majormitch's The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Limited Music CD Edition) (Wii) review

Master, there is a 85% chance you will enjoy this game

Like many of us, I’ve been a long standing fan of the Zelda franchise, and have eagerly awaited its newest entry. And while a few things don’t hold up as well as they could, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword proves to be another fantastic game, and is well worth investing in for both fans of the series and adventure lovers alike.

The most immediately striking thing about Skyward Sword is its presentation, which is simply beautiful. The art style combines the whimsical charm of Wind Waker with the gritty realism of Twilight Princess to great effect, and soundtrack is equally amazing (at least, when it's orchestrated). Even better is that the presentation is able to convey what's almost certainly the most nuanced Zelda narrative yet. The Zelda mythology is explored in interesting ways, and fans should really enjoy what they find. Past the presentation, Skyward Sword’s big selling point is the way it integrates Wii Motion Plus into almost everything you do, which turns out to be kind of hit or miss. Some actions, such as aiming your bow, feel great while others, such as skydiving, are incredibly clumsy. Other actions fall in the middle, with the game’s “1-to-1 sword control” working most, but not quite all, of the time. It’s surprisingly satisfying to swing your sword in specific directions to expose enemy weak spots, but it’s just as frustrating on those rare occasions when it doesn't quite accurately mimic your motion. It’s never fun to feel like you’re not in proper control, and it’s this fickle nature of the technology that can sometimes get in the way of the otherwise exciting action.

Past the motion controls Skyward Sword plays very much like past Zelda games, and is at its best when it drops you into its incredibly clever dungeons. The dungeon designs are as bold and inventive as ever, requiring you to use your wide array of fun items and abilities to their fullest. It’s a testament to the talent at Nintendo that they can keep coming up with such great dungeons, and these are the moments where it feels like the team is really able to let their creativity loose. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for many other parts of the game. The lengthy segments between dungeons are jam-packed with repetitive fetch quests and overly wordy dialogue (all of which is unskippable) that feel like pointless filler as much as anything. In fact, despite the addition of motion controls, I feel like the biggest change in Skyward Sword is how small the experience feels. You’re constantly revisiting the same handful of areas over and over again, none of which are terribly expansive, and there’s virtually no additional space to explore on your own. Furthermore, the way you’re forced to warp between the game’s major areas makes the entire world feel woefully disconnected. For a franchise that has been built on exploring exciting fantasy worlds, seeing one this limiting is a bit disheartening.

Skyward Sword’s more restrained, guided nature removes some of the sense of freedom and discovery that’s defined the series before, but when it dares to take the training wheels off (particularly in its stellar dungeons) it can be just as spectacular as ever. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword may not be perfect, but it is a wonderful game that anyone looking to embark on a grand adventure would be well served in checking out.

For additional information on my review style and scoring system, click here.

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