Basically a lot of Skyward Sword for me this past week. I’ve made it to the third temple and I think a lot of stuff is about to go down. Link is chasing after Zelda who is performing some sort of ritual that I’m not totally privy to. The temples aren’t the only challenge, getting there is too. There’s a lot of enemies and puzzles that stand in Link’s way, and they’ve done a good job of keeping me occupied and entertained.
My friend and I also made progress in Juggernaut, but we still have a few more hours until we’ve completed it. Juggernaut features some of the dullest gameplay, but what’s kept my friend and I going is the fun of working together and figuring stuff out. That and some of the most surreal storylines outside of a Suda51 game.
The Legend of Zelda is probably my favorite video game series. Nearly every game in the series has a blend of exploration, combat, and puzzles that I find fulfilling. I’ve played nearly every game bearing the name so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that when the newest, Skyward Sword, was released this Sunday, I was at my local GameStop as soon as they opened. I’ve played it for nearly eight hours and wanted to write about what I’ve done so far.
This time around Link is a knight in training at an academy. Rather than a princess, Zelda is a fellow student who admires Link. They live in Skyloft, which happens to rest on a floating island, in the sky. Skyloft is home to many people and there is a bazaar with a handful of shops. There are other floating islands as well and traveling to them on Link’s bird reminds me of sailing in The Wind Waker.
For the first hour and a half I learned about the world around Link and took part in the Wing Ceremony, a contest proving one’s ability as a knight. Soon after this, Link learns that he and Zelda are destined for great things. While celebrating Link’s victory, Zelda was wrapped up in a tornado and fell to the surface. I heard many rumors of the surface as no one seemed to know what was down there. With some aid from an ancient goddess that everyone worships, Link headed to the surface.
I’ve completed one temple so far and I’m at the entrance to the second. To get to the first temple I had to navigate Link through some woods which were full of enemies, and a few helpful creatures called Kikwis. There’s one aspect of the art style that really shines in colorful locations like the woods and it’s the way scenery looks from a distance. The game looks cartoony, although it’s not cel-shaded. I’ve heard others describe it as painterly and I agree. When looking at something that’s far away, objects begin to blend together and look like a blotchy watercolor painting; it’s really cool to see.
The first puzzle in the first temple stumped me for a good while. It revolved around using Link’s sword in a specific way that’s only possible with motion controls, which play a large part in the game. Skyward Sword utilizes Wii MotionPlus which makes the motion controls more accurate than would be with a normal Wiimote. Nearly every enemy I’ve run into has required me to attack them in a specific way. The combat is a lot tougher than it’s ever been before, but it’s also more fun because each enemy is a puzzle and requires me to act as though I’m swinging a sword.
What I’ve had the most fun doing so far is completing side quests and exploring. As soon as the opportunity arose, I began flying to other islands and meeting new people. I’ve met many other people besides those on Skyloft and opened up a minigame and some sidequests so far. After completing the first temple, I was able to complete some sidequests back on Skyloft and received some rewards. I’ve been finding treasures like crazy and I’ve bought a lot of upgrades, aiding me greatly.
One thing that bugs me about Skyward Sword so far is the controls for falling. I’ve had to fall for long distances many times now and I can’t quite get the hang of the controls. Other than that minor complaint I’m enjoying Skyward Sword. I really like the less realistic art style, I’m having fun fighting enemies and solving puzzles with the motion controls, I’m digging the exploration and rewards, and I’m just glad to play another Zelda game.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword came out today and I’ve sunk a couple hours into that. It’s been all setup so far, but I’m heading to my first dungeon in my next session. There’s much more of a human element so far, but there generally is in the first settlement. The setting of a floating island reminds me of The Wind Waker, hopefully there is similar exploration. I like the art style, other have described it as painterly. One thing I’m struck by is the way things look from afar; the objects and colors meld together and create a splotchy look, like a watercolor painting.
The coasting I did leading up to Skyward Sword’s release resulted in me finding all 440 of the Riddler trophies, challenges, etc. in Batman: Arkham City. I’ll be taking a break from that now. I also played Gears of War 3’s versus mode a little bit.
I’ll be focusing on Skyward Sword for a week or two so I probably won’t have much to talk about, plus I’m coming into finals week in school so I need to focus on that too, but I will write a first impressions article about Skyward Sword once I’ve sunk more time into it and hopefully another article or two as well. Oh! My friend and I made great progress in Juggernaut last week and it’s so fucking weird. Can’t wait to play more of that.
Didn’t focus on anything in particular last week, just coasting until The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword comes out. My friend and I played through the co-op adventure in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and that was a mixed bag. I’m not too familiar with the series but from what my friend said, the co-op adventure was a blend of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Uncharted 3. It consisted of five levels, each taking about half an hour so it wasn’t a major time investment. It felt tacked on though. There wasn’t much of a story so besides just gaming with my friend, I didn’t feel much incentive to play it. We also put a fair amount of time into Juggernaut.
My girlfriend and I also began playing Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles; my first impressions of it are here. What took up the brunt of my time this week was Gears of War 2. I heard from someone that it was 20x experience in the multiplayer so I decided to jump into that for a bit, and I wound up going after a few achievements. I really should be playing Gears of War 3…
That’s basically it. I’ll find something to write about this week but I’m just coasting until Skyward Sword comes out.
Played a ton of games on Halloween, pretty much everything in this article. My friend and I focused much of our attention on Fester’s Quest and Juggernaut; both very good games to play on Halloween.
I played a fair deal of Batman: Arkham City last week and I finally posted my review of it. Like last week, I hardly touched Front Mission so basically done with it at the moment. I just don’t have enough time!
There are still a few more big releases slated for the remainder of the year, but the only one I’ll get right away will be The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. I’ll pick it up when it releases on November 20. I am interested in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim so I might pick that up after I complete Skyward Sword.
It was fun to get caught in the new release whirlwind this year. Even though I only picked up Gears of War 3 and Arkham City, I I feel like I’ve participated in way more conversations at work and allowed myself to get caught up in the moment. There’s been so many stellar titles released this year that I want to go back and play, but there’s so little time.
Lastly, what’s up with the earthquakes in Oklahoma? I actually live a mile or two away from this place and was lucky enough to have taken a tour. I learned a good deal about earthquakes and that they do happen in Oklahoma, but the two that happened over the weekend are the first I’ve actually felt. It was so surreal.