Pin It

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword 

Classic Zelda held aloft by some innovative swordplay.

click to enlarge art17286.jpg

Link, the hero of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, lives on a floating island up in the clouds. This island is not to be confused with the island that Link lived on in Wind Waker, which floated in water. In that case, Link needed to sail a ship in order to travel from island to island. In Skyward Sword, he flies between the floating cloud-islands on the back of a giant bird.

The difference between the bird and boat — aside from the type of fluid they travel through — is that Link can dive off the bird and parachute to the ground. This allows him to leave the cloud islands and go to the landscape below, which is full of forests, volcanoes and temples — not to be confused with the forests, volcanoes and temples that Link has been exploring since the original The Legend of Zelda.

Exploring has always been a dangerous activity for Link, and this time it’s no different. As he explores the trees, sands and stones of the landscape, he faces the usual rigmarole of monsters that he’s been battling since Zelda went 3D in Ocarina of Time. These range from cannon-shaped creatures that pop out of the ground and spit stones, to giant spiders with armored backsides that drop from above.

Most of these monsters, as always, are easy to defeat once Link learns their patterns. Trickier are the goblins and demons that carry swords and cleavers. In order to combat them, Link must learn to wield his sword, which requires me to learn to wield the Wii’s motion-sensitive controller. This activity is much different from Link’s last outing on the Wii, Shadow Princess, when I was basically limited to using the Wii remote’s point-and-click technology to aim his bow and arrow.

Now Link’s sword mimics my arm’s tilts, twists and thrusts. In much the same way that Phantom Hourglass used the DS’s touch-screen to take real-world movement and incorporate it into the game, I now confront enemies with genuine swordplay. In turn, my enemies can track my movements and anticipate the angle of my attacks. The results are dynamic battles that break the standard Zelda format, bringing a new type of combat into a series that has become a little bit repetitive.

THE GOOD: Skyward Sword uses the Wii’s motion-detection more intelligently than any other game (which is a little late now that the system is on its way out). Beyond the well-done swordplay, somebody at Nintendo realized the Wii was motion-sensitive, and so I don’t need to keep pointing at the screen to indicate my actions — I simply gesture in the appropriate direction.

THE BAD: Like a Top 40 song, each Zelda game is a lot like the one that was played before. This makes the series seem like a timeless “legend,” but it also turns each game into a predictable story. If Nintendo really wanted to be innovative, they could have given Link something new to do (other than rescue the princess), in a world that he’s never seen. Even Mario has taken the leap into a few new galaxies.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Skyward Sword is classic Zelda held aloft by some innovative swordplay.

Tags: ,

  • Pin It

Speaking of Games

Latest in Film

  • Double Trouble
  • Double Trouble

    Keeping Up with the Joneses steals an idea and does little with it
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • From Book to Bore
  • From Book to Bore

    Inferno is a messy, nonsensical continuation of the Robert Langdon series
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • The Bad, the Worse and the Puppy
  • The Bad, the Worse and the Puppy

    In a Valley of Violence is a funny, thoughtful Western semi-send-up
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
Charlie Parr, the Holy Broke

Charlie Parr, the Holy Broke @ The Bartlett

Thu., Oct. 27, 8 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks


More by Marty Demarest

  • The Cowboy's Cowboy
  • The Cowboy's Cowboy

    A Canadian sings about the life —  not just the lifestyle — of the new West
    • May 15, 2013
  • Completing the Trilogy
  • Completing the Trilogy

    Mass Effect has finally arrived
    • May 23, 2012
  • Minecraft
  • Minecraft

    Adventure and survival too often give way to mindless crafts in this building-block simulator.
    • Feb 8, 2012
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • The Kids Aren't Alright

    Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children can't quite strike the balance between whimsy and darkness
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film


indigo girls


spokane symphony

Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?
  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep dive into the way movies portray half of humanity
    • May 12, 2016
  • Road Goes On Forever
  • Road Goes On Forever

    Widespread Panic's never-ending tour stops in Spokane for the first time since 1999
    • Mar 11, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation