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11/23/2011

Skyward Sword First Impressions

After spending three and a half hours into the newest Zelda title, I have a lot of mixed reactions and opinions about it. I play my Wii plugged to a small Sony Bravia in my room with component cables, they make most Wii games look fairly nice. I've played both Mario Galaxies, Smash Brawl, Donkey Kong and others in there and the truth is that Skyward's graphics are not being impressive at all. The environments are very pretty but to be honest, I don't think the game looks much better than Twilight Princess. 

I got really pissed off at the mere fact that at the end of 2011 the series still doesn't have voice acting. It still uses the extremely dated and now lame text bubbles to tell the story and it's becoming quite a pain to read through the entire thing when it could simply have voice acting with subtitles and Link as a mute hero at the same time without any problems. I remember back in 2001 when the fanboys were bitching about FFX introducing voices to the series and it worked perfectly. Zelda should do the same.

The introduction to the game is extremely long, just like in Twilight Princess. It takes way too freaking long for things to get interesting. In Ocarina and Majora, Link was already doing awesome shit after five minutes of starting the adventure. In here, it took me almost an hour and a half to get my sword, "something important" to happen and dress with the iconic green outfit. The town where Link lives is very pretty and it's cool to explore it but the story in the beginning of the game moves way too slowly for my liking.

After Link starts the actual journey, the quality of the game increases by a lot. You can control the sword swings with the Wiimotion Plus and the character follows your arm movements almost perfectly, sometimes he doesn't do what you want him to but it's pretty cool. Especially when the enemies start blocking at a set direction and you have to hit them on an opened spot. The shield can be controlled by moving the Nunchuk and you can even shield-bash your enemies to stun them, as well as shoot slingshot seeds like in Ocarina of Time, only that this time, you aim with the Wii Remote and the way the game allows you to move Link in a classic way while taking a lot of advantages from the motion controls is very innovative and I'm liking it a lot. I didn't expect myself to enjoy the motion controls that much, but fortunately, I am.

Now, the thing that really has me disappointed is the recycling of the same formula. I think that Legend of Zelda is one of the gaming franchises with the most potential in the market, but Nintendo keeps reusing the same quest-dungeon-boss-repeat formula over and over, no matter if the game is for a console or portable, 2D or 3D. This needs to stop. Nintendo seriously needs to start trying out things that appear in other games from the genre, like sand-box formulas, combo-based combat like in Ninja Gaiden, climbing skill for Link like the ones Nathan Drake has and different difficulty settings so people who want an actual challenge can have one.

So far, Skyward Sword is just being another common Zelda game with many cool motion controls to test out and enjoy. I really really hope the story becomes interesting and the environments get much better than the stupid forest-based area all the games in the series use. If you enjoy the formula and don't mind the lack of voice-acting in a Wii game that came out last Sunday, buy it. But the truth is that RIGHT NOW, I'd recommend to rent it or play it at a friend's house first without making a blind purchase like I did. I'll keep posting my opinions as I go.

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