Ever since playing the first Legend of Zelda game way back in the eighties, I have been one of the most hardcore fans of the series. From the NES all the way up to the Gamecube, Zelda games have been some of my most beloved titles on a consistent basis. No more, as of right now, I am done with the Zelda series.
Skyward Sword is the biggest pile of shit that the Legend of Zelda franchise has ever produced. This game is beyond heart breaking for me. It’s an insult to anyone who continues to support Nintendo’s products and anyone who enjoys playing video games. It’s an absolute insult to anyone with a brain or the capacity for independent thought. The game is a fucking travesty.
What is most tragic is that Skyward Sword is also brilliant, charming and filled with wonderful humor. All of that is of course flushed down the toilet so that Nintendo can shove its motion control down the player’s throat until they vomit. It turned what could have been one of the high marks of the franchise into a series of motion control gimmicks, each more absurd and intrusive than the last.
I’m not exactly against motion control either. Super Mario Bros. Wii used motion control to enhance the game, not dominate it. So did the Mario Galaxy games which I liked. The problem with Skyward Sword is that combat is entirely motion control centered. You swing the control horizontally for a horizontal strike and vertically for a vertical one. The big problem with this is there is a slight delay between your swing and Link responding to your action. So, by the time Link gets around to slashing downwards at an enemy, they’ve already changed their stance to block vertical attacks. So you do a horizontal swing, and by the time Link does that, they’ve changed their stance to block horizontal swings. Fortunately, there happens to be a technological advancement that makes combat more responsive and easier to execute. FUCKING BUTTONS!!
Every item you pick up in the game is a motion control gimmick. Every fucking one. The only useful one is the beetle-shot thing that can carry bombs to drop on enemies. You obtain it in the desert region of the game. So like President Obama, Link prefers to engage in drone strikes to accomplish his warfare. Unlike President Obama, Link manages to only kill enemies with his bomb strikes instead of innocents and children. So Link gets points from me for that.
Despite all of that, the game’s opening is quite good. In fact I honestly thought that Skyward Sword was going to be the best Zelda game in years during the first hour. The art style is magnificent, the enemy and character design are wonderful. The game has a bright, colorful look. The characters are all vivid and memorable, each having their own unique design. The game’s sense of humor is very Japanese, which is a great thing for me as I enjoy that sort of thing.
At the end of the intro though, the game introduces as to the character of Fi. It’s at this point that the wheels fall off, the engine catches on fire with the nuns and orphans trapped on the bus and they all burn alive screaming. Fi manages to be more useless than Navi was, at least Navi said something useful once or twice. Fi’s job is to show up, state the blatantly obvious and then fuck off. She offers the player and Link absolutely nothing of value whatsoever.
Take for instance the Goran you meet in the sealed whatever in the early part of the game. He basically tells you that Zelda went off to the Faron Woods in some wonderful dialogue. I liked his character. Immediately after he tells Link that Zelda went into the woods, Fi jumps out of your sword and says: “I have new information, Zelda has gone into Faron Woods.” No. Fucking. Shit.
You see, I stupidly thought that the Goran was talking to Link and thus to me. Imparting the player(me) with valuable knowledge so I’ll know what to do next. Evidently that assumption was wrong. Even though the Goran was looking at Link and making references as if he was talking to Link, he wasn’t. The Goran was talking to Fi, the true hero of the game. Not that retarded elf boy in the green tunic who runs errands for her.
So I run off to Faron Woods because the game’s true hero(Fi) told Hyrule’s version of Lennie Small(Link aka the fucktard player) to go to Faron Woods. So I’m in Faron Woods and I have to do this dousing thing with the sword which is yet another motion control gimmick that exists in the game just to waste the player’s time. (Quick point: There is a ton of padding in this game involving Easter egg hunts with the dousing gimmick.) I go about the woods, doing my Zelda thing when I see slope and start making my way over to it, when Fi pops out. She says that Zelda is not over there, so pay no attention to it. Yes, because the one thing that shouldn’t be in a Legend of Zelda game is exploring evidently.
This is where we get into my main beef with the game and the direction of the Legend of Zelda series as a whole and why I’m saying goodbye to it.
I liked Wind Waker, I really did. The combat was fun and dynamic, the style and graphics were great and it had some good dungeons as well. The sailing didn’t bother me since I already played Suikoden 4, whose slow ass boat made Link’s raft in Wind Waker look like it was powered by a space rocket in comparison. Wind Waker felt like a big open world with a lot of cool islands to explore. But the thing about Wind Waker was that you never felt like the hero of the story, or that you had any agency into what was happening whatsoever.
In Wind Waker you are told by the Red Lion where to go and what to pick up, but you are never told why. He just doesn’t tell you that you need to collect the three pearls to open the way to Hyrule, then mark the location of the Pearls on your map and let you get to it. He just says go to the fire island, go inside and get the pearl. Then he tells you to go somewhere else, go inside and get the pearl. It isn’t until after all three pearls are collected that you find out what they are for. It doesn’t feel like you are on some grand adventure to rescue the princess and save the world. It feels like your running errands for a talking boat. For me, the game suffered for that.
Now it’s only worse in Skyward Sword. Not only does Link not know what the hell is going on, but he’s treated like a kid with learning disability. And this is what brings out the hate against my favorite video game series as it stands right now. The makers of Skyward Sword think that people who play video games are retarded. There really is no better word to describe it than that. The game just constantly insults the intelligence of the player.
This has been a reoccurring theme since Ocarina of Time that has been growing with each release. There were things I didn’t like in Deus Ex: Human Revolution but at least the game treated me like an adult. In Human Revolution I was free to explore, find solutions and succeed and fail on my own accord. The Legend of Zelda series is now shoving the solutions straight into our face because Nintendo thinks we’re too stupid to figure it out for ourselves.
I’m moving on. I don’t want a grim/dark or gritty reboot of the Legend of Zelda. That’s not what the game is about. The Legend of Zelda games are about exploration and problem solving, two things Nintendo keeps downsizing with every title. I think of the Zelda and Mario games as the Disney of video games. Disney at it’s best can be whimsical and fun without being insulting to the viewer. At its worst it can be pandering and lazy. Right now the Zelda series is pandering and lazy.
Nintendo is pandering and lazy.
So goodbye Zelda, thanks for the great times like Link to the Past. I’ll remember you for the best stuff and chose to forget the worst.