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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – Review Round-Up

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – Review Round-Up

by Bradley DeLorenzoNovember 11, 2011

IGN – 100
Remarkably, this Zelda game manages to reshape its control scheme, design sensibility and pacing all at once while still telling a brilliantly powerful story featuring some very memorable characters. Increasingly Nintendo refuses to compromise cinematic storytelling for gameplay, finding a balance that seems effortless.

VideoGamer – 100
Nintendo’s most time- and workforce-intensive project yet, and it shows in every hour you spend with it. It’s a masterful blend of taut design and boldly non-traditional controls, an adventure liberally studded with memorable moments it would be remiss to spoil. Your favourite Zelda is usually your first. For many, come November 18, that won’t be the case any longer.

Eurogamer – 100
It is the most formally inventive Zelda in a long time (admittedly, that’s not saying a great deal). But it’s the game’s carefree attitude, quick tempo and warm heart that do the most to make it feel new… Skyward Sword will surely be the greatest adventure money can buy.

Wired – 100
The most important change is that most everything feels new. The fights against giant boss creatures at the end of each dungeon don’t rely on old ideas. The classic characters are replaced, for the most part, with novel ones. If you already know what’s going to happen, is that really capturing the spirit of the original Legend of Zelda, in which we all went in blind? Skyward Sword shows that “a real Zelda game” is about more than certain items or certain gameplay rituals, which in the end is more meaningful than adding better sword controls.

NintendoWorldReport – 100
Skyward Sword is an epic, the sort of epic you call out of work or school for a few days to complete. A focused playthrough will take you north of 30 hours, and if you try to 100% the game, there is a 50+ hour quest to go through. Throw in the second quest, dubbed Hero Mode, and there is a lot of game to play.

Metro Game Central – 100
Revolutionary on at least two counts, with the best motion controls ever seen in a video game and an inspired reinvention and improvement of the Zelda formula.

Guardian – 100
Whether or not it’s the best ever Zelda game is open to debate, but it’s certainly up there. However, nobody could argue that it’s anything less than a masterclass in the art of crafting video games.

Cheat Code Central – 100
Skyward Sword finally brings satisfying swordplay, delivering on a promise made five years ago.

JustPushStart – 100

Game Informer – 100
The biggest surprise in Skyward Sword is the story. For all the different shapes it has taken, the plot of The Legend of Zelda has always been a fairly predictable affair that feels like an afterthought. Skyward Sword doesn’t elevate the art of video game storytelling, but it is a major step up for the franchise, with clever writing, an interesting (if strange) new villain, and a wide cast of characters that would feel at home in one of Disney’s better animated movies.

Edge Magazine – 100
How apt that this ultimate tale of hero-making should see Nintendo’s hardware become the console it was always meant to be.

Computer and Video Games – 98
A huge departure for Zelda and a proper arrival for Wii’s motion controls. Link’s latest is rule-breaking, dream-weaving, tech-loving, heart-soaring stuff. If it Wii’s last hurrah, they don’t come more impassioned than this.

Digital Chumps – 98
Skyward Sword is a masterpiece. It raises the bar for the legendary series and is memorable from start to finish. It’s challenging, unpredictable, diverse, thrilling, and endearing. It is the Zelda game you’ve been waiting for.

Official Nintendo Magazine – 98
Skyward Sword stands as an ode to a series that has endured all of recent gaming history. It marks the dizzying pinnacle of both the Zelda series and motion-controlled gaming itself. It’s a huge accomplishment that, even by Nintendo’s own record, stands out as one of their finest.

GameTrailers – 91:

Games Radar (in-house) – 90
A perfectly balanced mix of innovation and classic Zelda gameplay, Skyward Sword truly lives up to the Zelda legacy of excellence and offers the most variety of any Zelda game to date. Its swordplay and puzzles are some of the best in the series, and seeing Link and Zelda’s first story chronologically is a treat for longtime fans. – 90
One thing’s for sure: Skyward Sword will divide. Its numerous qualities, among which the changes of scenery, the ingeniousness of the puzzles, make it able to provide us with a quest rich with intense moments, but some imprecision and lengthy sections prevent it from becoming the new and reformed shiny prince the series needed. If the Wii MotionPlus gameplay enables the immersion to go a step further, it requires a rigorous play style and will spawn some frustrations when it sometimes (rarely) doesn’t work perfectly well. A beautiful adventure remains, still, proud to be the hallmark of the 25th anniversary of Link, Zelda & co… but not sufficiently sparkling to eclipse the infinite magic of the Ocarina of Time and Link to the Past episodes.

Joystiq – 90
It is a game punctuated by near-constant moments of genuine exhilaration, dishing out a stream of physical and mental satisfaction which moves between taxing and rewarding the player with an almost flawless equipoise. It is, however, a stream that’s tragically interrupted by the filler which has reared its ugly head in so many of the series’ past iterations.

games(TM) – 90
Spellbinding, dramatic and absolutely epic in both the world it paints and the story it tells, Zelda: Skyward Sword is a hugely important event for the Wii, for Nintendo, and for anyone with even a passing love for the venerable series it celebrates.

1UP – 83
While the developers made a conscious effort to shake things up with new ideas and implementations, the game falls into a weird middle ground filled with genuine surprises, inessential carry-overs, and copy/paste quest structures. That said, I still believe this to be one of the more admirable chapters of the series, even if at times it feels the developers were unsure of which sacred cows to keep and which to sacrifice.

G4TV – 80
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword does a whole lot right, and at times, it’s a genuinely magical ride. It delivers in spades, but its corners are too sharp, its edges too rough, to warrant that coveted perfect score. Still, I say this: to fans of the series, be not disheartened. Skyward Sword is a fantastic continuation to the storied franchise.

GamePro – 80
Skyward Sword? is absolutely packed with content. There’s hardly any fluff to be found in the 35 hours or so it takes to complete the main quest, outside of the typically sluggish opening scenes. But I feel like Zelda should be going back to its roots and becoming less linear, rather than moreso. It’s a curious decision, and I’m not sure it’ll sit particularly well with longtime Zelda fans.

Giant Bomb – 80
Designer Shigeru Miyamoto once said “the first 30 minutes of a game is the most important,” and Skyward Sword fails to pass that test. It takes several hours before you’re given any sense of real freedom, which is too bad, as the game manages to merge the sublime openness of the sea from Wind Waker (without the Triforce madness!) with the directed fun of most other games, as it’s easy to just keep moving forward without much fuss. And by the time you start seeing what the designers really have in store for you…, you actually don’t want it to stop, even if you’re able to constantly, cynically predict when the game will ask you to find just One More Thing before it’s all over.

BitBlock – Detailed Review/Overview

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Bradley DeLorenzo

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