...THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME
Besides the lack of accuracy in the motion controls, the inability to skip large blocks of text when speaking to characters with whom Link interacts often, like the merchants in Skyloft, gets irritating. This feels like a no-brainer, and it’s shocking that no one thought to include a way to bypass these repetitive and unnecessary dialogues.
Not all of the puzzles in Skyward Sword have video hints, and some of those puzzles can be quite challenging. Solving them can be extended exercises in consternation followed by “The answer was right in front of me!” moments, and this pattern can wear on nerves. Skyward Sword is also best experienced not as a linear adventure. Moving from dungeon to dungeon without stopping by old haunts to see what new surprises have been unveiled will deny players a huge portion of the game’s total content. Anyone looking for a game that pushes them forward through a narrative, or who has low tolerance for puzzles and brain-teasers, is well advised to move along.
THE LANGUAGE OF ZELDA
Zelda games have a recurring language. It’s expressed in mechanics like pushing gravestones, charging up sword attacks, finding empty bottles for potions and collecting heart pieces. It’s heard in familiar musical cues when opening a treasure chest, solving a puzzle, or receiving a new item. It’s a language that unifies all the disparate Zelda titles, like the mission of the Eternal Champion, his Black Sword and Companion unify the various incarnations of the character in Michael Moorcock’s books.
The Faron Woods may remind you of the Kokiri Forest from Ocarina of Time. Soaring through the clouds and exploring the floating islands may remind you of sailing the seas in Wind Waker. The connections between events on the ground and unlocking surprises in the sky may remind you of the relationship between the Light and Dark worlds in Link’s Awakening, and enemies like Stalfos, Bats and Octoroks will take you all the way back to the original Legend of Zelda for the NES.
If you are a fan of The Legend of Zelda series you will love Skyward Sword because it speaks the same language and takes you through the same sorts of adventures you’ve been enjoying for 25 years.
Dennis Scimeca is a freelance writer from Boston, MA, and a contributor to G4, Gamasutra, GamePro, and The Escapist. Reach him through his blog, Punching Snakes, or follow him on Twitter: @DennisScimeca.