Soapbox options allow our particular person writers to voice their very own opinions on scorching matters, opinions that will not essentially be the voice of the location. On this piece, Kate defends The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword towards its many critics…
I wager a few of you clicked on that headline to yell “IT WAS ALWAYS GOOD”, and you recognize what? I agree with you. You are amongst associates right here. However because the announcement that Skyward Sword HD is coming to the Swap on final evening’s Nintendo Direct, social media (and our feedback) have been abuzz with individuals preventing over whether or not or not Skyward Sword is sweet, or horrible. I am simply right here to set the report straight.
On the time, when Skyward Sword got here out on Wii, it had been 5 years since Twilight Princess, and the world was dying for a brand new Zelda sport. We most likely would have thanked Nintendo in the event that they’d given us a moist sock with Hyperlink’s title written on it at that time.
However they did not – they gave us Skyward Sword, which I’ll posit is considered one of The Most Lovely Zeldas Ever. The colourful watercolour type is such an enormous (and welcome) departure from the grim realism of Twilight Princess. Although a few of you could not have preferred its cutesy leanings, with characters just like the spherical scaredy-cat Kikwis being both lovable or grating, relying on the way you typically really feel about these items, I used to be completely down for it.
Most reviewers gave it scores of 9/10 and above when it got here out. Nevertheless, it solely offered round 3.6 million copies – a determine that Age of Calamity hit in a few month (h/t Benji-Gross sales) – making it the worst-selling house console Zelda sport by fairly a good distance.
So, why does it have such a nasty rep? Effectively, it isn’t wholly undeserved. The sport holds your hand tighter than a involved mum serving to a toddler cross the street for the primary time. The Navi-like companion, Fi, talks much more than Navi, if that is even potential. The movement controls are enjoyable after they work, however TV-smashingly irritating after they do not, and the Wii wasn’t that good at detecting exact motion, which means that you simply usually needed to flail round in your front room to beat enemies that required directional sword-slashing.
Ghirahim, the secondary villain, is an terrible instance of how one can make a queer-coded villain, and his design – which goals for “unsettling” and as an alternative lands firmly in “deeply disturbing” – is not one thing I am significantly wanting ahead to revisiting. And all the pieces, from the Kikwis to The Imprisoned himself, is just a bit too cute. The Imprisoned seems like an enormous huggable pinecone with squishy little toesies, and that is not very scary.
Additionally, all of the characters have these horrible lips.
However, by god, is it a good looking sport. The idea artwork alone is attractive, and I really had a number of framed items of artwork from that assortment. Skyward Sword was a inventive threat in some ways – A Hyrule sunk beneath the clouds, a sword that talks to you, a narrative that predates all different Zelda video games and a Zelda who did not even know who she was but. Add to that the necessity to exhibit the Wii’s revolutionary (if irritating) controls, and also you get a sport the place the Grasp Sword is a wiggly, Wiimote-controlled factor as an alternative of the press-the-button-to-swing sword that we knew properly, turning a easy mechanic into one thing extra akin to attempting to decorate a two-year-old.
However for all of the work that they needed to do integrating movement controls, Nintendo did a fairly nice job. It is a Zelda sport that’s targeted on motion above all else, with dungeon keys, puzzles, and fights all centred across the Wiimote’s place. By no means earlier than had a Zelda sport felt so dynamic, with the participant with the ability to actually manipulate the world that Hyperlink was exploring for the primary time.
However the story itself took second place to the motion in consequence, which led to incredible designs – like the primary space within the sport, Faron Woods, being flooded afterward, turning a well-recognized place into a completely new one – being overshadowed by the overall trickiness of the controls.
Nonetheless, the design of the temples is one thing actually particular, and all the pieces from the open-air Temple of Time to the Historical Cistern nonetheless sticks in my thoughts in spite of everything these years. Even the character designs had been one thing particular, far more than many Zelda video games, with fleshed-out NPCs like Groose and Batreaux nonetheless holding a spot in my coronary heart. And Skyloft, regardless of being a bit of cramped for a whole civilisation, has some lovely particulars, with Beedle’s air-bicycle store being a specific spotlight for me.
I can not wait to return to the sport that performed with time within the Lanayru Desert, stealth within the Silent Realm, and the unusual Beetle-flying mechanic that allow you to see the world from a drone’s perspective. Skyward Sword will not be the perfect Zelda sport in some ways, and it definitely has its flaws, but it surely laid the bottom for lots of what Breath of the Wild managed to drag off a number of years later. And certain, it isn’t what lots of people wished from the Direct, myself included. However I am hoping that greater than 3.6 million individuals give it a go this time, and uncover for themselves that there is a actual hidden gem behind all of the jank.