|Release: November 20, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p||Fantasy Violence|
by Matt Walker
A month or two ago, if you had asked me if the Wii was dead in the water, I would have said "absolutely." Sure, the Wii still has titles that are solid in experience and execution, but there's nothing new coming out that would scream at consumers to go out and buy the console this close to the end of its lifespan. I even had my doubts about the raw power of Skyward Sword over jaded "hardcore" gamers. Then again, it's a brand new Zelda title, and if there is anything in the world that can sell a system, it is a Zelda title.
Undoubtedly The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword will sell and resell Wiis. However, is it the game that will show the world what the Wii was meant to be, and that this is the Zelda game we were promised with Twilight Princess?
Unequivocally, yes! Skyward Sword is an experience unlike anything to grace the Wii before it. It's almost sad that this is almost certainly the last title of this magnitude from Nintendo for the console. I would have loved to see what would have happened had a game of this caliber shown up earlier in the system's lifespan.
Just like the stories from other Link adventures, Skyward Sword offers a similar time-worn legendary tale. This time, however, Link lives among the clouds in a place called Skyloft. He's been studying to become a knight, and Zelda has been a childhood friend. It is here that you will learn quite a few things about the game's adventure. I'm not going to give too much of this story away, but there is one thing everyone should know. In the past, the beginnings of Link's journeys always felt a little forced: the reasoning behind his colored tunic, how he achieves his weaponry, and why he even sets out on his quest in the first place. All of these things have a natural flow in Skyward Sword. Everything—even the reason Link is clad in green—makes perfect sense. And this is just one tiny example of how the bar has been raised.
One of the biggest complaints about Twilight Princess on the Wii was that the controls felt like more of a "waggle dance" than actually swinging a sword. Even though this ultimately made the Twilight Princess experience smoother, it was not anything like what we were anticipating. Skyward Sword finally brings satisfying swordplay, delivering on a promise made five years ago. Here, you'll need to strike at your enemies from specific angles, reacting to enemy's attacks with proper shield/sword execution. The great thing about all of this is that it works with such precision. This was my first big indicator for what to expect in the game. As I journeyed further in, I found myself enjoying the combat so much that I was yelling in unison with Link as I beheaded my enemies, split them in half, or blasted them with a flurry of attacks that even The Flash would have trouble blocking.
The sword combat is not the only thing handled with grace; other weapons are also less cumbersome. With just a quick tap of a button you can pull out your secondary weapon and be ready at a moment's notice. Of course, you can also go the menu route for selecting the weapons, but having that quick response option keeps the action flowing much more seamlessly.
There's also a new ability Link can use in the game called Dowsing. This is basically a way to help you search for specific things in the game. Since a majority of the game has you searching for things (and other characters), this is quite handy. At times, it even draws you into a specific mission or "side-adventure."
There are a couple of other things that are new to the series, as well as some upgrades. For example, Link now has a stamina gauge. With this gauge you are allowed to several different things. Dashing, for starters, allows players to run faster, but they can also do a small wall run/jump combination to help reach ledges otherwise out of reach. Link can also grab ahold of ledges and shimmy across landings, granting him access to even more places.
You will find bird statues scattered throughout the game world that act as your saving locations. Once you break through the cloud barrier and begin your journey below Skyloft, you will find that these bird statues also allow you to return to the sky on the back of your bird creature.