Title: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Rating: E 10+ (Everyone 10+); Animated Blood, Comic Mischief, Fantasy Violence
Available: Nov. 20
Out on: Wii
Price: $49.99 ($69.99 bundled with gold Wiimote)
The Legend of Zelda franchise has always been a personal favorite. Lots of professional athletes, like four-time All-Pro Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, remember playing Zelda at an early age. Its blend of in-depth stories, puzzle-solving and fast action are enough to entertain any athlete/gamer for hours.
With the release of Skyward Sword, Nintendo accepted the challenge of following up the critically-acclaimed Twilight Princess with a game that would finally properly use the Wii's motion-sensor capabilities—the way developers hoped when the console was released five years ago. The result? Skyward Sword is without a doubt the greatest Zelda game ever and quite possibly the best game on the market for the Wii.
The most anticipated feature of Skyward Sword is the swordplay. Nintendo took their Wii MotionPlus technology and translated it into accurate slices and stabs from Link's blade. It sounds cheesy, but the Wiimote feels like a sword from the moment you grab it. All the attacks seem natural and respond correctly (horizontal slice, vertical slice, stab and spin attack). Your shield (nunchuk) becomes an integral tool in your arsenal when you battle enemies across the globe—from Skyloft to the surface world below.
Some gamers feared that Nintendo would overstep by making swordplay the entire focus. Not happening. This is no hack-and-slash Link. You cannot go into battle by simply hammering buttons and waving the Wiimote around like fiery baton. You will get blocked and you will get killed. Fights take skill, and defeating even the weakest of minions requires more finesse than every previous Zelda game. This is a good thing! After all, we're competitors! We play sports because we like a challenge and crave the joy of victory. There's no joy in defeating an enemy who caves as soon as the fight begins. Skyward Sword's revamped fighting system gives you the opportunity, for the first time, to truly do battle. As a result, you will become more absorbed in the experience.
As usual, Zelda presents stunning visuals. You might be yearning for a time when Nintendo will ditch the cartoon-ish look altogether and bring us a truly adult Link (à la Fable); but Skyward's visuals still serve Link and his fantasy world quite well. The visuals are a mix between Twilight Princess and Wind Waker. Link and his supporting cast don't have the animé look of the latter game, but many of the lighting and coloring elements seem borrowed from the Gamecube hit. If you remember your Gamecube days, some of the sound effects might be a bit familiar, too. Yet, all in all, Skyward Sword is a visual achievement for the Wii.
When Nov. 20 comes around, there's no reason not to pick up a copy. Skyward Sword is great for athletes and gamers who enjoy active gameplay. The game is playable from a sitting position, but the experience is much better standing up. You become Link himself running into battle.
Add this game to your collection and enjoy the sweet joy of victory when you defeat enemies across Link's new world, thanks to your newly-acquired expert swordsmanship.
See what our friends have to say about The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
Another 10 for the Zelda franchise? [Game Informer]
VIDEO: Playing Skyward Sword [Gamespot]
The best Zelda ever [IGN]
Zelda delivers in every way possible [Wired]
Justifying the existence of Wii MotionPlus [NintendoWorldReport]
Changing the way you think about Zelda [Metro]
Nintendo's near perfect delivery [Guardian]
The game Nintendo promised us [CheatCC]
Impressive strides, but... [1up]
The Master Sword in your hands [Joystiq]
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock