Where’s the Zelda Review?

As many of you already know, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword started flying off store shelves November 20th. It’s been a couple weeks I know, but I’m hard at work trying to get that final review out, but to do the game justice, I have to play the game from start to finish. What’s the hold up? Skyward Sword is a fucking 40+ hour game, and as a working man with a measly excuse for a social life, frankly, that’s a lot of time. Hell, I only get about that same amount of sleep a week, so give a brother some slack.

That being said, Skyward is a hell of a game so far. I’m about 25-30 hours in at the time of this writing, so I’m a little more than halfway there. What I can tell you is that Nintendo has certainly raised the bar in terms of storytelling. There is a LOT of story, and you’ll find yourself more closely connected with that silent green hero than ever before. In fact, in the first 2-3 hours of the game, you’ll mostly be reading dialogue. Don’t let that scare you off though, because it’s done on purpose.

What’s the set up for every Zelda game? It’s starts with Link sleeping (except in the original two NES entries), Zelda gets kidnapped, and you set off with a sword and shield in hand to go wreck some baddies. There’s not a whole lot of depth to why you’re risking your hide for this careless princess. Skyward sets out to change that. The beginnings of the game are there to build the relationship between Link and Zelda, who this time around are actually childhood friends, though perhaps a little bit more.

What else is new? The formulaic feeling of a few of the past few Zelda games is completely gone. In fact, most of the time I was playing Spirit Tracks (DS), I felt like I was playing Zelda-by-numbers; it felt way too predictable and way too safe. Skyward flips that formula on its head. You’re not tediously running through a gigantic overworld (in fact, there is no traditional overworld at all), you’re not lighting torches, and you’re not exactly sure what’s coming around the bend. You’ll spend a lot more in between dungeons than you’re probably used to. Actually, this really pissed me off at first.

Like I mentioned before, I don’t get a ton of time to play games. So when I encounter a big game like this, my first reaction is usually to bulldoze through it. So for the first two temples, all I could think about was when I was going to get to the next temple. I didn’t want to be bothered by side quests, or anything of this “dowsing” bullshit (more on that in the full review), I just wanted to find treasure chests with keys in them that took me to doors with big fucking monsters that I kill entirely with whatever item I just got.

Then something happened: I needed a bigger wallet. In order to get a bigger wallet, you have to collect Gratitude Stars from people you help, or simply find them hidden throughout town. In order to get the new shiny item I saw at the shop, I needed more rupees than I can afford, so I needed to start doing some damn side quests. And it was only then that I really started to fall in love with Skyward Sword. There are so many quirky side missions that truly demonstrate that mysterious Nintendo charm. Not to mention there’s a crazy amount of loot used to upgrade your equipment. That is what truly opened my eyes to what the rest of the game had to offer.

Without spoiling anything, fans of Majora's Mask will enjoy a nice little reference in one of the early side quests.

I still have plenty to go through, and I’m sure I have plenty more surprises ahead of me. What are your thoughts on Skyward so far? Is it living up to the hype of all the perfect scores and “Best Zelda Ever Made” boasts?

Stay tuned for the full review coming soon!

-ivan.

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About Ivan Torres
http://isles-band.com More Metal Than Colossus.

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