I’m giving Zelda: Skyward Sword another chance

The Legend of Zelda - Skyward Sword Screenshot

I’m doing it once I finish work today. I’m giving The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword another shot.

I reviewed The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword when it launched back in 2011. I wound up giving it a 7.5 or an 8 for the site I was working with at the time. My rating was one of the lower reviews, something I didn’t know when I was writing about the game ahead of its embargo.

Lots of other sites threw perfect 10s and high 9s at it. As you can imagine, this caused me a lot of grief. The good news, I suppose, is that Twitter wasn’t as big at the time. The hate was relatively minimal compared to what I’d likely see today.

Why didn’t I like it as much? It was the game’s design.

See, my favorite Zelda‘s are the ones that feel open and expansive. They never feel like an act of retreading, and travel feels like travel instead of backtracking. See, the best Zelda games? They handle backtracking in unique ways by introducing mechanics that alter the space for the better.

The worst Zeldas? Phantom Hourglass? They force backtracking on players far too often and in ways that feel downright tiresome.

Now, Skyward Sword wasn’t as bad as Phantom Hourglass. In fact, it wasn’t a bad game at all. It was solid. It just did two things not so well.

The backtracking was really annoying in this game. It felt like an effort to pad length in the worst ways, especially towards the end of the quest.

Worse than that, though? Nintendo decided to make practically the whole overworld feel like a dungeon. This quest doesn’t have that same carefree downtime that I love in most Zelda games. That ability to explore unchecked is why I loved Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker so much. Here? Exploration felt reduced to practically nothing.

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