GamingReview: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Review: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

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I have adored The Legend of Zelda since I recieved my first DS Lite and played Spirit Tracks. Since then, Link and I have accompanied one another on uncountable adventures around Hyrule. We’ve defeated Ganon hundreds of times, we’ve found more Koroks than I like to admit, and I can confidently say that we have smashed more pots than I like to admit. When looking for an adventure that will always welcome me with warm arms, The Legend of Zelda is always there for me. When Skyward Sword was released in 2011 for the Nintendo Wii – I obviously sprung into action as fast as I could. Similarly when it was announced to be re-imagined for Nintendo Switch, the little girl inside me nearly burst out to celebrate.

A time before twilight

To anyone who is new to the franchise, or anyone who is as baffled by the Zelda timeline as me, Skyward Sword takes place as the first installment of the timeline. We are transported back to a time before we really knew our hero and heroine, no matter how many Legend and Zelda games you have played. Trying to go into Skyward Sword with fresh eyes ten years later was something I thought would be impossible – but as soon as the game is booted up and I heard the Great Fairy Fountain, I felt like a kid again. Nintendo manifest something magical when it comes to transporting their players back to a childlike state of mind, and that is definitely something I adore most about the company.

My first experience with Skyward Sword was watching my brother play on the Wii. As you can imagine, two competitive siblings meant I never really got to have a go. So being able to pick it up now and experience it both again yet for the first time is honestly magical. There is so much substance to an installment in the Legend of Zelda timeline. For a franchise built up with so many games you’d expect at least one of them to seem repetitive or boring, but as a lifelong fanatic I can assure you that this just isn’t the case. Skyward Sword is a masterpiece in terms of the original release and the re-imagined version.

It’s dangerous to go alone

It wouldn’t be an installment to the franchise if you didn’t have a (somewhat annoying) companion for your adventure. From Navi, to ghost zelda, to phantoms, The Legend of Zelda really does provide it all. Within Skyward Sword you are accompanied by Fi, a spirit embedded within your sword. I found Fi rather amusing as she still continues the traits of a Zelda companion. Interrupting you when you’ve already found your way just to let you know you’re on the right track. Stopping you mid battle to let you know that there’s an 89% chance you might be in danger. As frustrating as this is, it just adds to the foundations of a Zelda game.

Link’s usual antagonist isn’t what you’d expect in Skyward Sword either. We are used to the brute force and ominous energy of Ganon, but luckily for our mute hero he is no where to be seen in this game. Instead we are given a breath of fresh air, Giriham. A perfect combination of sassy and challenging, we feel as if we have to take him head on just to knock him from his pedestal. Skyward Sword, although the first installment of the timeline, is a new experience for all Zelda fans. Even if you have played the original when it was first released. If like me you haven’t touched it in 10 years – maybe sit down to revisit Skyloft and remind yourself of the world before twilight fell.

A timeless classic

As anyone would do when their favorite game is re-released on a modern console, I assumed that it wouldn’t be as breathtaking as it was when I was younger. Nintendo have a positive track record when it comes to revisiting old classics, even with the NES Online arcade, it still feels authentic yet looks the part. Skyward Sword is definitely a supporting example for this.

Rather than keeping the blocky, outdated graphics of the original version, they have been polished and buffed to suit the Nintendo Switch. Essentially, it’s like playing the original Wii version with Nintendo Switch graphics. Everything is smooth and colourful, and as I keep mentioning it feels like playing it again for the very first time.

Even controls are kept the same. If you decide to play Skyward Sword with joycons rather than a controller, motion control settings are still in place. Even if you do play the majority of the game with a controller, I really recommend relying on motion controls for at least one hour. There’s something so fulfilling about flailing your controller around in combat, yet doing an impressive impression of swatting a fly in real life. Nintendo are so wonderfully capable of bringing childhood joy to life in exhausted adults, in every way imaginable.

Challenge after challenge

There’s something about Skyward Sword which feels far more challenging than other, more recent Zelda games. Games like Breath of the Wild require more technical skill, Skyward Sword really focuses on the puzzle aspects. Whilst combat is still challenging, puzzles are far more intense. There were several occasions where I felt genuinely frustrated at the game. But it is all part of the Zelda experience. You spend hours in one temple, half the time on one puzzle, and then realise the key was something as simple as spinning your sword in a circle. With puzzle based games like this, the only skill level comes in combat. So puzzles are significantly difficult throughout. Once again this transported me back to my younger self, watching my brother in amazement as he knew exactly what to do. I, ten years later, definitely remained as baffled.

Final thoughts

If you are looking to revisit the wonderful world of Skyloft, then I cannot reccomend this game enough. Even for first time players, this is a wonderful experience for all. The Legend of Zelda is the gift that keeps on giving. And no matter how old, young, or new to the franchise you are – you simply will not regret playing this.

SUMMARY

Depicting the earliest tale in The Legend of Zelda timeline, a young knight must journey between the endless sky and the mythical surface below in search of his childhood friend, Zelda. As their destiny unfolds, a wicked plan to resurrect an ancient evil force is set in motion, orchestrated by a mysterious demon lord…
+ A dose of nostalgia to any previous fan
+ A timecapsule of Nintendo history
+ Beautiful graphics and soundtrack
- Controls take some getting used to
- Combat sound effects seem incredibly loud compared to the rest of the game

This game was reviewed on Nintendo Switch but the original is available for Nintendo Wii
Kara Phillips
Hi I'm Kara and I am forever spending my days diving into realities far from my own.

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