Skyward Sword is my favourite game and yes I have actually played other games •

Skyward Sword is my favourite game and yes I have actually played other games •

Skyward Sword is my favorite Zelda game and maybe just my favorite game. It’s clear that this isn’t a widespread notion, and I won’t try to persuade you that it’s okay if you don’t already like it: Zelda’s fandom is a vast church, and I realize that most people prefer the freedom to slide up that mountain over there, or select mushrooms from a menu to drop in a jar. But the whole Skyward Sword vibe works for me – as clear as a crush, as true as a laugh. Which is weird, because at first I thought it sounded like crap: too pale and too twee, and there was that boring shot in a first trailer of Zelda doing a wet, girl-adoring expression. anime, under bangs that looked like it was cut by a monk with a bowl.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Nintendo Availability: Released on Wii in 2011, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD will be released on Switch on July 16

But then I played the game, and it opens with the view of two Loftwings flying towards an island floating in the sky. The music is lush and full and symphonic – even a little Hisashi? A little Laputa, a little Nausicaa? – and then it calms down when we see Zelda, who starts playing the harp and singing. It’s The Goddess Ballad (which is Zelda’s lullaby but backwards), and it’s beautiful – soft and true and sort of familiar, like a memory caught in the wind. And now I am struck. In fact, her bangs are stunning. But she only gets two lines before her Loftwing lands to bring a letter to Link – her childhood friend, predictably asleep. A lazy bond and a singing Zelda and an adventure brimming with music and color; with the best dungeons of the series and brilliant bosses (the fight of Koloktos!); with song dragons and wise moles and Moblins with animated nipple rings (?!). But also, with romance.

I find it easy to love Skyward Sword because it runs on love; heroic in major key, sword in hand and heart full of hope. Link here often has wide-eyed wonder, and even the world is somehow flushed with pink and purple, deeply enchanted by the music so good that I asked my piano teacher for a “Zelda Special” lesson just right. to play Theme of Fi.

Skyward Sword is unmistakable – a preview and you know what Zelda it is.

But it’s the controls that make the game feel light as well as tone, and every time I think of Skyward Sword (which is a lot) there’s also a flicker of something in the hands – a pre – neuronal spark, muscle memory. It’s been a decade since I played it – I must have borrowed someone’s Wii back then – but it’s this memory of the gaming feel that makes Skyward Sword the only 3D-Zelda. which I wanted to replay as a game, and not just as a legend. Which is generally not the case.

Usually, Zelda games are things that I love to play, but also to have played: to think about it, talk about it and debate endlessly in the forum leaderboards, but rarely revisit (except maybe via a playlist. OST). Their overall Zelda character lies somewhere outside of the real-time, beat-by-beat action, emerging rather from the accumulation of moments and music, exploration and puzzles, charming characters and challenging dungeons than you initially pushed back because there is too much. doors in this forest temple entrance and it feels a bit overwhelming – all complete satisfactions the series is known for. Then you get to the end and beat Ganon and Woah, that was really something! And it takes its place in the greatness of the game as a whole, whole thing that is rarely played again.

Skyward Sword is different. It’s not even a true Zelda landscape, with eyes on the horizon and that progressive grandeur that builds up as you advance – or sail or soar – through Hyrule. Instead, it’s a very playful game, almost a Super Zelda Galaxy of tightly coiled environments – with switches and levers and tightrope walks through incredibly deep video game pits. And – aside from the sky – even outside of the dungeons, the world is a clockwork movement and special attention.

Apparently the visual style is inspired by Cézanne. I love all the blue pieces.

Personally, I liked the density of the engagement, and Faron Woods is one of my favorite video game locations in part because of how locked in and contained – like he’s slightly dislocated from. normal space. There’s that kind of concentrated freedom when you dig through a time frame of gameplay weirdness, with music looping and non-evolving walls at the margins. It seems somehow immutable, a special vibe to inhabit and explore – like lingering in a picture book without turning the page. But I understand why people back then wanted flexibility, legroom, views, stumbles, Breath of the Wild – instead of that linear Zelda, you play up close, up front.

But thanks to these commands, it’s also a different kind of legend, which takes place in your hand and in the air around it, in real time and in real space, when I think that games often take place elsewhere, triangulated between you and the screen. And it doesn’t have that bit too healthy sense of movement that you sometimes had in previous Zeldas. Aside from the notable exceptions (Hai Majora’s Zora mask!) I think games sometimes have a rooting, regularity of pace, which can sound a bit too much like noble heroism; like iambic mode gameplay, without the elasticity of a jump or sprint.

Probably the best Zelda.

Here you get some playfulness like cheeky wall jumps and panicked sprints for some bright green stamina fruits in the Silent Realm. But also, a feeling of proximity thanks to the movement controls, of proximity to the feeling of the game where before I had never considered that the latency. That’s why I’m a little sad when people say they don’t get along with motion controls. I worry: Oh no! Did they play like tennis with their forearms? But you have to play it like badminton! With flicks of the wrist to swing your sword!

“It’s a game I once played, liked it a lot, and then thought about it for almost a decade.”

Or that slow snake out of your hand, as you drag a steampunk beetle through a ruined temple tunnel with little controller tilts? And what about that quick downward point that makes Link fall while skydiving, air blowing, and fabric fluttering like a flag in the breeze?

To me, it all sounded great to me, like Nintendo on its A-game, like progress. And unlike those “next-gen” pads that I always have to hold with my hands clasped in prayer – and their awkward, angled gyro sighting – I can play that flared out on a couch with my arms outstretched and one hand pointed and all. rest has smelled of garbage ever since. It’s a game I once played, liked it a lot, and then thought about it for almost a decade.

So now I’m excited to revisit this Zelda, as sweet and full of heart as a Shinkai movie, and so alive in the hands you play it. In 60fps too! But who knows if it will always be good? Maybe this will sound too old fashioned for many. Or maybe it’ll be like 3D World, where people seemed to like it better after Odyssey?

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