The Zelda Vs. Orc image from our calm, rational discussion on the merits of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim triumphantly returns for commenter SageofMusic's explanation of what makes the Zelda title a better game.
After playing Skyward Sword for 20 hours and Skyrim for 40, I have reached a conclusion.
Skyward Sword is better in almost every way. And for me, the deciding factor wasn't the art, or the combat, or the story, or the open world. It was the epicness.
Skyrim tries very hard to do epic. Adding Dragons, Giants and Mammoths was a great idea, but the problem is there are far too many. You kill Dragon after Dragon, giant after giant, and after a while it became stale. I began to relish the fights with dragon priests and ghostly brothers who consorted to destroy the realm before being trapped in an amulet. These were encounters going for that lofty "Lord of the Rings" type feel, but they were few and far between.
Skyward Sword is different. Almost every new monster is interesting and fun to fight, and the boss battles are some of the coolest I've ever seen in a Video game. I know I'm a little over halfway through, and yet I've fought a 6 armed Buddha statue and used its own giant scimitars against it, I've fought a demon lord who could catch my Goddess Sword in between his fingers and rip it out of my hands, I've fought a 60ft leviathan on a sinking ship that was brought back in time by a magic stone in the crow's nest, I've fought a giant living magma monster on the side of a 100yard incline. Each of these fights was incredible, and there are many more that I haven't talked about but are just as cool.
And when it comes down to it, this is what Skyrim needs to learn from Skyward Sword. Forget crafting a system that gives you endless quests. Forget trying to craft hundreds of dungeons that end up feeling the same no matter how different they actually are. Focus on the memorable moments. Those times that I pump my fist in triumph, heart beating wildly as I land the final blow on a Dragon Priest, having used all my potions in the attempt. Throw just a couple dragons at me, like the ones in Dragon Age, where the moment I see one my palms start sweating and I prepare myself for the inevitable clash of titans.
Dragons are awesome, but after the 20th kill, they're just a short speed bump on my way to the end.