All things The Legend of Zelda

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Suits
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Re: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Post by Suits » January 11th, 2017, 1:50 pm

gallo_pinto wrote:
Suits wrote:3 Word Review - Perfect Portable Zelda.
Damn, I'm gonna need a new 3 word review now! :lol:
:lol:, yeah, bit of an obvious one I suppose :lol: .

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Re: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Post by ratsoalbion » January 11th, 2017, 1:52 pm

The "P-Word" is one we actually try to avoid, guys.
Though there is something of a qualifier here so I'll consider it for inclusion!
;)

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Re: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Post by gallo_pinto » January 11th, 2017, 4:17 pm

ratsoalbion wrote:The "P-Word" is one we actually try to avoid, guys.
Though there is something of a qualifier here so I'll consider it for inclusion!
;)
Now I'll definitely need a new 3 word review! :D

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Re: Our next podcast recording (14.1.17) - The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Post by BlueWeaselBreath » January 13th, 2017, 2:01 am

Before playing Spirit Tracks, I'd only ever played the 2D Zelda games, except for a few minutes of Ocarina; aside from the four classic Zeldas, I'd also completed the Seasons games, but that's it. I'm a bit of a retro gamer and tend to play games years after their release. I found a Nintendo DS at my in-laws' house, and picked up Spirit Tracks at some point shortly after, maybe on Craigslist, because I was such a Zelda fan. It was about five years after the game's release, and I went in with no expectations, having never read any reviews of it or heard any real buzz. It quickly became clear from the animation style that it was set in the Wind Waker chronology, but it was easy enough to jump into immediately without feeling lost. (Phantom Hourglass, on the other hand, which I played after this one, picked up right after Wind Waker and confused me at first, since I'd never played that game. Who was this Tetra and why'd she look so much like Zelda?)

I immediately dug Spirit Tracks once the gameplay started, because it combined the familiar overhead aesthetic and formula with a modern animation style and the DS stylus controls, which I really liked. My understanding is that this control scheme isn't universally revered but I thought that it was wicked fun, especially during battle, because it made me feel like I was involved in the swordplay in an actual tactile way, like it was really me hacking and slashing at tiny little monsters. And drawing on the map is something I've missed from every game that I've played since Spirit Tracks. So handy.

I've only played it once and it's been a few years, but a few memories stand out. The first is the sick realization, upon needing to use the Spirit Flute for the first time, that my in-laws' DS had a nonfunctional microphone, and that there was no other way to progress in the game. After spending weeks researching DIY microphone replacement, I caved and bought another DS so I could continue.

Another memory is what, in retrospect, seems like a ridiculously long and tedious time spent riding the rails. The fact that it takes up such a large proportion of what I remember about the game makes me wonder if the game relied too heavily upon these sections, but at the time, I enjoyed it very much; I think it's only in hindsight that the train bits make me weary. When I actually think back on it, I had a good time with the train driving mechanic and obsessively acquiring train parts. And also tooting the horn.

I also recall the dual screen battles with the bosses and remember thinking they were neat. For whatever reason, after 20 years of playing video games with oversized, monstrous bosses, Spirit Tracks was the first game in which it struck me -- probably while fighting Cragma -- that the giant bosses in these games are usually implied to be unique specimens; as such, how are they able to maintain a mating population? Is every huge boss individual supposed to be the only member of their species? Are they all supposed to be uniquely created by magic, and as such, either lonely or completely asexual? Or are we to believe there's thousands of other Cragma, Lava Lords and Ladies out there in the Zelda universe that we've never come across? I know it's preposterous that out of all the outlandish aspects of video game logic, this is the one trope that strikes me as so unrealistic that I can't suspend disbelief, but I'm an evolutionary scientist so these things do cross my mind.

At any rate, I remember enjoying Spirit Tracks very much, even if some specifics are a bit hazy, and played it every night before bed and sometimes first thing in the morning for several weeks until I finished it.

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Re: Our next podcast recording (14.1.17) - The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Post by Jobobonobo » January 13th, 2017, 9:31 pm

I have a great fondness for Spirit Tracks. I thought it was a more than worthy successor to Phantom Hourglass and fixed the 2 issues I had with the game, the tedious central dungeon that you had to return to throughout the game on a time limit and the forgettable soundtrack. On both counts, Spirit Tracks improves things greatly. The dungeons are some of the most fun I have played in any Zelda title and the items all get regular use and were used to solve some ingenious puzzles. Zelda being your companion throughout the whole game really made her much more than a damsel in distress in this story and she was used to solve some of my favourite puzzles in the series. As alluded to, the Spirit Tower is always fun to traverse every time you go up a higher floor and without any time limit. Bosses were also an absolute joy to battle with Malladus probably being one of my favourite final bosses in the series. The stylus controls were easy and fun to use as well, swordplay was more enjoyable for me here than Skyward Sword!

The controversial train travel was not an issue for me for the most part, sure it did reduce the amounts of secrets the developers could hide away in the overworld but I felt that this was a Zelda primarily about the dungeons and that can be a fine thing to focus on. Especially as the dungeons were so good. Riding the train was a nice relaxing activity that offered a nice change of pace from the adventuring. But if exploration and side quests are your thing I can see why Spirit Tracks may not be for you. The only thing I did not enjoy was having to play the flute as the combination of microphone and stylus made it a nightmare to play properly.

Overall, Spirit Tracks is a fine addition to the Zelda series and would probably be in my top five if I had to make such a list.Those who are fans of Zelda or adventure games in general and have a DS should at the very least try it out. To me, it is a true classic among many for the system.

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Re: Our next podcast recording (14.1.17) - The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Post by ratsoalbion » January 13th, 2017, 9:36 pm

I'm really happy you posted this Jobo as - while I do not share your enthusiasm for ST - it was in danger of becoming an overtly negative show.
Thank you!

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Re: Our next podcast recording (14.1.17) - The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Post by AlexMaskill » January 13th, 2017, 10:14 pm

First off, let's get this out of the way; trains suck, boats are way better. Everyone who likes trains is a dork and I will personally wedgie them. Going places on tracks is less fun than sailing there, and creating a train-centric world for this game is very slightly less lame than the waterworld thing, but trains themselves are much worse. And no, I'm not bitter because a train dumped me in the middle of nowhere yesterday in the snow and the cold, while I was playing this game (okay, I might be).

Everything not related to trains is pretty great, though. The dungeons feel cohesive and imaginative, with a sense of place and narrative that covers the joins between the different puzzles, the touch controls were...fine, I guess, and the narrative approach had a very JRPG feel to it which I actually liked. The characters are fun, the dialogue is breezy and entertaining to read, and I particularly enjoyed that Zelda is a companion and collaborator here, rather than just a McGuffin. The Toon Zelda games are, if nothing else, incredibly charming, which certainly made it a more fun experience than it necessarily earns mechanically. I really like most of this game.

That said, the train does suck. It eliminates any meaningful exploration because you're literally on rails, it doesn't give you anything to really do once your route is planned, and every so often it blows you up with few if any ways to deal with the oncoming threat. It's a good job this game sinks so much time into dungeons because every time you're in the overworld, you're on a train. Which sucks.

Also, I never found controlling Link and Armour Zelda intuitive or fun at all, which certainly placed a dampener on things.

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Re: Our next podcast recording (14.1.17) - The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Post by Jobobonobo » January 13th, 2017, 11:23 pm

No problem Leon, quite looking forward to this episode because it seems I am in the minority when it comes to the trains. Really curious what the C & R team think of it now!

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Re: Our next podcast recording (14.1.17) - The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Post by AndrewBrown » January 14th, 2017, 2:47 am

Working on my writeup now, should be up very soon.

Sneak Preview: I also like the train.

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Re: Our next podcast recording (14.1.17) - The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

Post by AndrewBrown » January 14th, 2017, 5:34 am

I first played Spirit Tracks when it launched, and I don’t have good memories of the experience. But I was also at a particularly dark time in my life, so I was eager to revisit it to see if I felt differently about it. As it turns out, there are things about Spirit Tracks which I still dislike, but other things which I feel markedly positive towards. And I think you’ll be surprised which is which.

Let me get it out of the way up front: I like the Spirit Train. But I like it in the same way I like the Pirate bits in Assassin’s Creed IV: It’s out-of-place in the formula, and overwhelms it to the point that I wonder why they didn’t make a light train-sim rather than cram it into a Zelda videogame. Without the sprawling train overworld, Spirit Tracks would be a very small Zelda world indeed, and this affects how it plays as a Zelda. Normally, I complete sidequests in a Zelda game and it increases my ability to be effective at other activities by empowering Link. But so many sidequests revolve around the Spirit Train and so few of them empower it that it feels like a lot of work for a significantly delayed reward.

I do not, however, agree that the Spirit Train removes openness from Zelda, literally putting it on rails and rendering it totally linear. The truth is, Zelda has been broadly linear and “on rails” for a long time, probably since The Adventure of Link. I think that when we talk about “openness” in Zelda, we mean an ability to go where we want when we want to, and Spirit Tracks is no more or less open than any other Zelda in that regard. And it’s not like there isn’t things to discover; exploring the outer limits of the rail map uncovers new areas that aren’t on the map, not to mention the Rabbits and the Warp Gates, and doing sidequests can expand the network further. Spirit Tracks may emphasize pre-established routes, but the spirit of discovery is still present, and restricting the player’s paths allows for more creative set pieces, like monster attacks in tunnels, the Lost Woods, and navigating the Snow Realm’s blizzard.

But the best that can be said of the Spirit Train is it provides “Realm Overworld,” which is rapidly becoming one of my favorite Zelda songs.

But if there’s something I admire most about Spirit Tracks, it’s the way it handles Zelda. For a character who has been around since the first game, I’ve been given few opportunities to really get to know any incarnation of Zelda as a character. Usually she is an archetype or a symbol. So it’s nice to have Zelda along for the entire journey, and we get to see her evolution from a mischievous idealist to a key part of the quest’s success. Much like Linebeck in Phantom Hourglass, the real hero and protagonist of Spirit Tracks is the Princess Zelda herself.

As for the Zelda parts of Spirit Tracks, I have much more mixed feelings. The bosses are generally excellent and the Temple of the Spirits is the most challenged I’ve been by a Zelda dungeon during my revisit to the series. But I found the Realm dungeons forgettable; I’ve replayed the entire game in the past four days and already I can’t remember a thing about the first four dungeons. The Link-focused “overworld,” such as it is, is so overtaken by train travel that it barely exists at all. Thinking of Spirit Tracks in the context of what it shares in common with the series, it is shallow and forgettable.

But Spirit Tracks’ biggest problem is it represent perhaps the nadir of Nintendo’s obsession with so-called “tech gimmicks.” No longer is it enough that we use the touch screen to control the entire game, now we must also interact with it through the microphone to an inconvenient degree. Blowing out candles by blowing into the mic was a single puzzle in Phantom Hourglass; now an entire item and dozens of puzzles are built around this mechanic. And the Pan Flute takes music, which should be an enjoyable and integral part of any Zelda game, and turns it into a dreaded chore. In one memorable moment—which may have been a consequence of playing on the Wii U Virtual Console—it took me forty-five minutes to “correctly” play the song required to open the Fire Realm’s dungeon.



Telling the fortune-teller I’m a girl Libra with purple eyes was amusing, but when I ask what speaking into the mic really adds to the experience of a Zelda videogame, I’m forced to answer “nothing at all.”

Spirit Tracks is a game of remarkable highs and lows. It feels like everything about it was experimental, like a list of the most out-there design ideas was taken and thrown into one game. Some of these ideas worked very well; just as many worked very poorly. It’s one of the most unique Zelda titles for that reason, but also one of the most off-putting and unapproachable.

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Re: Our next Zelda podcast recording (12.2.17): The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Post by Joshihatsumitsu » January 18th, 2017, 2:20 am

While Skyward Sword was not the first Zelda game I played, it was the first Zelda game I played through to completion. And since then I've got through some, not all, of the previous titles, like the very first Legend of Zelda (God bless save states) and A Link to the Past. The fact that I didn't struggle to get through this game suggests that it is much more on the accessible side, and a little more guided compared to some of the harder earlier titles.

It's been a while since I played through it, but I do remember having trouble dragging myself away from a gaming session. The waggle controls worked fine for me, which is not necessarily something I could say of most Wii titles. My default setting for immersing myself into the virtual magical world of gaming is to first sit on my ass in front of the TV, and hope the controls work accordingly, and it past that test.

It's also a game in which I marvelled at the level design. The fact that you revisit areas didn't bother me so much because of how the levels were layed out, and by the time you revisit them you have new items at your disposal to traverse different sections. It just came across as well thought out. There's an efficiency to it that doesn't feel compromised.

The music is pretty great too. I got the soundtrack from a friend of mine, and now and again a track will play while I'm driving along (I have a 160 gig iPod about 90% full of songs, podcasts etc, so the shuffle makes for some jarring mixes), and it would bring back memories of that magical world.

I wish I could be more eloquent or poetic about my description of this game. I love it, and the fact that this was my first complete play through of a Zelda title, and that it inspired me to explore previous titles says a lot about the quality of this game. I enjoyed the imagination of this sky world, the characters, even the very-effeminate antagonist. If I'm alone in that feeling about Skyward Sword, that's okay. I enjoyed the adventure.

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Re: Our next Zelda podcast recording (12.2.17): The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Post by Flabyo » January 18th, 2017, 7:25 am

Should be an interesting listen this, because it's the only Zelda game of the post NES era I've ever completely bounced off within a few hours.

I couldn't get on with it at all. My Wiimote constantly whining at me to put it on a flat surface to recalibrate probably didn't help.

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Re: Our next Zelda podcast recording (12.2.17): The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Post by Hypnocrite » January 20th, 2017, 12:59 am

Skyward Sword gets a bad rap. Its most important contribution to the series is finally breaking the pattern established by Link to the Past, then canonized in 3D by Ocarina. Sure, some elements seem like bad moves on paper, such as self-contained areas, and others are expanded and done better in Breath of the Wild (we think) like the materials and crafting, but the fact these were done at all was a huge step for Aonuma and his team. You have to break the old formula before your perfect a new one.

But even those "strange" new elements weren't bad. Yes the areas don't connect, but they were all HUGE and full of things to explore and secrets to uncover. If this avoided the empty monotony of OoT's Hyrule Field, I'm all for it. The sword combat from Twilight Princess was perfected thanks to the Wii Motion Plus, and they actually tried to tell a story more complicated than "Zelda is kidnapped and find all the things". Seeing Hyrule from the "beginning" was great and actually created a sense of history for this familiar fantasy playground.

I only played Skyward Sword the once when it was first released, but several things stand out as fond memories: flying, the warm pub to the south, Skyloft, the Windfish cameo (come on it was), the reccuring ancient technology, and the "slide puzzle" final dungeon gimmick. And of course Groose. There were of course a few picky moments, but the only thing that stands out as a legitimate bad memory is the area where you had to swim around searching for electroplankton. No thank you.

Let's hope after Breath of the Wild, Nintendo continues its trajectory of Zelda remakes so I can replay Skyward Sword HD on the Switch.

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Re: Our next Zelda podcast recording (12.2.17): The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Post by Sam_What » January 21st, 2017, 2:54 pm

I have serious issues with this game's design and although my laundry list of flaws is long indeed, I think the thing that bothered me most about the game was the fact that I never felt like I could enjoy it. The game seemed to be actively delaying my satisfaction and arbitrarily distracted me with time-wasting activities. The game forcibly held my hand throughout and never allowed me the freedom to immerse and solve problems for myself.

The game's opening is painfully slow and the Zelda series has only grown more protracted with each instalment. Skyward Sword's cutscenes have been embellished greatly and, while I never felt that voice acting in Zelda is crucial, the expressiveness of the characters feels hamstrung by a lack of vocal expression. Even in the most epic and colourful of cutscenes, the silence is deafening. Despite these performance limitations, Girahim is such a wonderfully charismatic villain who manages to outperform the rest of the cast and is perhaps the best takeaway from the game.

Skyloft as a world felt terribly barren and I can't say much more about the residents. In Majora's Mask, I genuinely cared for the individuals of Clock Town and their personal quests carried emotional weight. In Skyward Sword however, I felt actively disgruntled and apathetic to their woes; crying babies, dusty homes, and downright stupidly mislaid crystal balls to name but a few!

The remainder of Hyrule disappointed me, though the Ancient Cistern and Lanayru Province were the few admirably creative areas. A perfectly opportune moment to explore the ancient past by revealing the Gate of Time (which seemed to be so crucial to the narrative) was not acted upon and the game simply forced players to undergo more recycled content. The actual pain I experienced during the Tad-Tone collection cannot be expressed and genuinely left me dejected with the game. To me, the recycling of content felt blatantly lazy and lacked the genuine consideration and craft of previous titles.

The art style was certainly one of the few highlights for me. The impressionist aesthetic felt like a fresh and clever design decision; however, the strength of impressionist art is in capturing light reflecting off of the land. Sadly, Skyward Sword's lifeless world and lack of dynamic lighting only serves to diminish and under-utilise this aesthetic decision.

These are all examples of how this game baffles me by repeatedly shooting itself in the foot, which, in my opinion, is the second major issue of the game. With nearly every single positive element in this game, there is at least one accompanying issue that spoils it. Skyward Sword did have some lovely moments and gave me some genuinely good memories however, there were just too many missed opportunities and bad design decisions peppered throughout.

Fi deserves her own catalogue of mismanaged design; the main issue being that she served only to shatter my immersion and repeatedly offload superfluous information. By the game's end I was honestly glad to see her go, which may sound heartless, but the designer's attempts at injecting personality into Fi to pull at the heartstrings rang superficial and hollow. The few moments of sheer joy I had were those in which Fi would mercifully allow me to just play at my own pace and I could feel like I was playing any other Zelda game.

Having experienced the game 3 times (the last being a side-passenger) the game has barely impressed upon me at all and was disappointingly irritable to play. I really wanted to like this game but honestly I only completed Skyward Sword out of a sense of duty. My enjoyment quickly ran dry, particularly in the artificially more 'difficult' Hero Mode. Thankfully, it seems Nintendo has put the immersion breaking elements behind and is moving in bold new directions with the franchise, which I can at least say is a positive quality to the Zelda series as a whole.

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Re: Our next Zelda podcast recording (12.2.17): The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Post by Yacobg42 » January 23rd, 2017, 10:40 pm

I'll try to keep this quick, as I know we all have a lot to say about Zelda.

After Twilight Princess, which was a formative experience in my gaming career (I wrote a fairly emotional post about it for that recording), Skyward Sword just left me cold. Some of the ideas were very clever, especially the sandy sea and a couple of the bosses. The music, as well, had a couple really glorious pieces.
That being said, I can't remember any of the transcendent moments so common in other games. Ocarina has the final confrontation with Ganon, Twilight Princess has the lonely howl at a forbidden castle, Majora has...the entire game, really. Skyward has nothing in my memory. A sloppy boss, fought three times. An unremarkable companion. A pumpkin balancing game. I hate to be so lukewarm on a game that does so many things technically well, but it just did nothing for me.

One last note though- the art style and direction, vaguely pretty on its own, seems to have set the stage for the gorgeous and miyazaki-esque Breath of the Wild, which looks outstanding. Even the most average Zelda is still a damn good game.

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Re: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Post by Buskalilly » January 24th, 2017, 1:43 pm

Generally, I've always been more fond of the 3D Zeldas than their 2D counterparts. Link to the Past and the NES originals felt to me like they were straining to capture the grandeur and world that later games finally delivered on.

Link Between Worlds never felt that way to me. It was slick and immensely playable. This was the puzzling and exploration of Zelda stripped back to a very pure, almost arcade experience. It didn't have sound, visuals or characters that will stay with me like some of the home console masterpieces, but at the mechanical level this was probably the most fun I ever had with a Zelda game.

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Re: Our next Zelda podcast recording (12.2.17): The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Post by Buskalilly » January 24th, 2017, 2:25 pm

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is up there as one of my favourite games of all time. These are my favourite incarnations of Link and Zelda, and they inhabit such a beautiful world. The painterly visuals, the spine-tingling music and the oodles of character poured into everyone and everything you meet all contribute to my absolute love of this game.

I never had any problem with the controls. I was absorbed, utterly, by this videogame from the very beginning to the very end. I loved the cast of characters and swooping over the world atop my loftwing. At the time I played it, I was in a pretty bad spell in my life. All of that disappeared whenever I was left alone for any length of time with my only worldly possession that wasn't being worn or kept stored in a box: my Wii. Every note of the music, every brushstroke on the screen, has stayed in a very special place in my heart. I loved Skyward Sword so much that, last year, I got a tattoo (see here) inspired by the game on my back. I've got no regrets about permanently scarring a pretend on my body, and I eagerly await getting it coloured.

I've long thought that between them, this and Twilight Princess make two halves of the perfect game. What Skyward Sword lacks in a tangible explorable world, intricate dungeons and sense of danger it makes up for in innovation, beautiful art style and a lovable cast. If Breath of the Wild can, like Blade, embody their strengths without their weaknesses, I have no doubt it will be the best game ever made.

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Re: Our next Zelda podcast recording (12.2.17): The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Post by Jobobonobo » February 1st, 2017, 8:38 pm

Skyward Sword is somewhat of a blemish on my gaming career as it is the only 3D Zelda game that I have not completed and I feel very little compulsion to ever return to it.

First, the stuff I liked. It looked lovely, great music as always, Groose was always entertaining and the bosses were great fun to fight for the most part, particularly Koloktos.

As for what I did not like, the motion controls never fully gelled with me. Having a moblin block my attack and then attack me while producing that loathsome cackle they do made me dread battling. The game takes forever to get going and even opening a dungeon has you do a ridiculous amount of fetch quests beforehand that my enthusiasm for getting into the dungeon was drained out of me. The Imprisoned was a boring boss that was not helped that you had to fight it multiple times. However, what made me quit were the Silent Realms. Entering the first Realm and going through that agonising trial with collecting the sacred tears and avoiding the guardians was easily one of my least fun Zelda moments ever. It was needlessly stressful and the fact that you had to start all over if caught just made it a tedious chore. When I realised that I would have to do these horrible bits again and again to unlock more parts of the game world, I just said hell no to all that and traded it back to the shop.

So yes, this was a very disappointing title for me and all the more tragic considering it was meant to be the swan song for the Wii, a console I have had a lot of great memories with. I wanted to like it, I really did but it was not meant to be.

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Re: Our next Zelda podcast recording (12.2.17): The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Post by GoodShrewsbury » February 1st, 2017, 9:49 pm

Man, it’s difficult to be succinct with a Zelda game, as it stirs up so many emotions. But I feel I need to be calculated, less I ramble for pages as I’m sure any fan of this series could. I will remember Skyward Sword fondly; however I came away from it underwhelmed. There are many aspects of the experience I quite enjoyed and considered great additions to the Zelda lineage. The story, which acted as the foundation for other Zelda games and the evolution of the Master Sword, was great. The cast of NPCs was solid, with Groose and his gang being highlights. The OST was brilliant, and near the top of the pile for the series in my opinion. Some personal favorites were Lanayru Desert Past, Earth Temple, The Sky, and, of course, Fi’s Theme (and its many recurring iterations throughout). Overall, I really enjoyed the dungeons which were ingeniously designed, albeit easy peasy. And the movement and Wii remote aiming was spot on, although there was the occasional, annoying lapse in precision. There were many lovely moments in SS, but many a falter as well.

Most of the bosses were, relative to Zelda games, unimaginative. I enjoyed the fights with Scaldera, and the total badass Demise. However, a few of them felt like either mini-bosses, rehashed designs from prior titles, or just sort of dull. You fight The Imprisoned and Ghirahim thrice, Moldarach twice, and the Levias/Bilocyte fight was epic but super easy and over in a flash. The Tentalus fight was mechanically cool, but its design looked like something that belonged in a Mario game. I also thought the design of the bokoblins was a misstep, aiming for a middle ground between Windwaker and Twilight Princess. They just seemed out of place in this semi-serious themed game. I’ll end with the thing that bothered me the most, the overworld.

In nearly every Zelda game I’ve played I love the feel of exploration and adventure the overworld exudes throughout the journey. In my opinion, the empty, bland sky world and disjointed earth lands never came close to that special feeling which immerses and transports me into those other Zelda game worlds. I loved Skyloft and its populace, but I never felt like I got to see where other denizens of this world call home, with the possible exception of the Parella. This “less lived in” feel was just another thing that kept my affection for this game at arm’s length. Again, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Skyward Sword (I will hum Fi’s Theme for the rest of my days) but it didn’t have the character and charm of some other Zeldas that I hold in the highest regard. As much as I believe this a great video game, I also consider it an average Zelda game and the experience will not stick with me like a few other Zelda titles always will.

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Re: Our next Zelda podcast recording (12.2.17): The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Post by gallo_pinto » February 9th, 2017, 10:47 am

There is an alternate universe where Skyward Sword is a masterpiece. In that universe, it joins the pantheon of A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time, achieving universal acclaim and pushing the medium forward. Unfortunately, in our universe, that masterpiece is buried within a different, relatively mediocre game. While playing Skyward Sword, there are moments where you catch a glimpse through the wormhole to that parallel universe. Where you can see just how exceptional certain elements of the game are. But the glimpse is fleeting, because soon Fi will pull you back to our own world by giving you a new item to dowse.

I agree with the common consensus that Skyward Sword's opening is too long. But before I replayed it for the podcast, I thought the problem was just with the Skyloft section. I don't think that's the case. The Skyloft section is too long and it's very slow, but the problem with the opening extends all of the way until you first arrive at Lanayru Desert. The flying and the motion controls are new and exciting, but are we seriously starting with ANOTHER forest and fire temple? Combine that with Fi being the most over-explaining side character yet and the addition of dowsing, which while fun at times, added to the impression that the player was not to be trusted with exploration. All of this leads to a Zelda title that feels like it has lost its way.

AND YET...parts of this game are so wildly inventive, so stunningly new and cool that I still fell in love with it. Starting at Lanayru Desert, the game gets so creative that it's clear the developers have tons of new ideas. The Wii MotionPlus makes the combat feel like genuine dueling, the flying beetle is a great new item and they do great stuff with the story. Skyward Sword has some of my favorite dungeons and boss fights from the series and it probably has the single greatest Zelda soundtrack.

There's a masterpiece here that just couldn't escape the mediocrity around it. It's a real shame that we can't put Skyward Sword in the Zelda pantheon. But it's still a mighty fine game.

Three Word Review: Calibrating Wii MotionPlus
(I confirmed with the onscreen text that "MotionPlus" is one word. This counts! :D )

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