The Interesting Case of Skyward Sword – Special Edition

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Featured image courtesy of this fine artist

I’m happy to announce the launch of a very exciting project hosted by NekoJonez, who has gathered a group of some of the talented folks here at WordPress (and me for some odd reason) to create one comprehensive look back at the past 30 years of Zelda. While I’ll be talking about the very beginning of Hyrule’s history, it’s one of the later games released by Nintendo, so to catch up on the other great articles, check out the main Zelda Hub here.

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The year is 2011. Zelda fans around the globe are all scratching their heads, flipping through calendars, and wondering how the heck 25 years have gone by since The Legend of Zelda graced our Nintendo Entertainment Systems.

But they have. And Nintendo celebrated the anniversary with a myriad of festivities, including the beginning of a symphonic tour of all the iconic Zelda music we know and love arranged for full symphony orchestra. 2011 also marks the year that The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was released.

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Skyward Sword is the very first game in the Zelda timeline, and it therefore needed – fans’ minds – to set into motion every iconic thing that ever happened in a (canon) Zelda game. Personal feelings about the Zelda timeline and what a “legend” actually means aside, this game had a lot to live up to.

Live up to it, it did. After a five-year development period following the release of Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword not only began to take Zelda in a direction that would be expanded upon in Breath of the Wild, but also looked back fondly at themes and mechanics found in Twilight Princess, Ocarina of Time, and even Majora’s Mask, all while displaying a new, post-impressionistic art style, with bright, vivid colors bringing the different areas to life.

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Enter Hyrule

This creation story of Hyrule stayed true to expected Zelda fare as with the temples and puzzles, and added a bit of excitement for the Master Sword, which had not technically been forged yet, and instead existed as the Goddess Sword until Link imbibed it with the power needed to defeat Demise, the root of all evil.

While working through the game, I found myself absolutely delighted with the different puzzles presented, particularly one toward the end of the game (in Sky Keep) during which Link had to move rooms around to form a labyrinth that would eventually lead him to the Triforces of Courage, Wisdom, and Power. I also appreciated that, like any good puzzle game, Skyward Sword took knowledge learned earlier in the game and asked players to apply it later.

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For me, this was most apparent during my final fight with Demise. I had taken about a year-long break in the middle of the game (long story short: I wanted more Twilight Princess and took a while to get over that Skyward Sword was not that game), but when I had picked it up, I was slammed for not remembering some of the details of swordplay I had learned.

And all those battle tactics were necessary to beat the final bosses. I’m not sure I’ve ever been happier to fight and face a final boss as I was during that final fight with Demise. Skyward Strikes and shield parries were all needed and effective, and the game didn’t ask for the player to do anything that hadn’t been at least presented somewhere else in the game.

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Sorry, I had to.

Regardless of anything else, this is a game that follows its own rules.

New to the game – and perhaps in lieu of Shadow Link – were the Sealed Realms, which were horrific interesting areas that tested Link’s spirit and were necessary to complete in order to not only continue the game, but help forge the Goddess Sword into the Master Sword. These darkened areas asked Link to give up his usual weaponry and use his ability to memorize maps and out-think traps. While these sections did fall under the “forced stealth” category, and I unashamedly hated them because Link was never asked to sneak anywhere else in the game, from a lore perspective it added a layer to the Master Sword that was appreciated.

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After all, the power of the Master Sword would be unbalanced if it did not also house wisdom and courage, wouldn’t it?

Reception

Zelda games are rarely met with grumbles, but this one managed to snag a few for itself even as fans dutifully played through the game and pored over their Hyrule Historia’s to squeeze out every bit of lore they could possibly find. Having said that, a quote-unquote “bad” Zelda game is still usually better quality than a mediocre non-Zelda game, but that doesn’t discount that Fi, the companion character, was a tad annoying with her endless (and somewhat useless) statistics about information that another character had just given Link. The most helpful thing about her was her kindly alerting the player when the batteries in the controller were low, in my opinion.

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dorkly.com really nailed her character…

But I digress. Other issues, like the poor 1:1 controls, have been discussed, and dowsing is one of those hit-or-miss options, with it making sense for things like the secret Sealed Realms, but testing a player’s ability to point at something and walk toward it for things like hearts and other items that should have been designed to be discovered by just looking around a bit was a bit of a stretch. And speaking of discovering things, I’m not sure how many times I picked up an item, rupee, or piece of amber during the course of the game to learn about it again…

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…and again…

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…and again.

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But these are minor flaws, and would be more easily dismissed if not seen in a Zelda title. Regardless, Nintendo heard the comments and used the feedback when designing the world in Breath of the Wild. Like each Zelda game, Skyward Sword brought great elements to the table, and is a solid, fun Zelda game with interesting puzzles and a host of new motion-control mechanics for the player to experiment with.

All in all, Skyward Sword is another sound addition to the Zelda franchise, and, if Metacritic is to be believed, there is a 93% chance you’ll feel the same way.

Did you play Skyward Sword? What did you think about it? Is it a solid addition to the Zelda franchise, flaws and all, or is it drinking in the corner with Zelda II? And if you haven’t already, be sure to check out the Zelda Hub for more great Zelda articles!

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Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you soon!
~ Athena

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14 thoughts on “The Interesting Case of Skyward Sword – Special Edition

  1. Why haven’t I beaten this game yet? It seems that I haven’t finished most Zelda console titles. I seriously need to make work of that.

    In any case, I got a Wii from my mom a few months before this game released. I got my Wii for graduating high school. I pre-ordered this game and I got the special collectors edition too. So, yes, I have the golden Wii-remote.

    I’m pretty close to the end of this game. I’m halfway the final dungeon of this game. The final dungeon is amazing. Sky Keep. Seriously, I love playing it. It feels like a sort of Layton puzzle in a Zelda game.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it was a game I took a break from before finishing, too. But I have to say, the second half/ending is really interesting, so it’s worth going back to.

      That’s cool that you have the golden Wiimote! I always thought they looked cool.

      Sky Keep is great! The puzzles in that dungeon are *on point,* in my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s not my favourite, but I enjoyed Skyward Sword. I really loved the time puzzles in Lanayru Desert and the overall story. I found the controls were more annoying than Fi at times… Learning to Bomb Roll made me wanna rage quit, but I got the hang of it, eventually. The major issue I had with it was the repetitiveness. For example, if I ever see the Imprisoned boss again in a game, there is a 99.13% chance I will Snow Punch something, haha. It felt a lot like a Metroid game too, with all the backtracking after you got certain items.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The 1:1 (or “1:1”) controls could be an adventure by themselves, right?

      That’s one thing about Skyward Sword – a lot of Zelda games have a certain amount or repetitiveness, but Skyward Sword took it to the next level. If a little repetition is good, a lot is better, right? Gosh darn Imprisoned…. freaking avocado with arms and legs…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Funny enough this was probably my second favorite Legend of Zelda game from Twilight Princess (I know…one of the minority), but I think it was the change in how Nintendo wanted to change up the narrative and put more emphasis on character’s journey…rather than the journey itself. While I never got to play fully or even finish the game, streams and videos helped me through it and it was a journey to remember.

    Skyward Sword deserves praise for not only being a good Zelda game (in most departments), it also helped pave the way to how we connect the different worlds today within its universe’s lore.

    Enjoyed the article, good humor all around Athena that kept me entertained from start ’til finish.
    Stay Cozy and have a nice day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading! Skyward Sword isn’t nearly as bad as people say it is. I think it just had a lot of *little* things that added up. The dungeons were great, and the focus on the different characters was an interesting new take on the story, like you mentioned!

      Like

  4. Skyward Sword was 2011? That makes me feel old. Remembering the original zelda doesn’t, but that does.

    I picked it up a few years ago, but haven’t played it yet. Been wanting too. Been looking at it longingly a-plenty. But self-imposed play organization requires it to wait for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have not actually played Skyward Sword, but I have seen OTHER people play it, and maybe that’s part of why I actually thought it looked pretty sweet. I didn’t have to deal with annoying motion controls or forced stealth; I just got to enjoy a really pretty game (Hyrule Historia made me appreciate the art even more!) with a solid story.

    Like you said, fans might have been expecting it to address EVERY thing that would ever happen in any other Zelda game, but I think it would have been dumb to have tried. I don’t know whether I particularly like Demise, but Ghirahim’s a solid lower-level villain in the style of TP’s Zant, and the bit where you have to get the four dragons to sing their song (if I remember right) just looks and sounds so darn cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, that might be it. It’s a solid game with a great story in its own right, don’t get me wrong. I can see how some of the annoying bits weren’t as obvious when watching, though.

      Ghirahim is great, isn’t it? I mean, he’s terrible and I wanted to reach through the television and punch him, but he’s a great villain. I love the comparison you made to Zant, too, because that’s very true! The four singing dragons was a pretty neat part. It was a little tedious at first (for me) since I had to get used to the controls, but once I knew which way was up (so to speak), it was really awesome.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved Skyward sword, the boss fights were incredible and the dungeons were so well designed. There was that moment on the boat where the boss appear and starts poking it’s tentacles through the walls as you run to the surface before drowing… so epic

    but yes, the game constantly explaining things over and over was annoying, and mildly funny when you read about it in posts like this. As you said, a minor issue in an otherwise stellar game.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s definitely an overall solid experience, and I loved the dungeons! I know just the part you’re talking about on the boat, and that was such a well-done visual to the game, and very unexpected, too!

      It’s very funny in the posts, but irritating in the game haha. But overall doesn’t take away that this is a good Zelda title.

      Liked by 1 person

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