Review: Dust off your Wii. It’s Zelda Time.

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The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword is here. It has been a long wait. Twilight Princess came out as a Wii launch title. People wanted to swing Link’s sword with the Wii Remote but Twilight Princess didn’t deliver. It was basically a port of the GameCube version, and they only added some features that used the Motion. The sword was just a waggle to swing and you would occasionally point at the screen to aim your Bow, Slingshot, and Hook Shot. That was about it. The Wii Motion Plus was our next hope for complete control over the Master Sword. Finally, Skyward Sword is here making all my, and maybe your, dreams come true.

Showing off the unique controls at E3 2010 and 2011 made a lot of people worried it would be to childish and destroy what made Zeldaspecial. Don’t worry, these controls work. The controls bring all the different items and tools to life. The sword uses the motion controls more than anything else. With the 1:1 motion, it’s like your holding the sword in your hand. The added weight of the Wii Motion Plus attachment on older Wii remotes might help with the illusion. With using precise swings of your sword, you can tear through enemies. Not correctly matching your moves with your enemies’ weaknesses will cause you to lose health.

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Flying your Loftwing, swimming underwater, and free falling in the sky are all controlled by the Wii Remote. While flying your Loftwing, you can tilt the Wii Remote left and right to turn, tilt forward to dive and gain speed, and fling the Wii Remote up to climb. A is used for a speed boost like older Zelda games while riding Epona. Swimming underwater controls similar to flying your Loftwing. Tilting forward causes you to dive and pointing left or right moves you in those directions. Free falling is controlled slightly different. Simply tilt in the direction you want to fall.

The motion controls are also used for the items you collect. First there is the Slingshot. Not much new. Just aim on screen where you want to shoot. The Beetle has you using the Wii Remote like you are directing it where to go. Be careful, fly it too far away or too high up and it will stop and return to you. The Bug Net is back. This item hasn’t been seen in a console Zelda since A Link to the Past and plays a big part in upgrading your weapons, potions, and shields. Different upgrades will require different bugs or relics.

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Almost every item can be upgraded. Shields can be made stronger so they don’t break as easy. They also look cooler the higher they are upgraded. The Beetle, after a free upgrade later in the story, can be upgraded to move faster. The Slingshot’s upgrade can make the seeds scatter, almost like a shotgun, to do more damage. Health potions can be given an extra boost to replenish more hearts. You don’t get to upgrade your sword, except through the story. Might be a missed opportunity, but I don’t know what they could have upgraded with it. All these upgrades might change how often you use the item, but it doesn’t change overall gameplay.

Skyward Sword’s core is like most Zelda games with a focus on exploration and combat. Finding little tricks to destroy enemies faster is key. In Skyward Sword, it’s about using items to your advantage. You use the Beetle to cut the stems on the Deku Baba plants to kill them instantly and the Whip to pull enemies closer or take items from them. Using all your items efficiently will make this adventure easier. The exploration elements are enhanced with sprint and the energy meter. Doing to much in a short amount of time will cause Link to slow down or let go of a ledge. There are also beacons you can set on the map to find those beautiful areas easier.

The graphic style is something I have never seen before. It’s the perfect mix of the serious graphics of Twilight Princess and the cartoon graphics of Wind Waker. Faces and characters work very well with the visuals. Characters are more dynamic than any Zelda before. In the beginning, the relationship between Link and Zelda tugs at your heartstrings and makes you really care about her. The story is immersive and keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

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Ghirahim is a very intense villain. He toys with you. He beats you. He does a weird tongue thing. I want to stop him. There are villains you hate because you have to. There are villains hate because they are evil. Ghirahim is the latter. He is always going after Zelda, trying to capture her to free the Dark Lord. Ghirahim is smart but cocky. Your first battle with him doesn’t really work out in your favor but you get your point across, Link is not to be messed with.

As a Zelda game, Skyward Sword is the best. As just a game, Skyward Sword is amazing. It properly uses motion controls and tells a story so unique and amazing it can only be told like this. Everything in this game is mixed together so well I was blown away. Nothing felt unnecessary. I want to thank everyone at Nintendo and everyone that has ever worked on aZelda game. In all my years of gaming I have never imagined a game could be this close to perfection (Nothing is Ever Perfect).