|The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword|
|MtAMinutes to Action||40|
|Buy from Amazon|
With so many Legend of Zelda re-releases in 2011, I've had several excuses to reacquaint myself with the series for the last six months. I awakened Link for the first time, replayed bits of the first Zelda game I ever experienced, tried out a solo retrofit of the franchise's multiplayer experiment, and even charted my way through the legend that begot legends. For me, 2011 has been the year of Zelda.
Through this trip back through time, I've reevaluated my regard for Nintendo's beloved adventure franchise, and just in time for the newest iteration. Skyward Sword, at a glance, looks like just another Zelda, which is enough for most fans but insufficient for me. On top of that, the game boasts a distinct watercolor style, a sky/land dichotomy, and what appears to be an origin story for many of the franchise's trademark elements.
What has me excited is the motion-controlled combat. I loved the MotionPlus combat in Red Steel 2, and Skyward Sword uses the gyroscope add-on to provide needed nuance to Zelda's normally dull swordplay. Comparisons to Punch Out's puzzle-like duels have me salivating all the more. Let's see how much slicing and dicing I get in the first sixty minutes.
Unfortunately, I didn't get to experience much of that in Skyward Sword's opening sixty. That's disheartening enough, but Skyward Sword doesn't stop at mere disappointment...the game outright insults me. Take a look at an early dream sequence:
- Seriously, why is everyone so rude to Link?
- I remember Twilight Princess having a pretty slow opening. I'm a little disappointed to see that Skyward Sword is very similar, sending Link to catch pets and learn to ride his mount. I got to chop logs and slice up some bats, but that's all. I barely got a feel for the sword at all. At least I got to flirt with Zelda.
- As much as I like the watercolor style that blurs the background into a painting, I can't help but wish Skyward Sword was in HD. I think the added clarity would do a lot for the visuals, which don't quite outclass the Wii competition as they are. Super Mario Galaxy and even Red Steel 2 overcome the standard definition limitation, but Skyward Sword still looks very much like a Wii game to me.
- The audio, though, is excellent. I think the orchestrated performances gave Super Mario Galaxy a grandeur it otherwise would have lacked, and I can't wait to hear what Skyward Sword's soundtrack has to offer through the adventure. I actually like the gibberish dialogue as well, especially how that spirit from Link's dream sounded like some foreign GLaDOS.
- It's weird seeing Link and Zelda as childhood friends. It's even weirder watching Zelda tease Link in an almost-romantic sense. Maybe Link will actually have some character traits in this game, brought forth by this young love and/or the rivals who seek to break it up? Haha, just kidding, he's probably just as dull as ever.
- It seems I get to ride a giant bird from dungeon to dungeon instead of riding a horse this time around. To be honest, the motion controls for the Loftwing seem gimmicky and unintuitive. Oh well, I guess I have to take the good with the bad.
Minutes to Action: 40
Would I keep playing? Yes, but the first hour of Skyward Sword is kind of coasting on brand name. Not a lot of action early on, and if you're not into Link and Zelda's love story, there isn't much to suck in a non-fan.
They're even shouting insults from the rooftops! No wonder he breaks into people's houses and smashes their stuff.