The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – Was the Sky Really the Limit?

(Note: Playing this game on the Wii U can be dangerous as there is a glitch that can be easily triggered by accident. This glitch breaks the game so that some required events no longer occur. Wii U players must download the Skyward Sword Save Data Update Channel via Wii Shop Channel on the Wii menu in the Wii U. For those who cannot, please follow the directions on this page to work around it.)

I remember the first time I got this game. It was $49.99, which was maximum price for a Wii game, but my copy came with an orchestral CD, so it was worth it for a game I had no clue about. This game was supposed to be the 25th anniversary game for the Legend of Zelda series, and so had the longest development cycle in the history of the franchise since Ocarina of Time. I really did not know much about this game other than the TV commercial and the sneak-peek gameplay from the Game Informer magazine my friend gave me. It was like a surprise waiting for me, and oh, what a surprise it was. As Zelda’s anniversary game, this game was more focused on gameplay, rather than content like its predecessor Twilight Princess. At first, the motion controls were frustrating. It literally took me twenty minutes to understand how a Spin Attack works and a week to get the Loftwing upgrade. But as I progressed through the game, I started to feel the motions of the game. (The sword directions were still a tad annoying.) Battling pirates, four-handed sketetons, and a dramatic demon just raised my spirits. This is the first Zelda game to have a run function. You’re probably thinking “Now I can run everywhere! Who needs rolling?” and that’s what I thought too: until this happened.

skyward_sword___stamina_gauge_by_briteddy-d87gw3m

The Stamina Gauge.

This prevents you from running, rolling, and Spin Attacking for an extended period of time, all of which are actions that have always been used in succession. Of course, this is pure torture for such a lengthy game, but that’s exactly why there is a Stamina Meter. Nintendo never planned for this, but ultimately, the Stamina Meter makes you slow down and enjoy the game. This game has a very different art style from its brethren. Director Miyamoto says that the art style is based on impressionism: “small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities.” Additionally, the music in the game is all orchestrated, which is something the development team worked hard on. The effect of the Stamina Meter pushes you to look around in the game and enjoy the work the development team put in. That way, you can see that the game itself is very interactive. Using the Loftwing, the Beetle, the way you use your Sword (Wii Remote), and Shield (Nunchuck) all depend on how well you control your movement. The Silent Realm trials especially make use of the player’s intuitiveness. The Guardians, dressed in white and expressionless, hunt down Link as he tries to complete the trial in a limited time. Even after beating the game twice, being hunted with nothing to defend yourself is still a scary moment.

Ocarina of Time was the highest-rated video game of all time before Super Mario Galaxy was made and is not motion-controlled. This invites the question of whether motion controls are worse than the standard controller. Simply put, it depends on the player’s preferences. Personally, I prefer the standard controller, but I do not have trouble trying out the new idea in future games. The next Zelda game, Breath of the Wild, will not include motion controls, but rather, the little brother gyro controls. Maybe in the next 3D Zelda game, we could have motion controls again. Or maybe not. Regardless, Skyward Sword is one of the best games I have played, and even if you do not like to get on your feet, please do, because this game is worth it.

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