I could go on and on about how Zelda changed my life, but I won’t, because it isn’t true. I hated the Legend of Zelda. I hear the collective gasp as the air in the world decreases but hear me out: My friend Jason had a Nintendo in 1987. We were both nine-year old and he lived down the block from me. We would go to the local video store and rent games to play over the weekend by returning pop bottles (this is Michigan, we drink pop, not soda, and there’s a ten-cent deposit on cans and bottles) collected from the local park where the teenagers would go the night before and drink beer and toss the empties aside. We had seen the game Legend of Zelda many times before, the empty box taunting us since it was always checked out – So much so the owner of the video store bought an additional copy and that copy disappeared before we could get our sticky hands on it as well. We waited and waited while summer turned into fall, and going back to school, kids were talking about how great Legend of Zelda was and I had imagined this spectacular game in my head no 8-bit game could possibly live up to. I’m glad I was wrong.
For Christmas that year, Jason opened up a present from his grandma to find the golden cartridge itself. He played it and beat it before even telling me he had gotten the game – after the vacation break and while we were back at school. I found out later his older cousin had the cheat-guide which is how they beat it so quickly. However, being at the end of my single-digit-years, I was crushed. How could my best friend in the whole wide world not tell me about the best game during the 8-bit years? I later asked him why he didn’t let me know and he blamed his cousin, who I beat up roughly seven years later during a basketball game in East Detroit High School which in turn had me kicked off the Varsity team, but that’s a different story. The point I’m trying to make is I purposely avoided Legend of Zelda because I felt betrayed by a friend.
I didn’t play the original Legend of Zelda until it was re-released for the GameCube in The Legend of Zelda: Collector’s Edition, which contained all the Zelda games including the latest (at the time) Wind Waker in 2003. My wife at the time was having difficulties from being pregnant with our first child and she was admitted to the hospital to have nutrients pumped back into her body since the baby seemed to be absorbing them all (Hyperemesis while pregnant is a bitch to deal with). I spent every hour I wasn’t at the hospital in front of the television and drawing crude maps about the lands of Hyrule.
I was hooked. Granted, I was fifteen years behind everyone else, and I admit I looked online for the secret trick to get through that damned Labyrinth Forest, but I could now say I had played the original Zelda.
The problem I had with Zelda, and I realize it’s a strange oddity, is when I bought the Collector’s Edition of Zelda, each game became progressively better looking, with better features and better dynamics within the story and game-play itself. A side story to this side story is the fact that up until Star Wars Episode Three came out, I had never watched Star Wars. I just felt another gasp and someone tried taking my nerd card. However, once Episode Three came out, I sat down with a few pizzas, my sister, and watched them all: Starting with Episode One. To be honest, I liked “Return of the Jedi” the best – not because I thought those Ewok things were Shiz-Tzu’s, but because all the sound clips and hidden story bits came to life in the final story. It was a perfect circle from Episode one to episode six. I was happy and satisfied I never had to watch episode one again. That’s how I feel about the original Legend of Zelda. I did it, I’m done with it, now lets move on.
Twenty-five years ago, (Okay, now I’m starting to feel a bit old…) the original Zelda graced the warm glow of the console televisions of the day. Today, a new design with a new controller graces the flat-panel wide-screen monitors hanging on walls or propped up on milk cartons to show a new style and grace we couldn’t even imagine would be possible in those days. Hell, in those days 3D meant wearing paper glasses – one lens red, the other blue – and that was in the movie theaters. Anything else “three-dimensional” referred to the position of the camera in the game instead of actual depth and perspective. However, Zelda has been around for a quarter of a century (still feeling old here,) and in today’s technological age of enlightenment, I’m glad to say with Skyward Sword: They got it right.
Skyward Sword starts off as a new face, a different perspective, something you couldn’t have imagined from years ago. The controller is the key, bringing hand-to-hand combat to game franchise which has needed a change for quite some time. Phantom Menace was nice, I mean Phantom Hourglass, but it was the same damn game they released for GameCube the year before with added Wii controls. Skyward Sword uses the new “Motion Plus” controllers which add a bit of reality to the fights, however, the Motion Plus controllers are the game’s biggest issue as well, since (and maybe it’s my basement sitting on a magnetic field or something) I had to re-calibrate the controllers about every half-hour.
That’s the only issue with the game. It’s a perfect circle for Zelda and one of the best games of the year, if not the best game made for the Wii.
I don’t want to spoil any part of this game. It’s an amazing adventure and one I’ll be happy to share with friends and my own kids with a great storyline and fun integrated controls. The graphics are a nice blend of Wind Waker’s Cell-style animation and Phantom Hourglass’ watercolors. I’m having a hard time mentioning anything else since I want everyone to play Skyward Sword instead of reading what I think.
Bottom Line: The best game on Wii. Period. The best Zelda game to date.
Rating System: (0-10 ranking)
|Graphics:||The best looking of all the Zelda games. Beautiful watercolor swathes in the vein of Phantom Hourglass mixed with the cell shading stylings of Wind Waker.||10|
|Storyline:||Zelda is no longer a princess, however it makes the story move more since she's someone who helps your quest instead of the object of the entire story-line. Nice move, Nintendo!||10|
|Controls:||The reason you're playing with the new Wii Motion Plus controllers: hand-to-hand combat with Link. Sometimes the controllers are a bit off, but a quick re-calibration makes you accurate and ready to party.||10|
|Replayability:||I can see myself and my kids playing this multiple times. Many different abilities with the combat and with the new dowsing effect by searching the ground for hidden items, this has replay value for years to come||10|
|Value:||The best Zelda out of the entire series, hands down. Buy it and enjoy the Zelda-ness.||10|
- Chris Tallant