This is the game that almost every Wii owner has been waiting for. We've been calling for it to be shown ever since the E3 after the Wii launched, and we finally got a glimpse of it in 2010, and this year we were able to see much more and now we finally have the complete game in our hands. From what I've read in other reviews and articles, it seems that this Zelda has sort of had a few fans a bit divided, some say it's the best Zelda yet, and others say it's the worst. Well, I was finally able to play the game and beat it so let's find out who's right.
I think the main thing that really shines in this game is the controls. It's what we imagined 1:1 swordplay would be, and despite what other reviews may tell you, in my experience, it was pretty much flawless. It feels so good to swing the sword when facing your foes, and it actually presents a real challenge since you can't just swing randomly at your enemies, and if you do, they will likely block all of your attacks. After playing the game for a while you'll be able to get the hang of it, but as soon as you reach the first dungeon boss, you realize that you haven't really learned anything yet. The game is basically telling you that you have a long way to go if you ever want to master your swordsmanship. My only gripe with the controls is the pointer function, instead of using the infrared sensor bar, it using the gyrosensor in motion-plus, so often when you take out an item like the slingshot, the game will think your pointing at the screen no matter where you're pointing, but this problem is resolved by pointing directly at the screen and pressing down on the d-pad. A minor inconvenience but it never ruined the experience for me.
As far as other aspects of the gameplay go, it's pretty satisfying. All of the items you get work fairly well and are a joy to use. I found the puzzles in this game to be some of the most clever designs I've ever seen in a Zelda. The game never really gives you a useless item and in the latter part of the game, though others disliked it, I found it as a very unique challenge that tested your knowledge of using the items in different situations, which I thought was pretty fitting. The dungeons and bosses in this game, while they are all unique and well-designed, I felt I was craving more after one ended. In my eyes, that's a good thing, because if I wanted more, that means the dungeon was fun.
The overworld... for some reason didn't really capture my interest as much as it did in Twilight Princess and Wind Waker, I don't know why, maybe I'm just not much for sky settings, I never really felt that inclined to visit some of the floating islands you see in the distance. That's just a personal preference though, since I was eager to get to the next dungeon and didn't want to stop. And travel does seem a lot faster riding your loftwing here than it was riding the boat in Wind Waker. When I was on the ground in the different areas under the clouds, that's where I felt more at home, and though there were fewer areas than I expected in this game, they had enough personality in the design to where I didn't get bored of seeing them on revisits. The game took me about 30 hours in my first playthrough, but I wasn't really exploring the overworld that much due to what I said about it earlier not really engaging me, but for someone else that may not be the case, so I'm guessing if you're not rushing to get to the next dungeon like me then it would probably take you anywhere from 40-50 hours depending on how much you explore the world and screw around.
The music in the game is nothing short of outstanding. It's the first ever orchestrated soundtrack in a Zelda game and they definitely didn't hold back. There are a couple themes in here that have become favorites of mine. Also, regardless of whether you buy the Wii-mote bundle or not, the game comes with a 25th Anniversary Soundtrack featuring a symphony that showcases themes and medleys and it is an excellent tribute to the series.
So is the the best Zelda game? I don't think so. Is it the worst? Again, I don't think so. But is it one of the best games on the Wii? Most definitely.
As far as where you think this Zelda lands in your ranking of the different games in the franchise, it's all dependent on your personal preference. For me, personally, this wasn't the best Zelda, but it's definitely up there, and I can guarantee it will be in my Top 10 games for the Wii once this console generation is over. So overall, to simply put it, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a great game, and if you're a Zelda fan, you probably already have it. If you have a Wii and you don't have this yet, then, please, go out and get this game now. I can't promise you that you'll enjoy it as much as I did, but I'll bet you that once you swing that sword for the first time, you'll be hooked and ready for an adventure you'll never forget.
My first time trying my hand at a video review for a game. I don't have a capture card or anything so I used footage from Nintendo's channel.
I didn't talk about the story to avoid spoilers in that aspect of the game, but there may be some spoilers in the video for some of the areas.
Just wanted to add, about beating the game at the 30 hour mark, I clocked in at 27 hours as soon as I entered Lake Flora for the first time. But I was taking my time to do as many sidequests as possible and as finding as much treasure as possible. So yeah, it does get much longer if you take your time.
Surprisingly, this is the Zelda game out of all them that I'm most interested in trying to do all the sidequests (upgrading every item counts as a sidequest, too). I think it has to do with everything being in one town, so I don't feel as overwhelmed as in other titles. The famous phrase "fuck that shit [face_yaoming]" didn't pop into my head in this game at all, and it did in other Zeldas (Nintendo Gallery in Wind Waker, donating/poe hunting in TP, whole Kafei sequence in Majora's, etc.). The fact that the game is so condensed is both good and bad to me.
Good stuff! I completed the sidequests before completing the game, and it took me just over 46 hours. Not too shabby.
As for WM+, I actually got used to using it more as a controller than as a pointer, so if I wasn't pointing at the screen when using my bow, I just adjusted my aim according to where my remote was facing at the time. It felt pretty good either way really.
It's one of my favourite Zelda games for sure. Great combat, excellent puzzles, and a good story! The real lack of exploration is my only real gripe.
Great review Paleo, so far this game has satisfied me in many ways (though I'm not done yet!), many of which you touched on in your review. Indeed, there are very few boring moments in the game, as the puzzles and combat blend together quite wonderfully to create another excellent entry in the Zelda series.