First Zelda: Skyward Sword came out. Then Black Friday/Cyber Monday/[fill in the blank] Week happened. Then a 3DS deal and multi game deals out of nowhere. And of course iOS crap all the time.

Now I have a crapload of stuff that I’ve only partially gotten into and will take a while to finish, so I’m just posting what my initial impressions for now. They’re turning out longer than I expected so this is suddenly a multi post effort. First up:

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Well it has a tutorial that takes a while, but from what I’ve heard it’s not nearly as bad as the one in Twilight Princess. Ran a bit long and treated the player too much like an idiot for my tastes but wasn’t too bad otherwise.

A few dungeons into the game my gripes are unskippable dialog (particularly with characters that say the exact same thing, let me skip!), camera control at times, and a few annoying locked animations (opening doors, jumping into water). It’s easy enough to turn and Z-target the camera around usually but being able to move it around on the run would help greatly.

The MotionPlus control is fantastic, if a bit awkward at first. Things that would usually use the IR camera and sensor bar use the M+ instead, so you can enter whatever mode and just angle the remote to the direction you want without worrying about the sensor bar. The awkward part that takes getting used to is that there’s no true calibrated center now, it’s just when you enter the mode or manually recenter with a button.

For swordplay it can range from “what the hell *waggle*” to great. The main thing is that you have to be deliberate with your movement, you can’t just swing wildly because it goes into a full strike if you swing fast enough (locks into 45˚ increments when Z-targeting, any angle otherwise). And that could be fine, but the enemies are designed to force you to make controlled swings.

Speaking of enemies, I even died already cause I was playing recklessly! Multiple times along with other close calls! Granted part of that is because I sucked, but the combat is great fun and a nice challenge when you meet a new enemy you haven’t figured out yet.

The hub world of Skyloft doesn’t feel as big as Wind Waker’s, but part of that may have to do with the faster travel with the bird, for better or worse. The good is that you can get around decently quickly and it’s an active journey (completely motion controlled with waggle to flap)/climb)…the bad is that you lose part of that feel of cruising a great expanse and finding random crap in the middle of nowhere. Then again this may change later in the game for all I know. For now it doesn’t feel all that crazy to fly all the way around the map. One annoying thing that’s still around is the limited dialog from everyone outside of random side quests.

Another reason it probably doesn’t feel as large is that the uh, gamey game world is completely separate from Skyloft. These worlds are decently sized and provide enough stuff to do, at least until you obliterate all life in the area. The dungeons appear to be small, but they’re dense and make good use of the space

The aesthetic is a nice change and done pretty well, if handicapped by what the Wii can do. I’ve heard some later stuff gets pretty wacky (and have seen some instances myself already) so that’s something to look forward to.

So basically it’s good and Zelda-y, with the general good and bad that that implies. But that’s not including the swordplay which makes puts it over the top for me. I had fun with the simple Zelda combat before but the required amount of control here makes for a massive improvement.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, $501:
HIPPO
Rating system guide

  1. If you can find it, the MotionPlus bundle is $70