Evan Burkey

Revisiting Skyward Sword

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Like any other rabid Legend of Zelda fan, I picked up Skyward Sword on release day. Excited as ever, I went home, played for an hour, and never touched it again. The motion controls drove me crazy, and I wanted nothing to do with the game. This week I’ve had some free time, so I decided to go back and give it another run… I’m glad I did.

I think the biggest reason I was so turned off to Skyward Sword was that it set me up to love the game, then yanked it away with the controls. The game started, and I was blown away by how gorgeous the art style was. The impressionistic look to everything looks gorgeous, even for the Wii’s pathetic 480p display. Then the music kicked in, and all I could think was “wow”. Seriously, check out the main theme from Skyward Sword, it is beautiful. Anyway, ready to go, I ran around snagging cats and doing opening story bits, eagerly awaiting the chance to swing my sword with my new Wii MotionPlus. Finally, I had my sword and was ready to slice wood pieces in training… and I couldn’t hit a single one. I must have spent fifteen minutes trying to correctly use my sword before giving up and turning the game off, never to play again.

So now we fastforward to last weekend. With some free tiem on my hands, I decided to revisit Skyward Sword as I saw it sitting on my shelf. I’ve played every Zelda game that’s ever been released, many of them multiple times through. I knew the game had a great look and the story was genuinely interesting, so I needed to give it another shot. Firing it up, I started a new game and felt that same hook from November. It looked great, it sounded great, but I was afraid that I would give up again.

Thankfully, I was wrong about that. I’m still trying to figure out why I got so frustrated at Skyward Sword last fall. As I played through the opening scenes and headed into the first dungeon, the motion controls started to make more sense. While I’m sure some people may call it gimmicky, some of the puzzle and enemy designs that incorporated precise use of Link’s sword were well done. I enjoyed figuring out which direction I needed to slash my sword, and even some basic enemies made for tense fights with their blocking mechanics.

In retrospect, I wonder why I threw such a tantrum. Playing the game now, I find the motion controls to work most of the time, though I have gotten quite frustrated at several small issues. If I had taken the time to learn the amount of finesse required to play well, perhaps I would have been able to enjoy Skyward Sword back in November.

In the last four days, I’ve dropped over ten hours into Skyward Sword, and I can without a doubt say that it is shaping up to be one of my favorite games in the Legend of Zelda franchise. The story has gripped me; I need to know what happens next. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I cannot recommend it enough. And while I was already excited for the Wii U, now I can’t wait to see what Nintendo does with the next Legend of Zelda game on their new console.

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