Skyward Sword Nets Another Perfect Score

While Famitsu isn’t as tough as they used to be, it’s still a rather rare occurrence to see them hand out a perfect score.  Well that’s exactly what they’ve done with the latest Zelda, Skyward Sword. This is the 16th game the magazine has awarded a perfect score and the third Zelda after Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker.  On our side of the great pond Skyward Sword has already garnered critical praise from large media outlets like IGN, which also scored the game a perfect 10.  Thus far the metacritic score is 94% based on 34 reviews.  Our review will go up post-launch as all our Nintendo reviews do.  That doesn’t mean it won’t be any less awesome.  Odds are I’ll be pushing Ahmed to write the review because he’s the other local Zelda nut.

In order to be completely transparent, Skyward Sword’s metacritic rating shows a ton of perfect scores, and also shows that some major media outlets are starting to tire of the tried and true formula.  Giant Bomb gave the game an 8 and Gamespot gave it a 7.5.  It’ll be interesting to see whether the old formula is indeed starting to get old, or if the new improvements shines over the faults.

Question is, how many of you are going to pick the game up?  Are you excited about it?  Let us know, and don’t forget to pick up the Limited Edition bundle that include that ultra sexy gold controller.  You know you can’t live without one of those, right ;)

53 thoughts on “Skyward Sword Nets Another Perfect Score”

  1. I am incredibly excited for Skyward Sword. It’s my most hyped game of this season, so I’m really looking forward it. Zelda is just something that is so timeless, so classic, that I look forward to every entry with genuine enthusiasm. Even if the games don’t change that much, I don’t really care. It’s the equivalent of comfort food or a good, classic book for the video game world. Something that is always there for you and is always satisfying and compelling.

    I can’t say with complete certainty how my opinion lines up with reviews I’ve read, because, well, I haven’t played the game firsthand yet. The GameSpot review does have me scratching my head a little bit though. If you’re “tired” of a formula being used, why do you praise the same tactics being used in other genres? Have FPS games “really” advanced the genre in the past few years? What Western RPGs, like the newly released Skyrim, done anything explicitly different from what their predecessors set out to do? Uncharted 3 doesn’t really do anything different than 2 or 1, and even then, the games are more or less Tomb Raider with a male lead. That doesn’t make them any less awesome. Skyrim is a fulfilling, deep game even though it does stick to familiar conventions for western RPGs, and Uncharted 3 is undoubtedly awesome. I guess I have trouble wrapping my head around these complaints when they come up. If you’re “truly” tired of the same games, why would you play ANY sequel? And why is having something constant bad? You can have a successful piece of film or literature that sticks close to conventions you already know–they are just reinvented for later generations.

  2. Tim, did you read the gamespot review? Although he does mention that the game is starting to show it’s age, it’s not the game’s biggest fault by far. The biggest problem is that the controls are more often then not, unresponsive. That’s what the review claims. IGN on the other hand claims that you won’t be able to play a Zelda game without it. So in both reviews, 2 extreme cases.

    I fear that I might hate the new controls…. as I hate pretty much any motion gaming in serious games as it’s just not as responsive as using actual controls. Gamespot’s video review strongly support his point. On the other side, you have IGN who’s saying you won’t want to play Zelda games without it after. Who to believe? I think there will be people on both sides when the game does see release and this will be one of those games where some people hate and others adore.

    Also, to come back on the aging part. Zelda refuses to advance…….. heck it is another Zelda game (after WW, and the 2 DS games) to not have an owerworld, but rather have a method of traveling to different areas. I’m not a fan of this….. Also, cut the crap with the no voice-acting debate. Zelda’s story would be so much better with it. The villains would much more menacing if you didn’t have to read any text. I’d rather have just sound effects then have to read text, not in a console game anyway. This is 2011.

    I’m really looking forward to this game however. Really like that the dungeons seem to have been given a fresh coat of paint with new puzzle designs. I’m not a big fan of critiquing reviews. Critic the game, not the review. Especially when the guy has some solid points to back up his complaints.

    1. I never said that Gamespot made it out to be the “biggest” criticism toward the game. My point is that they made it a point to bring it out in the review, and it just made me think. It’s a recurring complaint that gets inserted into reviews of long-running franchises, so it’s just interesting to see where it pops up and where it doesn’t. I think it’s fair to critique the writing when something puzzles me, y’know? I don’t think this point is what dragged the score down, of course. It’s the controls, but…

      Can’t comment on the Motion controls, I haven’t used them yet.

      As for voice acting, yeah, I’d like it to be in. It’s not a point that I’m really going to hinge my criticism of the game though. What Zelda has always intended to do, as a series, is instill you with a sense of adventure and make you want to play and explore the world. I can still *get* that feeling with or without voice acting, and if anything, I’d be worried that the voices would just be passable. If the voice quality is good, that can help enhance the mood for storytelling–we can get the tone of voice if the villain is intending to be imposing or we can catch subtle inflections or rising intonations. That can be cool. Would I take points off of a review score? Depends. I’ll see how it impacts how much I get into the adventure.

      Anyway, I can comment more on the game when I actually play it. I don’t know if my opinions line up with reviews yet, because some complaints, especially about the controls, are incredibly difficult to convey via text or even video. It’s something you have to “feel” firsthand. If they don’t work well, then I’d be more apt to agree with GameSpot, but I have to try the game out.

      I think motion control can work well, depending on how it’s integrated. Metroid Prime 3 plays beautifully with the Wii remote, and I preferred that play style over the standard controller–which was one of the reasons I was so happy with MP Trilogy. Red Steel 2’s combination of sword fighting and gun play was too much fun for me, and slicing bad guys in half in No More Heroes is far more satisfying than just flicking the analog stick. Sin & Punishment: Star Successor’s controls with the Wii Remote are far superior than the original set up on the Nintendo 64, and I think it’s a more logical choice than even a dual analog controller, since it’s basically an evolution of the “light gun” formula or the gallery shooter. A button press may be the faster response for some situations, but motion controls can bring a certain level of satisfaction to general play that a button press can’t.

  3. I agree with you, Tim, about some of the review’s somewhat contradictory nature, 1up’s review struck me in the same manner. The Zelda series, in its long history, has established gameplay conventions that the franchise is renowned for. While each new iteration of the franchise should, reasonably, be expected to bring new things to the table to enhance the experience, adhering to the franchise’s established conventions is part of the identity of the game as part of the franchise. Take, for example, the Metroid series: while Other M broke new ground for the series, it still featured Samus in her signature varia suit exploring a sprawling environment while regaining powers lost in the beginning of the game. that allow her to revisit areas to access new sections with reclaimed equipment. So while Skyward Sword may do many new things, it is still a Zelda game and should be expected feel similar to previous Zelda games.

    The game does look fantastic regardless, I love me some exploring so I’m excited that reviews have claimed that the game takes a more “Metroidvania”-style approach to exploration of revisiting areas with new equipment to go to reach previously unavailable sections. The motion controls look great. Also, I’m excited to see Zelda playing a larger role in the game, I preferred Spirit Tracks on the DS far more than Phantom Hourglass because of the dual character control in dungeons while controlling both Link and Zelda via the Phantom Guardians. Overall, I’m also very excited for Skyward Sword & pre-ordered the limited edition, considering the golden Wii remote has motion plus built in ($40 to buy a plain white one) I just couldn’t pass it up.

  4. I’ve pre-ordered it as well (regular version, since I have no need for another Wii Remote) and am excited for it, but I know that it’s not going to be the big game-changer that it’s being made out to be. Still, I know I’ll enjoy it regardless, and I hope that there’s enough big differences from other Zelda games to make it both unique and fun. It’s the main reason why I love Majora’s Mask so much… because it wasn’t Ocarina of Time 2, even though it had the exact same engine and controls. Twilight Princess, on the other hand, played it a bit *too* safe to the point where I felt I was just playing OoT with better graphics.

  5. We all have different opinions on where the Zelda series should go. We’ve all been talking about it since after Ocarina of Time launched back in ’98 and I think we’ll continue to talk about it for years to come. With Skyward Sword in particular though I find it interesting how the Gamespot and IGN reviews are so extremely different. On one end we have someone saying the new controls will change the way you look at every action adventure from this point forward, and the other saying the controls just don’t work as intended. The controls are the most important aspect to a videogame because they’re your input device into the gameplay, which is the next most important aspect to a game. We all take the basic controls for granted today because the main input methods have remained the same since before the Wii. The Wii changed things though and most are still coming to terms with that. What perplexes me is that Nintendo seems to have given up on the Wii’s direction with the Wii U. Sure Wiimotes will work with the system, but games will mainly be created around the Wii U tablet remote, so I don’t really get what Nintendo is doing here.

    Hopefully the controls work as intended so the gameplay is fresh and exciting, but that may not be the case as the video review for Gamespot showed.

    As for voice acting, everyone but Link should speak, end of story.

  6. Skyward Sword definitely doesn’t deserve a perfect score. I have the game and while I’m still very early into it, it’s not nearly as spectacular as I’d hoped given some of the reviews I’ve read. The motion controls are clunky at times, especially when trying to charge the sword to use the Skyward Strike, which for me only seems to work one time out of five. This basically rules out using it in any kind of combat, though I’m certain I’ll *have* to use it some time in the future and end up taking a horrible beating from the boss trying to do so.

    I don’t really like the new shield system. I must be doing something wrong, because an *Octorok* managed to wear my Wooden Shield down to nearly nothing in about two seconds, despite Fi telling me that you can deflect the rocks back at it with the shield. Luckily, I figured out that you can also use the sword to knock them back (which is actually pretty cool to do if you time it right).

    The game also shares Twilight Princess’s problem of having to go through a long, un-skippable opening sequence before you can actually do anything worthwhile. Right now I’m still not at the first proper dungeon yet and I’ve logged hours of gameplay.

    Despite all this, I’m still enjoying it, but it is still just another 3D Zelda game following the same formula set down since 1998. Except for the controls, which aren’t that great, there’s basically nothing new here. Also, I can see why some complain about the controls… for me, the AI for some enemies seems to be a bit *too* good to the point where they’ll guess and deflect all of your attacks, making me resort to just waggling and flailing like a madman and hoping I land a hit, especially in battles when you have to fight five or six of them all at once.

  7. That doesn’t sound very promising there Enhas. My game is on the way, but since I ordered the Limited Edition I’ve had to wait a few extra days to get my hands on it. I’ll be sure to update my first impressions once I actually have them.

  8. I’m not saying that it isn’t a good game, but that my expectations so far haven’t been what I’d hoped. Maybe as I get further in I’ll be surprised… I think I’m just about to (finally!) enter the first temple of the game after getting the Slingshot.

    I can honestly say that the upgrade system is neat, though all I’ve done as of yet is upgrade my shield. There’s a whole page of items you can collect / bugs you can catch which are used for upgrades (you need a bug net for some of the latter, and I’ve had no real luck doing so yet). Item drops from enemies are quite rare though, so expect to have to do a lot of killing.

  9. How difficult is the game thus far? One of my biggest complaints with the series going forward has been how easy the games have been.

    Keep the impressions coming!

  10. Enemies do more damage than in Twilight Princess. Basically everything does a minimum of a heart of damage, except for things like hornets, so you really do have to be careful.

    I’ve had to use the Sheikah Stone (hint system, pretty much the same as OoT3D) once already, to figure out how to deal with the Eye Sentry. Really, I felt like an idiot for not realizing it almost right away. The temple itself isn’t that hard (haven’t completed it yet though), except for the Skulltulas. They’re weak in only one spot on their backs, which you have to thrust forward to hit (harder than it sounds)… plus they don’t like turning around so you have to keep hitting them until they do, which makes them swing around wildly and damage you if they run into you. Basically, if you go into this game with the same mindset as any of the other 3D Zeldas, you’re going to get slaughtered. It takes getting used to.

  11. Just finished Skyview Temple… barely. Ghirahim killed me twice, and he’s only the *first* proper boss. Yes, this game is much harder than Twilight Princess was. Many a player, though managing to scrape by up to that point, will have their asses handed to them by him. When it comes to difficulty, I think Nintendo listened… Ganondorf at the end of TP was a cakewalk compared to Ghirahim and he was the *last* boss!

    I think I’m probably going to watch the hint movie for that battle (if there is one), just to see what the proper technique for battling him is. For sure, you have to at least have mastered the shield bash by that point or else you have almost no chance.

    Though I still wouldn’t give it a perfect score, I’d rate this game a notch or two higher than Twilight Princess.

  12. Thanks a million for all these impressions Enhas. Please keep them coming. Seems like you’re slowly easing into things. I thought my copy would arrive today, but alas no. That means it’ll be in early next week. Give me some more time to practice in KoF XIII lol. How are the motion controls at this point? Have you adjust or are the earlier issues you mentioned still present?

  13. I think I’ve adjusted well, though the Skyward Strike is still too tricky for me to have any practical use for it. In heated battles, trying to charge it (which doesn’t always work unless you get the angle *just* right) leaves you wide open to get hurt. I’ll probably have to overcome my aversion to it soon though, as I’m sure there’s enemies and / or bosses that’ll require its use. Other things like the Slingshot and Beetle need you to re-calibrate the remote sometimes but it’s not much of an issue. The Beetle is pretty fun to use.

    Rope-swinging and balancing takes a bit of practice, but isn’t difficult to do at all. Same with using the Loftwing.

    Oh, and this game is back to the system of four pieces of heart = one heart container, which is good. I disliked that TP made you get one more so this is a good change.

  14. Great to hear. I always loved finding four heart pieces for a heart container.

    All these impressions make it sound like this will be another excellent entry in the series, albeit one that will take some getting used to. I plan to get started sometime next week…once my copy arrives. I’ll juggle between Zelda and KoF XIII. Really looking forward to this game, and thanks to your comments, all the more.

  15. Some enemies will punish you severely if you try to get by with waggling. I went into this game thinking I could basically use the same strategy as in Twilight Princess, and quickly found out that’s not the case. I’m still struggling a bit even now with the swordplay… I keep reading how you’re supposed to hold it in one direction and then quickly change to the other to attack an open spot, but more often than not the enemy reads your controls and almost instantly guards. I really don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I’m terrible at it and most of my deaths are due to my attacks being blocked, while enemies then immediately do their own attacks that I *can’t* block, especially when being surrounded. It’s annoying.

    I’ve already died several times against Lizalfos, which are actually a real threat in this game. Altogether, I must have died over ten times in the game so far and I’m only at the second temple. More difficult than TP indeed… in that game I died a grand total of once, during the burning bridge scene, and never in combat.

  16. If you’re dying because the controls aren’t working exactly as they should that changes things. That doesn’t make it difficult, it makes it unfair and/or unbalanced. By now the basic sword techniques should come like second nature, so I’m really curious what’s up. You’re not the only person that is saying things like “I just don’t get it” so when I get my hands on it I’m going to test it like crazy to see exactly how it reacts for me.

    Thanks again for the impressions and keep ’em coming!

  17. I probably need to get more of a hang of battling. Even the basic Bobokins are dangerous, since they’re almost never alone and like to surround you, making it hard to pick off one of them at a time. Spin attacks usually work well, as long as you don’t do too many at a time… your stamina meter will wear out and you’ll be left defenseless while they beat the crap out of you. Fighting is really much different in this game.

    The controls aren’t perfect. Many, many times I’ve done an action (like taking out my shield, or doing a vertical spin attack) without intending to, which in some situations can prove to be fatal. It’s also common to end up doing a diagonal slash when trying to do a horizontal one. I’ve read that later on in the game there’s enemies that also damage and stun you if they block your attacks, so hopefully I’ll be better at it by then.

  18. I’m still trying to grasp how some of the large media outlets gave this a perfect score and said the controls are the way of the future, and that you will never play a Zelda game again without them. Having real-world feedback paints quite a different picture.

  19. Some people can easily get the hang of the motion control, others just can’t. I fall in the latter category, sadly, and still regularly get hurt by things like Bobokins and Deku Babas even though by this point they should be a cakewalk, and I really shouldn’t be taking damage from them or having them regularly block almost all of my attacks. I don’t consider what should be simple enemies moving their weapons to block your swings in a fraction of a second to be *easy*… I often have to try and waggle my way through basically everything.

    I am trying to get used to the control, but it isn’t working. It’s hard to be calm enough to direct your swings when you’re surrounded or being attacked by something aggressive (ie. nearly every enemy in the game). Trying to play the game the *right* way when faced with three or more Bobokins just gets me killed, because as I’m trying to focus on one for an opening (which for me never works anyway, because I seem to be too slow with the sword due to them always reading it and blocking), the other two sneak around and hack away. Thus, I resort to random flailing and spin attacks, which works better and kills them much faster.

    I think that it’s intended that you stand up when playing the game, because I play while sitting down and some sword strikes are basically impossible to do. I really hate complaining, but I’m just not really having any fun playing it… I don’t know how I got this far (Lanaryu Desert right now), but my luck is probably going to run out. This is probably why Gamespot rated the game lower than the rest… because the person reviewing it didn’t like and could never truly *get* the controls, and I understand why (though I would have still rated it higher).

  20. I’ve realized that I’ve made a grave error regarding the controls… they are NOT 1:1 as I assumed they were.

    All this time I’ve thought that Link’s arm needed to be lined up almost exactly where you want to strike. All it does, in reality, is make enemies guard or move weapons to that side, and Link can actually only swing his sword in eight directions (vertically up or down, horizontally left or right, and the four diagonals). I feel completely stupid for not realizing it, and hope I start playing better than I have.

    As for the actual game, I’m at the start of the Lanaryu Desert, but will flee back to Skyloft for a while to heal and get some stuff. The third temple is likely coming soon, along with the Zelda tradition of a Big Plot Twist after it’s beaten.

    The boss of the second temple, while very threatening looking, wasn’t very difficult at all. It’d have made a better first boss in my opinion, but that’s just me.

  21. Very interesting comments Enhas. I think the reviewer at Gamespot went through exactly what you’re going through, which would explain why he didn’t score the game as highly as others have. I know I sure wouldn’t score a game in the 9 or 10 range if the controls felt uncomfortable or didn’t work as intended. It’s one thing when you have to adjust to the controls and something else entirely when they never ever work as intended.

  22. I’ve already got much better with the sword controls… changing my mindset really made a huge difference. I can imagine that there’s probably plenty of people that think the sword control is 1:1 and end up doing poorly as a result. The Electric Bobokins were actually fun to fight (though I still sometimes had my attacks blocked, but not nearly as often now).

    I’m just about to enter the third temple after spending quite some time in the Lanaryu Desert (which is a pretty big place), and have 11 heart containers… and I’m probably only about 1/3 through the game if even that, since the Big Plot Twist Where The Game Really Begins still hasn’t happened yet. Heh.

  23. Basically, watch the enemies and see where they’re not blocking or what kind of sword slash they’re vulnerable to (ie. if a Bobokin is holding his weapon in his right hand, quickly do diagonal slashes in the opposite direction). You have to be quick though, as they’re smart and will block you if you’re not fast enough. Also, move your sword around to try and make them move their weapons around to give you an opening. Above all else, try to be patient and not panic and start swinging wildly. It takes getting used to, especially if you played Twilight Princess and are used to the much simpler waggle controls there.

  24. Thanks for the tips. I’m sure other readers will make use of them, and I’ll be sure to keep them in mind. I had planned to have my game today, but alas no so hopefully it arrives tomorrow.

    Be sure to keep us in the loop for your progress.

  25. I’ll try. I didn’t really intend to turn this post into a progress thread but somehow it ended up that way. I’m making sure to be vague with some things though as to not spoil much.

    Some things are *really* (1000+ rupees or more) expensive to buy. My wallet right now can hold up to 1400, and I just spent a lot buying an Adventure Pouch upgrade so I’m nearly broke. I really hope there’s some decent rupee sources upcoming, since most of my rupees so far have been 20 / 100 / 300 ones from chests. Rarely you might find a red (20) one during gameplay (enemies, cutting grass, digging) but most of the time you just get green and blue.

    So far I’ve only upgraded my Wooden Shield once (increases durability), and a Heart (Red) Potion once (heals all hearts instead of 8). I’ve not really had the need nor the materials to upgrade anything else yet, but nearly everything you get can be upgraded somehow. Upgrading the Wooden and Iron Shields seems to be a waste of time though, unless you’re blocking a lot and need the extra durability, since using the Shield Bash correctly doesn’t detract from it like blocking does.

    I’ve started to get my first Medals. They’re items that give you special effects, but with the drawback of using one spot in your Adventure Pouch space. The Life Medal, for example, gives you an extra Heart Container but only if you have it in your pouch. You only have limited space (upgradeable from 4 up to 8) though, so you have to choose what you want to take with you wisely. Key items (Slingshot, Beetle, etc…) have their own separate equipment space so you don’t have to worry about not having those.

    What can be put in the Adventure Pouch:

    – Shields
    – Bottles
    – Medals
    – Extra Seed Satchels, Bomb Bags, etc. By default your Slingshot has 20 seeds, so you need to use space here if you want to carry more.

    I’m just about to go into Temple #3 (I think), after a long but somewhat easy side-quest through the desert. The Hook Beetle (upgrade from Beetle) was heavily used and actually quite a lot of fun… you can use it to fly high and drop bombs onto enemies, killing them instantly.

  26. Finished Temple #3 (not actually called a temple in-game, but that’s what it is). Without giving much away, you’ll be reminded *much* of OoT in the events that transpire soon afterward.

    Also, in that temple you’re required to use the stab attack against some enemies, as well as the boss. It’s tricky to do sometimes and you’ll end up doing a slash instead… against the boss this means you’ll probably get hurt if you fail as you only have about a two-second window to stab before it attacks. It’s basically the only sword motion I have a problem with, and I’ll have to keep practicing it.

    And now, I’m backtracking to somewhere I was many hours ago (well, I was actually told in-game to go there next). I think you have to do it a lot in this game as there’s areas you see on your first time through that you can’t access until you get an item later (you’ll see Clawshot targets in some places even early on into the game), so it’s more Metroid-like than other Zelda games.

  27. That sounds interesting so long as the backtracking doesn’t get too repetitive. I think my copy of Zelda is lost or something because normally it would be in by now. If it doesn’t arrive by Friday I’m going to start worrying. By now I could have made some serious progress.

    I really want to get in on the story, but clearly I appreciate what you’re doing Enhas. These spoiler-free impressions are fantastic and I’ll start a new quest log article once I actually get the bloody thing. That way you can follow along with my progress and comment on any issues I might have ;)

    Thanks again :)

  28. I just completed the 2nd dungeon and so far so good. I really hate the motion controls however, the sword fighting is fun but everythiong else is a pain in the ass. So far though, this Zelda has the best storyline in the series. Love the villain too….. he actually threatens to murder Link in his first encounter, I don’t think Nintendo ever used that word (or kill) before. They usually go for less heavy words like destroy or demolish.

  29. Hey Enhas, where did you find the big wallet? I can’t carry more then 300 rupees right now, and I found both a silver and a gold rupee in treasure chests when I was already maxed out. I know that Beegle sells an extra wallet that can carry 300 rupees, but not I’m broke and had barely enough to buy his bug net.

  30. Beedle sells three Extra Wallets (not all at once, you have to come back later for the others) for 100 rupees each that add an extra 300, so with the base Wallet and the three upgraded you’ll be able to hold 1200 rupees. The only way to get better Wallets is by getting Gratitude Crystals (basically, like the Poe Souls in TP, only there are more levels of rewards). Right now I have the Big Wallet (1000), and the three Extra Wallets, so I can hold 1900.

    No, I don’t like that this game doesn’t put rupees back in chests if you’re already maxed out, like TP did. I missed a Gold Rupee too this way.

    Defeated Boss #4 (easy, yet fun). I think there might be a time limit that you have to beat it by or else you lose, but I didn’t really want to find out. Anyway, the Harp is pretty annoying to use… easily my least favorite part of the game so far (and you also have to use it to get a Piece of Heart, which is actually more difficult than you’d think). Once you get used to the motions it isn’t so bad, but be prepared to probably spend a bit of time in the tutorial.

    And after a bit of running around and backtracking (and getting a new shield), I finished the first Silent Realm. It was easy, but since it was the first one it’s probably meant to be an introduction to the harder ones to come. Enemies will come after you if you take too much time (and will stop for a while when you pick up a Tear), if you’re detected by the Watchers, or if you step into water… and one hit from them and you’re dead. Now, I’m on a quest to find some special water.

  31. Finished the Ancient Cistern (Temple #4). The mid-boss was actually harder for me than the boss, and I barely defeated it (only 3/4 of a heart left at the end!). I didn’t take nearly as much damage against the boss, but still took quite a bit from strikes that I could have avoided.

    And now, after another Silent Realm (this one was harder), I’m at the Sand Sea. I also have 14 Heart Containers so I figure I’m over halfway through the game at least. Time to do some more side-quests and upgrade some of my items before I get to the next Temple.

  32. I finally got my game!!! Played for around five hours or so and saved as I was just about to enter the first dungeon. Thus far here are a few of my early impressions.

    – Sword mechanics seem to work quite well for the most part. I haven’t really had too many issues with enemies that require specific areas to attack. That said, I have also waggled my way to victory more often than not.

    – This is a much harder Zelda than we’ve played in years. It very well could be the toughest Zelda since ALttP in terms of enemies taking damage. A few of the earliest enemies take one full heart container and hit multiple times in a row, so I was surprised by that.

    – Exploration is just as fun as ever. I already have 3/4 of a full heart container before entering the first dungeon. I was going to explore like mad to find that other piece, but I think I’ll hold off for now.

    – A little too many motion control options in my opinion. I keep forgetting all the individual motions for all the different equipment and throws, etc. Some of this stuff would have been much easier with a simple button press.

    – Great artistic design as usual, but the graphics really show this isn’t an HD console. Going from KoF XIII in HD to this shows that Nintendo is really behind the times with the Wii, and I’m wondering how in the blue blazes they expect to catch up to everyone with the Wii U? Should be interesting to see how that pans out for them.

    – Music is sensational. Took them forever to get a fully orchestrated soundtrack and thus far I’m adoring it.

    So there you have my first impressions. Mostly positive thus far, we’ll see what happens as I delve deeper into the game.

  33. I enjoy the game a lot more ever since getting more used to the controls, though sometimes some things are still tricky. Stabbing is difficult at best. Also, a little advice… abuse the shield bash whenever you can. It takes good timing (or else your shield will take damage), but against many enemies it works wonders to stun them and give you openings. It’s ineffective against some bosses though, so beware.

    Don’t get too used to just waggling. The boss of the first Temple will punish and (literally) mock you if you do, and later on in the game you’ll be up against enemies with shields and much tougher and smarter Bobokins that’ll shrug off everything if you just blindly swing.

    Yes, compared to most other games you take a lot of damage in this game, so having a bottled potion or even a fairy in your pouch is basically a must at all times. Note that you use bottles in this game in real time, so retreat to a safe distance before trying (and don’t wait until you’re down to like one heart) or you’ll be killed while trying to use it.

    About five or six hours in seems to be the average time for getting past the intro and into the first Temple.

    Some of the motion controls aren’t so great, yeah. Rolling bombs and harp playing comes to mind.

    The music is indeed very nice. Too bad that the CD bundled with the game only gives one track from Skyward Sword (that’s not to say that the others aren’t great, because they are), since there are a lot of good tunes.

  34. I’m now 22 hours in and just finished the 4th temple. Man I am loving this game so far. I have to say that there are way too much motion controls in this game, but I (I cannot believe I’m saying this) now prefer using motion controls over regular controls to use Link’s many weapons! I never thought I’d feel like that, but after using the whip, and the beetle countless times, it’s just way more fun to do so with the wii-mote. Easier? Not always but definitly more enjoyable. There are some motion that just plain sucks however, like rolling bombs which seems to work only when it feels like it.

    I also am digging the difficulty so far as I have died often (twice at the 4th temple mini-boss) plus I like that you need to use all of your arsenal from start to finish. Weapons are no longer dungeon specific. The story is amazing….. the only thing missing is HD visuals, which would add so much to the game. (and voice-acting.)

  35. Mostly agreeing with Enhans on the basic impressions of Skyward Sword. I just finished the Silent Realm of Lanyaru Desert and am around 40 hours in. I love the fact that there’s no longer a fine line between the overworld and temples as they all contain puzzles, backtracking and fetch quests. I really appreciate the depth found in Skyloft, which is inspired by the likes of Majora’s Mask and Spirit Tracks when it comes to NPC quests. Love gathering those gratitude crystals. The upgrade system is also just as good …something that should’ve been in a Zelda game for ages.

    Thus far, the most creative portions of the game in my opinion is the first time you enter Lanyaru Desert. Awesome references to Ocarina of Time storyline-wise, and the gameplay mechanic that involves time crystals is absolutely ingenious!

    Regarding motion controls, for once there’s a hardcore game that goes hand in hand with them. While they’re not perfect, I can’t imagine playing Skyward Sword with a regular controller.

    Weak points: bland-ish overworld, harp playing, constant recycling of the same foes, lack of creative new weapons (aside from the all-purpose flying beetle), and certain padding elements. While I really like going back to the regions and playing the silent realm aspects which are derived from the DS Zelda games, I can tell why certain people won’t like it. Past Zelda games had far less obvious padding problems because the overworld was seamless so it didn’t show when you were backtracking, but here because the sky is so different from the action stages…revisiting old areas time and time again is obvious and tiring. But Zelda has been like that for ages. And therein lies another problem; Skyward Sword doesn’t do much to grab people who hate or dislike the series. The Zelda forumla is certainly there, hidden in between the new elements and innovations. I’m not complaining much, but I can see why skeptics play and go “hey, I’ve done this before”.

  36. I just logged four more hours, about half of which was spent doing side-quests to get Heart Pieces and Gratitude Crystals, some Bugs and Treasures I needed for crafting, and Rupees. I have the Goddess Shield now, and a fully upgraded Slingshot, Bug Net and Beetle. Far too much time was spent at Fun Fun Island to get the top prize… I just lucked out after a while. It was a very annoying mini-game. Right now I’m exploring the Sandship (Temple #5), and I’d like to have gone further but I’m too tired.

    The Sky is a pretty weak overworld, yeah. There’s only a few islands that are important, and all the rest are only visited to get their chests (once you activate them) and never again. Plus sometimes it takes way too long to get from one place to another with your Loftwing, even when using the speed rings.

    SS definitely follows the Zelda formula, yes, but the complaints can work both ways… if it’s changed too much then it wouldn’t even *be* a Zelda game anymore. As it is, this game is what Twilight Princess should have been.

  37. Finished off the first dungeon with relative ease, figure out how to finish the first boss without him to much as touching me. Basically for the first portion, you just swing the Wiimote in the opposite direction he’s holding his hand and waggle away. For the second portion, run up to him when he’s about to attack and waggle away, or when he’s about to shoot those red whatever they are at you, and…you guessed it, waggle away. Finished him off within three or four minutes once I figured out what to do. Not a challenge at all.

    Now I’m right at the entrance to the second dungeon, at around 7 and a half hours in. Thus far I’m making pretty good progress. Also have one full extra heart container, 15 gratitude crystals and just activated three more cubes on my way to the dungeon. Having a really good time thus far, but I’m looking forward to the enemies that require more precision. Have yet to die either, but having three bottles with potions will do that ;)

  38. I used to die a lot before getting more of a hang of the controls, and Ghirahim gave me real trouble at first. I haven’t actually died in quite a while now.

    Two of the potions you can acquire are really, horribly broken. The Heart Potion ++ gives you two complete heals from one bottle (reminds me of Zelda on the NES), and if that isn’t bad enough the Guardian Potion+ makes you invincible for three minutes. And if *that* isn’t bad enough, if you drink that potion while having the Potion Medal on you the length is tripled to NINE minutes, making just about everything a cakewalk. It’s expensive though, but if you really wanted you could fill your pouch with bottles of it and the Potion Medal and be invincible for a long time, but you’d be out a ton of rupees and bugs.

  39. Haha, you guys are playing like pussies! I’m going in dungeons without potions and I’ve been playing the entire game without a shield, the way a real hero does things!

  40. I’ve actually never used even one Heart Potion yet, though early in the game I probably should have to avoid dying. I still have the one I bought at the start of the game (upgraded to ++ now), and a bottled Fairy… the overabundance of places to sit down in some areas negates the need for them, anyway.

    I like having a shield for bashing. It’s a pretty overpowered move that, if timed right, stuns basically everything. It makes Deku Babas, Staldras, and any kind of Bobokin (even the electric ones) a complete joke.

  41. Yeah I keep the potions mainly as a “just in case,” but haven’t really needed them at all. Finished off the second dungeon, and found it way easier than the first one. Actually completed it in an hour or so. Didn’t find anything a challenge in that one. I am using a shield for some really cool bashing moves, but for the sword I find under-cuts work amazingly well. For the Lizalfos I just performed a spinning vertical attack to knock them back and finished them off. Took literally three seconds to finish them off. The first one gave me a little trouble until I realized that you can get on top of them quickly when they’re just about to hit you.

    I also played through the beginning portion of the desert, but stopped just as I entered the main area because I’ve got some company coming over. I’ll continue tomorrow if time permits. Really having a blast though, and the potions you mentioned there Enhas would make even the most challenging boss a complete push-over.

    Steven, you’re just nuts, that is all.

  42. Believe it or not, but I actually found myself using the heart portin during 4th temple and after and I had a few occassions in which the fairy revived me in the beginning portions of the game. The reason being is that I like to rush myself into foes occasionally, and this Zelda makes it a bit more challenging because the foes do more damage than your usual Zelda game, usually one heart container per hit. Also, even though there are hearts in the boss rooms, I found the 2nd and 4th bosses quite creative and challenging. The 3rd one might’ve been the easiest boss in the series.

  43. I’ve logged nearly 43 hours, and just received the first part of the Hero’s Song. I opted to go to the Lanaryu Desert first (still have Faron and Eldin left, you can do them in any order), and just *barely* managed to beat eight bosses in the Lightning Round to get the best shield in the game. I could have cheesed it with a Guardian Potion+ & Potion Medal combo (drinking it BEFORE starting, since you can’t access the pouch once you do), but decided against it.

    I tried the Rickety Coaster and Pumpkin Shooting mini-games, but after many attempts I just gave up on them completely. I don’t have much patience, especially for the former because all it takes is *one* mistake and you either lose by falling off the track, or you lose by going too slow. I have 19/20 Heart Containers though, so it’s no real big loss. There’s a few Pieces of Heart in Majora’s Mask that I could never get either.

    I’m probably close to finishing the game, and I don’t know if I’m going to bother playing Hero Mode right away or not once it’s over. Oh yeah, that’s a bit of a spoiler, but it’s already widely known… enemies do double damage, hearts don’t drop anywhere unless you carry the Heart Medal, and you start with all the bugs and treasures you had in your last game. Make sure that you make a backup of your main game before going to the final battle though, as Hero Mode will save over it.

  44. Well, I’m stuck on Ghirahim #3. I died twice against him and still didn’t figure out how to kill him even with Fi’s analysis. I even drank a Guardian Potion +… no help. It wore off and then he killed me. The problem I have is when he gets out the huge sword, because it appears you have to destroy it *very* quickly or else he heals it. I can never do it in time.

    I resorted to fleeing to Skyloft to see the hint movie. Lame, I know, but I really didn’t have much of a choice. I’ll try it again tomorrow and hopefully get it.

  45. I don’t know why I had such problems with Ghirahim… must have been too tired last night to focus. I beat him quite easily today, as well as the final boss (though, if I didn’t know the *trick* I probably wouldn’t have) though in the latter case I had to drink a few Heart Potions before realizing I could shield bash to block an otherwise unblockable, damaging attack. Having the Hylian Shield really helped in the last few hours of the game.

    Aside from two Heart Pieces, I finished all the side-quests and got all the Gratitude Crystals. The final result of getting them all is quite… comical, to say the least. I really do wish the rewards were better though, and not rupee-related, since that far into the game rupees are unfortunately almost useless just like most other Zelda games.

    The ending was quite good, and long. I don’t really want to spoil it. Also, what I liked and at the same time and was a bit annoyed with are all the times in the last part of the game that it seems like the game is over, only it’s not and you still have another Temple left or more side-quests. I’m a bit sad that it’s over for real now, though, but there’s always Hero Mode to try now.

    I’ve read that there’s a critical, game-breaking bug during the Song of the Hero quest that can ruin your save and force you to start all over. What’s more is that I went to the Lanaryu Desert first so I came *THIS* close to triggering it, and I’m lucky that I didn’t. Make absolutely sure you read up on the glitch unless you feel like redoing everything.

  46. I just did the first part of the Hero song…. I was incredibly annoyed by the fact that I had to do an incredibly long and boring underwater fetch quest. I mean at this point in the game, there is no way in hell that I hadn’t proven myself. It didn’t make sense story wise either, just something Nintendo does to make the game longer.

    Still really enjoying the game, that scene when you finally meet Zelda was so touching. Think this might end up beeing my favourite 3D Zelda.

  47. Whatever you guys do don’t spoil any story elements as I’ll never forgive you lol. I’ve got my final exam in an accounting class I’m taking tomorrow evening and then I go hardcore Zelda until I finish it off. Right now I’m 22 hours in and am at the ship in the desert. Really enjoying everything about the game right now, except one word of caution, be sure to change the batteries once they start getting low as the sensitivity drops significantly. I found myself barely able to pull off any moves at all, and then I changed the batteries and everything is good.

  48. Yeah, the Faron quest is pretty annoying, and so is most of the Eldin one. You’ll see why.

    I’ve just started Hero Mode, and after about 90 minutes I’m near to entering the Skyview Temple. You can skip most cut-scenes now so progressing is much faster. Double damage makes more of a difference than you’d realize, since at the start of the game you only have six hearts and most enemy attacks now do two hearts minimum of damage instead of one, meaning weak stuff like Octoroks and Bobokins can quite easily kill you. I’ve already had to sit down a few times to heal. It’ll be a while before I can get the Heart Medal (so that hearts will start appearing again), so having potions as backup is an absolute must.

    Oh, and in Hero Mode your Skyward Strike is at full power from the start of the game, making some enemies a breeze early on. A horizontal sword beam can sometimes cut down a wave of Bobokins instantly, though it seems like they vary in health since it doesn’t always kill some of them right away. I’m not sure if enemies also have more health in this mode, but it sure seems like it.

    Anyway, I’m not going to make a bunch of progress posts since Hero Mode is the exact same game as before. I’d hoped that dungeon and temple layouts would have been altered, but they’re not. Nintendo should have played homage to the first Zelda game and made all of them (even the Waterfall cave) different. It’s really a missed and wasted opportunity.

    My mini-review for this game: Much, much better than Twilight Princess and is the Zelda game that should have been released back in 2006. The motion controls take getting adjusted to, especially if you played TP, because some enemies and bosses will punish you if you just waggle. The difficulty level is definitely ramped up as well, but mostly in the early game. Once you start getting more Heart Containers, sword upgrades, and other items the game becomes far easier. By end-game you can have up to five bottles filled with Heart Potion ++ (giving you TEN complete heals), or Guardian Potion + (15 minutes total invincibility, or 40 if you have the Potion Medal with you), making even the toughest encounters completely trivial.

    Some of the motion controls though are quite annoying. Harp-playing, bomb-rolling and tightrope-walking come to mind, and the stab motion sometimes reads as you doing a vertical or diagonal slash. I’ve lost many hearts to Beamos due to it not triggering correctly and subsequently getting zapped in the face. And yes, some of the side-quests just reek of padding, especially in the second half of the game, though it’s mostly the fault of there only being three regions (Faron, Eldin and Lanaryu) to explore. Expect to visit some of the same areas over and over again (enemies are often changed when you do, though), and even one of the Temples. It’s not always bad, but sometimes you just get the feeling that Nintendo was a bit lazy.

    I loved the storyline in this game. I actually *cared* about what was happening, and by the end felt like I’d accomplished something. And I loved how Groose changed through the course of the game. For being a secondary character he actually ended up being pretty important, and even though he wasn’t Link he was a part of it all. I was really surprised at how he turned out, actually, and a scene near the very end of the game with him is nearly heartbreaking.

    By “the ship in the desert”, do you mean Skipper’s motorboat or the Sandship? The Sandship is pretty awesome, and it’s probably my favorite part of the game. Regardless, you have quite a way to go yet, but you’re over halfway through.

  49. Thanks a million for all the awesome posts you’ve made Enhas.

    I completed the sandship, which was awesome by the way. Now completing a whole bunch of side-quests before heading off for the final flame. Steven posted a video talking all about this afterthoughts on the game so I’m off to watch that. Should be interesting.

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