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What's with the Skyward Sword hate?

Nov 16, 2017
I don't recall Zelda pushing me off any cliffs but that's kind of messed up lol. It seems like ALOT of people really don't like SS Zelda. I remember my first impression on Zelda was that she was pretty. maybe I'm gonna have to google a picture of her again. I was planning on rebuying this game for a xmas gift to myself but now I'm starting to have second thoughts.

Mellow Ezlo

Dec 2, 2012
See, here's the thing. When I first played Skyward Sword, I loved it. I thought it was difficult combat and puzzle wise, but not downright frustrating. In most of my initial playthroughs, I don't focus as much on the story and the segmented overworld didn't originally bother me. What I focus on moreso is gameplay and the dungeons, and how much fun the experience gives me as a whole. In this sense, Skyward Sword does a lot of things right. The motion controls never gave me much trouble, and it was a fun new method of combat. I enjoyed the items, especially the Beatle, and the upgrade system. And I absolutely adored the dungeons.

The main problem with this game is its lack of replayability. It was a really fun and different experience in my first playthrough, but during subsequent runs, you start to realize that there's really nothing overly unique about the game. The motion controls are cool at first, but then quickly become tiresome, and you start wishing there was an alternative. During my initial run, I also left most of the sidequests alone, so when I went to tackle those later on, I also realized that every sidequest in the game is extremely easy. None of the heart pieces or goddess cubes are well hidden, the gratitude crystal quests are mostly easy and some are just boring, and none of the minigames that they have spread about are really anything special. Minimalist challenges aren't very hard because of the 6-heart start rather than 3, and Hero Mode isn't really all that much more difficult than the regular game (in fact I 6-hearted it no problem). The more I played the game, the more I noticed its flaws, and just how many of them there are.

I'll leave some of the obvious bits out. Like The Imprisoned, which was neat in concept, but definitely one of the top areas of complaint people have with the game, and rightfully so. At least with Ghirahim, the battle was a bit different each time, but The Imprisoned battles are literally all the exact same, only with one or two more gimmicks that don't even come into play until the second or third phase of each respective battle.

But even I can get around the Imprisoned battles, because they were an undeniably cool concept and could've been a really great idea if used better. What I absolutely cannot forgive is the lack of exploration in the game. As an action-adventure game series that has always had a large focus on adventure and exploration, the complete lack of such in this game is a massive disappointment. The requirement to save at bird statues, the different regions being completely separate from each other, and the fact that you can't land anywhere in the overworld, not to mention that the regions themselves are mostly quite linear, all contribute to the exploration value in this game being next to 0. If it was any other series, this would be more forgivable, but not for Zelda. The only area in the game that is open like we would expect Zelda overworlds to be, is mostly barren save for one small place of interest (the pumpkin pub or whatever it's called) and a few uninteresting minigames. At least The Wind Waker, a game which many criticize for having too empty of an overworld, made an attempt to make each location in the Great Sea at least have something of interest on it. Even the islands in the sky on which Goddess Chests are mostly consist of only a single small rock or maybe a tiny puzzle that should give even new players absolutely no trouble. Like I said, a lot of this game's faults I can look past, but this entire aspect, which is a huge aspect of the game at that, is inexcusable.

Another thing that really bothers me about the game is its difficulty balance and over-reliance on motion controls. Don't get me wrong though, as I did say I enjoy the motion controls, but the entire game revolves around them. Even the story, what with the Skyward Strikes and flying on the loftwings and the Goddess Harp etc., was designed to revolve around the motion controls. This is a problem, because it caused the game's story to suffer, and also caused a poor balance in difficulty throughout the game.

What I mean by this, is that motion controls of that caliber were still a relatively new thing. Outside of Wii Sports Resort, this was the first big game to really use them, so the vast majority of the players who had not played the former game would have had a lot of trouble getting used to this new way of playing. And the tutorials are... kind of bad. You don't get to spend a ton of time in the early game getting used to the battle system, because there are not a lot of battles save for some Keese and the odd ChuChu. So when it's finally time to descend to the surface, you're almost immediately thrust into a world of tough enemies that you may not be prepared for, especially in the first dungeon (which is one of the most difficult first dungeons, arguably the hardest first dungeon among the 3D games). So most players can expect to have a lot of trouble, especially against Ghirahim as he is a genuinely challenging boss for new players.

Then, after the first dungeon, another problem arises in that the difficulty suddenly drops. I can excuse the early difficulty if it means it's going to be consistent, but it isn't. The Earth Temple and Eldin region in general are painfully easy, and then you get to the Lanayru region and suddenly the difficulty rises immensely. Then once Lanayru is done the first time, the rest of the game is honestly really easy. They introduce a lot of tough enemies and puzzles early on and then simply reuse them for later parts of the game. There's no real progression, and it's very inconsistent. I mostly blame the controls for this, since they relied on them so much and did so much to try to show them off.

Other smaller things, such as Fi being incredibly annoying and the disappointing story, along with some unfitting music, are small enough to overlook in the grand scheme of things.

Amongst these downfalls, there are some things I really like about the game. For example, I absolutely adore the artstyle. I know it's rather hit or miss with people, as you either love it or you hate it. I happen to love it, but I do think most of the character models need a lot of work. Ghirahim is a great villain, and I loved fighting him 3 times since each battle was different. Demise was a bit of a cop out I think and a very obvious clone of Ganon, but his battle was fun and epic, though a bit short. Some of the dungeons, notably the Skyview Temple, Lanayru Mining Facility, and Sandship are fantastic if you can get around the really bad difficulty balance. And most of the concepts and ideas surrounding the game are great, they just weren't executed properly.

Overall, I think the main issue with this game is just that it was overhyped. As Zelda titles go, it's definitely weaker than most, but it's still solid, it just didn't live up to its expectations because Nintendo had hyped it up so much, expecting everybody to love it. It has flaws, but there are also some great things about it.
Oct 7, 2017
Who wouldn't!?
Me, I would not like to have a friend who would do that sort of stuff and I don't know who would like a friend who would treat them like that. I'd rather have a friend who is very polite, laid-back, stoic, down-to-earth and easygoing like Link for example. Link sounds much more pleasant to be around than Zelda. He hardly ever teases anybody or whines. Sure he's lazy, dreamy, and socially awkward, but those are all qualities I have so I can understand him. I just didn't like how he'd sass Plats with the "Ok already..." when Plats teaches him how to sneak past the Bokoblins.

I would love to befriend Link if I was in the Zelda world.


magical internet cat....
ZD Legend
Jun 22, 2016
I completely forgot about the durability thing!!! see it wasn't rememberable for anything apart from Groose, Ghirahim, ummm?? and how forgettable it was
Oct 7, 2017
I don't recall Zelda pushing me off any cliffs but that's kind of messed up lol. It seems like ALOT of people really don't like SS Zelda. I remember my first impression on Zelda was that she was pretty. maybe I'm gonna have to google a picture of her again. I was planning on rebuying this game for a xmas gift to myself but now I'm starting to have second thoughts.
Yeah, her pushing me off cliffs was crap, dude. Man, what a brat she was.
Nov 16, 2017
I seriously never remember Zelda pushing me off a cliff. I do remember she had the cooler loftwing though.
Nov 16, 2017
I love Skyward Sword.
It's not perfect by any means, but it's among my top four favorite Zelda titles.
Yeah mine to. I didn't get all the way through it but from what i played when it first came out i liked it. i loved loved loved the art style the most


mike "magic mike" rowave
ZD Champion
May 4, 2012
Trump's America
skyward sword has the most apparent problems compared to most other zelda games, and even as a fan of it, I do feel it was a step down from twilight princess
I didn't mind the motion controls, but I really could've done w/o the bomb rolling, swimming, or pot throwing having motion controls in them, plus they worked fine for me most of the time


ZD Legend
Nov 29, 2011
When you make a thread like this there are a few members here that you should hope to see reply. Some of those have already posted and I know that the rest soon will, another of those members is me.

Skyward Sword, for me, is one of the most disappointing Zelda games and is by far the worst 3D Zelda game to date. A bad 3D Zelda game had to happen eventually, i'm just glad it happened during the Wii period.

Firstly, Skyward Sword is very much like Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks; games butchered by the hardware they appeared on due to Nintendo always wanting to push an (often once only) 'immersive' gimmick.

The Wii hardware never sat well with me and i didnt enjoy the majority of the games released for it, so it was a shame (but no surprise) that Skyward Sword ended up sucking in so many ways.

Skyward Sword was flawed on a conceptual level due to introducing and integrating the Wii's motion controls into every facet of the game's design. An egregious example would be the Beamos (and other enemies within the Lanayru Mining Facility) that have glowing cut-here-to-defeat lines across their bodies, which is just patronising, but then again so is the rest of the game.

The motion controls for me were a major barrier preventing me from becoming immersed within SS's world from a gameplay perspective; the constant recalibration for first person items like the bow and abilities such as dowsing, the constant flapping of the Loftwing's wings to fly, the lack of manual camera control, the irritation of swinging on vines, pulling switches, throwing and rolling bombs, guiding the beetle, swimming and every aspect of combat felt clunky, limited, inconvenient and not as responsive or intuitive as i'd have liked at all.

I was constantly being reminded that I was playing a game and it wasnt one I was enjoying; 'slash here' 'turn this' 'recalibrate' and 'tilt this way' were dull (and often frustrating) actions that did nothing but detract from the overall experience.
Would enemies have had glowing slash-here-to-defeat lines like a child's first DIY book? Probably not. Would those swinging vines have been there? Probably not. Would those infernal rotating boss key sections have been there? Definitely not.

At this point it sounds like all my frustrations were born of the motion controls and while the game's design is largely the victim of them being included there are many other things Skyward Sword got so completely wrong that the motion controls were the least irritating aspect of my experience...

The art style sucks. Plain and simple. It sounds good on paper that Nintendo chose to use an expressionist style to mask the limitations of the Wii's power but its still horrible. Not because the draw distance is a horrible blur of colour (the blur is the point) but because it is ugly in design. The character designs look terrible, human characters have distractingly ugly facial features, their eyes are dead and some of their expressions are straight up terrifying.

Other characters such as the Mogmas are some of the worst designed characters i've seen in any game ever, they're hideous. The bosses are trash too; Tentalus, Moldarach, Scaldera, Ghirahim, The Imprisoned and Akuma-sorry-Demise. They all have terrible designs and terribly gimmicky motion control based battles, more so than standard enemies and the overworld, none of them are fun save for Koloktos (and even he is overrated in both looks and battle).

While we're on the topic of character design, the design team were given complete freedom for the design of The Imprisoned. Complete freedom and they make a pinecone with toes. Let that sink in.

That's enough for the way things look, now let's talk about the way they interact with each other and the narrative.

Terrible. Just terrible.
The opening hour reads like a fanfiction. A day in the life of Link and Zelda as they flirt and go about their lives with a sugary carefree nature in a place where nobody else is important.
Zelda comes off like a fangirl self-insert and is just as irritating, she hits most of the cliche anime tropes early on and continues to do so until the credits roll.

The way Groose is handled is so ham-fisted that his whole arc is an insultingly blunt affair.
He starts out as a jerk and ends as less of a jerk. A character reversal arc can be a wonderful thing but all it takes for Groose is three very short, very on-the-nose cutscenes (that'd even make Sakamoto blush) to completely 180 his character. It isn't big, it isn't clever but he still manages to be the most interesting character in the game by default because the rest of the cast are just so terribly written.

Ghirahim... well, he doesn't really have anything going on. He wants to defeat Link and sacrifice Zelda to Demise. He starts out wanting to kill Link and dies wanting to kill Link... or does he?
I ask because in the scene following the Lanayru Mining Facility dungeon where Ghirahim attacks Impa and Zelda, Ghirahim basically says to Link 'I should have beat you last time, I could beat you this time, but I'll beat you next time', then he disappears. So... why didn't he fight Link? Did he just not care? Whatever.

Impa keeps her mysterious identity thing going between the young and old versions of herself even though its obvious.
Her younger self has a coldness about her while her older self has a guiding warmth. Good stuff Nintendo, very clever. See what you did there. Nice. Moving on.

Zelda, Groose, Ghirahim and Impa all make for a dull supporting cast alongside the ever-blank Link. Anyone else who appears in the game really isn't worth talking about as far as characterisation goes because there isn't any to be had (especially Fi, her final moments annoy me so much that I'm not going to waste time talking about them).

So what of the narrative?
Well, as i mentioned, the opening hour is a very tropey anime fanfiction while the following hours are something of a chase with Link catching up to a kidnapped Zelda over the course of three dungeons.
After these dungeons Link has to 'prove himself' for the three sacred flames to temper the Goddess Sword into the Master Sword (via some retconning of course) then prove himself again for the Song of the Hero and then prove himself again via (horrific) stealth missions in the Sacred Realm before finally locating the three pieces of the Triforce.

Standard Zelda stuff but the idea of Link constantly 'proving himself' gets old fast, especially when you're tempering the Goddess Sword into the Master Sword. You know how the sword is gonna end up, you're basically going through the motions until the sword looks like what you know. Its dull and tedious.

The final hours are a chore too and the final boss is laughable.
It is pretty difficult to feel intimidated by an end-game boss when you've spent the last thirty hours clipping its toenails (The Imprisoned, the fail whale that it is) before dropping half an island on its head.
Proto-Ganon (Demise) should have been threatening. To see the pure untamed evil that is Ganon-before-Ganon should have been an epic and important moment for the franchise as a whole... but it was just funny. Dude looks like a bargain Akuma.

So, the controls suck, the character designs and art style suck, the characters themselves suck and the narrative sucks... what else is there? Oh yeah!

The overworld sucks too.
What happened here? The whole thing is a mess.

Firstly, the sky; its empty. It really is empty.
Wind Waker has an island in every quadrant of its map, big or small there was something to do on every island you found. There's none of that in Skyward Sword's sky.
You have Skyloft which acts as a fine hub, budget Lon Lon Ranch in the form of the Lumpy Pumpkin which doesnt offer much outside of a few dull sidequests. Then there are three minigame islands and the rest is filler.
The Thunderhead serves as a place to progress the narrative once Link has proven himself for something, the scene of a single boss battle and minigame. That still isn't much to write home about.

Flying in the sky is a chore with all of the flapping (no camera control either despite the nunchuck not being used at all) and it feels so damn slow, mostly because there isn't anything around to give the sense of speed unless you're flying over Skyloft or through a boost-rock.
Combat is pointless as you can only tackle enemies with your Loftwing and not slash at anything with your sword like in TP because the motion controls only allow for control of your bird while flying, not Link (and none of his items either).
You also cant fly at night because SS doesn't have a day/night cycle (what?!) You can make it night by resting in a bed but you still wont be allowed to fly at night. Man, a day/night cycle could have made this game look so damn pretty.
All in all the sky in Skyward Sword is nothing more than an elaborate level select menu.

The world beneath the clouds sucks too.
Three unconnected provinces that open up little by little killing any sense of free progression (Zelda games have always gated you in the past but never to this extent).
These three provinces of forest, fire and desert will be the same ones you'll be seeing for the entire game. Yes, new sections are revealed, but a desert is still a desert and a forest is still a forest (even if you flood it and pretend its a water level).

These provinces are unlike other Zelda deserts and forests as they act like mini dungeons in and of themselves. Theyre filled with non-organic puzzles which lessens the feel of exploration even more since youre always moving something somewhere or rolling a bomb somewhere else. The sense of wonder of exploring a strange new place is entirely lost since you're literally constantly 'working' through it rather than exploring. All three provinces suffer from this design choice to crowbar in more motion control gimmicks.

Apparantly the overworld was originally going to be connected but they decided to separate it so that the player had reason to go back into the sky... Okay, then why not put something worthwhile in the sky to give them a reason?

The dungeons weren't anything to write home about either. Lanayru Mining Facility was probably my favourite but it was still dull as hell. The Ancient Cistern had a nice idea but didn't do it justice and the Sand Ship stands out for being very un-Zelda-like but it was disappointing too.

I'd like to talk about how the horde battle was a mess, how being pulled into the collection screen for ten seconds after each time you load the game is a massive pain, I'd like to talk about the enemies and how the gameplay sacrificed a lot of their potential but I've gone on for a while now. Let's just say I have more issues than I have mentioned but these are a particular miscellaneous set that need mentioning.

I should probably talk about something I liked about SS.... well I liked the main theme (backwards Zelda's Lullaby), i like the tracks Fi's Farewell and Island in the Sky. They're some of the best tracks Zelda has to offer as a series.

Hmmm... well... that's why I think Skyward Sword sucked and why i dislike it. I could write another essay on how i would improve Skyward Sword but here isn't the place.

Your turn @Cfrock
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