The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the long-anticipated game from Nintendo that promised to give gamers what the Wii promised to give us so long ago - Motion controls that aren't gimmicks. How did Nintendo fare with this claim? Metacritic, the review aggragate site, has Skyward Sword at a 95 out of 100. Let's break it down with a few of the biggest review sites.
- Skyward Sword feels like the Legend of Zelda game producer Eiji Aonuma always wanted to make. As director of Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, he first pushed against then tried to imitate the towering Ocarina of Time; now he is simply and confidently stepping away from its decade-long shadow. 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.
- This is the Wii game we've been waiting for. Through all of the mini-games and odd sports collections, many wondered if and when Nintendo would ever find a way to deliver a deeper experience that still fulfilled on Wii's limitless potential. Skyward Sword makes good on that promise.
- Any minor issues I had with Skyward Sword pale in comparison to the game’s massive and undeniable achievements. It releases almost exactly five years after the launch of the Wii. Nintendo took a long time, but the publisher has finally proven that it’s possible to build a great, hardcore-friendly gaming experience around motion controls – something that’s fun and challenging without feeling frustrating or silly. That fact alone makes Skyward Sword a title that every gamer should experience.
- 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.
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is my new favorite 3D Zelda title, beating out Majora's Mask and Wind Waker by a substantial margin. It would be hard to go back to any of those games now. All of the gameplay innovations, emotionally involving moments, beautiful little details, and purely blissful experiences in this game have me completely and utterly spoiled. It's a very different Zelda game, one that will undoubtedly turn off some and absolutely enthrall others, but that's part of what Zelda does best, right? Fans of the series are still debating which game in the series is the best, and the arrival of' Skyward Sword won't change that. Either way, there is no arguing that Skyward Sword is one of the most painstakingly crafted, lovingly developed titles in Nintendo's long, illustrious history. If you like videogames at all, you'd be goofy to not give it a try.
- That being said, that buried brilliance of Skyward Sword is given plenty of time to shine through its excess, and when it does, it will completely consume you. It's a vessel for concentrated feelings of adventure and heroism, frequently reducing the barrier between player and protagonist to an imperceptible sheet -- and in those moments when you let it, it can even remove that barrier altogether. Brace yourself.
- Nevertheless, it's a good, well-designed adventure that does much to redeem five years of motion controlled shovelware. When I look back on it, I think I'll mainly remember the combat -- not something I've ever said about a Zelda title. Whether that's enough to push it into the upper echelons of the franchise is for history to decide. But for now, the Wii can rest knowing that its potential has finally been realized.
- Skyward Sword is still an incredible adventure, even by the high standards of this series, with characters and dungeons worthy of the Zelda name. But 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.