No story spoilers in this post, but these are my collective thoughts on Skyward Sword now that I’ve completed it.

The biggest question asked by people who actually care about my opinions, I’ll answer right away. Do I like Skyward Sword more than Wind Waker and Majora’s Mask? In short: Absolutely, but that doesn’t mean it is without flaws, nor do I think it is the perfect game. I’ll get into what I found to be flawed toward the end of this post, but I did mention positives first in my above statement. So therefore, I will begin on positives.

I can tell many will disagree right away when I list graphics first in my positive points. Hear me out on this, I’m not just commenting on visuals, but the role graphics play in game design. Graphics play a role in game design that most people discount when they say, “Graphics don’t matter.” This game features a unique combat system that goes hand-in-hand with its art style, hence where graphics meet game design. Combat centers around watching and reading your enemy’s movements, then counterattacking at the right moment. For this to work, the features on the characters need to be stylized and exaggerated for the player to easily study their detailed movements and act accordingly. But at the same time, for this to feel natural to the player, proportions of the characters need to be realistic. Stylistic visuals with realistic proportions is really the best decision for this new type of game, and bluntly: I think it looks purty!

In a much-needed change, difficulty is ramped up from previous entries. Link starts with twice as many units of health as his other incarnations had, but this does not mean Skyward Sword is a cakewalk. Had the designers not started us off with six Hearts, I guarantee I would’ve died. Constantly. Enemies are smarter and feel more alive than most games I’ve ever played, Zelda or otherwise. The controls work well, but no one’s ever played anything like this before. It’s very new to us all, and it’s human nature to reject change right away. With a high difficulty level, it can take a lot of time to completely master. Now, I wish I could say that I never once had the motion control screw up, BUT… Not making this up, the first misread sword slash happened to me during the final battle… So close to a perfect game, but it missed right at the last second. At its core, it’s still a computer trying to figure out how a person is moving. There will always be mistakes, but my experience with it showed that its mistakes are infrequent enough.

Onward from the difficulty and my almost-perfect experience with the sword, many love commonplace items such as the Bow and Hook/Clawshot in Zelda. The aiming controls are awesome for these old favorites. The player is no longer required to point at the screen, and may center the pointer anywhere that is comfortable for their height. It’s a great feature, and it’s a shame that it took five years for a Wii game to do this. I understand some people wish that a Classic Controller mode was included, mainly for aiming with an analog stick, but the swordplay could not be replicated with buttons. As mentioned before, the combat is designed around having control of your character’s movement in specific ways that a button cannot replicate, and the puzzles follow this depth making for some really interesting puzzles.

The last thing I want to compliment are the brilliantly designed areas of this land. It’s not fully evident on the first visit, but all of them are so dense and brilliantly put together in a way that’s only rivaled by Termina. Music composition is unbelievable, making all of these brilliantly designed areas very atmospheric, which is something that I felt wasn’t quite on-the-mark for the past few Zelda games.

The story continues the building of the atmosphere. Even if it isn’t super-exciting all the way through and takes time to get going, it has a good pace and doesn’t move too quickly. Skyward Sword has a very well-written plot that’s aided by memorable characters. I’m not going to spoil anything about the characters themselves, but as a specific example, after half of the game I really loved Groose and almost wish a character like him existed in the franchise before this 2011 installment. Groose isn’t the only one either, there’s many more memorable characters beyond just him to add to the overall experience.

Now that I’m done with my praise speech for Skyward Sword, it’s only fair that I list both of the major qualms I have with it as well. Firstly, the item menus are good on paper, but could be executed better. Real-time item changing is welcome for major items like the Slingshot or Beetle, it just doesn’t work well for items like Bottles and Shields. They take up limited inventory slots and need to be swapped out with items in a safe deposit box, which seems very unnecessary. I wish that they were stored the old fashioned way and weren’t limited. The worst part is that your Bomb Bags and Quivers use these limited item slots too, and there were many times that I felt like I didn’t have enough space for what I needed for the next quest ahead. I have faith in the Wii U controller screen fixing the way menus are handled in the future, so it’s not a worry of mine that they won’t learn from it.

My second complaint is something I haven’t seen many people talk about– the day/night system. This is an expected feature of the series since Ocarina of Time, but its appearance in Skyward Sword is the most poorly-executed use of time in a Zelda game yet. You may only change time if you sleep in a bed, otherwise it’s perpetually daytime. The world at nighttime just feels incomplete as though like an afterthought due to it being tucked away from everything else. It serves only as a stash for sidequests that didn’t fit in with other subplots, and is hidden away from the rest of the experience. It feels lazy compared to an otherwise brilliant game.

All in all, Skyward Sword is a fantastic game. The Wii deserves to have a game like this as one of the last memories it leaves in our minds before it becomes obsolete next year. However, you do need to be accepting of change if you are to enjoy it, and shouldn’t go in expecting it to be perfect in every way. Remember, it was still made by humans! If you want something identical to Ocarina of Time, you won’t find it here. What you will find is a new story in an imaginative new world, the highest difficulty of any 3D Zelda game, and everything Twilight Princess should have been in the way of motion control. If you have an open mind and take time to adjust, you will immensely enjoy its own identity.

  • Good review, and something I wanted to touch on: Graphics don't make the game to me. They set up the world and atmosphere that the game takes place in, sure, but the real decisive factor is the gameplay. I'd rather have a title with horrible graphics and superb gameplay than awesome visuals and a horrid control system. Thankfully Skyward Sword has both, and they're equally amazing.

    • There is a 100% chance that I agree with this statment. Er, I mean, SQUAWK.

      • You been reading a bunch of Fi quotes, Ezlo? Just kidding. 😛

    • UltimateDucreux

      Couldn't agree more. I love good visuals and an art style in a game, such as Windwaker, but in the end, it's the gameplay that keeps you playing.

  • whiteyoshi

    the day and night system was also a big dissapoinment for me too. hell you cant even FLY at night. very lazily executed and it makes no sense. i want to smack whoever was in charge/came up with the new day and night system in SS. so damn stupid and such a big dissapointment.

    • Baga Jr.

      Oh come on now, it wasn't that drastic. It was still pretty good and had a descent amount of depth to it, just not as good as other day/night systems in Zelda games.

    • TheMaverickk

      Dude…. they came up with the Day/Night cycle …. Ocarina of Time was the first 3D game to have this system working and in place. It wouldn't have been hard for them to put it in the game.

      The reason it was left out wasn't laziness, but specifically that they didn't feel it was necessary or important to the overall structure of the game. The only place they wanted to have explorable at night was Skyloft, where they were then able to have characters from the town with their nightly regime.

      In either case it's only one 3D console Zelda where there is no day/night cycle 😛
      It's not the end of the world, it will likely be in the next Zelda title. Also there are no day/night cycles in Phantom Hourglass or Spirit Tracks (among other classic Zelda titles) and they are still great Zelda games.

      This shouldn't be a make or break thing to be left out 😛

  • Gaepora

    I totally agree on the inventory complaint. I thought that was the biggest problem with the game actually. It was a pretty dumb thing to do really; players have always been able to carry all of their items with them, and now they can only carry 8 (if the player buys the expensive adventure pouches! It just doesn't make sense, and it made me kinda mad when I felt like I didn't have enough stuff to get through the next dungeon.

    • TheMaverickk

      It becomes a strategic element… you have to chose whether or not you want to carry extra shields with you in case one breaks….

      Or will you choose to carry items like the heart medal, or the life medal to help you out.

      Perhaps you want to have all 5 bottles filled with powerful potions instead.

      Basically you make a choice to carry the items you think will be the most beneficial to the way you play. Still with the limit that you can't have every benefit at once.

  • Jarkes

    Huh… I didn't know Chuggaconroy WAS a user on this site…

  • Hyrule Castle Resident

    Good review! I read it in Twitlonger but stiil very good!

  • supergiraloz

    personally, i thought the day night system was quite good, as at night, the world becomes completely different, whereas in every other zelda game (aside from majora's mask) every single npc is standing dead still 24 hours a day and the only ones that move are in the places where time doesn't move like hyrule market in OoT,

    ifskyward sword did have a day night system like the old ones, it would be hard to execute since it would need to be like majora's mask and the only reason they could get that to work is because it was a set amount of days, which is clearly not the case with skyward sword

    and with the pouch system it was quite annoying but i felt it was well done because without it you would have been holding onto all of those bonus medals all the time and would lose the difficulty of getting the stuff if it's drop rate is increased by a great amount, so the pouch system gives you a choice of what you'd rather have, a bunch of upgrades, or bonus medals or whatever.

  • John Crafton

    I have to disagree on the difficulty. I found it to be the easiest 3D Zelda game by far.
    The limited item space didn't bother me after I figured out that you really don't need extra bombs or arrows. The game provides you with plenty of bombs and arrows when you need them. And without the "safe deposit box" we would have missed out on a very special character.

    • LunarMew

      That is interesting. I personally found it a difficult game to get used to. I died a lot actually. Maybe it is based on whether a player spend time on games with motion controls in the past or not. Ether that or I really suck…

  • Jarkes

    I'll be perfectly honest… I just played Skyward Sword for the very first time today. As such, I can't really say much about it, but my initial impressions are: Awesome, but the plot is a little slow (It took me an hour and a half to get to the Goddess Sword and Fi). Also, does the fact that I was imagining Bulk and Skull's theme music from Power Rangers playing whenever Groose and his cronies were on screen make me a giant nerd or what?

    • UltimateDucreux

      I actually like that the game starts off slow, same goes with the other Zelda titles, but that's just me. I like that, instead of dropping you straight into the action, and trying to make the beginning as attention grabbing as possible (like most other games), the beginning is subtle and is used to introduce all the characters n stuff. I can understand why someone wouldn't like it though; it comes down to preference.

      • TheMaverickk

        It took me less then 45 minutes to get to the Goddess Sword and down to the surface :S

        But honestly it comes down to how much time you spent running around Skyloft getting to know the area and it's people.

        There is arguably a considerable amount more to explore in Skyloft then there was in Ordon Village, and a lot more people living there as well. So if you went around and made sure to see every inch of the town, and meet all it's people it could've been a long intro to the game.

        Personally I talked to NPC's as I was passing through at times, but in other cases I just ran along my business as I searched for my bird, and did the tests. Not wasting time, as I assumed that as I went back and forth from Skyloft that I'd meet more and more characters naturally through in game events and elements.

    • Flouridation

      It took me more than an hour to make that much progress the first time because I didn´t have a clue where anything was, but on later playthroughs I could get o the surface in less than half an hour.

  • Jarkes

    Also, is it true that the plot gets just a little bit confusing towards the end?

    • nah. I found it to have one of the most straightforward plots of any Zelda, and isn't nearly as confusing as, say, The Wind Waker, or Link's Awakening.

  • UltimateDucreux

    Good review, but there are some things I do disagree with. First off, the difficulty. Yes, the combat itself was a lot more challenging compared with previous installments; however, the game, I thought, felt almost easier than previous titles. The main problem was the game basically holds your hand throughout a lot of the game, such as the dowsing ability. In previous Zedla titles, you would often find yourself exploring/solving puzzles and trying to figure out where to go or what to do. Some people didn't like this, but I personally found it challenging and it felt rewarding. In SS, the game gives you so many hints, and sometimes just flat out tells you what to do. I didn't like this, I felt like the game was trying to handicap me.

    Also the overworld. Belive it or not, I wasn't a big fan of it in this game. I liked what they were trying to do, with making the area outside of the dungeon more dense and engaging. However, I couldn't shake the feeling that the areas felt too small and compact. I missed the openness and size of the other games, such as WW, even if they did feel a bit empty. I think it would've been cool if they kept the world big and open, but had the areas right outside the dungeon dense and compact like in Skyward Sword. Lastly, I didn't like the area above the clouds. It felt kind of boring, and I didn't enjoy flying as much as I hoped. Also, the dugeons were pretty good, but in my opinion, not as impressive as some of the other titles. They felt a little small.

    I still love this game, though. The combat is simply amazing, and the story is probably the best yet. I just wouldn't call it the best Zelda. And sorry if this post is really long 😛

    • UltimateDucreux

      Also, I can't believe I forgot to mention this. BACKTRACKING. Some form of backtracking is present in any Zelda game, but this was the first time I found it to be a problem. You are continuously returning to areas you've already visited. SPOILER ALERTTT, STOP READING IF YOU HAVENT BEAT THE GAME.: Now, I do realize that the areas do change, and you can unlock more places when you revisit, but still. Revisiting the Sealed grounds and fighting the imprisoned started to feel redundant. Also, I disliked the fact that you have to return to the first dungeon in Faron Woods to play through again. Also, some of the dungeons just felt too similar. For example, the dungeons in faron woods both featured a lot of water/plant life. Both of the eldin volcanoe dungeons were fire themed. And the lanayru desert dungeons also featured that sand/technology themed. They were still good, I just wish there had been more variety. I didn't realize until now, how many complaints I had about this game. I realize I'm probably a little picky, but, honestly, these are things that bugged me. Still a great game though.

    • TheMaverickk

      People talk about the Dowsing ability a lot…. and how it slows things down. Yet I never touched it ever. Except when it was really mandatory (for example chasing down the cloaked stolen ship). Otherwise I didn't bother with the Dowsing ability I simply searched and found everything on my own.

      When I got to the Earth Temple and needed to find the key, I said… "Screw dowsing, I'm just going to run around looking for the dig marks, since I know they are buried around the area". So I did that and explored to my hearts content cause I didn't need my hand held, and found every piece relatively quickly as I searched around.

      The same with say finding the propeller for the Windmill in Skyloft… I didn't need to "dowse" for it because I paid attention while playing the game, and I remembered that while searching for the Earth Temple entrance key, that I saw a propeller thing in the dirt around the Earth Temple.

      I didn't need to dowse to locate it because they designed the game so that I ran into it before I ever needed to find it. I simply had to use my memory.

      Dowsing is like the Shiekah Vision stone…. they are simply giving people an option to find the answers and get past a part. I mean instead of people having to go online and read a FAQ cause they can't find things themselves.

      IF YOU ARE A SEASONED ZELDA PLAYER…. and wanted the thrill of exploring, and finding items, you didn't touch dowsing. I had no inclination to use it even in my first play through.

      Miyamoto and Aonuma simply wanted to give players the tools they needed to beat the game if they get stuck. Similar to heart peaces, similar to bomb bags, similar to things like heart medals, life medals and so on…. these are extra tools to make the game easier as needed. They aren't required to use.

      Anyways that's my rant…..

  • Gordon

    Did anyone else think the single weirdest part of this game was that you could sleep in anyone's bed and nobody would look at you twice?

    • Stalchild

      Yes! The first time I tried to do it I didn't actually think it would work.

  • sadib100

    Hey everybody, it's chuggaaconroy!


    Simply put, Skyward Sword is the best Zelda game ever created.

  • Sanity's_Theif

    From skimming, I disagree on 2 things, the difficulty, Majora's Mask is definitely harder than this game, the only thing that made this game even slightly difficult was getting used to the motion controls, but after that, the game is incredibly easy, no shield is even needed!

    And the motion controls, TP did a better job at aiming, using the actual sensor bar, this game I had to constantly recalibrate, it just wasn't done as well

    • TheMaverickk

      Majora's Mask is a cake walk… I did it without ever dying once. I never ran out of time in the 3 day cycle while doing a dungeon. They weren't overly complex…. each one was challenging, but nothing like the water temple. It's some great designs, but difficult? Hardly.

      It was harder then Twilight Princess and Wind Waker, that's for sure, since you actually had enemies like Iron Knuckle that could do 4 hearts of damage…. but other wise it wasn't that hard a game.

      Any Zelda game can be breezed through without a shield…. except for the necessary mirror shield which you need to solve puzzles. The difference is that of all the Zelda titles, the one where you take the most damage from hits is in Skyward Sword. So if you don't have a shield, and you do get hit, you will suffer more.

      As for recalibration, I think you have to be doing something wrong. I don't think I've ever needed to calibrate any sooner then once maybe every 2 hours. Also it feels natural to aim with motion when everything is pointed, and controlled through these motions. It would be awkward switching back and forth between the two if both were used.

  • TheMaverickk

    "The controls work well, but no one’s ever played anything like this before. It’s very new to us all, and it’s human nature to reject change right away. "

    This is honestly the first time I've read a review that said this. The controls work, but if you want them to feel and play as if it was TP, they don't. They work, they work well, they just don't feel and play the same as the previous Zelda entry.

    This is much the same way that TP didn't play like Wind Waker… the way link leaps from edges, or climbs up ledges, or does back flips… there's slight variances that make each game feel slightly off when you first play it.

    People who expected this to play exactly like TP are of course going to find the controls different, cause the game doesn't control the same. It's programmed completely differently. If only people realized this.

    • Jarkes

      No, people realize this, but it's like Chuggaconroy said: It's human nature to reject change right away. I mean, just look at the Sonic the Hedgehog fanbase! ^_^

      • TheMaverickk

        Agreed, they know it's different they just reject it.

        Much the same the reject the visuals, cause it's a change from what they are used to… or a change from what they expected, and refuse to accept it and instead turn it away.

        Oh well like I've been saying… 5-7 years from now people will be more excepting of it all.

        • Jarkes

          Yeah, that's exactly what happened with Wind Waker. People reject changes simply because they're different, not because they're actually bad changes.

  • hmm

    I loved the day and night system, in OOT it was unbearable until you got the sun's song and in TP i had to go and have dinner while waiting for malo's shop to open. My thoughts might be because i generally prefer daytime because of the better music and easier visibility however, and i wish i could have at least flown at night.

  • Doiha

    I never felt the need to carry more items. I finished with very few. I guess it depends on people's gameplay and how many times you need to shoot an arrow before you run out ;D lol Still, marvelous game!

  • spin attack 227

    Ugh I've searched everywhere for info if u r going to make an lp 4 this awesome game pleez tell me 2 things (this is another attempt to find out) are you going to make a lets play for this amazing game? and if so when do you think you will.

    i know we're all busy these days so i understand if it will take a long time to make one, or if your just too busy to make one at all. but the suspense is killing me yes no or even maybe is fine i just need to know. You were so good at wind waker i sometimes just watched them for the comedy.
    i know i may seem kinda weird and this post is sooo long but again i need to know ( i looked elsewhere first) so yeah give me a shout or. (aka post a reply i don't want to give any contact info)

  • xw1ng

    wow so much hate for the day night system. it's not that bad and it really shouldnt bother you. if it does you may want to check your priorities

  • Spin attack 2278

    i know we're all busy these days so i understand if it will take a long time to make one, or if your just too busy to make one at all. but the suspense is killing me yes no or even maybe is fine i just need to know. You were so good at wind waker i sometimes just watched them for the comedy. but….ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE AN LP 4 SKYWARD SWORD!?

  • Spin attack 2278

    how do i join a clan


    Skyward Sword has to be the best in the LOZ series. It has a great storyline and the graphics are incredible. I just wish it didn’t have to end.

  • Spin attack 2278

    please someone tell me if Chugga will make a skyward sword LP No Yeas even Maybe is fine but some one answer

  • Chloe

    I personally don't find the new day and night system that bad, because the fact you can't ride your loftwing at night sucks, and if it had a normal day and night system, Like OoT, you would be very screwed because you can't ride your loftwing at night, So i can totally see why the game designers did this, but i will say it can be annoying , especially at beedles shop ship, because you sleep in the bed in his shop ship, and he takes you to a VERY high little island of his, and my friend didn't talk to beedle and she jumped off the edge, at night.

  • MsTooManyVideoGames

    You know, I'm playing this game right now as the first Legend of Zelda game I've ever played, and I'm quite impressed, but I watched my mother play Twilight Princess, and I feel that the graphics were better and the dark story line was more of a draw. In fact, as soon as I finish Skyward Sword, I'm going to move back a bit and play Phantom Hourglass, Twilight Princess, and Ocarina of Time. I agree with Chuggaa, the day and night system, simply put, sucks. I like the idea of having the sun rise and set, instead of having to sleep to reach night time. Also, the inability to carry more than 8 items (and that's without mentioning the over- priced pouch upgrades) can make someone think, in the back of their head, "Do I have what I need?"

  • trainer_red

    Honestly people (no hate please) but, Skyward Sword was one of my LEAST favorite LOZ game of all time. For starters, Nintendo actually rushed a little on this game, the dungeons are WAY too easy, basically EVERY boss just needs to be hit in the eye…and…i Demise supposed to be a form of Gannon? PLUS it is supposed to be an anniversary game…and yet they changed the name of a lot of the monsters. ALSO it probably wouldn't have even been MADE if it weren't for Twilight Princess, because the LOZ series was dieing, but, in some ways this was good, because they learned from there mistakes (hopefully).

  • Mack

    Wait… Are you the same Chyggaaconroy who dose the letts plays.

  • This console has a release set for the holidays and will be included in a couple of bundles.

  • Dylan Andrew James Loyd

    I thought it was a great game the moment i started playing it