After 25 years of swordplay, puzzles and heart containers, "The Legend of Zelda" series has remained consistent in its structure. Each game has the same characters and, usually, the same names of places and items. However, Nintendo has managed to keep fans interested with captivating storylines, beautiful scenery and, of course, the desire to assist the green-garbed Link in his quest to save Hyrule and defeat the evil Ganondorf.
That's still true in "The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword," the 16th installment in the series. It takes place in Skyloft, a peaceful land above the clouds.
Players act as Link, or whatever they decide to name him, who is a simple boy in training at the Knight Academy. When his childhood friend Zelda disappears to the world below the clouds, unknown to Skyloft, Link sets off on the biggest adventure of his life to find her and, soon, fulfill his destiny.
In order to accomplish this, Link must travel back and forth between sky and ground using a new form of "Zelda" transportation: the Loftwing. Loftwings, Skyloft's means of transportation, are large birds.
Link's gigantic red Loftwing comes to his aid at the mere sound of a whistle. Link flies the bird back and forth to arrive anywhere in the sky or to transport through a portal to the "underworld."
Not only is "Skyward Sword" the first "Zelda" game set in the sky, but it is also the first in the series to use the Wii MotionPlus, in which players themselves are in control of all the action. The Wii remote's features have been immensely upgraded since the last Zelda Wii release, "Twilight Princess."
"Skyward Sword" allows fans, for the first time, to be in control of every single item owned. Players can now aim their slingshot, prepare their shield and even swing their sword with great accuracy and precision. Every nerd in America (including me) had to have been beaming with joy when they became "real" swordsmen!
In addition to giving the players a hands-on experience, "Skyward Sword" has introduced many new features. The puzzles can be quite challenging in the game; thus, Nintendo makes certain that if players get stuck, they have the resources needed to get going again.
A Gossip Stone, located in the sky, is available with short video clips to get players back on track. Also, Fi, the ghostly figure that hides in Link's sword, can be summoned to give information including stats, rumors and objectives.
"Zelda" fans young and old will love this game, and I believe it will go down in history as one of the best games in the "Zelda" series. It has just enough tradition to please "Zelda" fans of 25 years, as well as enough new technology to attract the younger generation.
The graphics are beautiful, combining the sharp, realistic graphics of "Twilight Princess" with the bright, cel-shaded look of "The Wind Waker." The dungeons are traditional but edgy. The characters are innocent but mischievous. The swordplay is tricky at first but certainly revolutionary in the gaming world.
Players can spend hours in the game just flying around, doing nothing but side quests. In fact, that's why I haven't beaten the game yet.
Rest assured, "Skyward Sword" is any gamer's dream.