There is a new Zelda game out for the Wii, a massive adventure for Link that begins in a village suspended in the clouds. The Wii is getting old and the Zelda series is even older. But, perhaps, saving Zelda would again be worth your time and rupees?
Stephen Totilo, who is 34 hours and 59 minutes into this thing: I'm trying to keep this game from ending. That enough to convince you?
Just about five years ago to this day, I was wishing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess would just end already. It went stale quickly. After that first Wii Zelda, I thought the whole series, now a quarter of a century old, needed of a break. And despite my love for the oddball DS Zelda game Spirit Tracks two Decembers ago, had I known that this new Wii one, Skyward Sword, was as formulaic as it is, I would have been advocating for that break in the lead up to today.
But as traditional as this Zelda game is—we have, yet again, the adventure of a young man who gains the tools, reflexes and puzzle-solving intelligence to traverse an exotic land, solving the traps of one monster-filled dungeon at a time—this game presents the Zelda formula at its sparkling best. The cleverness and novelty of its puzzle-filled environment, the beautiful moods of its soundtrack and its masterful art direction collectively shame contemporary competition. This is a top-tier adventure, one that requires a shade more manual dexterity than the average Zelda thanks to restrained yet interesting motion controls. I don't like this game's main mode of travel and it has my least favorite musical instrument of the series, but you just have to experience its impeccable, surprising level design. I want you to play this game to see how incredible every sequence of a video game can be, with nary any dull patches (other than the flying and a distressfully slow start) to interfere. As a bonus, it wil repeatedly make you feel clever. Should you buy it? Yes.
Luke Plunkett, who has not played Skyward Sword but who thinks Wind Waker is the greatest video game ever made: You know what, I'm not buying this game. Not yet, anyway. It'll be the first core Zelda game in a decade I don't pick up right away. Why? Because my Wii is packed up. I don't own a Wii Remote Plus, and with other big games around at the moment, don't have the time to spare or the cash to buy the bundle.
There's also just something about the game. It's never flipped the switch to get me truly excited in it. Twilight Princess burned me out a little on the Zelda formula, maybe. I'm not 100% sure that's it, but I also look at trailers and gameplay and just..shrug. I'm sorry, Nintendo, and I'm sorry, Link, but I'm just not feeling the magic this time around. Making this, as weird as this feels to type it, a No.
Matthew Buzzi, Kotaku intern who played the first two hours of the game: I've played every major Zelda title released in my lifetime, and Majora's Mask was my favorite. Skyward Sword, though, reminds me much more of Wind Waker because of its distinct, unique personality. What begins as a very familiar Zelda setup quickly shows you its own twist on the universe, starting with characters who actually seem to have a personal connection to Link. Though the game mechanics clearly echo those of Zeldas past, the game world itself was distinctly its own.
Though the technical side of the graphics is not terrific (jagged edges on character models are distracting), it is made up for with the wonderful art style. Colors and textures suck you in to a vibrant, friendly world and make Skyloft feel a little bit more like home. During my relatively brief time with the game, I was anxiously awaiting setting off on my real adventure, wondering what evil would befall these lively characters. Though my jaunt through the vast world below came to a close just as it was really beginning, I genuinely couldn't wait to see what exciting environments Link would be forced to brave to rescue his lifelong friend. Yes.
Gut Check is an off-the-cuff impression of what we think of a game: what we'd tell a friend; how we'd respond on Twitter or Facebook or over a beer if someone asked us "Would you buy this game?" Our lead writer, who has played a lot of the game, decides. Other writers chime in for additional points of view. Stay tuned for our full review.