Exploring the Legend – “Ocarina of Time has Met its Match”

For transparency, I have worked for IGN in the past as a freelance wiki guide writer.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Review by Rich George for IGN on November 11, 2011

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the greatest Zelda game ever created. It’s the best game for Wii and one of the finest video game accomplishments of the past 10 years. The game has once again raised the bar and forged new territory for an iconic and innovative franchise. It’s not enough that it finally establishes a powerful, stirring origin story or that it features near-perfect pacing. What puts Skyward Sword over the top is its layered, dense, absolutely perfect gameplay that manages to not only nail motion-controlled combat but remarkably offers a stunning level of diversity.

I never noticed before, but this review was published on the same day as Skyrim’s original release.

I think about and cite this review all the time. Comparing that to IGN’s review-in-progress of Skyward Sword HD, it is clear that thoughts on the game have cooled immensely.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD Review-In-Progress by Travis Northup for IGN

I’m 30+ hours into The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD and it’s reminded me how much I loved this game when it originally came out on the Wii a decade ago, warts and all. (Not as much as IGN’s reviewer at the time, but quite a bit). The story and characters are some of the best in the series and the side quests and weirdness of the world are fantastic. On the other hand, the dungeons (and especially the boss fights) aren’t particularly challenging or memorable for the most part, and the gimmicky Wii-era motion control mechanics are still constantly right up in your face, reminding me why those never worked well. But with so much to do and a lot to love, Skyward Sword’s journey down memory lane has kept me smiling so far.

I do find it curious that this is a review-in-progress. I understand getting a game right before embargo and needing to have something out for the all-mighty SEO gods, but also not rushing the critic to hastily score a game. 30+ hours should be enough to beat the game, but c’est la vie, I suppose.

Honestly, I don’t care for scoring games. It’s reductive. I like it when the review does the talking, not a number, especially when everything is practically 7 or higher. I actually talked about this on the Paper Mario: Color Splash episode of Chapter Select with Logan Moore and Tomas Franzese.

Look at Rich’s tagline from 2011,

Ocarina of Time has met its match.

That says way more than 10/10 did in 2011. Today, Travis’ introduction toes a very neutral line:

I loved this game when it originally came out on the Wii a decade ago, warts and all. (Not as much as IGN’s reviewer at the time, but quite a bit).

…the gimmicky Wii-era motion control mechanics are still constantly right up in your face, reminding me why those never worked well. But with so much to do and a lot to love, Skyward Sword’s journey down memory lane has kept me smiling so far.

It’s coy, probably because this is in-progress, and I respect that. I simply find it fascinating to see how the two compare and how far from the grace of Hylia that Skyward Sword seems to have fallen in the eyes of critics. it is a window to the 25th anniversary and the swirl of hype surrounding the islands of Skyloft. The mentality of critics, fans, and casual players in the waning years of the years first-party support. Were motion-controls a gimmick then and are they now? Or are they simply a more physically interactive way to play and connect with a game? All questions and conversations I love talking about.