“What’s so hard about swish-swish stab? It’s a sword dude, it’s not a fighter jet” (Tucker from Red vs Blue Season 8). Zelda fans, get ready to wield the Master Sword, as if you were Link himself. If any Legend of Zelda games could top Ocarina of Time (OT), it would be Skyward Sword (SS). I admit, I was a diehard OT fan and didn’t think any game could ever top it, period. SS not only equaled it, it surpassed it. Everything from the storyline, the graphics, the dungeons, even the music was over the top.
Most of the Legend of Zelda games I’ve played have had roughly the same storyline: You start out as a nobody, work on a farm or live in the forest, the princess gets captured by Ganondorf and all of a sudden, you are a sword wielding, arrow shooting, bomb throwing, (and sometimes horse riding) hero. This game…Is nothing like that. SS starts out in a nightmare sequence with a spiky, shark-toothed blob destroying a forest, followed by Link waking up to an annoying voice, much like Navi from OT or Tatl from Majora’s Mask. Link isn’t a “nobody” in this game, you soon find out he is in the Knight’s Academy and is about to graduate. The monster in the nightmare is named “Demise”, and the annoying voice is Fi, the spirit of the Goddess Sword. You learn the legend of Skyloft, a floating city and your home. The Goddess, Hylia, separated the land from Hyrule to keep the Hylians and the Triforce safe from Demise. After you graduate, you and Zelda take a flight together on their Loftwings, a large bird used to get around Skyloft. A tornado knocks Zelda to the ground and, after finding the Goddess Sword, you go down to retrieve her. Ghirahim is introduced as Demise’s servant who is determined to revive his master through Zelda. See where this is going? Link pursues Ghirahim to save Zelda.
This isn’t a story about Zelda or saving Hyrule, those are just added bonuses. This game focuses on the creation of the Master Sword. You forge it from the first sword you obtained, the Goddess Sword. I won’t go in to more detail, for spoiler reasons, but this is probably the best quest Link as ever taken. But what is a quest without awesome weapons to help you along the way? We see a few returning favorites: Link has his trusty bow and arrows, bombs, slingshot, and the duel Clawshots return as well. He still has his bug catching net, which can be used to confuse the end boss, which is pretty funny. The other three items Link obtains are entirely new. One new item is, for lack of better terms, a leaf blower, though you use it for sand…so a sand blower? It doesn’t do any damage at all, but it’s fun to play around with. Another new item is a flying mechanical beetle. This little device is controllable and can reach areas Link can’t, to push buttons or drop bombs from above; however, it does leave you vulnerable on the ground. This requires you to clear the area before you use it. Finally, and probably one of my favorite weapons so far in the Zelda franchise, a whip. This can be used to grab levers through bars, steal keys or other things from enemies’ belts, or swing like Indiana Jones across a gap. However, it only stuns enemies. Like the Goddess Sword, some items are upgradable as well, such as: the bow, slingshot, and beetle. Hidden treasures throughout the game can be used to upgrade these items.
Swinging that sword for the first time was incredible. It’s no longer just mashing the B button to do a left, right, vertical swing. Instead, the Wiimote becomes the hilt of your sword and the nunchuck becomes your shield. If you swing left, you cut left, swing right, cut right, swing both and you do a spiral, flip them both up and you’ll do a vertical spiral. Anything that requires aim uses the Wiimote, as well. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your outlook), the bow and arrow is not like archery on Wii Sports. You do not pull back the nunchuck to draw the bowstring, you simply hold the A button and aim with the Wiimote. But, one possible drawback in an otherwise flawless game, in my opinion, doesn’t hurt its odds. With virtual swinging taking place now, some enemies and all bosses require some new strategy to defeat. This created some of the best boss battles I’ve ever seen. Do I swing horizontal or vertical? One wrong swing and you just lost three to five hearts. Swinging fast and haphazardly just won’t do it in this game, trust me I tried. The bosses aren’t incredibly hard, nor are the dungeons to get to them, but they provide enough puzzle solving to satisfy you.
This is the Legend of Zelda game that all fans have been waiting for. It explains the Triforce and Master Sword in detail, it offers amazing game play, and it has a beautifully orchestrated score to match. I found very few flaws in this game (an annoying sword spirit who tells you the most obvious information possible and can’t be shut off, for example), but these few flaws can’t possibly take away from the awesome game that is Skyward Sword.
I give The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword 5 “Triforces” out of 5
By Alex Kirn