I've been a huge Zelda fan my whole life, Ocarina of Time is my favorite game of all time. However, I just never got around to playing Skyward Sword until now. So, I finally bought the game and popped it in my Wii only to get a disc read error. After several attempts to get it to work, I decided to try some other Wii games; nothing. So, with over a year of inactivity apparently taking it's toll on the disc drive, I was forced to turn to other options.
Seeing as I own the game and a Wii, resorting to using an emulator, while not ideal, is perfectly legal, so I set about finding a way to get the game playable without the use of a Wii remote (my PC doesn't have bluetooth). A few google searches later, and I was playing Skyward Sword in HD with an Xbox 360 controller. Surprisingly, the controller config file I downloaded allowed for every function the game would want from you to be performed with only the use of the 360 controller. I played the entire game this way, and save for a few very rare instances where I struggled a bit to perform certain actions, the game played great on a gamepad.
So, I find myself in a unique position where I have experienced Skyward Sword without the element of motion controls ever entering the equation. I did not experience the revelatory Wii remote realization as some did, nor did I experience utter disdain for the main input method as others did. I experienced Skyward Sword as just another Zelda game, removed from all the drama the motion controls added.
So, with motion controls off the table, how did I like Skyward Sword?
I thought it was excellent.
While not the best Zelda game, it is certainly another fantastic entry in the storied franchise. As many have maligned, it doesn't stray too far from the established formula, but it does try more new things than Twilight Princess did. I particularly liked the improvements made to the non dungeon gameplay. The dungeons were also good, and I liked how every item gets a fair bit of use, unlike some other Zelda games where the more unique items are forgotten as soon as the dungeon you get them in ends. The puzzles will never seem as devious or challenging as they did when I was a kid, but I still enjoyed solving them. Even with a gamepad I liked the new wrinkles added to combat. Having enemies that block directionally, while by no means challenging, adds another layer to the combat that was welcome.
Skyward Sword isn't perfect, but I can't think of much about that I didn't like. The Zelda formula is beginning to overstay it's welcome, and if the next game has the same contrivances that this one did ("You need to complete these trials before I give you this extremely important thing because this is a Zelda game!") I will probably begin to grow tired of the series. The lack of voice acting was a real bummer, especially considering the high quality of the cutscenes and animations. Not that I was expecting voice acting, but if they are really taking a hard look at the Zelda design formula for the next game, voice acting is something that would really be a meaningful addition to the series.
So, yeah I realize it's a little late to be talking about this game, but I just finished it and I needed to get this out. If we can have a new Mass Effect 3 thread every week, we can certainly stand to talk about Zelda too. For those those of you that have played this, do you feel like the motion controls added to the experience? I know I really enjoyed playing this in a more a traditional way, but then again I have never really liked motion controls anyway.
Mods, if talking about playing this on an emulator is unacceptable for Giant Bomb, I apologize.