The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword takes place at the beginning of the Legend of Zelda Timeline. The story begins with a background of the events that have transpired, basically that, the world had been consumed by evil long ago, and a goddess gathered all the good people of planet earth to wage a war against the evil-doers. After drawing the evil back, the goddess sealed the evil away, and created islands in the sky where her followers can live in peace. The game begins as link awakens to Zelda’s bird who gives Link a letter from Zelda asking him to meet her, and the story unfolds from there.
Eventually you are given a sword (which contains the master sword entity, “Fi”), a shield and your very own bird which you obtain and learn to fly at the beginning of the game. Zelda is also abducted in a series of events and you must dive below the clouds and onto the surface to find her. Unlike most Legend of Zelda games, you’re basically thrown right into the story. For example in Wind Waker you have to defeat a couple of levels before you can get your boat, whereas in Skyward, you get your bird before you begin your quest.
Now first things first, controls. A lot of game reviews tend to focus on the controls of this particular game, and I can understand why. The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword is definitely a game that utilizes all the Wii remote features in a clever and natural way. Though there are many complaints. Many individuals say the game isn’t as responsive to your movements as it should; which makes it tough to fight enemies, I however, disagree. This game is truly challenging, and the controls only add to the challenge. With the Wii remote, you are able to swing your sword with the flick of the wrist, and enemies that you encounter require a variety of maneuvers in order to defeat them. In my opinion, the controls are sophisticated, but natural-like, (I actually caught myself attempting to slash enemies behind me; forgetting that I have to turn around in the game). Many enemies will block your attacks and you must hone your reflexes in order to strike at their weak points. I personally feel that it is not the controls that are the problem, but your reflexes, which should improve with time as you become more familiar with the game. You basically have to train yourself to sharpen your reflexes (I should also note this is my first time really playing a Wii game, though I was against the whole thing initially), and if you still find yourself coming up short in the battle department, all I can say is don’t hate the game, hate the player, lol.
The story unfolds much like a movie, and like most Zelda games, you have a guide (“Fi”) which aids you along your quest. The master sword entity, “Fi” is just about as annoying as Navi from Ocarina of Time, as she tends to pinpoint areas of interest just as you are about to explore them. For this reason, I like to refer to Fi, as “the OnStar navigation system” or “OnStar” for short. At first, I took Onstar’s role in the game to be a joke, though I will add that her input gets pretty old after a while. Also, the fact that OnStar dances in order to translate messages from the gods really depreciates the story line, kind of turns it into this “dazzling –beautiful-twirly” quest, which doesn’t really fit.
As I played this game, what had begun to disappoint me slightly is not the story, but the way the story is told. You’re almost forced to sit through cut-scenes, and when buying items, playing games, interacting with the people, etc., you have to sift through a couple more dialogue boxes than usual. That doesn’t upset me so much as the fact that they pretty much give the information away and tell you what you should know, whereas in Ocarina of Time, things got left out, but that made it more appealing.
For instance, If you can recall in Ocarina of Time, the side quest sequence where you obtain the Biggoron sword, you meet a pale depressed young man who happens to be the son of the carpenter in Kakariko village. Apparently he’s the sister of the cuckoo lady, and she gives you his blue cuckoo, Cojiro, and you must find the young man in the lost woods and return his bird to him. Eventually the young man turns into a Stalfos, and nothing much is said in the game besides what I’ve just said. If this were done in Skyward Sword, much more about these events would have been revealed, like why the young man left his home in Kakariko village, what on earth was he doing in the lost woods, and why his relationship with his father is so stricken. This information is pretty much filler in my opinion, and not needed. Sometimes what keeps you guessing also keeps the game interesting.
I know my way around a Zelda game, and being told where to go, made me feel as though the game could have practically played itself. When OnStar reveals something obvious to me, I couldn’t help but ask aloud “well why don’t you just rescue Zelda since you know so much!” Good points about the levels are that they utilize many facets of the Legend of Zelda series, and are quite challenging. Many games from the Legend of Zelda series have many side quests that you can go through to get more items and upgrades. This is something I truly look forward to in a Zelda game, as it gives you a chance to do something different in between bosses, and submerge yourself in the world of the game. Although Skyward Sword has a few optional side quests and games, many side quests are actually required in order to advance to the next level. This I didn’t like too much because I felt as though someone were holding my hand throughout the game. A nice feature of Skyward Sword that you have a lot of collectables which can be used to upgrade your items and this I think is a very good addition to the traditional Legend of Zelda gameplay. The characters in Skyward Sword are very interesting and dynamic, and I can tell a lot of work and care went into character development. One interesting way that this game differs from others in the series is that the majority of the characters actually acknowledge you as the chosen hero, and that you are on a quest to find Zelda. In other Zelda games, the characters may acknowledge you’re the hero, but do so in contempt (Mido), or simply refer to you as “fairy boy” or “the lad garbed in green.” Though, the world overall is very well created. Unlike Twilight Princess, this game utilizes all of the space available, and is very visually appealing, whereas in Twilight, you had large areas of unfilled space that served very little purpose at all. Clearly the game developers did not turn a deaf ear to the shortcomings of the previous game, and overall Skyward Sword is a vast improvement on those terms. Another improvement from Twilight princess is that in Skyward Sword you actually have a musical instrument to play, which is a harp, whereas in Twilight, you play songs using blades of grass-like conches, and you eventually get one on a necklace near the end of the game (yeah, thanks). The use of an instrument in Skyward Sword is much like the ocarina and the Wind Waker, only the harp in Skyward Sword requires less skill to play, as the only movements required to play it involve a back and forth motion. The only challenge with playing the harp is keeping your movements on tempo, which is a far cry from the complex variety of songs in Ocarina of Time.
All in all, I give this game an 8 out of 10 compared to the other games of the Legend of Zelda series. 10 being equivalent to The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, and 1 being equivalent to Twilight Princess. I will also add that the ending of this game is waaay better than the one offered in Twilight Princess, and is almost 8 times as challenging. After defeating the game, you also have the option of beginning a new save file in hero mode. One major drawback of Skyward Sword I must mention is that it lacks a fishing lake or pond; A feature of Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess that I heavily enjoyed and would have loved to see implemented in this game. The story for this game seems also to have been created so that it fits well with the overall story line, which I find clever. All in all, I say this game is worth playing, and I’m proud to say I have defeated this game with a total of 96 hours in play time. (I consider the more hours you have the better, not the other way around). So get out there and play it if you haven’t, and if you have feel free to provide your input.