First “Backlog” Epsiode: Legend of Zelda: The Skyward Sword

Before I begin, I would just like to take this moment and say hi to everyone here. I was part of the 100 Days of Gaming last year, but outside of the hashtag before each stream, was fairly quiet. But I thought it would be fun to take part in the main posts this year and thankful for the chance. (Btw, thank you Zaldar for introducing me to this last year and letting me know both that it was on again and there is a page this year. And thank you Herobyclicking for offering to do these posts.) The only other thing I have to say here is that I’ve been an Extra Lifer since the first one, and watched it grow in awe. (If you were there to see it start on Sarcastic Gamer too, I was the community member Diortem and a bit of a regular to the site.) So really, thank you guys for making amazing event even cooler.

But enough on all that… I’m hear because once a week during this event, I will be taking a break from the main games I am trying to finish to try out something that’s been sitting around in my collection waiting to be played. Keep in mind, this selection is about showing some love to some new (to me) games and systems I am currently not playing, so as long as my main games sit on PC and PS3, these systems will not be touched in this section, but aside from that, the dice decide what I try for an hour or two. My first session was last Friday (which will be the day I do this from now on) in which the dice picked a disc-based Wii game: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

Now when I picked this game up, it was something I did by chance. I believe I was even in the Toys R Us because I needed a gift for the office Christmas gift swap (Im lucky to work with a group of people as sick as I am…. very lucky indeed), and since I was there, I figured I would check out the games in case I found some gem for the older consoles… and I stumbled on not only the then newest Zelda title, but a version that included a CD sound track… and for cheap. Yeah, I wasn’t leaving it behind, but it only got a test run to ensure the game would run when I got home. After that, I put it on the shelf… until this Friday when the dice decided it was time to play.

Now I wont say I was expecting a lot from this game. You see, I have a few Zelda nuts as friends… one never played the game and the other hated it due to the way you have to fly the bird in the game. Not being a huge fan of the franchise myself, this means a lot going in, but I do not believe I agree with her.

First off, I found the game very story driven as for the first few hours we followed Link through a very tutorial-like mission to find his missing loftwing: a giant bird you will use to fly throughout the game once you have freed it from it’s prison. And while my time flying was limited, it felt absolutely perfect using the Wiimote’s position to control the direction you fly (as well as using gravity like a speed boost. Apparently there is combat that will go on with this and her big issue was trying to aim while doing this, but I will have to see later. Sadly 2 hours was not enough to get to a point where you fight while on the back of this bird.

But that is not to say that I didn’t get to see any combat. In fact I got to see a fair bit of sword fighting between training on logs and the cave you have to go through to save that bird, and to be honest it felt great. The Wiimote Plus was used quite well to reflect the position as well as the location of your sword as you swing at enemies in 9 different directions, and it picks up the difference between these moves very effectively. The only issue I had with sword-play I think was my doing as there were times I wanted to bring the blade down on slimes and saw Link instead rip them up bottom first, but I think it was because I brought the wiimote up fast enough to setup for this that the game thought it was an upward swing.

However, that isn’t to say I didn’t find a major problem with the game, and that would be the camera. You see this camera is designed to follow you and outside of the command to lock onto whatever is in front of you, you have no control over it. In general this is not an issue, but it makes platforming a real bear when it wants to. This is demonstrated in the very first area the game wants to teach you how you jump and climb right as you leave the first building in the game. You simply will not make it if you don’t use the lock-on trick to center the camera behind you as what should be a straight-left jump curves with the angle of the camera as Link moves. It is unnecessarily frustrating and feels like a warning of what is likely coming down the line in later puzzles.

Overall, however, I get the feeling that I am going to enjoy this game when I play it for real, and I had a lot of fun with it in the short time I spent it got for the 100 days of gaming. While I am in no rush to play it again right now, I look forward to coming back for more.

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