Where it used to be a total powerhouse, I now fear that Nintendo is a mere shadow of its former self. Sure, the Wii is still a decent seller but there's an awful lot of units sitting dusty and unloved beneath televisions throughout the world after the initial excitement of Wii Sports with the family on Christmas Day has worn off.
Yes, we've had some good times. The Mario Galaxy
. They're the ones that are always mentioned when great games for the Wii are talked about. But for every Kirby's Epic Yarn
there's a whole pile of titles from the Imagine range.
As the Wii comes to the end of its retail life, the shovelware mounts up... but there, shining like a jewel in the rubbish, is one last hurrah: Skyward Sword
The latest in the Legend of Zelda
series is a marvellous thing. Of course, the Zelda
games are always something special, but Nintendo seems to have pulled out the stops in making Skyward Sword
the perfect love letter to the Wii. One final incredible effort before focus properly shifts to their new machine… and it’s done so well.
No Sofa Embarrassment
After firing up Skyward Sword
, the first thing you'll notice is how bloody pretty it is. Every last ounce of graphical capability has been wrung out of the Wii to produce one of the most beautiful games on the system. Everything looks incredible. From the characters you play and fight to the locations you explore. It's difficult to put your finger on what it can be compared to, though. This isn't the cel shading of WindWaker
or realistic look of Twilight Princess
but something new, something more artistic.
The next thing kind of sneaks up on you: the music. Iconic themes have always been a part of the Zelda
games, and Skyward Sword
continues the trend with some wonderful orchestral pieces. A lot of the time the music in a game is overlooked but here it adds so much to the atmosphere that to not mention it would be foolish. It's as much a part of the game as how it plays and as such should be applauded.
Of course, these are mere icing on the top of the cake. A game is worth nothing if it doesn't play well. Thankfully there's nothing at all to worry about; Skyward Sword
is easily one of the best games that Nintendo has ever made, regardless of system. The insistence that motion control is the future of gaming has finally paid off - no longer will you be performing little waggles here and there to trigger your moves, feeling embarrassed as you sit on the sofa.
Now you're up on your feet, swinging your sword in huge arcs as you take down enemies. For the first time it now feels like your movements have consequence in a game, that what you're doing is actually happening on the screen. Fantastic, sure, but we've had this technology for years now – is it too little too late?
Chaos, Terror, Murder
Ahhh, who cares. We're talking about a great game here, even down to the story. For once, instead of something nebulous we actually have reasoning as to why Link does what he does. The usual “Zelda is missing and needs to be rescued” is still in there but now there's an actual back story. At last we now see the relationship between these two characters that we've known for over two decades, we now know why they care for each other.