It should surprise nobody that knows me to learn that I have been playing a lot of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. To put it simply, the game is good. Very good. I love it, like I have loved nearly every Zelda game. My opinions might change with some time between me and the game, but right now it is everything I love about video games.
I haven’t finished the game. In fact, I’ve just finished the third dungeon, which seems to be close to the midway point of the game. The most notable aspect of the game, and the part I am most able to speak on with only half of the game behind me is the controls. I’m sure you’ve heard of the game’s intensive swordplay. It is everything you were hoping it could be. Normal enemies are no longer just mooks you bash once or twice and go on about your business. The are actual obstacles, they aren’t exactly difficult but they do require some thought. Or you can usually avoid them. The choice, at least outside of the dungeons, is left to the players. Fighting them can net you items and rupies, but it could also very well get you killed. On the plus side, it is also a lot of fun to smack enemies around with your sword. It just feels so natural and cathartic.
Another plus for the game is that this version of Hyrule, though I do not believe it is yet called that, is possibly the most imaginative Nintendo has come up with. Skyloft is easily my favorite city to run around. Yes, even better than Clock Town from Majora’s Mask. The NPC’s are probably the most likable bunch I’ve seen in a game. Nintendo does more to characterize them with little sound bite when you talk to them than most games do with hours of dialogue. The only disappointment is Fi, Link’s Navi stand-in companion. But Groose and this version of Zelda are both fantastic. As are some lesser characters like the eager Pipit. And the games cuddly in the daytime/ferocious at night cat stand-in Remlits are wonderful. The whole world just feels so full of life. It is wonderful.
Right now I can do nothing but gush over the game. It manages to shake up the series with plenty of new stuff; the stamina meter, enemy drops to gather for upgrades, new circle menu’s for items, a limited space pouch, while managing to not change the core feeling of playing a Zelda game. Even more amazingly, nearly all those changes are improvements.