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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD (16th July 2021)

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SS was average at best. The fact that both Dcubed and Nando ( a person who loves Star Fox Zero and another who hates 99% of games ) love the game makes me rest easy that my opinion of it is correct. :p 

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36 minutes ago, Dcubed said:

It's a phenomenal game that gets absolutely no respect from anyone online and that drives me nuts! 

Really? :blank:

Was just going through the old thread on here and most peeps loved it, myself included:

I think it's just because there are (or at least were, with the original version) some very obvious issues regarding the motion controls, which led to the game receiving more negative feedback than usual for a Zelda title. ::shrug:

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Another thing that irritates me is just how divorced from context the decisions made regarding Skyward Sword's structure that the discorse has become.

Skyward Sword's world design was a direct response to critisism made regarding Twilight Princess.  Looking back on that game, the idea that TP's world could be considered "barren" today is absolutely laughable, considering how "small" and dense it is compared to the open world games of today; but that was indeed the overriding discourse at the time.  Twilight Princess' main point of comparison back then was TES4: Oblivion; but open world RPGs simply weren't in vogue like they are today, and traditional "linear" games were still very popular.

As Skyward Sword was coming to be though? It had the unfortunate timing of coming out alongside TES5: Skyrim, which absolutely exploded the popularity of open world games (while the Assassin's Creed games also steadily grew in popularity); with GTA 5 and Minecraft firmly solidifying open worlds as "The Future" of all video games.  By comparison? Skyward Sword looked like a dinosaur, a game made completely out of its time.

And as the industry trends firmly shifted over almost entierly to the open world formula, so too did people's tastes.  All of a sudden, people no longer appreciated quality level design anymore (well; I mean, level design has never truly been understood or appreciated by the masses, but any notion of it was firmly chucked out of the window now!).  All people wanted was the Gee Whiz factor of a massive world that stretched as far as the eye could see.  Surprise surprise, Twilight Princess suddenly garnered a LOT more respect than it did upon release; and now everybody turned against Skyward Sword.

Skyward Sword's linearity was designed to directly address the critisism surrounding Twilight Princess.  Smaller and denser was the order of the day here; but that just so happened to come about precisely when people wanted their butter spread over 1,000 slices of bread instead.

And though Aonuma has always gone out of his way to listen to feedback (arguably too much) when designing new entries in the series? BOTW wasn't just a matter of listening to feedback... It did something that Nintendo normally prides itself on never doing...

... it directly chased industry trends...

So it's no wonder why BOTW is so beloved now.  It just did what all the popular games of the time were doing.  And that's why it doesn't suffer from The Zelda Cycle like how all the other entries in the series did.

But Skyward Sword's linearity wasn't a matter of Nintendo being "outdated" or "out of touch"; it actually came from listening too closely to feedback if anything else!

Small and dense is NOT a bad thing! It might be the polar opposite of what is hip and trendy today, but it makes for a FAR more interesting and compelling game overall.

Edited by Dcubed
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They need to not limit Link's run speed in Skyloft, he moves too slow when in town. They need to remove or change the repeated boss fights. They need to remove or change the dowsing parts. They could do with changing the way the Master Sword is forged, I thought it was terrible the way it was handled for such an icon weapon.

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1 minute ago, Ike said:

They need to not limit Link's run speed in Skyloft, he moves too slow when in town. They need to remove or change the repeated boss fights. They need to remove or change the dowsing parts. 

Yes to all of the above. These are things that could and should be fixed for this release, especially the repeated boss fights. The game got criticized for having too much padding and removing these fights would do wonders for the pacing of the game.

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12 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

SS was average at best. The fact that both Dcubed and Nando ( a person who loves Star Fox Zero and another who hates 99% of games ) love the game makes me rest easy that my opinion of it is correct. :p 

Skyward Sword is one of my greatest gaming disappointments ever.

The game starts out all lovely in Skyloft and it tricks you into thinking that the rest of the game will be lovely and have other such areas like this. Nope. That's it. There are no further engaging areas like this or at least nothing as worthwhile as that place. The sky was bland as hell and the segregated "worlds" below didn't work for me. It felt like the sky was almost like a level select. Also, the games builds up this suspense about what's in that Thunderhead thing (I keep calling it the Thunderdome. MadMax for life) and you think that it's going to be something mysterious or maybe even have new, cool zones inside it or something. Nope. There's fuck all there.

Also, no night system. :blank:

It's a bland as fuck game that gets a free pass because it's both Zelda and from Nintendo. It was just a chance for Nintendo to show off motion controls and the game is built around that, rather than building an interesting world, or telling an exciting story, or developing fascinating characters. Nintendo seemingly haven't got it in them do that, but hey, you can swing your sword around your bedroom like you are Link, so I guess that makes up for all of its many faults. :blank:

It marks a very interesting point for me regarding Nintendo, as it shows that they were more focused on "how" you do something rather than "what" you are doing, or the "why".  
 

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6 minutes ago, Ike said:

They need to not limit Link's run speed in Skyloft, he moves too slow when in town. They need to remove or change the repeated boss fights. They need to remove or change the dowsing parts. They could do with changing the way the Master Sword is forged, I thought it was terrible the way it was handled for such an icon weapon.

Yeah, I agree with the general sentiment that they need to speed things up.  There's a lot of unneccessary tutorialising and things that slow down the game that could stand to be streamlined.

As for the repeated boss fights? I doubt that they'd change them, but they could distinguish them a bit more.  The idea behind them is to take something you're already familiar with and to have you approach it in a new way (which is the way that the entire world is designed; each area is designed in such a way that the experience changes drastically throughout the game and turns your existing knowledge against you); so finding more wrinkles to throw in could make those boss fights even better.

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21 minutes ago, Fierce_LiNk said:

Skyward Sword is one of my greatest gaming disappointments ever.

The game starts out all lovely in Skyloft and it tricks you into thinking that the rest of the game will be lovely and have other such areas like this. Nope. That's it. There are no further engaging areas like this or at least nothing as worthwhile as that place. The sky was bland as hell and the segregated "worlds" below didn't work for me. It felt like the sky was almost like a level select. Also, the games builds up this suspense about what's in that Thunderhead thing (I keep calling it the Thunderdome. MadMax for life) and you think that it's going to be something mysterious or maybe even have new, cool zones inside it or something. Nope. There's fuck all there.

Also, no night system. :blank:

It's a bland as fuck game that gets a free pass because it's both Zelda and from Nintendo. It was just a chance for Nintendo to show off motion controls and the game is built around that, rather than building an interesting world, or telling an exciting story, or developing fascinating characters. Nintendo seemingly haven't got it in them do that, but hey, you can swing your sword around your bedroom like you are Link, so I guess that makes up for all of its many faults. :blank:

It marks a very interesting point for me regarding Nintendo, as it shows that they were more focused on "how" you do something rather than "what" you are doing, or the "why".  
 

They always have been though.  That has been their philosophy since the very beginning (though admittedly much less so these days - as they are now starting to follow industry trends more and are focusing more on the "what" and "why" with games like BOTW and Mario Odyssey; as the "how" gets pushed more and more into the background as even perfunctury in some cases - Age of Calamity springs to mind as perhaps the most obvious example; where the game is sold almost entierly on the notion of fleshing out the story, characters and world of BOTW, rather than its fairly rote gameplay).

Me personally?  I hate this ongoing trend.  The "how" is, by far, the most interesting part of a game to me; and it saddens me to see this become less and less of a factor worth looking at with Nintendo's Switch releases.  Why should I give a shit about your "impressive" huge open world with tons of AAA voice acted cutscenes if there is fuck all interesting to actually do in that world?  You could cut out the entierty of BOTW's world outside of The Great Plataeu and 99% of its gameplay/"how" would still be intact.

Skyward Sword is one of my favourite games because it is focused so much on the "how"; with some of the most utterly sensationally fantastic level design I've ever seen in a game.

Edited by Dcubed

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Just now, Dcubed said:

As for the repeated boss fights? 

Oh, that fucking Imprisoned thing. So angry.

Them: "Did you enjoy fighting that cooool boss thing (not really a boss) just now?"
Me: "No"
Them: "You get to fight it twooooo more times."
Me: "...why, though?"
Them:  "In the industry, we call it 'padding'." *nodding profusely*
 

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1 minute ago, Fierce_LiNk said:

It was just a chance for Nintendo to show off motion controls and the game is built around that, rather than building an interesting world, or telling an exciting story, or developing fascinating characters. 
 

I do think the version of Zelda in the game is one of the best, with the Zelda from Spirit Tracks being another strong version of her.

Saying that, it was SS that made me realize how far behind Nintendo were in terms of how they handle narratives in their games. I'll never forget the scene where Zelda gets sealed away. Her speech is quite moving but the lack of voice acting, along with Link's lack of real emotion what was happening in front of him, just makes the whole thing feel completely flat. It's something that didn't really get sorted with BOTW either, as the VA in that was pretty rough and the story very disjointed and throw away.

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28 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

SS was average at best. The fact that both Dcubed and Nando ( a person who loves Star Fox Zero and another who hates 99% of games ) love the game makes me rest easy that my opinion of it is correct. :p 

Hey.. that's not fair!

I love Starfox Zero too :grin:

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18 minutes ago, Fierce_LiNk said:

Oh, that fucking Imprisoned thing. So angry.

Them: "Did you enjoy fighting that cooool boss thing (not really a boss) just now?"
Me: "No"
Them: "You get to fight it twooooo more times."
Me: "...why, though?"
Them:  "In the industry, we call it 'padding'." *nodding profusely*
 

The way you fight it is different each time though.

One of Skyward Sword's main design philosophies is about taking your knowledge of an existing space and using it to craft different types of gameplay; or even turning it on its head entierly and using it against you.  This is why the game has you return to previous areas so often; with huge changes made to the environment on each visit.

The Silent Realms only work the way they do because you are made intimately familiar with the areas themselves throughout the game; so the gameplay becomes focused around using your existing knowledge of the area to figure out how (there's the "how" again!) to get around to each of the tears of light without getting spotted/killed.  Likewise, the same can be said of the other, similar, events throughout the game (Tadtones, Eldin Volcano being turned into a stealth mission etc); they all take advantage of your familiarity with the existing areas.  If you were just chucked into a brand new area that you were unfamiliar with and asked to do the Silent Realm challenge? It'd be enormously frustrating trial & error gameplay that would feel unfair.

The repeated boss fights are built around the same concept.  Taking your knowledge of an existing boss encounter and using it against you by throwing new wrinkles into the mix each time.

In essence, it's the same kind of appeal that makes a randomiser fun I suppose.  Taking advantage of your existing knowledge and using it to craft new experiences that require you to re-interpret what you knew before...  No wonder I love randomisers! :D 

Edited by Dcubed
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2 minutes ago, nekunando said:

Hey.. that's not fair!

I love Starfox Zero too :grin:

That doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

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The biggest issue with Skyward sword was lots of stuff outside the dungeons. The dungeon design was pretty great. 

The Skyloft overworld was massive and absolutely barren (more barren than most open world games). The journeys to the dungeons were annoying and clunky versions of set piece action - it kind of seemed like they took inspiration from Uncharted. After those set pieces, you're left with a very empty and barren feeling path from A to B. Bringing back one of the most hated things from Twilight Princess (grabbing orbs) was also an odd choice. The overall, the overworld design was incredibly boring and had nothing interesting in it and is by far the weakest part of Skyward Sword. 

The Village itself wasn't particularly interesting, either. It really should have changed a bit more over the game, borrowed some stuff from Majora's Mask perhaps with routines and stuff. 

Another big issue is that Fi talked far too much. She ruined loads of puzzles by giving you the answer before you have time to figure out yourself, and interrupted for stupid reasons (low health, low battery, telling you off for playing for more than 30 minutes). This is something they can help by removing lots of Fi's text. Another thing they can fix is the glitch which meant that the game couldn't remember what items you had collected before when you loaded the game, so gave you notifications for every single one. 

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1 hour ago, Dcubed said:

Another thing that irritates me is just how divorced from context the decisions made regarding Skyward Sword's structure that the discorse has become.

Skyward Sword's world design was a direct response to critisism made regarding Twilight Princess.  Looking back on that game, the idea that TP's world could be considered "barren" today is absolutely laughable, considering how "small" and dense it is compared to the open world games of today; but that was indeed the overriding discourse at the time.  Twilight Princess' main point of comparison back then was TES4: Oblivion; but open world RPGs simply weren't in vogue like they are today, and traditional "linear" games were still very popular.

But Twilight Princess' overworld really is barren, in the sense that there's very little that's interesting to find. You could come across a long cave, explore it for a few minutes, and find at the end... 50 rupees. Which Link would then put back in its chest. In other words, that cave was as good as empty. Twilight Princess was a mess of game design.

Skyward Sword is considerably better... but it does have issues of its own. Solid 7/10, and the parts it does well, it does really well.

1 hour ago, Fierce_LiNk said:

It's a bland as fuck game that gets a free pass because it's both Zelda and from Nintendo.

I always take issue with comments like these. We always scrutinize and overanalyse Zelda games to hell and back, during launch, during re-releases, during remakes, and during the general hype cycle between games. Don't really understand this notion that fans excuse flaws in Zelda, when it's fans that draw attention to them more than anybody else.

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8 minutes ago, Jonnas said:

But Twilight Princess' overworld really is barren, in the sense that there's very little that's interesting to find. You could come across a long cave, explore it for a few minutes, and find at the end... 50 rupees. Which Link would then put back in its chest. In other words, that cave was as good as empty.

By the standards of previous Zeldas? Sure.  You could describe the overworld as "barren".  And yet, BOTW doesn't get any flack for this, despite having not even a fraction of interesting things to find and do as in Twilight Princess within its complete wasteland of an overworld.

The point I'm making here is about relative comparison.  People's perspectives on Twilight Princess' overworld have changed in recent years because it's closer to what people are looking for in today's games.  Breadth over depth.  BOTW doesn't suffer from this comparison because it is in-line with modern game design trends within the industry at large.

Meanwhile, Skyward Sword is basically as far away from modern open world game design trends as you can possibly get... As such, it's not surprising that people are much less kind to SS.

Quote

Skyward Sword is considerably better... but it does have issues of its own. Solid 7/10, and the parts it does well, it does really well.

I always take issue with comments like these. We always scrutinize and overanalyse Zelda games to hell and back, during launch, during re-releases, during remakes, and during the general hype cycle between games. Don't really understand this notion that fans excuse flaws in Zelda, when it's fans that draw attention to them more than anybody else.

This notion is absurd.  Zelda games are held to a higher standard than basically any other game series out there, with even the tiniest of nitpicks blown massively out of proportion.  Even the worst Zelda game is better than 99% of other games out there!

Edited by Dcubed
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15 minutes ago, Jonnas said:

I always take issue with comments like these. We always scrutinize and overanalyse Zelda games to hell and back, during launch, during re-releases, during remakes, and during the general hype cycle between games. Don't really understand this notion that fans excuse flaws in Zelda, when it's fans that draw attention to them more than anybody else.

Exactly. If anything Zelda games get over-scrutinised. They're judged to a higher standard because the bar is set so high.

2 hours ago, Fierce_LiNk said:

It's a bland as fuck game that gets a free pass because it's both Zelda and from Nintendo. It was just a chance for Nintendo to show off motion controls and the game is built around that, rather than building an interesting world, or telling an exciting story, or developing fascinating characters. Nintendo seemingly haven't got it in them do that, but hey, you can swing your sword around your bedroom like you are Link, so I guess that makes up for all of its many faults. :blank:

The industry doesn't need three console makers making the exact same third person action games. A bit of variety, innovation and experimentation is a good thing and Skyward Sword should be praised for implementing something so unique at such a fundamental level. If people don't like it, there are 19 other Zelda games that do it differently.

Personally I'd rather have Nintendo's core concept gameplay first approach to game design, than a lot of other devs spending so long on an 'interesting world' with an 'exciting story' and 'great characters'.......... and then having to "find the fun" at the very end. Case in point: Ghost of Tsushima. 

Personally speaking I enjoyed Skyward Sword a lot but not enough to buy it again. Yes there are flaws, but plenty it gets right too: Good story, nice visuals, fun puzzles, great dungeons. Balance!

Edited by Ronnie

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25 minutes ago, Jonnas said:

I always take issue with comments like these. We always scrutinize and overanalyse Zelda games to hell and back, during launch, during re-releases, during remakes, and during the general hype cycle between games. Don't really understand this notion that fans excuse flaws in Zelda, when it's fans that draw attention to them more than anybody else.

In terms of gaming outlets, I agree with what Flinky said. Certain developers, Nintendo included, get a pass from a lot of sites and I'm honestly not surprised by this. A lot of people within the industry grew up with Nintendo and have a hard time separating nostalgic feelings when reviewing any games made by them. Brian from IGN talked about this years ago on Nintendo Voice Chat, admitting it's something that he has trouble with.

You also have the issue of fanboys. Just look at the state people get in if the likes of Zelda/Mario/Pokemon don't get perfect or high scores. The recent outrage over Mario 3D World getting a 7/10 on IGN is a fine example. It's embarrassing and it's no wonder outlets don't put what they are playing under the microscope a little more when all that results in is them getting very harsh backlash over social media. 

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26 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

You also have the issue of fanboys. Just look at the state people get in if the likes of Zelda/Mario/Pokemon don't get perfect or high scores. The recent outrage over Mario 3D World getting a 7/10 on IGN is a fine example.

Fanboys aren't exclusively a Nintendo thing. 

The 7/10 thing is fine example of Nintendo's games being over-scrutinised though, so I'm glad you brought that up. If 3D World + Bowser's Fury had released without Mario and just a generic character, would IGN really have given it 7? Doubtful. 

Edited by Ronnie

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Nintendo games get high marks, because they're in the vast majority of cases, quality titles. Not to mention that they don't release broken or buggy like most other AAA releases. If they're not good, they don't get high marks, Starfox Zero has a 69 on Metacritic. Mario Tennis Ultra Smash, a 58.

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Fanboys aren't exclusively a Nintendo thing. 

The 7/10 thing is fine example of Nintendo's games being over-scrutinised though, so I'm glad you brought that up. If 3D World + Bowser's Fury had released without Mario and just a generic character, would IGN really have given it 7? Doubtful.

You're kind of proving his point here. Rather than accepting the 7/10 review as somebody's opinion, you're finding some way to discredit the reviewer by saying they are biased against Nintendo.

 

Can't we just accept that different people have different opinions? In my opinion 7/10 is bang on for SM3DW (can't comment on Bowser's Fury), so I would argue that many outlets have been generous compared to how I view the game.

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Didn’t people kick up a stink on this forum when Ashley gave SM3DW an 8 on its original release?

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18 minutes ago, Happenstance said:

Didn’t people kick up a stink on this forum when Ashley gave SM3DW an 8 on its original release?

I believe it happened with Wind Waker HD as well.

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1 hour ago, Happenstance said:

Didn’t people kick up a stink on this forum when Ashley gave SM3DW an 8 on its original release?

 

 

 

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I think some people need to worry an awful lot less about what others think of certain games!

With the amount of years most of us here have been playing, we should all have a good idea about what we personally enjoy and can often tell pretty quickly just by looking at a few screenshots of a game whether it seems desirable or not.

There are undoubtedly exceptions and it can help in some cases to search for different opinions to help decide if you are perhaps on the fence about something but, for the most part at least, my gut is usually pretty spot on.

There are plenty of examples where I went against my own judgement to purchase games revered and scored highly by the majority only to come away scratching my head at not being able to appreciate what others seem to see in these games. Everyone just has different taste, and that's absolutely normal :hehe:

The Legend of Zelda is an interesting case as despite sharing many of the same types of elements, puzzles and items, each entry is often a significant departure from the last. You only need to look at how different Breath of the Wild, Link's Awakening and now Skyward Sword are on Switch to experience just how disparate individual games in the series can be!

Everyone has their own favourites and none of those opinions are wrong.. even those people who think Twilight Princess is the best :indeed:

I always feel like A Link to the Past, Majora's Mask and Breath of the Wild are held up by many as the pinnacle of the franchise, each unique in their own way but not one of them would crack my top 3 (a couple of them wouldn't even be anywhere close, in fact)

Personally, Skyward Sword, Wind Waker HD and Ocarina of Time 3D are my favourite Zelda games and it doesn't matter that other people don't agree. They can like what they like and I'll like what I like :smile:

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