Poll a group of Zelda fans and ask them what their favorite title in the series is. Chances are you’re going to get some pretty diverse answers. Many would probably say the era-defining masterpiece, Ocarina of Time. Perhaps older players would answer with 1991’s amazing-for-the-time A Link to the Past. Surely the beautiful and artistic Wind Waker would garner some votes, as would the moody and atmospheric Majora’s Mask. Perhaps you would even get those that would argue that this year’s reimagining of the Zelda series, Breath of the Wild, is the best of the series yet.

 

None of these would be wrong answers. And yet, it’s unlikely that a vote would be cast for the Zelda title centered around motion controls and released in the dying days of the Wii. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword isn’t frequently mentioned among the greatest Zelda games.

 

But it should be.

 

The Curious Case of Skyward Sword

 

Upon Skyward Sword’s November 2011 release, the game was heaped with praise. “The most formally inventive Zelda in some time” gushed Eurogamer in a perfect 100/100 review. “Increasingly, Nintendo refuses to compromise cinematic storytelling for gameplay, finding a balance that seems effortless” raved IGN in their 10/10 review. “There is no arguing that Skyward Sword is one of the most painstakingly crafted, lovingly developed titles in Nintendo’s long, illustrious history” Desctructoid emphatically stated. It currently holds a Metactitic average of 93%, nothing to sniff at.

 

So why does this game get shit on so much?

 

Well, that’s what we’re gonna try and figure out! Let’s break down the most common complaints and counter-argue them, and then, after we’re done, maybe we’ll all have some second thoughts about The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

 

Swing Your Sword Like You Mean It

Okay, so the biggest point of criticism pointed towards Skyward Sword centers around it’s motion controls, and the perception that they don’t work. This is a stigma that plagued Skyward Sword from the moment it was unveiled at E3. As we’ve talked about before, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and frankly, Nintendo really buggered up Skyward Swords’ first public appearance. This really hurt the game in the long run because it gave people the perception that the motion controls didn’t work, regardless of whether or not that was true.

 

I can only speak for myself or course, but mine worked perfectly. In fact, the only time I ever had any problems was when my cat ate my Wiimote sensor cord (arrgghh) and I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t moving. Sure, Skyward Sword asked a little more of you when swinging and slicing than Twilight “Flap Your Wrist Around and Call That Swordplay” Princess did, but wasn’t that what fans were asking for from Nintendo for years? For a precise game that would fully take advantage of the Wii’s unique motion capabilities? That’s exactly what Skyward Sword did, and it did it damn well.

 

Enemies required strategy to beat, and timing, and it wasn’t just a hack and slash until they’re dead kind of approach anymore. Many puzzles were centered around Link’s more precise sword movements. It added a fresh coat of paint to a formula that was beginning to show it’s age a little bit. I wouldn’t go so far as to say motion controls added to every aspect of the game they were put into – I think we would have all rather flown our Loftwings with traditional controls – but by and large, the controls did what they were supposed to: give the players even more engagement with Link as his peril became our own.

 

Yes Fi, I Know My Controller Batteries Are Low

 

Okay. I get it. Fi can be annoying. “You have a 0.002% chance of survival, never tell me that odds, yada yada yada”. I understand. But here’s the thing: Almost every companion that you get in The Legend of Zelda series is annoying. Ocarina of Time is my favorite game ever, and yet I still feel like strangling Navi every time she reminds me that I should probably visit Saria in the Lost Woods. Midna’s annoying cackle and condescending attitude made me want to drop kick the little midget every time she started mouthing off to me. Tetra, Tatl, Elzo, all these guys got on my nerves. But I also love the companions despite all this for the sole reason of they’re on this journey with me and we either succeed or fail together.

 

Call it an unreasonable emotional attachment to these often annoying companion characters, but these guys are the Samwise Gamgee to my Frodo. Frodo wouldn’t have made it Mount Doom without Sam pestering him about making sure he ate and slept enough; telling me the odds, reminding us of Wiimote situation, that’s just Fi’s way of looking out for us. She’s a program after all, and that’s how she keeps her Master safe.

 

But as the ending of Skyward Sword shows, even program can grow a heart. Maybe I wouldn’t like her as much as I do if not for her final scene; but after everything, Fi, who’s been so stoic and professional about her and Link’s arrangement, has a hard time saying goodbye to her Master and friend. She tries to make their departure business as usual and slips away into the Master Sword. But then, in an instant that the program Fi probably didn’t understand herself, she calls out to Link and gives him a heartfelt farewell (set to the best piece of music this series has produced) and leaves him with these iconic words:

 

“Our partnership is at end, and even as we speak, I feel my consciousness fading away, before I enter the sleep that calls me to the sword, I wish to relay to you words that I recorded many times over the course of our journey. Many have said them to you thus far, but I now wish to say them for myself. Thank you, Master Link. May we meet again in another life…”

 

Some people cry that this scene isn’t earned. I say bollocks. You and Fi forged the Master Sword together, touched the Triforce together, and shaped the future together. I’d say that her connection with Link is not only earned, but one of the best in the series.

 

We’re Here Again?!

 

The last major point of criticism I found when looking at the reasons for Skyward Sword’s supposed bad rap is the repetition in where you go. To be fair to that point, this game doesn’t have you traversing to vastly different locales like previous Zelda games did. Rather, you spend a lot of time in the Faron Woods, Eldin Volcano, Lanayru Desert, and Skyloft. This would be a problem if you kept going back and it was the same thing, over and over and over in these locations… but you don’t.

 

The first trip you make to the Faron Woods plays out like a typical Zelda experience of Link entering the woods for the first time. The charming music, the whimsy of the setting, the paintbrush like aesthetic make it one of my favorite Zelda areas in any game. This being said, it’s a very different story from the second time you go there and explore Lake Floria, and it’s a vastly different experience the third time you there and the whole damn place is flooded.

 

Every area in Skyward Sword offers this type of diversity. Yes, you’re back tracking to the same couple areas repeatedly, but each time is a different area with different goals. Skyloft itself is probably only second to Clock Town in terms of a lively city setting that feels like real people live there. I agree that the overworld in the sky is pretty drab compared to Hyrule Field or Termina, but then again, I thought the overworld in The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess weren’t exactly a treat either. Perhaps it’s the Metroid fan in me that’s grown accustom to back tracking and exploring the same areas for new clues, but I was constantly impressed with Skyward Sword’s many different ways to keep the same areas different.

 

Zelda Begins

 

The storytelling of Skyward Sword, it’s presentation, it’s narrative beats, is something the Zelda series hasn’t matches so far. Breath of the Wild was many great things, but a powerful character based narrative it was not. The story wasn’t just lacking – it was pretty much non-existent. Compare that to Skyward Sword.

 

Fi’s growth from computer to friend. Groose’s character are that saw him go from giant A-hole to hero of Hyrule (we need a Legend of Groose sequel). Zelda’s struggle at learning her own powers, finding out who she was and who she’s meant to be. The best iteration of Impa the series has seen. Ghirahim’s creepiness, Demises all encompassing evil, the origins of the Master Sword, the backstory of Demises Curse, it was all there, and told in an amazing way throughout the game. Skyward Sword is the pinnacle of Zelda storytelling. Hell, it’s the pinnacle of Nintendo storytelling. It was stylish, it was goofy, it was epic – everything a good Zelda should be.

 

I know I probably haven’t changed anyone’s mind about Skyward Sword. If you don’t like it by now, you’re probably stuck in that frame of mind. But instead of thinking of Skyward Sword as the buggy controlled game with the annoying sidekick that makes you travel to the same spots time after time, think of this. Think of the precision in the controls. Think if the companionship of Fi. Think of the diversity these same areas offer you every time you come back. And think of the best storytelling The Legend of Zelda has ever seen.

 

Think about all that. And next time someone asks you what your favorite Zelda game is… maybe give Skyward Sword a second thought.

 

It deserves it.

 

Andy Spiteri is a Managing Editor at Zelda Informer. If you want to make fun of him for his unabashed love of Skyward Sword, follow him on Twitter or check out his blog.

 

Feature art by lightskin
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  • Jebradiah Drake

    Haha, we were just talking about Fi the other day

  • Dadertrix

    I’m actually replaying SS right now, this couldn’t be more timely

  • Happy Mask Collector

    I’m more of a fan of the darker zelda’s, so SS isn’t really my thing…

  • Biggles1071

    As much as I try to rationalize how “good” each Zelda game is, I’ve found I cannot give good reasons why I feel a particular way about each one. I think, for me, it comes down to story, music, environment, gameplay and “quirkiness”. That last might be the hardest to explain. SS excels at music (well, the first 30 minutes, and a few bits in between, and the credits) and story and environment, and I absolutely love the WiiMote controls (every time I fought, it got my butt off the couch. I wish I could have done that with BotW. It’s one of the reasons Sports Resort Swordfighting is still tops with me). But SS excels at “quirkiness” – from breaking pots to clean the house, to the pumpkin song game, to the irrelevent Bug Island, to Pirate Captain Stalfos, to Beedle dumping you if you don’t buy anything, to the Groosinator, to Fun Fun Island, and most especially the “Scream as loud as you can” game (how many people went running full speed to save Kukiel?). TP remains my favorite because of the music, and Malo Mart, and the dungeons, and the overall ambiance, but SS reigns supreme in so many other ways. If it wasn’t for the annoying Silent Realm and slashing the Imprisoned’s toes again… and again… and again… it could be my favorite. And though I hate the Silent Realm, no other Zelda moment gets my adreneline going into a full-on freak out.

  • RiverDevil

    “and the _perception_ that they don’t work.” (emphasis added)

    “I can only speak for myself or course.”

    If you readily admit you only speak for yourself, it’s unfair to say that there’s a “perception” (e.g., not based in fact) that motion controls don’t work

    personally i enjoyed them, but to dismiss all the problems people reported as ‘perception’ is unreasonable

  • RiverDevil

    Headline unfortunately doesn’t match the article. I would enjoy reading “Why Skyward Sword Should Be Considered One Of The Best Zelda Games Ever (but Isn’t)”

    but this article is more of just, “here’s why the criticisms of SS are wrong”. Yes, there is some discussion of some good SS points (e.g. the author’s take on Fi, or story/character growth). but it’s done in the context of rebutting the haters, rather than really explaining why SS should eclipse (or at least equal) other games in the series.

    I understand the need for rebutting the current generally accepted views of SS, but the article mostly just stopped there, and didn’t make the case for SS in and of itself, and why it should be considered one of the greatest games. Instead after reading this, the only conclusions I’m left is, “the things in SS aren’t that different from aspects in other games,” (e.g. other overworlds are barren, other sidekicks are annoying), so I guess the logical conclusion is that it should be held in the same esteem as such games. But the article never really makes the “direct” case for SS, other than rebutting criticisms. This is like a cross examination which tears down an argument, as opposed to direct testimony which builds it

    • Andy Spiteri

      Except it’s both – a teardown of an argument that reveals that the games perceived weaknesses are it’s biggest strength. We already know about it’s amazing dungeons, bosses, lore – that’s why I didn’t focus on it.

  • Devon Orme

    The controls did work when 2 conditions were met:
    1. No background noise/interference.
    2. You kept your Wiimote steadily pointing towards the screen during loading screens. Seriously, I tried to start my Loftwing in a dive, and when the Sky loaded, it treated that position as straight forward.

    • Graeme Masciuch

      Lighting is a big issue I’ve found.

  • David García Abril

    I also like “Skyward Sword”, but one piece of advice: next time you want to vindicate something, don’t write the entire piece on the defensive. It makes it feel like you’re trying to justify yourself rather than building a case.

    Plus, Fi is objectively more annoying than ANY Zelda companion ever. As in, it can actually be factually measured.

    • Andy Spiteri

      How can that be factually measured? Did you set dousing to ‘Most Annoying Zelda Companion’ and have it lead you right to Fi? What you see as defensive though is pointing out that the games perceived flaws are some of its biggest strengths if you just look at it right. Like I said, I’m sure most have made up their mind by this point however.

      • David García Abril

        Simple.

        You count the number of times that each companion interrupts you and gives you a unwanted, unskippable and unneeded tip while following the story.

        Fi CRUSHES every single other Zelda companion by a HUGE margin.

        And yes, that’s quantifiable. And very easily at that.

        • Andy Spiteri

          I see what you’re saying and that makes sense, but it’s also too subjective. Who’s to say what’s annoying or unwanted or unneeded to you is to someone else? Sure, Fi yaps at you a lot about percentages and whatnot , but it’s also part of her charm. You and I are proof that it’s not quantifiable because we don’t agree on that being annoying. Food for thought.

        • Andy Spiteri

          That being said, I have no problems believing that she interrupted way more than any other companion haha

  • Eric Zavinski

    Dang, what are the odds you at ZI and I at Gamnesia publish our Skyward Sword love pieces on the same day?!
    Here’s my editorial for anyone interested: https://www.gamnesia.com/exclusives/skyward-sword-is-still-my-favorite-zelda-game-and-heres-why

  • Riley Marshall

    look, story and music-wise, it’s one of the best if not the best Zelda ever. Gameplay-wise, I don’t think so, pal.

  • Shadowknight1

    Don’t even need to read the article to know I agree. I loved Skyward Sword and cannot understand the detractors. My top 5 Zelda games are, in no particular order: Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Breath of the Wild, Skyward Sword, and Link to the Past.

    • JessterK

      That’s my list as well, though I might replace BOTW with either TP or Minish Cap.

    • Prettymuch my list, i’d swap Majoras Mask with Zelda 2 though, I know – I’m a sadist,lol

  • K2L

    Sadly, SS is likely never going to get any sort appreciation. Too much haterade out there. It DOES have flaws (the backtracking and padding, the annoyances of Fi and the “You Got [X]” spamming), but apparently the haters always take every single opportunity to make everybody believe that the game ghas absolutely zero redeeming qualities. It has, in that sense, become the Sonic 2006 of the Zelda series.

  • Dylan

    I Always Like Skyward Sword, its the Pixar Zelda of the bunch.

  • Anonymous

    I DO consider it one of the best Zelda games. Second only to Majora’s Mask for me personally. I think the art style is phenomenal. The collection of dungeons is the best in the series, four of which (Lanayru Mine, Ancient Cistern, Sandship, Sky Keep) are some of the finest Zelda dungeons ever made. It has the best story and presentation. The soundtrack is awesome, the characters are charming, the villain is enigmatic and threatening, and gameplay wise, it boasts great controls, a fine (and more importantly, useful) selection of items, and some really cool customization/collection/upgrade mechanics.

    Yes, it can be repetitive at points, the Water Dragon can suck a fat one, there are some real quality of life concerns (battery and item indications), and some controls are more cumbersome than useful (balancing, swimming), but they fail to overshadow everything this game does right. And while we’re at it, the linearity was a welcome change after the faux-pen worlds of most Zeldas since A Link to the Past.

    Imo, it’s one of those unfortunate situations where the games flaws are overly magnified by the general audience, ignoring so much good. And there’s a lot to love here.

  • Idefk

    One of the main gripes that I’ve seen a lot is that it’s very linear. But the thing is, a linear game isn’t inherently bad. Of course, there is such a thing as being TOO linear, and while I wish the “overworld” (the Sky) was a little more open, the linearity isn’t a huge problem for me.

    • Andy Spiteri

      I just keep thinking – how is it any less linear than Ocarina of Time or Twilight Princess? You go to the dungeons in specific order in those games, yet no one complains. You can go out and do quests whenever you want in SS. Curious.

      • Pikastroff

        I think it’s because OoT and TP kinda felt more open since the actual worlds were “wider”, not really in corridors for the most part (since for instance traversing Hyrule Field felt more “open” than going through the straight lines within each of the regions in SS) than in SS. I think that due to that, it seemed less obvious that in reality you’re basically just going from point A to point B, though you have the possibility of doing other stuff in the meantime. SS made it more obvious due to the way the geography was handled, I think.

        But honestly, it’s just an illusion since as you said, it’s actually not that much different. And I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. Linearity isn’t a synonym for bad. I love SS, in the same way that I love OoT and TP.

      • Masterful Moose

        To echo and add onto what Pikastroff was saying, the game worlds in OoT and TP feel more wide open. The spaces are large, varied, and most importantly, all connected. Skyward Sword’s “overworld” lacked that same cohesive sense, because in order to go from Faron to Eldon, you have to fly back up into the sky. It really broke the immersion of the world.

        Another reason I think the linearity of earlier Zelda games isn’t bemoaned as much is that the areas they lead you to are all different. Sure, you’ll backtrack for side quests or for a little something here or there, or just because you want to, but they don’t often force you to go to the exact. Same. Area. Three times. And force you to fight the exact. Same. Boss. Three times.

        There were things I loved about Skyward Sword, but there are definite reasons why it doesn’t crack my top 5 Zelda games.

  • Ray Umphrey

    He’s right, you know. SS gameplay is annoying, and it is repetitive, but it has the best story of any Zelda game. It was the most original Zelda entry in years. It’s just a burden to play through.

  • Squirrel on crack cocaine.

    I can’t stand this game in anyway and found the only saving grace to be its above par story line. The worst part is it could have been so much better. I always felt like the team spent years working on the sword mechanics but hastily put a game together around it.

    Played it once, never intend to play it again. Seems that 2007-2011 was a bad time for Zelda games. Two terrible DS games and the worst 3D one. Thankfully Link Between Worlds got the series back on track.

    • Vados

      I honestly don’t see how people can say Skyward Sword is the worst 3D Zelda, when Wind Waker exists.

      • Squirrel on crack cocaine.

        Completely agree that Wind Waker is a terrible Zelda game and I do rate it as the second worst 3D entry but at least you can play WW and it has some kind of freedom (albeit limited). Skyward Sword is at times an unplayable mess. Take the swimming controls for example!

        • Vados

          I don’t think Skyward Sword gets unplayable tbh. I guess the worst and most boring parts of the game, are each time when you have to get a new song inside of the thunderhead…but those parts are only so terrible because they’re exactly like 70% of Wind Waker. Meaning that you just move forward, with NOTHING happening at all. Freedom doesn’t mean anything if the world is awfully designed imo.
          Skyward Sword at least has FAR better dungeons, a more streamlined overworld that is more focused and actually has content and combat that doesn’t revolve around waiting to press A in order to counter an enemy. Not to mention a better story and better characters too.
          Skyward Sword with its handholding (which you can most of the time just ignore by not pressing the button to talk to Fi btw) can get annoying sometimes, but I’d rather have something annoying from time to time, instead of constantly being a boring game, like Wind Waker.

          Don’t really get what’s bad about the swimming controls either. They were really precise and easy to control.

  • S Kent

    People hate on every Zelda game. I like this game for the story and character development more than for the game play. I also like Zelda’s outfit in skyloft and some of the great quotes that were in it like “I’m still your Zelda” and “I wanted that feeling to last forever.” There are some great things about this game that I really liked. Yeah gameplay was not excellent but I like the story.

  • Mogster

    The problem is that SS just does everything badly. I played through it again just last December, and man, is that game tedious. Playing through areas multiple times wouldn’t be a problem if the areas were interesting. Fighting the Imprisoned multiple times wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t literally the same battle every time, and a dull frustrating battle at that.

    The only interesting area is Lanayru. It’s the only area with an impressive landscape and one that seems heaped in history. Eldin is just dull. I hate how they make you go through these areas AGAIN just to get the tears or whatever.

    Controls, while not as bad as people say, as still annoying and the game would work 10000x better with normal controls. The game places so much weight on combat that the rest of the game really suffers for it.

    SS is a burden to play through. It has more frustrations than strengths. I don’t think it is even a good video game, let alone a good Zelda game.I would probably buy an HD remake, but I doubt I’d get very far.

    • CruxEternal

      You’re looking for impressive landscapes on a Wii game. Keep in mind no one is going to find that in the era the ps3 and x360 brought with them. No Zelda game prior had impressive landscapes either. I mean come on who looks at OoT and says look at those impressive flat surfaces with muddy textures.

  • forgot

    Motion controls were tedious and fighting Ghirahim was obnoxious, but controls were the least of its problems. The real reason it was bad was because of the wild goose chase it puts you in in those three worlds. And the story isn’t nearly as great as everyone talks it up to be. Fi also ruined a good chunk of the experience hand holding (and no I didn’t feel bad when she died. She felt more like an opposing force in the whole game). In other words these points are pretty spot on but did a pretty poor job of countering them. Rather than focusing solely on why the game sucked, build a case on why it was good. Countering by calling the rest of the series annoying doesn’t really help.

    • CruxEternal

      I don’t think you know what tedious means.

      Wild goose chase? Every Zelda game ever.

      The story. I disagree with you heavily there. To each his own.

      Fi. Annoying, sure. But a ruiner I think not. Nothing stopped you from mashing A the minute she started rambling on how to do something. Hand holding was a problem for the game and I hope fi gets reworked to be more faithful companion than tutorial in a future remaster.

      If anything I feel like you just have it out for this game. Like a great many made bitter by the Wii. If that isn’t the case, take a moment to remove that chip on your shoulder and examine the game for what it is and stop expecting someone else to make the point for you.

    • Vados

      It’s not like Skyward Sword is the only Zelda game that forces you to go on a McGuffin hunt. At least it’s not like Wind Waker, where all of a sudden you have to sail across the entire ocean in search of Jabun, only to do rope swing tutorials again.

  • Graeme Masciuch

    It needs to be acknowledged that not everyone has perfectly working motion controls. It will swing left when I’m swinging right, up when I’m swinging down, and worse. The solution appears to be to swing the sword consistently until it calibrate and syncs up.
    An HD remake on the Switch with retuned and properly functioning (and optional) motion controls would redeem Skyward Sword.

    • Zenzen00

      maybe, just maybe, you just didn’t move your hand how it should be and winded up to the right when you were trying to swing left, and it took that first wind up, but you just didn’t realize it

      • Graeme Masciuch

        That’s not the problem. And people need to stop what you’re doing. The motion controls are not consistent for everyone. Because you have a successful experience does not mean everyone else does.

        I literally have to do several up and down swings to get the controls to sync up and track properly, and even then it is unreliable.

        We’re talking I will swing sideways and it give me an up slash kind of shit here.

        Lighting is a huge factor. If I play when there’s no glare from the sun it’s much better, but far from perfect still.

        Unless both my motion plus controllers happened to be defective(same issues on both) there is a glitch or flaw that not everyone is affected by.

        I wish I could enjoy Skywards Sword’s motion controls, but despite every effort to adjust everything possible I cannot get consistency from the motion controls. Sometimes they work great, sometimes it’s on the hot pipe.

        • CruxEternal

          Well being this a Nintendo geeks website, hook up your Wii U, get a Wii motion plus controller for Wii u and try again. If you’re having those sorts of issues its either signal interference or user error. Its not the games fault at this point.

          • Graeme Masciuch

            Skyward Sword is for the Wii, not Wii U.

            You can go tell yourself it’s user error in the mirror all day long son.

          • CruxEternal

            Really ?! I figured the missing U on the box was a printing error /sarcasm

            Don’t be dense the wii u is backward compatible with the wii software. That sensor bar is not for show. I’m telling you to use different hardware, because there maybe something wrong with your equipment. Seeing as you didn’t put 1 and 1 together, I can only assume user error is the source of many of your issues.

          • Graeme Masciuch

            Don’t own a Wii U and am not very familiar with it.

            Acting like people can just go buy a Wii U like it’s nothing is not helpful.

            There is a significant amount of people the motion plus does not work as advertised for and there is very little for tutorials and/or troubleshooting issues.

            Downplaying it is not a solution.
            Telling people to buy new hardware when brand new out of the box hardware does not work properly is not a solution.

          • CruxEternal

            Either you have string signAL interference in your area or you’re using it wrong. I’m leaning hard on the former. In which case the wii u with its stronger Bluetooth specifiction is your only option. In the end it is not the games fault. Nothing can be done about it.

          • Graeme Masciuch

            Stop. You are not solving anything by insisting on the same thing I’ve already troubleshot as not being the problem.

          • CruxEternal

            Or you could stop insisting that you’re not being irrational and unreasonable.

          • Graeme Masciuch

            I never said it didn’t work well for everyone, only some people and that needs to be addressed and not dismissed.
            Don’t put words in my mouth I’m not saying.

        • Zenzen00

          > Because you have a successful experience does not mean everyone else does.
          > Because you have a unsuccessful experience does not mean everyone else does.

          It works both ways. Like the person on the article, I had 0 issues at all with motion controllers, and I know people who didn’t either.

        • Vados

          The thing is, that when there are people who have literally no issue whatsoever with the motion controls, it comes down to user error. And since we all use the same technology when playing the game, I think it just comes down to people having horrible hand-to-eye coordination.

          Lighting also has nothing to do with anything. Heck, you can unplug the sensor bar when playing the game, since it is not needed. The only thing that can negatively influence the controls, is when you have a lot of signal interference (like Miyamoto had during their E3 presentation).

          One advice that usually helps people, is to make small and precise movements. A lot of people think ”Oh, it’s motion controlled, so I should swing the Wii Mote like an actual sword”. They tend to use their shoulder and make huge swings, which is something that the Wii Mote can’t keep track of for very long. My advice, is to just use your elbow and wrist. You should essentially play Skyward Sword like the Wii Version of TP…just with more care put into your motion.

    • CruxEternal

      If your sword was behaving wildely like that then you have bigger issues not related to the game. Your controller might be busted, you were using the motion plus adapter which is garbage. My personal favorite is you have too many interfering wireless signals and should move out of fear of cancer causing side effects, not to mention every other console you own probably has similar issues. In short, your problem was not the games fault. Yes the controls had some wonk, but nothing on the level you’re proposing. What you’re saying is either user error or hardware failure.

  • Corey R

    You’re completely right in saying Skyward Sword gets excessive shit for seemingly unfair reasons. The game truly is technically sound and appealing. However, your article title is a bit misleading. Arguing why a game isn’t shit doesn’t justify calling it one of the best games in the Zelda series. A more accurate title would’ve been “Skyward Sword Isn’t As Bad As Everyone Says It Is”.

    Skyward Sword isn’t as bad as everyone says, but it still has major flaws. Enemies requiring more than just blind slashing is a more mentally-stimulating and satisfying way to deal with baddies, but when every single bokoblin (probably the most reoccurring enemy in the whole game) requires individual attention and the AI can troll you by blocking slice after slice, the overall feel of combat can slow down to a crawl. And yes backtracking isn’t as bad because it’s diverse, but the puzzle-packed, segmented, “outdoor dungeon” concept of the overworld makes traversing regular areas exhausting and demoralizing. Not to mention, the areas are incredibly linear and the overworld isn’t even connected. You have to go back up to the sky and then dive down a different hole just to get from Faron Woods to Eldin Volcano.

    So in short, the game is slow AF. Good, but slow AF

  • Graeme Masciuch

    Skyward Sword has a lot of redeeming merits despite its many frustrations. But how in the name of Hylia did it get perfect reviews!?

    How much did those reviews cost?

  • Katie Wangberg

    I just want to say that SS is the first LoZ I played all the way through, and I love it so much. I agree with basically all of the points made in the article, and want to add thay SS was an especially phenomenal game given the circumstances under which it was developed. Miyomoto and Iwata couldn’t agree on anything, and almost every time Miyomoto did something on the game Iwata told him to change it! It can’t be easy to develop a game with total group disagreement, and yet they did, and it was still beautiful. I just wonder how much better it could have been if the developers were in agreement on more; we may not even have so much hatred for it

  • spacefan1993

    It’s by no means the worst Zelda game I have ever played, but the control issues and Fi were a bit of a letdown for me, personally. But those didn’t stop me from enjoying the game. Heck, I 100% completed the game, I enjoyed it so much! But I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it’s my favorite; Twilight Princess is my favorite.

    And speaking of Twilight Princess, Midna is nowhere near as bad as you make her out to be. Early on, she is kind of condescending, but about halfway through the game (after you save her from dying), she ditches that aspect of her character, and even begins to show romantic feelings for Link. She had as much character growth as Fi did, if not more. And that’s why Midna is my favorite of the companions (as well as Zelda from Spirit Tracks).

  • Vados

    Imo the only real issues of Skyward Sword are the handholding and the wasted potential of the Sky….and in hindsight also the fact that it is kinda long…maybe even too long.

    Other than that, combat was better than ever (unless you suck at adapting to motion controls and blame everything but yourself for it) with enemies that you can’t simply button mash to death and bosses that are satisfying as hell to fight thanks to the motion controls (Koloktos and Ghirahim’s 3rd fight)

    While the world was segmented and apparently felt more linear to some people, I didn’t really mind that, because as Twilight Princess and especially Wind Waker proved, the Zelda team at that time couldn’t quite figure out how to make a compelling overworld with the technology that was available at the time. Instead of forcing the player to just run through empty and unrewarding environments, they structured the Surface of Skyward Sword somewhat like dungeons. There were lots of enemies, puzzles and treasures to find. The items in SS also benefited from this design approach. You constantly switch between your entire inventory throughout the game, which felt really rewarding. It felt like Link was getting more and more versatile, instead of just getting the ability to do one super specific thing inside of a building for a few minutes.

    The story, while nothing particularly special, had the best narrative moments of the franchise imo. Every single scene with Groose in it, was just pure gold. People always bring up Wind Waker when talking about how expressive the characters are, but Skyward Sword handles it far better. Grooses clueless and frightened expression when he witnessed how Link fought the Imprisoned, was a brilliant piece of character development. Skyward Sword also provided us with the best versions of Link and Zelda. Link has never felt like more of his own character than in Skyward Sword. He’s expressive, showcases a lot of personality and his connections to all of the people he knows, make him a much better character than previously. Same goes for Zelda, who is now finally given enough of a character, to make me want to save her. In addition to the brilliant cutscene direction, Skyward Sword’s insanely amazing soundtrack makes for the best final act of any Zelda game. That finale is just a roller coaster of emotions.

    The dungeons of Skyward Sword were also incredibly unique and creative. The Lanayru dungeons were especially great, but my favorite dungeon is definitely Sky Keep….it’s like the Divine Beasts of BotW, but in a traditional Zelda form. The puzzles were great, the items were useful, the dungeon themes were amazing and all of the bosses were fun to fight. Imo Skyward Sword has the strongest set of dungeons out of any 3D Zelda game, simply because there is not a single dungeon that I’m not looking forward too. Sure TP has great dungeons like Lakebed, Arbiter’s Grounds and Snowpeak ruins, but it also has Goron Mines, the city in the Sky, the twilight palace and Hyrule Castle….and let’s just not mention Wind Waker’s dungeons….

    Looking at the complaint about backtracking I don’t really get it. Traveling in Skyward Sword is really fast (unlike Wind Waker) and even when you revisit an area, you either do something entirely different gameplaywise, or you just quickly make a dash towards a new part of that region. I mean, Majora’s Mask forces first time players to essentially do the Kafei Quest 3 times. You also have to do an insane amount of backtracking for the Don Gero sidequest. People hate having to go back to Skyview Temple, but that sidequest in MM makes you go back into two dungeons and forcing you to get to the mini boss again…you also have to refight Goht at the very end as well.
    OoT makes you revisit areas as well, with little to no change. In TP you have to slog your way to from Ordon Village to the Forest Temple 3 times, right at the beginning of the game (not to mention the tears of light, that make you go through the world twice). And Wind Waker….well every location in that game seems kinda the same…six reefs, 5 fairy fountains, dozens of uninteresting one-off islands…it all blends together.

    I love Skyward Sword and I think that it’s strengths more than outweigh the few nitpicks that fit other 3D Zelda games as well. But whatever, the internet made Skyward Sword the scapegoat for the entire franchise, so uneducated, negative opinions (heck even Matthewmatosis who is usually a good critic, was ridiculously sloppy in his Skyward Sword video) will forever haunt that game…although the user score for Skyward Sword on Metacritc rose up quite a bit throughout the last few years…

  • Darunia18

    After replaying the game last summer, the only things I really found bad about the game were the handholding and Fi reminding me that my batteries were low. It has some of the best puzzle and dungeon design of the series, and the enemies were always really fun to fight. The Silent Realm sections were, in my opinion, the most intense moments of any Zelda game. I loved the game in my first playthrough, but what made it nearly unbearable the second time around was the fact that I was told the answer to the majority of puzzles before I even started them and that Fi had to interrupt the game to remind me about my Wii remote batteries, which really broke immersion. I hope that when they remake this game, all they do is remove these two annoying features. If they did that, Skyward Sword may become my favorite Zelda game, possibly even beating Breath of the Wild.

  • dark.isatari

    I love skyward sword and think it definitely deserves more praise than it currently gets. Yes it has some disappointing flaws, namely the empty skies and Fi’s intrusiveness.
    I thought the so-called “back-tracking” was one of the best things to happen to the series, keeping old areas fresh and not feeling “done” like a sequential level in an arcade style game. In PH and TP you never need to revisit an area once you’ve beaten it.

  • JaidynReiman

    I’m not so sure this is actually that valid of an argument.

    Here’s the thing–when I first played Skyward Sword, it worked flawlessly, and I enjoyed it. I had no problems with the controls. But the game was still barebones, it wasn’t really that fun to explore like in most games, and by the end I was just kinda bored.

    But, I didn’t mind the game, I did like it.

    Come me trying to replay it on Wii U, though… Oh boy. I hadn’t used my Wiimotes in a while. I dunno if that had anything to do with it. But they barely worked at all. The pointer always got stuck in one position, resetting it never worked, and I had a PITA time doing ANYTHING.

    If a lot of people had these issues when it first launched, frankly, I’m not surprised that the notion of the motion controls not working still persists. Its very likely it DIDN’T work for many people.

  • William Roark

    Thank you. Thank you so much.

  • Adrian Brown

    Still my #1 Zelda game.

  • Sean Michael-Patrick Thompson

    I liked Skyward Sword; it was a good game, and a good Zelda game. That said, literally nothing about it wowed me. I enjoyed it well enough, but no part of it stood out to me when compared to most Zelda games. The motion controls were fun, but as you said, often unnecessary and did not improve the game. Basically if they used them for combat alone I would have been much happier. The story, which many praise above the rest of the series, I found to be so-so. It was not bad, but I felt like the high-school-musical-esque drama was a little out of place, and while it kept me going all the way through, I did not find as much replay value from this as I did the puzzles and combat. On that front, I enjoyed it again, but I felt the whole time like it couldn’t compare to previous titles. The dungeons were cool, but not on the scale of its ancestors. Also I can’t help but notice you neglected to mention the world’s most lackluster cast of dungeon bosses. I get that you’re arguing in its favor, but the easiness of the game, particularly in the boss fights, was one of the things that dragged me down about the game. I often felt the game got boring because of the lack of challenge. My first playthrough I died one single time, and it was to Demise himself. Plus most of the boss designs were uninspired and downright stupud looking.
    Great game, just pretty low on my list of Zelda games. It’s like comparing turkey to bacon. Both are good meats, but how can anything be better than bacon?

  • jaylen

    This comment was deleted.

    • Zenzen00

      This comment was deleted too

  • HyruleBunny

    Skyward Sword was by no means a bad game, but it’s not perfect either. It had a lot of great qualities such as the music, dungeons, and characters. Although, no game is perfect and this is no exception.

    The story was pretty alright, but it wasn’t all that spectacular, like some other Zelda games. I like the whole background story about the goddess and Demise and the Surface, there just wasn’t enough of it though. Zelda being the reincarnation of Hylia was also a pretty neat plot point, and it ties well into explaining why every other Zelda has magic abilities. Although, I wasn’t to big on the romance aspect of her and Link in the beginning, but to each their own.

    The areas of the game other than the dungeons were alright, they were just incredibly cramped with not much to explore (especially the sky). Lanayru was fun with the Timeshift aspect, but navigating it was an incredible pain, it felt a little all over the place. I also just wish there was some way to travel from one area of the Surface to the other, without having to go fly back to the Sky then drop down again. That aspect is extremely annoying, especially since flying is more boring than sailing in Wind Waker. This along with Fi are what harms replay value.

    Fi was definitely the worst companion, in my opinion. She was just too intrusive and kept stopping you to tell you every little detail, and don’t even get me started on when she reminds you of your depleted batteries. Some might liker robot like personality, but that makes it a little hard to connect with her. Although, her leaving at the end did make me generally sad, so there’s that.

    I liked Skyward Sword overall and it did a good job as being the first game in the timeline, but I don’t think it’s as strong of an entry as some of the other games.

  • Qun Mang

    I first played this game just after I got my Wii U (never owned the Wii). I checked it out of the library and finished it in less than 4 weeks before I finally had to return it. I eventually purchased a used copy but haven’t touched it much. I did start a new game, but just couldn’t get very far- I believe I stopped after entering the Cistern. To be fair though, this was just after watching Chuggaaconroy do a playthrough of it so I will give it some more time before trying to pick it up again. Of course Breath of the Wild was released around that time too…

  • Wyatt Adams

    I don’t think you know what tedious means.Wild goose chase? Every Zelda game ever.The story. I disagree with you heavily there. To each his own.Fi. Annoying, sure. But a ruiner I think not. Nothing stopped you from mashing A the minute she started rambling on how to do something. Hand holding was a problem for the game and I hope fi gets reworked to be more faithful companion than tutorial in a future remaster.If anything I feel like you just have it out for this game. Like a great many made bitter by the Wii. If that isn’t the case, take a moment to remove that chip on your shoulder and examine the game for what it is and stop expecting someone else to make the point for you.