By Laith Salama / Staff Writer
By Laith Salama / Staff Writer
From one of the most celebrated video game franchises in history, on the day of its 25th birthday, a game that needs no introduction but got one anyway, ladies and gentlemen, “The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword!”
The game is offered the regular way, in the usual game box, or as a package with a custom golden triforce controller and a 25th anniversary orchestra CD featuring medleys of all the best Zelda music since “Ocarina of Time.”
The story line is the classic tale of good versus evil as all games of the franchise are, but this time the iconic main character, Link, knows the damsel in distress personally.
Link, as always, is the legendary hero prophesized by the gods in the scriptures of old, said to rescue the princess and save the world from certain darkness, live happily ever after, the whole thing.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Zelda has always stuck to a formula, remained committed to the same general idea for the Zelda games, with little twists and surprises and they are doing a great job.
This Zelda’s little surprises come from the Wii motion technology more than anything else.
Alas, players are in haste to find their childhood friend and sweet princess Zelda who has disappeared in a vortex of evil.
Players meet up with the familiar races of people like the Gorons but are also treated to a new sets of races like the Kikwei and many others as they learn more about the prophecy.
It almost feels like this game is supposed to be the beginning, the origins of the world of Zelda.
As soon as the game starts it establishes relationships, personalities and expectations.
Gamers will be thrust back into the world of Zelda and feel compelled to save their childhood friend.
Now, the game itself is no ordinary Zelda game, not just in the adjustments to the story but also in the gameplay.
It utilizes the Wii’s motion technology to its fullest known potential without completely ruining it.
The Wii as we all know hasn’t been getting a good rap lately, and Zelda is its savior.
It’s a game-like, game-type game that isn’t just another way to demonstrate what a Wii remote is, like all the repackaged versions of “Wii Sports.”
These mechanics are entirely new and actually fit with what the Wii remote was designed to do in the first place, as if the games finally caught up with Nintendo’s technology.
Link still moves with the joystick, in fact everything is relatively the same, until you get into the flying, on a new set of creatures that kind of replace Link’s old horse Epona, and the gadgets.
Flying requires the player to position the Wii remote in the direction they want to fly, which is hard at first but players get used to it.
Each tool Link has requires the player to do something different with the controller.
It aims, it moves, it grabs, it is essentially an extension of your hand, which is what it was designed to be in the first place, except that now it actually works.
Link’s sword will move exactly the way that the player moves it.
The action is set up so that players can evaluate their enemy, look for an opening and strike.
Not an uncommon mechanic, but a unique take.
Most games make the opening easy to spot, for instance dancing around the enemy until he starts laughing.
In “Skyward Sword,” players see where the enemy is blocking, what he’s protecting and he moves according to the player’s movements. In other word’s he’s intelligent!
But most importantly, it works. Everything sounds great but one might think it’s too good to be true.
Well, if fans set their hopes too high, they will unfortunately be disappointed, because the technology is pushed past the bar and it’s impressive none the less.
This game feels like a mixture of every Zelda game ever made.
The look is very classic to the games Super Nintendo roots while it plays out like “Ocarina of Time,” it’s slightly more cartoony like “The Windwaker” while adding a little bit of an original twist to it.
And it’s an anticipated, respected game that fans have been waiting for.
Finally fans can come back to their old pal Nintendo for another round of saving Hyrule.
The Legend of Zelda is in a league of its own and “Skyward Sword” lives up to that reputation.
Not once has the franchise ever let gamers down and this one is just another title that reminds gamers Zelda is there for them, has been for 25 years and will be for a long time to come.