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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Review

Susan Arendt | 11 Nov 2011 13:40
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Skyward Sword still has all the familiar aspects of a Zelda game, like Link in his green outfit, slingshots and bombs, but they've all been given just enough of a twist to feel new. You'll visit a volcano, but instead of Gorons, you'll run into subterranean treasure hunters with bad haircuts. You'll get a net to catch bugs, but instead of just being one more thing to collect, now you can use them to upgrade your potions. Even the dialog feels like someone took a fresh look at it. You can occasionally choose which response you'd like to make to a question, and people will react appropriately to your responses. If you agree that yes, the little girl in town was definitely spirited away by monsters, you'll be chided for your overactive imagination, but act unconcerned about her disappearance and you run the risk of appearing uncaring. Choosing the correct response might open up a new quest or give you a hint for a current one, but the wrong answer won't do any permanent harm. Rather than just mouthing the same overwritten threats, Skyward Sword's villain vacillates between charmingly amusing and genuinely unnerving. His distinct personality makes him more than just the Bad Guy You Have to Vanquish - he's a creep you genuinely want to defeat.

If you need a break from the surface, there's plenty to do around Skyloft. There are treasure chests to track down and minigames to find, neighbors to help and a batguy who wants to turn into a human. Even just flying around on your Loftwing - the giant birds used to navigate the clouds - is a lot of fun as you master the technique of flapping, climbing, and diving to gather speed. Nothing feels pointless and all of it is fun, though occasionally the controls do their best to mess up your good time. Swordfighting with the Wii Remote is enjoyable, but the mushiness of the Nunchuk's thumbstick will frequently send Link off in the wrong direction. Simply getting the camera straight can be agonizing; jumping into first person perspective will help you take a look around, but that's not really practical in the middle of a boss fight. Skyward Sword is easily one of the best games to grace the Wii, but you can't help but wonder how much more refined it could've been.

Bottom Line: Skyward Sword manages to honor 25 years' of gaming history while simultaneously feeling relevant for anyone new to the ways of Zelda - or those who'd perhaps grown a bit tired of hanging out with Link.

Recommendation: If you have a Wii, you should own this game. It's beautiful, inventive, inspiring, goofy, and brilliant. It will make you a believer.

What our review scores mean.

Game: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Genre: Action Adventure
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform(s): Wii
Available from: Amazon(US), GameStop(US), Amazon(UK), Play.com(UK)

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