2011 Game of the year: Skyward Sword
In a year with so many fantastic games released it should be hard to pick game of the year, but it isn’t. Was it Pokemon Black and White which I spent a fair few hours on in the first week of release? Was it Dragon Quest VI which had me staying up until 3am with work at 9? Was it Ocarina of Time 3D which took one of the greatest games ever and made it better with updated visuals? Was it Super Mario 3D land that saw the return of the famed Tanooki suit? Well you can see by the title of this article who it was going to.
The year 2011 marked the 25th anniversary of the Legend of Zelda games where we saw symphony concerts, an E3 bonanza, a limited edition Zelda 3DS, Ocarina of Time 3D and Skyward Sword. Released on the 18th November it has received glowing reviews ranging from Edge to Famitsu to Eurogamer to Nintendo life. Below I answer some questions about the game which will be a spoiler free zone. What are the controls like? I’ve heard bad things.
I also had heard bad things about the controls and had only ever used motion plus for Wii sports resort so to get used to that took some time. My main problem with them was that I was used to the Twilight Princess controls of “wiggle wiggle wiggle” and hope for the best, with motion controls you need to be precise. Case in point is fighting in a sword battle, rather than just flick your wrist it’s a horizontal slash or a forward thrust or a vertical strike. For me this took me a couple of hours to get used to but when I did it just felt natural. The only problems I had were with sword fights, every other item used I found it quite easy to control. This is the sort of controls the Wii should have had on release.
What were your thoughts on the way Nintendo teased the game?
I am going to assume you mean when they spent the summer showing us videos of gameplay and trailers of things that happened? Yeah that annoyed me so much as I wanted the fresh “I have no idea what will happen in this game” feel that I had with Pokemon White. It got to the frustrating point where there was two or three videos or articles about stuff that happens in the game, this strategy also happened with SM3DLand and was not needed at all.
Does Skyward Sword live up to the hype of explaining the origins of Hyrule and it’s constituent lands and peoples?
This is hard to explain without spoiling anything but I’ll give it a go. It explains a lot about the Goddess, about Din, Nayru, and Farore and how this came to pass. I am pretty sure the term Hyrule is not mentioned at all throughout the game but that’s not a bad thing. Race wise you see one or two familiar ones but as a whole they’re pretty brand new. The game offers a lot with answers on things but most of them are not spelled out for you and you need to reach your own conclusions. That I like as the whole point of a Legend is it changes so many times but no one really cares about that.
What can be expected from a story that is a prequel to the widely acclaimed Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time?
Zelda gets kidnapped, you must save Zelda, this involves dungeons and the Triforce. The simple story we’ve seen time and time again but this just feels different. Various aspects add to that fresh feel that seems like the start of the Legend. You can expect a familiar feel if you’ve played a Zelda game and if you haven’t you can expect a story that crosses land, air, water, fire and everywhere in between. I don’t want to compare it to Ocarina of Time as that would get us nowhere in enjoying both games.
Which Zelda game would you say it’s most like?
I think most will say Wind Waker but for me it’s A Link to the past. You have the bright colours at points mixed with the darker undertones with a true feeling that you are here to save the day. I didn’t feel that in Wind Waker but that may be because we have adult/teen Link doing it rather than childish Toon Link. Add into that the side quests and array of characters you come across make it a fair comparison to ALTTP.
What about Fi? You said on Twitter she was the most annoying character ever.
She’s pretty annoying for the first chunk of the game, but it’s the little things about her that annoy me. For example when you go down to three hearts we’re used to the beeping to say “hey you suck, get some hearts” but to make matters worse you have the Fi beep on top of that to say “your hearts are running out” YES I KNOW. RAGE. At least she calms down as I get better with the motion controls.
Any references to other Zelda games?
Of course there are. I’ve previously noted how one temple has a room that is lay out the same as the Spirit Temple in Spirit Tracks but there are a few others dotted around. Someone somewhere has a Tingle doll and that made me laugh. I won’t spoil any more for you as it just adds to the overall feel of the game.
What about the visuals?
The same craic that’s been going on since Wind Waker “I want realistic visuals!” but to be honest if we had realistic visuals people would say “the graphics suck”. The Wii cannot compare to the PS360 graphics wise so it makes sense to go down the cell shaded route. Once I started playing the game I barely noticed the difference in visuals and some parts were just breathtaking.
To sum it up: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a top notch game and has everything from visuals, story, music to random side quests building excellently on the 25 years of history in this fantastic franchise. Truly worthy of Game of the year.
It should also be noted that this is a Nintendo blog, I cover the Nintendo side of things and I gather that Skyrim and Arkham City were great games but they wern’t released on a Nintendo console. As such they were not in the running, I hope that settles that.