Monday, February 20

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

The Zelda Booth at E3 2010

Zelda is something that's dear to me, as most of you already know, so when I heard about Skyward Sword I was excited about the next big Zelda. I wasn't a fan of Phantom Hourglass or Spirit Tracks, so I figured a console Zelda would help heal old wounds. All though even when I saw it at E3 it wasn't enough to get me going. I thought that it had a pretty art style, but I wasn't too jazzed about it being another motion-controlled Zelda. Let me push "A" for my sword and I'm good, no waggling needed.

So here are my thoughts about the game:


- This game is so beautiful. It looks like every asset got Paint Daubed in Photoshop making it one of the most wonderful art directions I've seen yet. Definitely one of my favorite Zelda's from an art standpoint. The use of color is amazing, something as simple as saturated shadow hues, textures with a range of rich tones, and the use of complementary colors like with the soft orange clouds of Skyloft that go perfectly against the blue sky.

- Zelda and Link have a little thing going on. It seems like they like each other, which was nice because it's been awhile since there has been any hint of romance between the two. Perhaps because this is the origin story that the two hook up, and establishes that future generations could potentially be linked.

- The save system is interesting this time around. There are bird save statues scattered about, which changed the way I play. For instance you can save in a dungeon; where as before if you saved and then quit you would have to start off at the entrance. So this is a welcomed change.

- The character design is great, and not just the main characters. Even the NPCs, which are sometimes hit or miss (like in Twilight Princess I couldn't stand some of them), are all fantastic. Zelda, once again, is my favorite character. She's just so pretty and I'm very fond of her look. Her dresses are lovely and her little fringe is absolutely adorable.

- The environments are pretty too. I love all the locations and had fun exploring them. Especially the desert. It has such a gorgeous analogous color palette consisting of teals, yellow ochers, and orange rust reds. The puzzles and platforming in the desert are entertaining as well.

- The Sand Sea, the pirate-themed stuff, and all of the time changing done in the desert is very enjoyable.

- Very Prince of Persia because of similar platforming elements and the clawshots are reminiscent of how the Prince gets around with his claw. It's an interesting new direction. Even the desert changing to a lush green landscape reminds me of the fertile grounds.

- When you bottle a fairy it's the cutest animation. Sad though, because it bumps into the glass and tries to get out. Small details like that are nice.

- Beedle is awesome in this game. His "OOOOHHHH!" is quite amusing, and I found myself repeating him quite frequently. Also, I love that he has Target Lady hair.

- The love letter side quest is assuming. Unfortunately, I end up haunting poor Cawlin by giving his letter to the toilet ghost. I was just so curious to see what happened. Typically I would do the romantic thing, but not this time and I feel bad for him.

- Synthesizing is a cool little system that's been added to a Zelda for the first time. I enjoy upgrading my gear.

- The gossip stones dance when you strum your harp for they. It's super cute.

- The heart pieces are very pretty and well designed. Probably my favorite thus far.

- Collecting gratitude crystals for Batreaux is fun and it's nice to see him turn human. Plus the items he gives you for helping are useful. 

- Snagging levers with the whip through doors, and using the beetle to find hidden things is fun. I pretty much enjoy using all of the different items.


- Too much hand-holding at the beginning and the Skyloft intro is a little long. It would be fun to figure things out by yourself as you go. That's what made Zelda games fun in the past. A happy medium between help and doing things on your own.

- Precision with the Wii Motion Plus is not as accurate as advertised, and is hard and cumbersome to use. So any type of fighting, flying, or landing is hard to get the hang of. I find most of the game play to be annoying when asked to do something precisely. Like jumping off the edge of the Goddess Statue at the begin. Landing in a small area is a pain in the ass.

- Fi unfortunately is one of those annoying support characters that treats you like you're retarded. She repeats unnecessary information all the time, to the point that it's not helpful. That, and when she sings new songs she looks so weird, like she's broken or something. Not a big deal, but that animation could be better.

- The whole bird thing where everyone has their own special companion reminds me too much of Avatar. Especially the hero, Jake... I mean Link, getting the biggest most awesome red bird.

- No one knows what the surface is like, really? Clouds don't go away or the people of Skyloft don't just fly down there with their birds? Really? And it's always sunny on the surface, not cloudy like in the sky? Really?

- There's no way to fast-forward text. This is a major step backwards. I'm a fast reader so this is frustrating. Also, if you had to redo something, you couldn't skip text. It took way longer than necessary. 

- No voice acting once again. It would make this game so much better. If Link doesn't talk fine, but everyone else should. Nintendo's innovative with other things like motion controls, why not voice acting?

- Once again with most games, the Wiimote hurts my hand and arm. So I have to keep gaming to a minimum of a few hours a day.

- I don't enjoy the Silent Realm Trails. They're pretty and exciting at first, but having to redo them all too many times isn't enjoyable. Also, big scary things chasing you is stressful.

- The singing/harp music mini game at The Lumpy Pumpkin is so bad. Cursing up a storm trying to beat something is never fun.

- Eiji Aonuma, the director/producer of this title, recently told reports that he never beat the original Legend of Zelda. He said it was too hard and he didn't want to make Skyward Sword a game like that. What! So he basically didn't want to make a Zelda game.

So... Yeah. I don't recommend this game. I would even say that I've had enough of the franchise, to the point that I might just replay the old ones again if I ever feel like a Zelda again. Three games in a row have been disappointing, therefore it feels like a waste of time. It took 65 hours for me to beat Skyward Sword, so it wasn't quick. My insatiable curiosity always gets the best of me though and I always seem to give the new Zelda's a chance no matter what. We'll see what happens next time.