Skyward Sword and the Middle of the Road
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?