Skyward Sword and the Middle of the Road

legend of zelda skyward sword

So for this week’s “What We’re Playing” Monday, I’m taking us back to the Before Times, the Long-Long Ago, to November 2011 and the world of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Because the release schedule between December and now is a bit dry, I decided to go back and actually try and beat the latest entry in Nintendo’s fantasy series. While reviews for Skyward Sword were pretty phenomenal across the board back in the day, I’m finding the game to be a rather middling experience.

That’s not to say that Skyward Sword is bad, per se, and it’s certainly a small step up from its predecessor, Twilight Princess. While the motion controls do work well on occasion, most of the enemies are a little too stalwart in their defenses with very little room to get a strike in, leaving you waiting for an opening that you won’t hit if the controls decide to go wonky on you. The boss monster design is pretty comical, especially the man-boobed tentacle monster, which is a shame because Zelda bosses have typically been memorable and intimidating. The secondary bad guy, Ghirahim, seems to indulge in certain design tendencies that Zelda has previously managed to avoid. Perhaps one of the most annoying small things the game does is to do the introduction of crafting items every time you pick them up when you load a save.

There are redeeming parts to Skyward Sword, such as the rare moments when the motion controls work to their full potential. Flying around and diving from the top of the clouds is a nice change of pace from galloping across a field or sailing around an ocean and the art style, a blend of Wind Waker’s whimsical cartoonishness and Twilight Princess’ realism fits quite well with the world of Zelda.

I don’t want to give you the impression that Skyward Sword is a terrible game, but it definitely highlights how much Zelda needs a refresh. What did you guys think of Skyward Sword? Do you want to make fun of me for playing it so many months after release?

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mitch@gamersushi.com Twitter: @mi7ch Gamertag: Lubeius PSN ID: Lubeius SteamID: Lube182 Origin/EA:Lube182 Currently Playing: Stardew Valley, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, Battlefield 4, Tom Clancy Double Feature: Rainbow Six Siege and The Division

3 thoughts on “Skyward Sword and the Middle of the Road”

  1. I thought Skyward Sword was pretty good. My only big issue is the agonizingly slow pace in the beginning. The controls were well done, but I feel like because this game came out so late in the Wii’s generation, I was hard-coded to waggle my way to victory, and you can’t do that in this game. Until I got past that logic, the combat was kind of frustrating. Ghirahim was a nice change from the usual Ganondorf and co., and I enjoyed his flamboyant, malevolent behavior.

    I probably wouldn’t rank Skyward Sword up with my top 3 favorite Zelda games (Majora’s Mask, Twilight Princess, and Wind Waker), but it’s a good game, and if you’ve already got a Wii and the Motion Plus add-on, it’s worth checking out.

    I agree with you in that Zelda is in need of a refresh. They made some nice changes in Skyward Sword, my favorite being that you use all of your items at multiple points during the game, instead of one and done in each dungeon you get them. I wouldn’t say the series is getting tired, because I’ve always preferred Zelda games for the unique worlds and experiences rather than the gameplay, the former of which they’ve done a good job with. I’m hoping maybe we’ll see something for the Wii U that really pushes forward, rather than taking small, sideways steps.

    Also, I HATE FI.

  2. 100% agree with you on the good parts, Mitch – every time I load it up I get a little bit excited about how good it all looks, before remembering that I actually kind of dread playing it. Without the inescapable enthusiasm that my 5-year-old exudes at the merest hint of the Z-word, I’d honestly have given it up long ago. As it is, we’re still trudging through, having just run through the first of the silent realm sequences. The control issues might be the most annoying part to me – the fact that they had to include a dedicated “fix my controls” button is pretty damning.

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