I couldn’t finish The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. In fact, I could barely start it. I played for 3 hours, entered the first dungeon and then paused the game while I consulted a walkthrough just to see what was in store for me. The thought of enduring all that I read made me recoil in horror. So I traded it in, which is a historic moment for me. The first console Zelda that I didn’t finish. A dark day for Anthony and a dark day for Nintendo.
You see, Zelda was always my second favorite video game franchise after Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy was the barometer for which console I would buy, but Zelda was the mark for WHEN I would buy my inevitable Nintendo console. I got a Nintendo 64 so I could play Ocarina of Time. I got the N64 Expansion Pak solely for the purpose of playing Majora’s Mask. I bought a GameCube one month before Wind Waker was released and I jumped for joy when Twilight Princess was released on GameCube AND the Wii because that meant I didn’t have to buy a Wii yet.
I would love to say that I am simply outgrowing the series, but that isn’t the case. Wind Waker was awesome and just the thought of the gorgeous cel-shaded graphics makes me want to pop it in and play it again. Twilight Princess was when it started to go downhill a bit, with things feeling a bit too rote, but I still had a good time with it, although my most vivid memory is of that rolling ball game, which probably isn’t a good sign. But Skyward Sword just had too many things going against it: motion controls that were decent (for motion controls), but still more cumbersome than traditional schemes, fuzzy graphics on an HDTV and the slowest opening of all time. It just wasn’t fun. The whole structure of Zelda has become stale. When was the last time something innovative was introduced in a Zelda game? Ocarina of Time?
I don’t know what Nintendo can do to save the series. If they stray too far, it’s no longer Zelda, but if they don’t do something to change it up, they risk losing more fans with every release. I know I wasn’t the only one who felt this way about the game, if my Twitter feed is any indication. Zelda might have been the only game I would buy a Wii U for, but I don’t think that is the case anymore. I still plan on getting the portable Zelda games, but as for the future console versions, I think I am going to pass for now. And knowing that, it feels like a part of my childhood has just died.