Zelda swings up to a whole new level
February 3, 2012
As far as video games go, no game has innovated the industry more then The Legend of Zelda. From the NES to the Wii, Zelda has captivated people generation to generation. The series made its trademark by putting the player into a landscape of the unknown, with only hints to start the player in the right direction. In many ways, it was the first attempt at a true adventure video game. Through past installments for every new Nintendo console, the Zelda series has managed to bring something new to the table every time. Take Ocarina of Time, A Zelda game for the N64 that was one of the first of it’s kind with how it utilized 3D graphics. This innovation can be seen again in the newest Zelda game, Skyward Sword. The game uses the Wii Plus controller, a system that provides almost one-to-one motion. With this, the new game capitalizes on what Zelda has been known for – setting the standard for future games to come.
In many ways, this game comes down to the overall experience of immersion. From exploring to combat to solving puzzles, the way the player move about the world has significantly changed how players use the controls. If the Wii remote is swung, the sword on screen matches it perfectly. This adds up to a combat system never seen before in a game. Each battle becomes a chess battle, both in how the enemies react to each swing and how accurately and perfectly timed strikes must be. This also works into how items are used and how to solve puzzles. Besides the controls and game play, the game has a fantastic art style that works well on the Wii, a music soundtrack that is completely orchestrated, and level design that make not only dungeons more difficult, but also the general layout of every area. These two things alone add up to why exploring each new area and progressing further into a dungeon becomes increasingly addicting. It is also important to mention the fantastic use of boss battles at the end of each dungeon. All of them add something new and different to each fight, and require a huge amount of thought to defeat them.
Where this game really fails is by falling back on classic aspects from past installments of the game. The story mostly follows a standard formula – the princess is taken and it is up to the player to save her. Furthermore, certain quests before each dungeon can become rather monotonous. It seems to be the same quests, just in different settings. To fans of the series, this may seem as though it is just the classic Zelda feel and should be penalized because of it. Because of all the other areas where the series has innovated, it would be nice to see certain things change to liven up the game and make it flow in a different way.
In the end, this game has many areas of improvements not only from the series in general, but for video games overall. The game’s controls, along with things such as level design add up to an experience that cannot be matched currently in any other game. To some, this may come with a grain of salt in terms of repetition and the nostalgic feeling of past Zelda games. Yet this should not be a reason to avoid playing this game. It is an experience that cannot be matched.