Apr 26 2012

Review: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Game: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: EU – November 20, 2011
NA – November 20, 2011
JP – November 23, 2011
AU – November 24, 2011
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Review Platform: Nintendo Wii
Number of Players: 1 (Single Player)
Genre: Action/Adventure
Ratings: ACB – M
CERO – A
ESRB – E10+
PEGI – 12

This review is based on a retail copy of the game.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a much anticipated Wii game that many fans have been waiting for since Twilight Princess was launched when the Wii came out. Thankfully Skyward Sword was not a dual release like Twilight Princess! I had purchased the Skyward Sword bundle that comes with the gold coloured Wiimote with the Triforce Eagle logo emblazoned on the front. The first run of Skyward Sword also comes with a limited edition 25th Anniversary Legend of Zelda soundtrack and sounds amazing, but definitely pales in comparison to the experience of a live performance.

The graphics in Skyward Sword are gorgeous and I’m loving that Nintendo is still pumping out quality titles like this for the Wii, even after five years of being “behind the pack” in graphics and horsepower. Even in 480P, this game has a sense of style that puts it up in the upper echelons of art style and shows what game developers can do even with less horsepower. Colours are nicely saturated and are reminiscent of Monet paintings, which take a departure from the grittiness in Twilight Princess and Cel Shading in Wind Waker. The graphics and artstyle are something that really help a game out with the mood and I personally think Nintendo has done a fine job with it again even though the hardware is a bit behind.

The sound design in this game is definitely high quality, even for a Zelda game. Sound effects come from all the sources you’d expect to, Loftwings, enemies and NPCs all have set noises and responses you would expect from any modern Zelda game. The only gripe is I wish they had more ambient noises in the background to make the experience more immersive. As a musician, I tend to nitpick about the quality of the music that is put into games. Thankfully, the background music is exceptional and a big step up from the MIDI that past games have had. The orchestrated music feels organic and natural and it feels right within the environments within the game. Hopefully more games for Nintendo’s consoles follow suit and have more music that are performed by musicians. This would really help the soundtrack and sound effects blend better and feel more natural.

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3 comments

  1. On the controls I don’t even have the original Wii sensor bar and mine worked just fine (unless I needed batteries). Also the archery (while it takes some getting used to) worked pretty well for me (aced a mini game+ 600pt score). Swordplay works well enough that you can (at least on 1st play through) beat the entire game without ever having to use your shield.

    Also having bits from other Zelda games incorporated adds to the 25th anniversary vibe/acknowledging the game’s past while bringing an “what’s old is new again” feel to the game as well. The characters in this game are more likable than in games past (to me). Link feels more awesome to control, there are plenty of mini games/side quests that add to the game’s +40-60hr length. Story was among the best in the series. The only fault is perhaps the controls are only as good as “you” are at them (which is the problem with motion controls in general). The instrument controls were perhaps the only other thing I had issue with. Honestly for me its a 10/10 (while I mentioned gripes its more nitpicking) great review.

    This may just be (for me) the best Zelda game of all time.

    Oh still Midna>Fi>>>>>>Navi =P

  2. Oh and on Zelda games (on consoles).

    OOT= The Legend now in 3 dimensions!
    MM= The Legendary sequel
    WW= Best combat system to date
    TP= Best companion to date (perhaps if there’s a sequel ;P), Great horseback riding/battle system-evolution of OOT+WW combat with a much darker tint to the story

    SS= Like a ranking system-best there is! =P (overall has parts of the above and more while being original)

  3. They’re all great games in their own right and I know the controls issue is a bit of a gripe even if it is nitpicking. Now let’s hope it isn’t another 5 years before we see a brand new Zelda game on the Wii U!

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