The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Review for Nintendo Wii (Wii)

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Review for Nintendo Wii (Wii)

Capturing Hearts All Over Again

A month or two ago, if you had asked me if the Wii was dead in the water, I would have said “absolutely.” Sure, the Wii still has titles that are solid in experience and execution, but there’s nothing new coming out that would scream at consumers to go out and buy the console this close to the end of its lifespan. I even had my doubts about the raw power of Skyward Sword over jaded “hardcore” gamers. Then again, it’s a brand new Zelda title, and if there is anything in the world that can sell a system, it is a Zelda title.

Undoubtedly The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword will sell and resell Wiis. However, is it the game that will show the world what the Wii was meant to be, and that this is the Zelda game we were promised with Twilight Princess?

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Screenshot

Unequivocally, yes! Skyward Sword is an experience unlike anything to grace the Wii before it. It’s almost sad that this is almost certainly the last title of this magnitude from Nintendo for the console. I would have loved to see what would have happened had a game of this caliber shown up earlier in the system’s lifespan.

Just like the stories from other Link adventures, Skyward Sword offers a similar time-worn legendary tale. This time, however, Link lives among the clouds in a place called Skyloft. He’s been studying to become a knight, and Zelda has been a childhood friend. It is here that you will learn quite a few things about the game’s adventure. I’m not going to give too much of this story away, but there is one thing everyone should know. In the past, the beginnings of Link’s journeys always felt a little forced: the reasoning behind his colored tunic, how he achieves his weaponry, and why he even sets out on his quest in the first place. All of these things have a natural flow in Skyward Sword. Everything—even the reason Link is clad in green—makes perfect sense. And this is just one tiny example of how the bar has been raised.

One of the biggest complaints about Twilight Princess on the Wii was that the controls felt like more of a “waggle dance” than actually swinging a sword. Even though this ultimately made the Twilight Princess experience smoother, it was not anything like what we were anticipating. Skyward Sword finally brings satisfying swordplay, delivering on a promise made five years ago. Here, you’ll need to strike at your enemies from specific angles, reacting to enemy’s attacks with proper shield/sword execution. The great thing about all of this is that it works with such precision. This was my first big indicator for what to expect in the game. As I journeyed further in, I found myself enjoying the combat so much that I was yelling in unison with Link as I beheaded my enemies, split them in half, or blasted them with a flurry of attacks that even The Flash would have trouble blocking.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Screenshot

The sword combat is not the only thing handled with grace; other weapons are also less cumbersome. With just a quick tap of a button you can pull out your secondary weapon and be ready at a moment’s notice. Of course, you can also go the menu route for selecting the weapons, but having that quick response option keeps the action flowing much more seamlessly.

There’s also a new ability Link can use in the game called Dowsing. This is basically a way to help you search for specific things in the game. Since a majority of the game has you searching for things (and other characters), this is quite handy. At times, it even draws you into a specific mission or “side-adventure.”

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Screenshot

There are a couple of other things that are new to the series, as well as some upgrades. For example, Link now has a stamina gauge. With this gauge you are allowed to several different things. Dashing, for starters, allows players to run faster, but they can also do a small wall run/jump combination to help reach ledges otherwise out of reach. Link can also grab ahold of ledges and shimmy across landings, granting him access to even more places.

You will find bird statues scattered throughout the game world that act as your saving locations. Once you break through the cloud barrier and begin your journey below Skyloft, you will find that these bird statues also allow you to return to the sky on the back of your bird creature.

This will happen quite often, actually. Since Skyloft is where the Bazaar is, and since you will need to go there to purchase shield bombs, potions, and the like, traveling via bird might bring to mind The Wind Waker’s sailboat scenes. The other place you will frequent in the Bazaar if the Scrap Shop. Here you can upgrade you equipment or have it repaired. For example, you start out with a wooden shield, but if you have the rupees and the right special items, the “blacksmith” will upgrade it to a bounded wooden shield, thus increasing its durability. It’s these little additional RPG elements that increase the play value of Skyward Sword to a level not even attempted by its predecessors. And while I have not touched on them all, the surprises will be both refreshing and welcome.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Screenshot

The graphics of Skyward Sword are a treat as well. In the game’s early stages, when not a whole lot was revealed about the game besides a few initial screenshots, I thought the color pallet of Skyward Sword was a bit off. It was muted and felt like there was little to no effort in the graphical presentation. Now that the adventure is actually here and I’ve spent so much time in this world, I would hate to see the color scheme changed to anything else. While it is still seems a bit muted, it’s the way the color flows that makes it all work.

The audio is a similar tale. While those familiar with previous Zelda games will feel right at home with the sounds effects and voices, there are a few places where it seems the voice work just doesn’t mesh well. The soundtrack, however, makes it so blatantly obvious why so many gamers love the world of Hyrule. Never missing a beat, Skyward Sword ranks high—if not taking the top spot—on the list of the best Zelda scores ever composed.

Skyward Sword is a game that delivers on the promises made before its release, but it also makes good on several promises five years old. Simply put, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is why you bought a Wii in the first place. So if you hid away your Wii, sold it, or whatever, it’s time to reclaim it and prepare yourself for an adventure in Hyrule unlike any you have experienced before.

These are some of the best graphics I have ever seen on the Wii. 4.8 Control
The Wii has finally found a game to show off why we were so excited about motion controls. 4.9 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
A beautiful score for a beautiful world. 5.0 Play Value
This is what we wanted Twilight Princess to be. 5.0 Overall Rating – The Best
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword boasts the most realistic sword combat of any game to date, turning every encounter into a challenge of both brains and brawn. Wii MotionPlus technology accurately translates the angle of every sword slice, effectively putting Link’s blade in the player’s hand. Analyzing enemy attack and defense tendencies and counteracting with precise swings of the sword provide a satisfying experience that blends puzzle-solving with a new and distinctly unique combat system.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword redefines the traditional Zelda framework and introduces an arsenal of items, upgrades, and rewards unlike any game in the franchise to date. The adventure guides players into, out of, and back to dungeons and areas they’ve already completed. Along the way, Link gathers a massive inventory of peculiar items and resources that can be used to upgrade many of his weapons and equipment.
  • Explore a massive, multilayered world that seamlessly blends soaring exploration in a sea of clouds with intense ground-based adventuring that blurs the line between the main world and traditional Zelda dungeons. Link soars through the skies on the back of a noble bird and dives beneath the clouds to the continent below in an epic quest that lays the foundation for the events in the critically acclaimed The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

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