite frequently. I know the Zelda timeline is a giant mess already, but this is just taking the piss.
The Bottom Line
Skyward Sword is a positive sign, it shows us that the Zelda franchise can still be fresh and new if the people working on it are willing to strive for that. They have overdone it a little and the game drags on a bit nearing the end (could have saved that for the next game), but I have reason to believe we are finally moving forward after thirteen years of not really getting anywhere. This game is a wonderful experience with interesting characters, puzzles we never experienced before, an art style that makes the most out of the Wii and just an endless amount of fun from start to end. The few issues I do have with the game are far too minor to actually ruin the experience for me and I love it.
A recommendation for Skyward Sword is quite easy, if you are a fan of the franchise, you'll love it. If you stopped playing because the series started feeling stale, you'll love it and if you are just looking for an awesome adventure, you'll definitely love this. If you were hoping for a much darker story like with Hyrule: Total War (Mobygames doesn't want this game in their database sadly, but I can understand that) than this might disappoint you. Nintendo, good job.
Wii · by Asinine (957) · 2011
What a sad, strange trip it’s been for the Nintendo Wii. Initially pitched as a new way to experience games, the Wii rode in on tsunamis of hype, promising that motion controls are the future of gaming. And EVERYONE, even non-gamers, bought into it. Five years later, the Wii is locked in a tragically ironic state. While it is the generation’s best-selling console, it also receives the least amount of notable games due to its limited hardware, family friendly image, and those darn motion controls. This year has been an especially painful drought for Wii owners: There were NO retail games of note for the first 10 months of 2011. Absolutely, positively, NONE. That’s a long time for any console to go without any worthwhile titles, and it shows in Nintendo’s first annual earnings drop in years. Yet if there is one game that could absolve Nintendo of the mistakes it has made in the console’s last full year of life, it is The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Motion controls have become the laughingstock of the games industry. Panned by critics and gamers alike as a “gimmick”, they have sadly become relegated to minigame collections and party games. While they can be fun in those contexts, they are for the most part very limited. Very few titles, even from Nintendo, actually made extensive use of the Wii’s signature innovation, and even if they did, they were generally ignored amongst critics. That is, until now. When people first laid eyes on the Wii remote, Nintendo fans wanted one thing: to swing it like a sword in a new Zelda adventure. Well, it took them five years and an updating of the Wii remote, but Nintendo has finally fulfilled that promise with Skyward Sword. Skyward Sword is meant as a prequel to the series, detailing the origins of several of the series’ more iconic elements, while pushing the series’ control and gameplay design template forward. But while this may be a prequel, it is actually the most advanced and complex game in the series to date. It also just may be the best. This retelling of the Legend begins in Skyloft, an idyllic island floating far above the clouds. Skyloft was created to protect humans from a great war occurring on the world’s surface between a goddess and demons. Skyloft has been floating around for so long, that knowledge of what’s on the surface has been long forgotten amongst its inhabitants. Link is a young boy training to become a Knight of Skyloft at Skyloft’s academy. He is, of course, friends (and possibly in love) with Zelda, the headmaster’s daughter. While flying about on giant birds known as Loftwings, a mysterious storm sucks Zelda down to the surface below. Link, being the intrepid hero he has always been, sets out to rescue her.
There are a ridiculous amount of things to talk about with this game. I’m sure that the initial design document was the size of a novel, so vast is the amount of things to do and find in the game.
By far the best thing about the game is the controls. Utilizing Nintendo’s criminally underused Wii Motion Plus attachment, the controls provide an immersive and unique experience that you really can’t get anywhere else. In fact, so good are these controls, and the game as a whole, that it completely blows away whatever motion-control games are available on not just the Wii, but the HD consoles as well.
The sword control is BRILLIANT: By the time I had gotten to the first level, the motion controls became completely second nature to me. Rather than simply shaking the Wii remote to get the job done, you have to pay attention to where and when you are swinging at enemies to dispatch them. The sword controls have completely revitalized Zelda combat, making it more dynamic and free flowing, and giving the players even more options to take enemies down. For example, some players might like to shield bash enemies before slicing at them. Others might like to trick them by holding their sword one way and quickly slicing in another. I like to swing when enemies let their guard down to attack, or sneak up on them and give them a nice stab in the back. What’s great is that each enemy requires a different approach, forcing the player to pay attention to each individual enemy encounter moreso than in past games. You can’t always rely on just simply slashing away at enemies either. In fact, the bosses in the game frequently force you to use different strategies to defeat them. These are some of the best boss fights in any game, ever. But it’s not just the combat that gets a boost from controls, for they also change the way you interact with Link’s items. They re-invent old favorites like bombs and the bow, while providing several fantastic new ones, such as the Beetle. This item is controlled by the player by twisting and turning the remote like a key to control its direction. You can use it to hit distant switches, scout the area, and later, drop bombs and carry items. It’s loads of fun to use. Even the menu choice system works with motion controls, allowing you to select options by simply angling your remote towards the item you want to select rather than pointing it at the screen. It’s intuitive and smooth, and you’ll wonder why so many Wii games didn’t make use of this little feature. Aside from the controls, the rest of the game feels different from the rest of the Zelda series. For instance, Nintendo has now delivered a new “stamina” meter. This meter is a bright green circle that appears alongside Link when he is running or climbing, and counts down as he continues doing those activities. When it is depleted, the player has to wait for it to fully refill before Link can move at a normal pace again. The stamina meter provides a greater amount of tension to climbing moments. You have to climb quick enough so that Link doesn’t run out of stamina and lets go, but you also have to make sure to grab the Stamina Fruits along the way. Similarly, you also have to pace yourself when running. This can make gameplay moments where speed is required very intense, as you’re constantly pressing and releasing the run button to keep the meter in the green. This provides a more realistic form of movement and creates a new type of challenge for the Zelda series. It also creates the fastest Link yet, which is great for impatient players like myself. The world layout is also unique. Rather than have a cohesive overworld as in past games, Skyward Sword is split up into four distinct, self-contained regions: forest, volcano, desert, and sky. The first three are found entirely on the surface world, with the sky connecting them. One thing to note is that the surface areas are not interconnected on the ground, so you will have to return to the sky to travel between them. Unlike past games, where once you’ve solved a region you’re pretty much done with it, in Skyward Sword, you have to return to each area multiple times. There’s even a part of the game where you return to the FIRST DUNGEON. While it might not seem exciting to have to retread the same ground again and again, Nintendo does more than enough to keep repeat visits fresh, offering more challenging enemies, new environmental hazards, new locations, new items to find, and new challenges to overcome each time. In addition, the shop system has been conveniently overhauled. It’s all contained in one area in Skyloft. Two of the shops offer yet another new element to the Zelda formula: upgrades. On the surface, you can catch bugs and collect various treasures which you can use to upgrade both your items and potions that you buy. While I have personally made very little use of this system, it does give all of the collecting a purpose and gives you a reason to spend Rupees. Of course, the main things to buy at the shop are the potions and shields. By the time I reached the final boss, I was nearly dead broke.
The main star of the game is, as always, the dungeons. Skyward Sword showcases what will surely be remembered as some of the series’ best-ever level designs. Each dungeon is unique and offer their own puzzles and challenges. While you get the usual temples and palaces to visit, there are a few offbeat dungeons in the game that are sure to surprise longtime Zelda fans. Each dungeon offers clever gameplay mechanics, some of which could potentially support their own games entirely.
Skyward Sword has received a lot of criticism for its graphics. Yes, they are behind the curve. Yes, they are full of jagged edges and blurry textures. Yes, the draw distance is somewhat small. They’re not even the best graphics on the Wii. But what the visuals lack in power, they make up for with originality and creativity. No other game has a look quite like Skyward Sword. Inspired by French impressionism, the environments are brightly pastel colored and the textures look as though they have been painted with brush strokes, making their blurriness contribute to the paint-like effect, and thus turning a liability into an asset. The characters themselves are cel-shaded, but also fully textured, creating a more mature, yet still artful look. There’s even a weird shimmering effect that you can see as you walk alongside textures up close, which evokes the feeling of moving through a living painting. It’s an impression of what the game would look like on more powerful hardware, which fits the Impressionistic theme very well. The style can produce some very beautiful scenes. Standing on top of the big tree in Faron Woods is especially striking, as you can clearly see brush strokes in the distance where Lake Floria lies. The water effects are some of the prettiest on the console, offering a dazzling blue color and attractive ripple and reflection effects. Skyloft looks like a village straight out of a Disney movie, with extremely colorful textures that simply pop off the screen. Speaking of movies, the cutscenes are outstandingly scripted and directed, and even without full voice, manage to put across the feelings and emotions of the characters very well. The Zelda series is like no other in that it can completely change its look yet still hold on to the classic values of fun and innovation the series is known for. Outside of voice acting (or rather, a lack of), Zelda has also become known for it’s great audio, and more specifically, it’s music. Zelda is probably the most musical game you’ll ever find that’s not a rhythm game. Every hit on an enemy creates blasts of strings on the soundtrack, and the menu selection sounds are very melodic and ear pleasing. There’s even a harp that you can play, though control is limited and all it really does is serve as an item for unlocking new areas. The game pulls off some great tricks with dynamic soundtracks. For instance, walking around different shops in the Bazaar will change the way the music sounds. If you play the harp while walking around, the notes that are played match the chord progression of the background music. The soundtrack itself is amazing. As with Super Mario Galaxy, Nintendo hired a symphony orchestra to play some of the music. That seemingly small difference makes Zelda’s music come alive in ways it hasn’t before, invoking a more cinematic feel, and really bringing Disney comparisons home. This game’s soundtrack is one of the series’ best. Rather than sticking to simple, repetitive and catchy themes as in the past, Skyward’s compositions are fuller and more complex. It’s just another reason why this game is so different from the others, yet it’s still Zelda.
No game is perfect, and Skyward Sword cannot help take a few minor dents in its armor. To begin with the game has a very slow start, and the player won’t even get to try out the sword controls until maybe about 30 minutes to 1 hour in to the game, which is when the game really begins to pick up. Shop characters strike up long, unskippable conversations every time you try to buy something. While Nintendo has done a good job with Motion Plus calibration, there are a few random moments where you might have to fight against the controls to get them do to what you want, especially during swimming and menu selection. Finally, while I didn’t mind this at all, some may feel that the game offers less freedom than past Zelda titles. For instance, it is possible to switch to nighttime, but this is useless outside of a few sidequests located in Skyloft. You are not allowed to travel down to the surface at night, because the Skyloftians lock up your Loftwing at night to prevent you from flying away. I would have liked to have seen the surface at night, but no such luck. The sky itself isn’t terribly explorable outside of a few random islands. It’s still loads of fun to jump off from an island and hitch a ride on your Loftwing, however, and I personally enjoy the flying sections of the game almost as much as the ground-based ones. In addition, enemy variety isn’t particularly high. Later enemies are simply harder, reskinned versions of the earlier ones. The variety of options you have for dispatching them easily makes up for this, however.
Those flaws are brushed away as easily as Link cuts down hundreds of Bokoblins with his sword. You’ll be more than happy to live with them because the good parts are indeed excellent.
The Bottom Line
I could talk for pages and pages about this game. I could tell you that it takes a long time to complete the main quest, and you’ll be riveted the entire time. I could talk about the various little minigames and side attractions that pop up along the way. I could talk about the epic nature of the story. What it all comes down to is The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the best game on the Wii, which automatically makes it one of the best games ever made. When motion controls start to become a viable alternative for gamers, this is the title that everyone will look back on as a true industry trailblazer. It is a title that any gamer should experience.
Wii · by krisko6 (813) · 2012
When the Wii system was first released late in 2006, one of its initial launch titles was an all-new Zelda fans had been waiting anxiously for since being unveiled at E3 2004. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, initially meant as a swan song for the GameCube, was also released on Wii to take advantage of the Wii's capabilities. This move provided a perfect opportunity to please people who preferred a more traditional control scheme, as well as those interested in seeing how motion controls could work in a major installment in a household name in gaming.
The result didn't disappoint. The Wii version was every bit as playable, if not even more, than its GameCube counterpart. Pointing staple weapons of the series, such as the slingshot and bow, was much more intuitive when you had the ability to simply point at the targets on the screen.
After the initial novelty of motion control had died down somewhat, however, it became more and more apparent that the game had not reached the full potential of what motion controls could do to expand upon an established core experience. In the end, it was obvious the game was initially designed with the GameCube in mind. The motion controls worked fine, but were simply tacked on a ported GameCube game during the later stages of development. In other words: the game was not designed with motion control in mind.
That's were Skyward Sword comes in, a game designed fully around the Wii's motion controls. As such, you will have to be in possession of either the Wii Remote Plus, or the Motion Plus adapter for the old Wii Remote. The extra investment is worth it, though, as it provides an unprecedented sense of involvement with Link's quest. Now you arm movement is translated 1:1 on the screen. The control scheme is used in many innovative and engaging ways. Instead of having to simply perform a simple wrist movement to plow through legions of monsters, like in Twilight Princess, you have to watch your enemies closely and look for an opening in their defenses to knock them down. Whether you throw objects by making a flinging motion, use a bowling motion to roll a bomb in a small hole or lift your Remote in the air to charge your sword with a divine power, it all makes you feel like you are really doing everything that Link does, rather than making him do it for you. It may seem like a mostly cosmetic difference at first, but the heroic feeling you get after beating the first few monsters with your own movements is something I never felt in a game before and needs to be experienced to fully comprehend it. This is the much-needed innovation promised back in 2006. It's a shame it took until near the end of the Wii's lifespan to get it done right, but this is the game that proves motion controls can also work for core experiences like Zelda.
Story-wise, the game is a prequel to earlier games. While the chronology of the games might not always be consistent, Nintendo avoids confusion this time around by placing it at the very beginning of the series. The kingdom of Hyrule, so often seen in other installments in the series, has not yet been established, and is a dangerous world filled with evil creatures. After an ancient war over the possession of the series' supreme relic, the Triforce, the land's patron goddess, Hylia, sends her people into the sky. Together with the Triforce, the people live on a set of islands floating in the sky. After many centuries, the old surface world has become but a legend. Unreachable because of a barrier of clouds, many now believe it doesn't even exist.
Link, the protagonist, is a student at the Knight Academy in Skyloft, his hometown between the clouds. The titular Zelda is not a princess yet, but the daughter of headmaster Gaepora (whose name is another indication for fans that this is indeed a prequel). Other characters include Groose, a bully who is like a mixture between Biff Tannen from Back to the Future and Harry Potter's Draco Malfoy (complete with two goons) and the main villain Ghirahim, a creepy yet flamboyant character, hell-bent on reviving his demonic master. Link has to traverse various regions, above and below the clouds, to thwart his plans and find the missing Zelda. The story goes from an initial high school love triangle to an epic high fantasy quest that is a mixture of old and new that only Nintendo can balance out so delicately. This is a major improvement over Twilight Princess, which hearkened back to the Nintendo 64's iconic Ocarina of Time a little too much.
The quest leads Link to four areas. First is the Sky, which he can traverse by means of his Loftwing, a bird that acts as his steed. Then there are three surface areas: the Faron Woods, a lush green area full of life, the fiery Eldin Volcano and Lanayru Desert, where the remnants of an old civilization still exist. Each of these four areas is distinctly different. The Sky area acts as a hub from which the other three can be accessed. This is a sharp departure from previous Zelda titles, where the whole overworld was a more open-ended area. In this game the overworld doesn't feel like one piece, but more like its cut in pieces. You'll go back to each of these areas multiple times to do a quest or discover a new part previously unexplored. Each area is a bit more condensed than in older Zeldas, but there is much more to do. Puzzles are much less reserved for the dungeons and are also found outside.
Speaking of the dungeons, they are top-notch this time around. This is where the motion controls truly shine. Whether you swing from your whip across a chasm like Indiana Jones or have a sword duel with an armoured skeleton, the Wii Remote becomes any item you will need. I will not spoil everything, but the by far best Zelda item in many years is a remote controlled beetle that can fly. You can send it into tiny holes to grab items Link cannot reach. The MotionPlus technology gives very precise control over the direction in which the beetle is going and it is simply a joy to use it. Each of the items allow for a different way to use the Wii Remote in a way that simply wasn't possible before. This comes into play especially well in boss fights. Sometimes its a sword duel that requires you to study your opponents movements closely. Another battle has you pulling the limbs of a giant robot with a whip or cutting of the tentacles of a huge sea monster on a pirate ship. Each dungeon is unique and has a boss battle that utilizes the Wii Remote to its fullest. I will even go as far as to say that Skyward Sword has the best dungeons and certainly the best boss fights in the entire series.
But the innovation goes even beyond motion controls. Even familiar dungeon puzzles, like hitting a set of switches in a particular order or defeating a number of enemies to unlock a door, are somehow expanded upon to feel fresh. The coolest puzzles of all, however, are found in the Lanayru Desert in the form of Timeshift Stones. Hitting these stones, reverts the area within a small radius around them into an age centuries ago, when the desert was a still a lush, green, technologically advanced area. Broken robots come to life, flowers bloom and machines start functioning. This allows for very interesting and fun puzzles that are amongst the most clever in the entire series.
The whole main quest takes about twenty hours to complete, but then there are still hearts to collect, Goddess Cubes to destroy, unlocking treasure chests up in the sky, bugs to catch, weapons and armour to upgrade and quests to complete for Skyloft's residents. If you want to complete everything you can double the number of hours, giving you plenty of reason to dust off your aging Wii. And there's an unlockable hard mode as well.
Something that is very unique is the graphical style. It takes elements from the realistic style of Twilight Princess and Ocarina of Time and blends it with the cartoonish cell-shading of Wind Waker to create something that is both unique yet familiar, regardless of what Zelda titles you've already played. The most interesting thing about this style, however, is the impressionistic style, inspired by nineteenth-century masters such as Cezanne. When seen from afar, the environments blur into colourful dots like in pointillistic paintings. It's both beautiful and masks the limitations of the Wii system. Much like Cezanne, Van Gogh or Gauguin in their time, Nintendo overcomes artistic limitations by simply blurring them without everything becoming ugly. While it may not be as impressive as the detailed style of Twilight Princess or the interactive comic book that is Wind Waker, Nintendo still manages to come up with a style that suits the game and has its own kind of beauty that sets it apart from other Zeldas. I found the rich use of colours refreshing after the somewhat dark tones of Twilight Princess.
The whole presentation is complemented by an orchestral score. While the compositions themselves may not always be as good as in previous Zelda titles, the fact that we have them orchestrated is something that makes up for it. Each piece fits its area or scene perfectly and you recognize the love that went into it.
To stick with the topic of music, it's not as much of a part of the gameplay as we've come to expect from a Zelda game, which is sad. In Ocarina of Time or Majora's Mask you could control time itself and in Wind Waker you could change the direction of the wind. In Skyward Sword, it's only used in puzzles here and there or to find secret treasures, but not in a huge, game-changing way, which is kind of a disappointment.
Another missed opportunity was the lack of a truly open-ended world. This was one of the main attractions of previous Zelda games. In this game you are stuck with four separate regions not directly connected to each other. This is a shame as the sky and surface areas would have been a perfect opportunity to fly freely over forests and mountains on your bird. Instead, you get to parachute into holes in the clouds to the world below. It could have been even better than the joy or riding on horseback in previous titles, and would have made getting around much easier.
The number of boring 'fetch-quests' is incredibly annoying. As good as the dungeons are, much of the overworld is done through some kind of lame uninspired collection quest. Most notable is the Silent Realm, in which you try to collect little drops called Goddess Tears. At first the stealth-based gameplay is lots of fun, but after multiple times it gets old. The rest of the quests in between dungeons usually don't go any further than using your sword as a dowsing machine to collect five shards of a key or a searching for a missing object. In Twilight Princess or Wind Waker quests like these were some of the most hated parts of the game, so it is a mystery why there is even more of them than ever in this game. At first I liked how the game seemed to make each visit to a particular area different, but after a while the challenges presented became rather repetitious.
The thing that you will likely hate most, though, is Fi. Fi is like Navi the fairy was in Ocarina of Time, and provides you with useful advise. But, goodness, she can be so annoying, she makes even the infamous Navi seem like heaven. The character itself is not the biggest problem. The robotic speech is hilarious and Fi's design is downright gorgeous. The irritating part is that she is a little bit too helpful at times. You can ask her for extra hints, which is optional, but I doubt you will need it much, because she often spoils the fun for you by almost giving the solution away. Oftentimes you can figure a puzzle out without Fi's constant stating of the obvious. I even found myself figuring a puzzle out before Fi even started to direct me towards the likely solution.
While the motion controls usually work flawlessly, they do not always work well in a few situations. Particularly the rolling motion in which you roll bombs like a bowling ball is often not registered. On rare occasions you might need to calibrate the MotionPlus again, although this is done really quickly and is not a major nuisance at all.
The Bottom Line
Skyward Sword breaks new ground for motion-controlled gameplay that will be built upon by video game designers for years to come. Once again the Zelda series revolutionizes the same basic overworld-dungeon formula that has existed for over 25 years. The fact that it also does take a few steps backwards keeps it from transcending the quality of the other 3D Zelda titles. When all is said and done, however, it still stands proudly among the classics in Nintendo's iconic franchise.
Wii · by Rensch (203) · 2012
Game Breaking Glitch
When the player reaches the Song of the Hero quest, they will have to travel to Faron, Eldin and Lanayru, to collect the songs from each dragon. If the player speaks to Golo the Goron, obtains the Song of the Thunder Dragon, and then speaks to Golo the Goron again the events for collecting the songs in Faron and Eldin will no longer occur, meaning it is impossible for the player to continue further. This was patched in later releases in the game, and players who own the original release of the game were able to download a tool from the Wii Shop Channel that would correct the issue.
Every copy in the initial production of the game comprised a special music CD with orchestral arrangements of select songs. These were also performed during the Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony Concert, a series of concertos which took place in Tokyo, Los Angeles and London in October 2011 as a preview of the wider 2012 world tour, The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses.
Related Sites +
Zelda Skyward Sword
LegendZelda.Net section dedicated to <i>The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword</i>.
- MobyGames ID: 53708
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Game added by Asinine.
Game added December 9th, 2011. Last modified August 4th, 2023.