(REVIEW)

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There's been a lot of memorable moments in the 25 years that the Legend of Zelda series has spanned, ranging from the happy to the sad to the disturbing. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is made to encompass all those years and celebrate the 25th anniversary of the series in a similar fashion to how Sonic Generations did for Sonic's 20th. It references old locales, brings in weapons from various games, and, being placed at the very beginning of the Zelda timeline, Skyward Sword sets the rest of the games you grew up with in motion. Speaking of motion, the gameplay heavily relies on the use of the Wii MotionPlus accessory to get precise movements for the majority of the items and attacks.

That's probably my biggest problem with this game.
Twilight Princess smoothly conjoined button controls with Wii Remote motions, so you could hack and slash while walking and then stop and accurately aim and fire an arrow with the pointer. Skyward Sword sort of does the same thing, and I wouldn't mind so much if it weren't for the fact that they're forcing the MotionPlus usage down your throat. Directional sword slashes are great, yes. It's an interesting mechanic that, for the most part, works. Sometimes it gets a little annoying because it doesn't read the directions properly, but that can be remedied with a quick recalibration. My issue is that literally everything else uses the MotionPlus. It uses the MotionPlus so much, in fact, that I wouldn't be surprised if you had to move the Wii Remote in short increments to walk. Even though I finished the game, I still can't figure out how to control my movements in midair properly when leaping off of something because of how off the motion controls could get. The items that only require the pointer work just fine, but it took a span of about two dungeons for me to finally figure out how to control the Beetle item. In the end, the story and the fun creative puzzles keep you distracted from the occasionally annoying controls, so the game stays fun. There are just those little moments where the controls screw with you so badly you start smashing the wall in. The fact that they tried to innovate the controls for a 25th anniversary game makes no sense to me; I would've gone with a more classic control scheme instead of trying out something that might not work out well when making such a special game.

The graphical style is...interesting. There are moments where the characters make the most ugly faces imaginable, so I'm not a fan of the character models. The locations, on the other hand, are GORGEOUS. I'm always surprised just how well Nintendo can pull off graphics for Zelda on the Wii. I'm especially pleased by the water; it always looks so crisp and clear. It's a strange mix, seeing Twilight Princess-style models with Wind Waker-esque textures, but it surprisngly works out really well.

The story of the game ties up most of the loose ends of the overall timeline and references quite a few of the games in the Zelda series. The game actually shows the creation of the Master Sword and the first formation of the Triforce. (Guess what Skyloft actually is in correlation to what was mentioned in past games? Think about it for a good, long minute.) Being Nintendo, the dialog is as cheesy as ever, but this time around, it actually fits. This is mainly because all the cheesy dialog is given to Groose, and he'll give you a few chuckles here and there with his pompous attitude and witty lines. The relationship between Link and Zelda actually has depth this time around, and I applaud Nintendo for that. It's hard to explain, but for once you can clearly see just how much Link cares for Zelda in her times of need.

Now, it's time for where this game shines: the boss fights. After completing a tough, challenging dungeon (some of which are actually a lot of fun), you're forced into some of the most creative and fun boss battles in Zelda history. The buildup, atmosphere, and the actual fight against Tentalus left me in shock on how awesome it was. The Koloktos fight was probably the most fun, considering you have to pick up the robot's gigantic swords and hack and slash the crap out the thing. The Ghirahim fights, while annoyingly challenging at times, are still fun, especially the final one. Even though it's hard as hell, you start to appreciate how the controls were utilized in this case. As for the final boss, I won't spoil anything, but visually, it kicks a lot of ass. It has the coolest finisher animation since Wind Waker.

All in all, Skyward Sword is a good game. Some people had moments where they were moved to tears with the story, but because of the gameplay annoying me, I took so many breaks in the game that it took me a year to finish it, so the story didn't have as much of an impact as it should have. Overall, the game felt a bit lackluster to me, but plently of other people who played the game in a shorter timespan than I did enjoyed it immensely. If you haven't played this game yet, I really recommend you give it a go, especially if you're a long-time Zelda fan.

Oh, and the symphony CD the game comes with is freaking amazing.
 


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