gamers (25%) found this review helpful
Nintendo ruined a perfectly good franchise and what could have been an outstanding game because they had no restraint when it came to adding pointless, frustrating motion controls that add nothing but hardship to the game.
The story of this game, like most Zelda games, is fantastic. You play as Link attempting to rescue Zelda and the world from an ancient evil, and this time you get to fly around on the back of a bird, skydive to various locations on the surface, and fight lots of interesting and well-balanced enemies.
The motion controls aren't all bad, either. The sword fighting, for the most part, feels solid, and the ability to slash from multiple directions depending on your hand motions feels great.
Unfortunately, that's really the extent of the good uses they found for the Wii Motion+. If they had left it there, you'd have a great game. But no, they had to push it further. Just about every action in the game requires some kind of movement of the Wiimote, even when it would make more sense and be done in a more controllable fashion with the buttons on the controller. Flying and swimming require you to point the Wiimote, when a perfectly-good analog stick is sitting right there just waiting to be used. The nunchuck, which doesn't benefit from the Motion+'s finer controls, does nothing but get in your way. It's used to raise your shield on foot, and do spin attacks in the air and water -- These actions occur whenever you shake it, shift positions on the couch, or sneeze, and it will do so ALL THE TIME when you don't want to act.
Even the tried-and-true music controls in this game are awkward and pointless. The ocarina/wind waker in previous Zelda titles allowed you to learn and repeat several songs depending on the situation, but here the harp is just used by holding one button and waving your hand back and forth, not actually playing anything worth calling a song. It feels dumb and is just another example of how this game is a missed oppor
The motion controls legitimately strengthen the core components of the game. Swordfighting is immensely entertaining, yet challenging to master (as the final boss would likely attest to). Item control is easy, intuitive, and increases in complexity as you play.
Stamina, sprinting, and basic parkour maneuvers add much-needed diversity in traversing Link's world. Certain sections of the game even demand you master these new elements as a way of avoiding confrontation with incredibly powerful enemies. The crafting system is simple but adds dimensions to item utility while not overpowering the natural progression of the game.
Level design is predictably excellent. Skyloft in particular is a wonderfully-realized gamespace staffed with charming personalities and stuffed with minigames and sidequests. Ground areas each have distinctive tones, though lack a sense of interconnectivity. A more tactile entry sequence into each area could perhaps remedy this problem, but considering the expert layout and prodigious content of the areas themselves, it's a fairly minor quibble. Think Link to the Past meets Super Mario Galaxy.
The narrative is unsurprising and plot-related dialogue tends to drag on near the very end, but the cinematography, animations, and character concepts are superb. You'll frequently find yourself engrossed in the story and your role as Link by these concepts alone. The humor is bombastic and self-aware; it'll coax at least a smile from even the most jaded gamer.
The visual design is fantastic. It is wonderfully evocative without relying on impeccable detail, much like the Impressionist movement that inspired it. This game in motion is a beautiful thing, regardless of the power of the hardware.
All dungeons are excellent, all bosses are fun, Hero Mode and Boss Rush are great additions. Fi is annoyingly pedantic to begin with, but becomes mercifully terse about 1/3 through the game (and her nugget of character development at the end is sweet).