I don’t care what anyone says, Skyward Sword is amazing.

On a whim, I decided to play this game again just to see how it would look on the PVM 20L5 (it’s gorgeous of course, but that’s a bit besides the point). But it somehow managed to draw me in further and I couldn’t put the game down.

While the opening is a bit constricted, I found it quite charming. Skyloft is a very well designed and beautiful “hub” and Zelda, herself, actually has some personality here. The writing is wittier than I remember too. And although the feel of an epic quest is not immediately apparent, it’s actually sort of a good thing. The high school-esque drama of the Groose-Zelda-Link love triangle dynamic makes for what I know will turn into a fun redemption story later on. And the NPCs, especially in the shop, are freaking adorable.

In a single play session, I pushed through the opening and just defeated the first dungeon and, man, this game is every bit as brilliant as I remember. Even in a post Breath of the Wild world, this game still manages to shine. While the game does not have a massive coherent over-world or unrestricted freedom that many modern gamers denounced it for all over online forums, the combat is actually very satisfying if you can wrap your head around the motion controls the way they were meant to be used (calm tennis-like strokes, not aggressive flailing).

And while the dousing sections are clearly a misstep for the game, they are not egregious and are actually kind of ignorable if you just want to explore. You don’t need to rely on dousing (at least in the opening section) because the hiding spots of the Kikwi are all in areas that you were going to want to explore anyway, right near the critical path of the game. Truth be told, I think these were sections of the game that people objected to most, along with Fi’s chatter.

Speaking of Fi, sometimes she does say things that are dumb, but it’s honestly hyperbole that she “ruins the game” with her advice. It doesn’t add or detract from the experience - it’s nothing.

The environmental design of the forest itself - not even getting into the dungeon yet - is actually something that had me nodding my head in approval as I played. It was very clear that the team here had finely honed level design skills because the atmosphere is as magical as something like BotW, while also having an incredible amount of verticality and shortcuts you could open up. It’s VERY tightly designed, perhaps more so than another other 3D Zelda game. The forest section basically reminds me of how a 3D version of Link’s Awakening would play. Every inch of the area is used to perfection to create an incredibly dense gameplay environment.

The actual structure of the level has cool pathways that weave and intersect, yet look entirely organic at the same time. And, while it is cliche to reference it, the constant shortcut opening that you do throughout the area, and the overall scale of the pathways vs. open spaces reminds me a little bit of a Souls game. Which is just fine by me :slight_smile:

Then when you actually get into the dungeon, you’re treated to some of the most well designed gameplay in the medium here. The atmosphere, again, evokes a magical feeling of wonder that BotW also tapped into and exploited throughout it’s incredibly diverse open world. But here, it’s utilized to virtuosic effect to create linear puzzles that somehow look entirely organic. Even for someone that plays video games as much as I do, I’m not sure what Nintendo does to teach its designers to have this much slight of hand to achieve the effect in what appears to be an effortless fashion. The dungeon, and the surrounding forest, looks every bit as believable as what the team went on to accomplish with BotW - it’s just much smaller and self contained in scale.

I will also say this - as someone who has played every single Zelda and beaten nearly all of them (I have yet to complete Zelda II and Spirit Tracks), I have to say that this game is on par with the best in the series. I think it’s as good as something like Ocarina of Time or BotW. I’ll even go further to say that it’s a BETTER game than Twilight Princess (which is, itself, a fantastic game in it’s own right).

I think Skyward Sword is the culmination of the Ocarina of Time formula worked to perfection, while reaching a new plateau of level design by eschewing an overworld in favor of more Souls-like pathways.

While I’m glad that this was the final game that utilized this formula - let’s face it, BotW is maybe the greatest reinvention of a series in modern times - what is here, is absolutely magical. It has that pure Nintendo magic that is so easy to love, with charm, excellent level design, and very tight gameplay. The only thing working against it is that many people probably saw it, and perhaps Nintendo as a whole at the time, as an anachronism when viewed against the backdrop of the entire video game landscape.

Skyrim was a thing at the time that had a similar title and, until BotW, became the standard upon which grand video game adventures were judged against. And when viewed that way, SS does appear to be rather quaint in scope and restrictive. But going back, I really don’t care. I’m having a blast and think SS is unfairly judged by many people who attempt to spin this narrative that it’s “not a good game.”

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Great post. This game hooked me from start to finish. I didn’t play it until about three or four years after its release, but not a lot of games capture my attention fully anymore. I KNOW EXACTLY WHY people were so cynical about this game, but I wasn’t bothered by what a lot of people described as shortcomings and a lot of the negativity this game gets is what I feel are people with an axe to grind. Or people who think they know what Zelda HAS to be. The triforce tattoo set, I guess.

End of the day this is a really fun and beautiful game.

Skyward sword definitely makes some stupid decisions that make you go “why would you do that?” but it always felt overblown to me. The stamina gauge is annoying but the same weird thing is done in games like Yakuza that I love. It’s annoying and you wonder why they did it but it’s more a mild inconvenience than anything.

I also feel that almost every Zelda game I’ve played, especially the 3D ones, have similar annoying pieces they tried to add but people played when they were younger so they don’t remember them as well. OoT, Majora, all of them have some annoying temple or cheap fight or annoying sequence you have to play through but for some reason only Skyward Sword gets punished for it’s missteps. I can only assume it’s because with the passage of time they only have fond memories and haven’t replayed the games.

I think a lot of the decisions we loud and hardcore bemoan are there to help acclimate the new and fresh blue ocean mass market Nintendo had attracted with the Wii. Unfortunately I think a lot of that group had moved on to iOS infinite runners by this point, lol.

Just some random screenshots I took this morning during my session. The game has some delightful visuals. Gotta sit in close on a 20” PVM though due to the 16:9 aspect ratio. But playing about 2.5 feet away in a chair is a lovely little desk-like experience.

As always, photos don’t do this justice, especially when the game is in motion.

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I never got round to revisiting this one so it’s good to read from someone who has!

You’re spot on about the tight level design being consistently good, the game never feels like it’s resting on its laurels or coasting as far as what it demands you to do.

Actually that brings me on to the favourite thing I remember about the game, other than the amazing use of motion controls, how they made the overworld sections before the dungeons into outdoor dungeons. But I remember that also being its most tiring aspect - given the game’s predictable structure I remember being burned out by the final third.

The biggest criticism I have with the game is that the game world doesn’t come together in a cohesive whole in the same way the two N64 3D Zeldas’ did, almost like the designers made different parts separately and struggled to tie them together neatly. The individual parts are good, but it never felt like everything was happening in the same interconnected game world. Twilight Princess also suffered from this very issue and both games had long development cycles.

Looking forward to seeing more photos - I adored the way the depth of field in that game, outdoors, had a painterly look to it!

This was my favorite 3D Zelda till BoTW came out. I loved it!

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I’ll be honest, I could never get into this one despite loving Zelda. The bit I did play I liked, but the motion got in the way big time for me.

Maybe I was doing something wrong, but I could never get the sword thing right. It tries to teach you to avoid telegraphing your attacks but I couldn’t get the knack of it at all, so when I hit a point in the game where you had to use that mechanic, I couldn’t progress.

I’d definitely give it another go if I knew what I was doing though. Tips welcome!

That was the first boss fight. You just have to watch his hand which tracks the position of your sword for a few seconds, then stops. Then you strike from another angle.

If you strike his hand, he catches your sword then counters.

Edit:

I will say that even though I beat the full game 8 years ago, it still took about 2 hours before I got really good with the controls again. Now, I never mess them up and execute every sword stroke perfectly, even stabs. But it definitely takes practice to get to that point.

I remember when the game was new and talking to a lot of people who played it and there were 2 consistent things. People who played using the Wii Mote with Wii Motion Plus built in, had no issues with the motion controls. Those who played with the add on had constant problems and needed it to be recalibrated constantly. I got the special edition with the gold controller with motion plus built in so I didn’t run into any problems. I don’t know if other Motion Plus games had similar issues but this one did not like the add on and wanted it built in.

Yes that was it! I found when I tried to change sword position when he stopped, it would interpret it as a slash from the side he was already blocking.

If I moved it across slower so it wouldn’t slash, he would already be blocking from the other side by the time I was able to slash from the other side. So I just couldn’t get a hit in no matter what I tried.

Everything motion up to that point was pretty good, but I spent a good few hours frustrated with that then just gave up.

I had the displeasure of playing this game for the first few hours in Dophin back in 2011, via a wii remote attached through bluetooth but no sensor bar. No problem cause motionplus doesn’t need a sensor bar right?

Well weirdly enough this game does make use of the sensor bar position to aid in calibration. So if you don’t use the sensor bar the calibration drifts pretty bad over time.

I’ve noticed a lot of people complain about Wii remote pointer being jumpy or unstable in their set ups, I think this comes down to the sensor bar infrared LEDs reflecting off other surfaces like for example a glass top coffee table or a tablet left on a coffee table. So I have a theory that the same issue could cause Skyward Sword’s sensor bar position calibration to occasionally be wrong, which in turn led a lot of people to find the slashing to be not very accurate or intuitive.

Anyway if you plan on playing this game again it’s worth making sure you have a good room set up for Wii pointer controls and nothing is obstructing or reflecting the sensor bar.

If you wait long enough, he stops tracking your sword, even when you move it slowly. The game doesn’t do a good job of giving an indication of that being the boss pattern though. It’s an understandable place to get frustrated.

It momentarily stumped me during my first playthrough and this one too.

Great post @Peltz, really appreciate your enthusiasm for the game.

I unfortunately remember feeling pain in my wrist and elbow back when I played it, which prevented me from playing past the first hour.

Because of that, it’s the only Zelda title that I haven’t truly played, and I’m still holding on to the slim hope that it will one day be released with traditional controls.

Skyward Sword heading to Switch?

What timing. :slightly_smiling_face:

Also

I hope they mandate Joy-Con controls.

Optional would be better. Just so people who dislike waggle games (me) are more likely to get into it.

I played this with the special Golden plus wiimote as well and man it irritated me no end. For me, the introduction at the farm section overstayed its welcome, then when I got down, the sword chick just wouldn’t shut up.
I did the divination tutorial section… I don’t need to “divine” where the dungeon is, it’s probably near the big volcano that this very convenient path appears to be pointing and that I can plainly see. Shut up sword, you talk to much.
Then on top of that my shield broke and it seemed like a hassle to either
A) work out progression without one.
B) get another.
I’m glad that people enjoy it, but I just didn’t have the temperament for this game.
Sadly the annoyances of this game outweighed any positives for me

That’s a shame you didn’t get on with the controls, but that’s the thing, I’m not sure how they could maintain the same nuance to the sword controls without mandating use of the Joy-Con. And the Joy-Con tracking would be a huge improvement over Wiimote+