Five loooooonng years. It’s been quite a wait for a new The Legend of Zelda for the Wii. But with Skyward Sword, that lengthy wait is finally over.
|THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: SKYWARD SWORD
Nintendo for Wii, Rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older
Replay Value: 7.5
Overall Score: 8.7
Pros: It’s a brand-new Zelda; inventive ways to play; riding Loftwing.
Cons: Jaggies on graphics show the Wii’s age; tips can be confusing; controls take getting used to.
Nintendo has brought you another thrilling serving of the silent hero Link’s mysterious epic adventures. This time, he travels between two worlds to rescue the lovely Zelda. (The reason it’s called Skyward Sword probably has something to do with the controls. You lift your Wiimote high over your head to the sky to get super sword power.)
Begin your escapade high above the clouds in a fantasy kingdom overseen by a beautiful ancient goddess. There’s an awesome monument high above the town. You must check out the goddess statue and explore its nooks and crannies to move forward in the game. You also meet the quirky townspeople along the way, including kids who want to bully you.
In the first hour or so, your primary goal is to rescue your beloved Loftwing, a giant red bird who is your loyal friend as well. You ride on his back for a competition — but you must free him from a well-hidden dungeon first. Tip: When Zelda comes to help you find Loftwing, don’t leave that green perch on the cliff (like I made the mistake of doing). Just look around there — carefully.
Soon, you’ll jump off a plank into the clouds. Don’t worry; you won’t die. Coming to your rescue is your trusty Loftwing. Take off on his back and fly down, down, down through a hole in the swirling clouds. It’s an exciting ride.
Skyward Sword comes packed with a soundtrack CD celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Zelda game series. Another package features a special golden Wii Motion Plus remote. You need the precision of Motion Plus to, say, aim your sword properly when fighting bosses at the end of levels. But sometimes either your aiming or the device isn’t that precise. That causes you to lose a battle.
Like many of the Zelda games, the puzzles can be difficult, and that’s usually a good thing for the series. With Skyward Sword, Nintendo added a feature that lets you get a hint when you’re stuck. Just press down on the Wiimote’s D-pad.
Beware: The hints can be vague and confusing. At first, they can be more puzzling than the puzzles themselves. Early on, these hints can feel especially useless when you have to rescue a cute Kikwi from a tree. Tip: Roll into the trunk.
DESPITE GLITCHES, AWE-INSPIRING
Once you figure out the ins and outs of the game, the lands that you explore are vast and wondrous ones. Move through a treacherous volcano to get to the eerie Earth Temple where you fight the fiery-mouthed Scaldera. Feel awe when you travel to the Isle of Songs. Halfway through, explore the Ancient Cistern, defeat the six-armed Koloktos and get yourself a very useful whip.
Sure, the Wii is showing its age as far as graphics go (which is why there will be a new Wii next year). While Skyward Sword tries to give you the best graphics ever on the Wii, it still suffers from the jaggies. It’s a credit to the people at Nintendo that the story and game are so compelling, you don’t always notice the problems with displaying the artwork.
Despite its few glitches, Skyward Sword is the Wii game to get this season. With over 40 hours of play, it will keep you magically occupied for weeks on end.