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. Continue reading Skyward Sword and the Middle of the Road

Does The Legend of Zelda Need to be Fixed?

legend of zelda

If there’s any game series crying out for a fresh interpretation, it’s the Legend of Zelda. While this belief is a little incendiary, many people feel that the series hit its zenith with Ocarina of Time and has been in steady decline every since. That’s not to say that the games are bad, necessarily, but they are formulaic and in need of a shot in the arm.

During my travels on the dusty roads of the World Wide Web, I stumbled across an essay entitled “Saving Zelda” by one Tevis Thompson. In his piece he runs down what he sees as the problems with the current version of Zelda and where the series went wrong. His comments on how the game world is just a series of locks (and how the items you collect can be equated to a jangling keyring) struck a particular cord with me, and this is by no means the only point he makes. He examines everything from the games’ visual styles to the design of the over-world to the re-treading of the same story over and over.

His article is a bit lengthy, but it’s well worth the read, especially if Skyward Sword left you wanting. The comments about how modern Zelda games do not respect the player is in step with how I felt about Skyward Sword, and the analogy of game designers being helicopter parents was almost too perfect.

I really urge everybody to take a break from their day and read this; you may not agree with every point but it’s a great argument against the staleness of modern Zeldas. What did you guys think of the article? Did the author make some good points? Where do you agree and disagree?

SourceTevis Thompson

Skyward Sword and the Problem with Pacing

skyward sword pacing

Having worked my way through most of 2011’s big ticket titles over the Winter break, I’ve finally made my way to Skyward Sword and have been playing it for a few hours. While I do appreciate the art style and the Wii Motion Plus controls work better than I thought they would, the game has some serious pacing issues, specifically in the first few hours.

Skyward Sword starts much like any other Zelda game with the protagonist (Link traditionally, but “Butts” in my game) awakening from a deep slumber filled with dreams of a distant threat. From there you have to do the whole rigmarole of learning how to Z-target, autojump and all those other Zelda actions that are so familiar to us from the past thirteen years of this formula. I get that all these concepts might be new for people who didn’t grow up with the Ocarina style of Zelda games, but for us veterans this kind of stuff can be boring.

The same thing happened to me at the start of Modern Warfare 2 where the game teaches you how to use the basic controls and even runs you through a near carbon copy of the freighter mock-up from Call of Duty 4. Given just how many people bought CoD 4, I would have assumed that people know how to use the controls, but I guess some developers feel the need to be safe rather than sorry.

Getting people used to the way a game functions is essential, but Zelda handles it so, so slowly that it verges on tedious. Once you get past those segments and finally get your Loftwing everything opens up, but getting there is a chore. Additionally, whoever thought that giving Link a stamina bar was a good idea should be fired.

I do enjoy Skyward Sword, don’t get me wrong, but I really would have appreciated a “Yes, I’ve played Zelda” option somewhere along the way so I could just get into the game. This might just be me, but I think they way the tutorial was done was pretty shoddy. What do you guys think? Did Skyward Sword drag a little bit in the beginning? What other games have done this for you?

Big Games of 2011 That You Missed?

Rayman Origins

This year is swiftly coming to a close and we’ve seen almost all of the major releases come and go with the exception of Star Wars: The Old Republic which drops on December 20. As this year was more jam packed than others, I thought I’d do a quick survey and see which giant games of 2011 you might have missed.

I’m not really one to talk here because I seem to be swimming in games (some still un-played like The Witcher 2 and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations), but I did manage to miss Forza 4, Killzone 3 and Skyward Sword, although I might make time for that last one. Rayman Origin is another game that might get overlooked this year, but I’m going to make an effort to try it out. It’s a gorgeous looking 2D platformer with couch co-op and it’s being reviewed pretty well right now.

In terms of games that I could have passed up, given hindsight, I’d say Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3. Modern Warfare 3 is pretty much the same old Call of Duty we’ve come to expect and I haven’t even touched Battlefield 3 since Skyrim hit, which is kind of surprising given the nerd boner I was rocking for that game.

What about you guys? Any big games that you missed this year just because you didn’t have enough time? Any smaller, indie titles that grabbed your attention that may go unnoticed by others? Sound off!

Legend of Zelda Theme Orchestrated for Your Friday

It’s been kind of quiet here at GamerSushi for the past week, but can you really blame us? Skyrim is like some sort of vampire, but instead of sucking blood, it absorbs your very life force. That said, it’s rocketed itself to my Game of the Year just like every single other triple-A release before it. It’s been a really good year, guys. Before I get off on a tangent, I found this video of an orchestra re-recording the Legend of Zelda theme for the 25th Anniversary CD which is being bundled with Skyward Sword, hitting this Sunday. If you don’t get nerd chills, then you might not have a soul. Just saying.

So who thought that was awesome? Who’s getting Skyward Sword this weekend?

Skyward Sword and the Customizable Experience

Skyward Sword

Oh, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. You look like a fairly interesting take on the Zelda universe, complete with a sky diving Link, imaginative monsters and some of that fancy Nintendo art design that has made your series famous. But you seem to have some confusion regarding your control scheme.

I guess it’s kind of rude of me to keep having this conversation with a video game while ignoring my fellow Sushi-ans, so I’ll clue you in. As you guys all know, Skyward Sword is a game slated for release on the Nintendo Wii, and as such, requires playing the game with a Wii-mote. Unfortunately for southpaws, though, there is no left-handed control scheme, despite earlier reports that it would end up in the game.

Now, I’m not going to bash Nintendo for this, even though it seems like a drastic oversight. Plenty of game companies don’t allow for control schemes that work for everyone. In fact, it’s often a big deal now when video games come packaged with options for handicapped players, like what Modern Warfare 3 is doing.

I guess my big question is why more developers aren’t allowing for these kinds of options in games? One of the biggest advantages to PC gaming in my mind is that you can customize your keyboard to play the game however you want to play it, and it doesn’t make any difference to anybody. I get that there needs to be some kind of standardized way to play, but would it hurt games to have a more customizable experience in that regard?

What do you guys think of this? Fair/foul on Nintendo? Should more games allow for changing the controls as you see fit? Go!

Source – Kotaku