You know, I have been looking forward to this post ever since I heard that The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is going to be rereleased on the Nintendo Switch. My first thought when I heard this was “Why?” Then after thinking for a bit I released that it has been nearly ten years since that game was first released. So it is understandable that they would do a rerelease like they did with their previous 3D Zelda games when they brought The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess over to the Wii U. Hopefully those will come over to Switch soon because I really want to play those games again. Man those games are fun. Wait what were we talking about again? Oh right, The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword is coming to Switch soon. You know, after asking myself the question of why they are bringing it back, I started thinking about maybe I should go back and actually try to finish that game. After all, now that it is coming to Switch it may have less of a focus on motion controls. However, even with that I have no desire to play it. Partially because motion controls weren’t really difficult to get used to in that game. Sure, they were super sensitive and had to be recalibrated every time you left to use the bathroom, but I rarely had any trouble controlling Link while I was fighting. The only reason I might slip up is because I was getting an urgent reminder from Fi that enemies can be killed. Thanks Fi. There’s more to it than that though. I want to take a moment to express my thoughts on The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
Now before I get into the major gripes I have with the game I will take a second to mention the things I do like about the game. I think the dungeon designs are creative for the most part and incorporate some interesting ideas into the mix. I also really like the art design and I think the game looks very nice. In fact, it might be one of the nicest looking games the Wii has to offer. I also really love the fact that bombs flowers were just treated as bombs you could carry. The crafting system is while not necessary is a pleasant distraction and in some cases can even be useful. Also they did as god intended and made it so that only four heart pieces are needed for a heart container instead of five. Thank goodness. To be honest this game has so many ingredients to be one of the best Zelda games. Yet why does it end up feeling so lackluster compared to some of the other titles? The biggest reason is while all of these features are nice, they are not necessary to making a good Zelda game, save for maybe the dungeon designs. A Zelda game in my opinion is a game built about a mix of exploration and puzzle solving. Let me ask a serious question here. What is there to explore in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword? Half the game is exploring an open sky with a few floating islands scattered around like bread crumbs for you to follow and not only is there no challenge to getting to these islands because flying is essentially in the game to pad out the runtime, but even when you get to them all you get are chests that you cannot access until you activate them on the surface. Since when did I need to find a key to open chests in the overworld in a Zelda game? Just why? It’s not even like they contain amazing items or anything so what is the point? Just making flying to the islands a challenge by having different flying mechanics or something else instead of this bogus scavenger hunt we are given to play. Crafting is a nice idea, but hunting for items to craft with is somehow even less rewarding than finding chests because now I have to deal with drop rates. Yay. The main problem though is that the game is too linear to allow for decent exploration. In this game you just constantly jump from Skyloft to surface and then back and forth and back and forth and so on and so on until eventually you complete the game. At least that is how I felt playing it. It just kind of feels draining after a while so that not only do I feel like I can’t explore, I also feel like I don’t want to explore. Props to the developers if this was intentional, but I wouldn’t want to give them the credit if that were the case.
So all in all, the gameplay is functional but boring for the most part. Now normally if the gameplay isn’t all that great then the story can potentially save it. Unfortunately there are three main reasons why that is not the case for this game. One reason is it’s a Zelda game and so the story will not surprise you. It might have its moments but unless this is your first Zelda game, you will not be surprised by the outcome. I don’t mean to spoil things but you end up defeating the bad guys. Crazy right? The second reason is related to one of my previous posts. For those of you unaware, this is a prequel game which essentially is a free license to tell whatever story it wants without it having any effect on the overall saga. All it can really do is expand the lore and explain a few details that no one really had questions about in the franchise. The only times prequels have added anything to the franchise were when they made The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, since they finally settled on a decent formula, and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time which created two brand new timelines to explore. This game didn’t really add anything in comparison. the third and final reason why the story can’t enhance the game is because the story in some ways actually made things worse because it basically locked the timeline so that the same never ending struggle will always play out in the same way forever. Thanks for cursing your own franchise Nintendo. Look I will say that The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword isn’t a bad game. It just isn’t a very interesting game. I’ll still get around to finishing it though. You know, eventually. In the meantime, now that I’ve gotten my thoughts out, I will probably stop thinking about it until the next time it’s brought up. Knowing my luck that will probably be tomorrow but what can you do? Anyway, see you next month for a new topic.