Is Link’s latest Wii-based adventure a return to form or just more of the same?
Just like that other hooded hero Robin Hood, Zelda games riff on familiar, basic themes even though each telling of the story is different. So once more we get a young boy who has to save the world while dressed as a pixie, a girl called Zelda who gets into trouble as often as Penelope Pitstop, a magical sword, a seed-chucking slingshot and plenty of dungeons.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – motion control done right
So far, so familiar, but as with Robin of Sherwood, some retellings of the Zelda legend are better than others – Skyward Sword is one of the best. If Twilight Princess marked a low point for Zelda, this sees the series fighting back in style.
Link starts out on a safe, carefree floating island high above the clouds before having to descend to the dangerous lands below to fulfil his destiny. The warm, dreamy watercolours of this world compliment the fairy tale mood and the motion control sword fighting is everything you could wish for – instinctive yet nuanced, with each flick of the wrist mirrored on screen.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – devil’s in the details
The inventive and devious challenges it contains impress, too, as do the little details, such as the sarcastic barbs of Link’s robotic spirit guide Fi, which echoes the backchat of Apple’s Siri.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – a bit long-winded
It’s not all great, though. The opening is an endurance test – a bloated two-hour crawl to the main adventure that does little to draw players in. Things improve immensely once Link dons his outfit, but this is a long, epic journey and sometimes it drags, most noticeably when it revisits previous areas and encounters. It’s hard not to wish that Nintendo had been more ruthless when deciding what to cut from the game.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – verdict
Despite being a bit bloated and over-familiar in places, Skyward Sword is a worthy full-stop to the Wii years, and a reminder of just why this series is now celebrating its 25th birthday.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword review
Zelda’s getting a bit flabby with age, but Skyward Sword remains a fitting tribute to the legendary series and outgoing Wii console