Top critical review
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Surprisingly disappointed, disappointingly surprised
on January 21, 2017
This game shows the robustness of Nintendo's design process: Come up with core mechanics first, then design a game around them. The core mechanics make the game fun, the visuals and story make it compelling. Skyward Sword is what happens when you have one and not the other.
I have no beef with motion controls, I love Star Fox Zero and my Splatoon game got much better shortly after I switched to gyro aiming. But Skyward Sword feels like a game that was made for a traditional controller and shoehorned for the Wii. It's awkward and indirect. The swordplay was done well, it's pretty cool how some enemies and elements only respond correctly to being slashed in a particular direction, but everything else is a chore. It's a constant nag that, no, you can't do this the way that feels natural.
I came in expecting a learning curve, but this is a mess. It's the only major Zelda title I hadn't played and I hoped to do so before Breath of the Wild, but I think I'll wait for an HD remake.
On that note, too, the visuals are strangely fuzzy. I played Twilight Princess on the Gamecube and thought it was beautiful, so I'm not sure why they made it look this way. I realize graphical complaints are usually a moot point for Nintendo titles, but this is one case where it would have looked better if they'd just done less.
I'm sure the game has excellent content. I played it up to the first dungeon before deciding that it's too much of a chore to play to be enjoyable.