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Hey Skyward Sword is pretty cool

Gaer

chat.exe a cessé de fonctionner
Staff member
Moderator
It's pretty fun! It's great not having to be fighting the controls and my brain constantly, too!

Also, Fledge, hun. Don't worry. Your Egg will crack soon. Promise <3
 
Thanks for making a thread, Gaer! You saved me from my laziness and fear of naming things.

I've stanned Skyward Sword for a while, but mostly in spite of waggle controls. The new controller inputs are greatly appreciated but my brain still constantly fights them. (But it fights them a lot less than waggle!) Controlling the camera should have been the default controls for the Right Stick, and holding L should have been for when you wanted to use your weapon; I am constantly running around with my sword out like a doofus because I want to adjust the camera constantly and rarely want to take swings at things. And holding the right stick to use bombs is something my brain still can't figure out under duress, but it's all a big improvement over waggle.

The game mostly looks great, especially for a Wii port. Sitting close to a giant TV doesn't do the game any favors, but sitting at a normal distance for viewing, or especially in handheld mode, the game is gorgeous. They very clearly did nothing to either the textures or 3D models in the game, which could have used some sprucing up (they could have stood to smooth out intended soft features on character models, especially the faces) but it still looks terrific for what is essentially a PS2 game. The textures especially, the way they're smoothed out really brings out the dev's originally stated influences of wanting the game to look like an expressionist painting. And it's really nice to play this game with such silky smooth performance without the Wii's load times and occasional chugging framerates.

The world and its characters are still just as charming as I remember, maybe even more so. This is my absolute favorite versions of Link and Zelda, and all the side characters are top notch too. (Beedle 😍🥰🥰🥰) After BotW, I've really missed more classic Zelda experiences and meatier stories/characters, so this game is giving me a lot of warm fuzzies.

I'm taking the game pretty slowly and casually, and exploring every last nook and cranny, but it feels like it's zipping along a lot faster than when I first played it. The quality of life improvements for this game are momentous. Especially skipping text promps/dialog.

I really look forward to hearing how the rest of y'all take to the game. I remember Skyward Sword being a mostly looked over entry to the franchise, and it's one of my personal favorites, so I really look forward to people being able to experience this game for the first time and it being given new life.
 

Gaer

chat.exe a cessé de fonctionner
Staff member
Moderator
The best thing about this game: YOU PUT BOMB FLOWERS INTO THE BOMB BAG.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
I don't think I can justify picking up the remaster as I only played through the original for the first time in 2019, but this is one of the rare favourites I have in the series so I might eventually desire a revisit. I can share what I thought and said of the game when I played it, though.

"I don't like Zelda." Not a contentious statement by any means, but how did reading it make you feel? There are few video game series so ingrained into this shared culture and language of games we partake in as The Legend of Zelda, and the lens it's viewed through is almost always celebratory and jubilant. This widespread staunch belief in the innate goodness of the series makes it difficult to approach from other angles or get a word in edgewise, as Nintendo's franchises create their own self-perpetuating momentum and critical immunity from well-deserved scrutiny through their massive cultural cachet and influence. This is not to say people don't argue about the relative strengths and weaknesses of any given installment until the moon falls and the earth floods, because they do. How this discourse manifests usually follows set patterns and topics of engagement, though, and reflects the primary interest vectors of what draws people to the series: how they fit together as macro and micro-environments, what the mechanics of interaction are, what the almost mythical concept of game "pacing" says of each, and how willfully explorable or not any of them is. These are all pertinent questions to ask, but they can also be secondary or not important at all if one's perspective differs, and don't capture the scope of interaction possible with any media work, however codified and standard. This is why I say that I don't like Zelda, regardless of what I think of it as a puzzle-box exploratory adventure, because it so consistently and universally always lets me down via its gender, racial, and sexual politics, and its overall central thematicism. My default mentality for the series is not gleeful anticipation, but bracing trepidation.

As much as the prior reflects the reality of my relationship with the series, it is also a truth that I have played many Zelda games, most of them to the end. On one hand this is in part due to the series's unquestionable ubiquity and the attitudes with which it's assessed--you play video games; you play Zelda--but there's also that motivating glimmer of personal significance pumping at the heart of such a long-term association. I was a young child in the late '90s and the Nintendo 64 duology isn't what introduced me to the series, but they were the games I imprinted upon strongly, and what I've retained as childhood touchstones and reassessed adulthood favourites. They are what allows me to react to every Zelda I haven't played with more than distrust, pushing me to explore new avenues within the series, not because I seek the echoes of my childhood totems but because I hope to find something that can carry dissimilar but nonetheless equally valid meaning for me. After many, many games and uneasy arbitration, I think I've finally found what I sought.


I first played Skyward Sword in the same context as many other people did, around its late 2011 release. If one recalls, the game publishing scene of that moment in time, at least for this specific cross-section, was defined by the temporally close release of not only this game, but its fellow fantasy roleplaying peers and even nominal relatives, Skyrim and Dark Souls. Whether one had the appetite to view these games through directly comparative language and assessment, the capitalistic systems at play mandated and ensured that they would be, in both professionally critical spaces and the colloquially enthusiastic. Those comparative instincts did not necessarily reflect well on Skyward Sword: while Zelda had always been recognized and cherished as sparking the imaginations and desires to explore virtual worlds for a generation or several--and likely influencing these very games now nipping at its heels--its newest incarnation was viewed to have abandoned that ethos as the culmination of many years of incremental wear and tear. Skyrim and Dark Souls, while both part of established lineages of their own, were then seen as successors to carrying on that frontier spirit into the future through their own interpretations, while the progenitor itself regressed and floundered. Whether this was the specific framework through which one observed Skyward Sword or not, its reception remained customary of series: superficially glowing in unison, and endlessly divisive for the people invested in its ongoing creative process and the particularities therein. For my part, I played a little of it at the time, and set it aside through no particular ill will, perhaps influenced by the conventional malaise permeating how the series was talked about writ large. I did not return to it for over seven years.


In a way, I'm glad I let it sit for so long. Doubtless there is an appeal in interacting with media contemporaneously, to be part of the developing conversation, contributing to it and helping shape it along in excitement, but there is also validity in hindsight and re-examined personal contexts. What were anyone's thoughts on motion controls at 2011's twilight, at the tail end of the Wii generation, and what Skyward Sword itself was seen as a capstone to? Questions of accessibility and handedness should never be disregarded in such physically tactile and specific interaction modes as them, but the dominating conversation outside of those concerns was largely defined by viewing the technology as tired, overcomplicating, imprecise gimmicks obfuscating superficial design. This was very much part of Skyward Sword's legacy and the inheritance of its creative context; there were sides to be taken either for or against on the subject of its control scheme and its reliability or lack thereof. I no longer remember what thoughts I held then, but over the years as nearly every Zelda has integrated supplementary gyroscope aim adjustment to their design, my perception of the series and its ways of interacting with 3D space have been molded according to those standards in ways that I now anticipate and even crave. Combine this new standard with the distance of years from the hegemony of motion control in video games--restoring a sense of novelty and welcome unfamiliarity--and to approach Skyward Sword as a button-and-motion-feel experience is a much different prospect than it would've been in its own time.


Those interactions the motion controls allow are ultimately integral to the game's identity, existing beyond shallow gimmickry. Zelda's appeal over the years has solidified into and been expressed through a kind of ultra-generalist mentality to video games: do as many things as possible to satiate as many people as you can and secure an audience, no matter what part of the whole they latch onto. This grants the series universal approachability, but also limits the amount of attention it can devote to any single aspect of its self for being stretched out so thin (and relatedly, also leaves the series suspect to unexamined prejudices and bigotry that run a steady course throughout it). Zelda for me gets interesting when it upheaves the careful balancing act it's established for itself--Majora's Mask alone is a prime example of deliberate recontextualization of prior standards. Skyward Sword is its own quiet revolution, for how pervasive and holistic it makes its motion controls in interacting with the game, and how the design leans into those inputs in synergy any time it possibly can.


The sword-fighting of course stands as the centerpiece: enemies parry your blows, read your telegraphing, feint blows of their own, and generally fight back with a ferocity the series doesn't often see. The appeal of motion-controlled sword maneuvers isn't in merely the physical act and its translated approximation on the screen, but how enemies and situations mandate specific approaches, movement arcs and gestures to make nice, and that's what makes the integration of the controls so engaging for me. Zelda combat and puzzle-solving is often ultimately binary, where you reason out the approach and simply perform the task, and therein lies the accusation of roteness. What Skyward Sword does for the formula is introduce an element of execution to the process: when you suss out the answer, you're not just going through the motions because the motions are the crux of the matter--whether you can physically replicate what your brain knows needs to be done. This margin for error, for misaligned and panicked verbs performed in haste, and the refocusing of oneself to act with precision, means that even the most rudimentary Zelda concepts and interactions are imbued with a new sense of vitality simply because I felt like I could fail them, and often did. Motion controls of this type achieve a form of nuance that counterparts acted out through button and stick inputs cannot reprise, though I wish the option existed for those whom the control scheme was such a barrier. There are many arguments that revolve around Skyward Sword's modular design, but in the ways it incorporates motion inputs to its self--flicking to climb in spurts; rotating minutely to fly and swim; rhythmically waving back and forth to walk tightropes; snapping in swift response to parry attacks; adjusting the twist of a rolled bomb to add curve to the arc, and on and on--it is comprehensive and consistently delightful in the care it employs in crafting such a cohesive experience.


Coherence permeates Skyward Sword's creative processes. It's a game of hyperfocused emphasis toward the specific avenues it's interested in exploring at the expense of anything else, running counter to those generalist Zelda design tendencies the series has trained us to expect of itself. It doesn't allow for experimentation out of sequence, and it doesn't give you the means to improvise much in the moment; its problems have discrete solutions and they don't resolve as multiple-choice. If one's affinity towards the series is intertwined in its sense of freeform exploration, then Skyward Sword will feel stifling in its narrow, single-minded scope. I have never come to Zelda for sensations of freedom, however, because while its structural realities at their most open profess player choice and agency, its thematic centerpiece embodied in its protagonist, the cipher "Link", presents a disingenuous premise where an ostensibly universal and inclusive avatar is never anything but an icon and representational force of default masculine, heteronormative ideation in practice. Freedom means nothing to me in Zelda, because they're some of the most oppressive and insidious games I know.


And so I relished in Skyward Sword's compact hyper-density, because I saw it as reflective and attuned to the narrative conventions and themes of the series in ways that rarely reconcile one another with so little friction. Nowhere was this clearer to me than in the character of Fi. We can't consider Fi as a fictional entity without confronting her reputation outside of the game: she is reviled with a consistency and intensity that has surpassed similar audience reactions to Ocarina of Time's Navi, the previous target for players's memetic ire toward partner characters in Zelda. To divorce these receptions from misogynistic sentiment would be foolish, as there exists a deeply pervasive language and culture of sexist assessment and relation to helper and subservient characters in video games on both sides of the developer and player axiom, but Fi's loathed presence is also irrevocably tied to impressions of her as an intrusive, patronizing nanny, here to provide aid that's not needed or requested and to impose the developers' will on whatever scraps of player agency one can cling to in Skyward Sword's constrictive spaces. As Link exists as a supposed cipher between player and game, so is Fi perceived as the overbearing incarnation of the mistrustful development zeitgeist in power at Nintendo at the time, and its ultimate representational folly.


What actually troubles me about Fi is none of the above, but the specific semiotics of her role as a servile woman whose recurring verbal tic is the ubiquitous utterance of "master", aimed directly at the player. This is, however, the limit of my grievances, as I was thoroughly invested in the contrasting aspects of her character, starting from her dryly humorous deadpan deliveries and the general robotic artifice with which she carries herself, creating an image of superficial neutrality but always letting in on something beyond blank servitude. This supposed tool of practical convenience breaks into a figure skating short program any time she's called upon to relate messages from her creators, and it's impossible to not have that captivate and make one question Fi's ostensible lack of personhood. Performance and the arts are what Fi comes alive through on a consistent basis, as she puts on her own shows and further collaborates with the player through music and song. It's in these moments that her character is realized as her mannerisms seem merely approximative of humanity even as she emotes via deeply human means, and her backmasked voice resonates and chafes against easy categorization. Fi's arc is flat, an anti-twist, where she completes her duty as mandated and takes her leave from history's stage, but it's also here where her nature as a retcon suffuses the series with new meaning as she goes to slumber within the Master Sword. The series's central symbol of heroic power has never meant much to me on its own, but through Fi, every single instance from the past that predates her to the future that follows her now reframes the sword's acquisition not as an empowering tool to benefit from but the act of reconnecting and reuniting with an old friend.


Fi's ever-presence then does not bother me, because I don't seek Zelda games out for the freedom they're incapable of granting me, and so Skyward Sword's context becomes one of carefully curated interactions with a game world that's explicitly set up as a trail of trials--divinely ordained, overseen and guided--and in this light Fi's assistance is not only welcome but integral to the game's narrative. The Legend of Zelda formatively termed them LEVELs, and the common designation informally settled upon is "dungeon", but the other consistent denomination that exists in the series captures best what Skyward Sword's world is full of: temples. And what are temples but places of worship, of religious significance and practice, and monuments to faith itself? The series has seen many such structures before as its puzzle-box labyrinths, but often they appear to use the word as a stock template to describe the environment, granting it nominal form but no especial meaning. Skyward Sword's temples feel as such because they integrate iconography from real world counterparts and thus create authentic connections between form and function. You can observe the reliefs in the Earth Temple and see representational figures of Barong or other Southeast Asian idols, or see the Hindu-inflected architecture on display at the geographically connected region where the Fire Sanctuary resides, and find the ashtamangala housed within. The cultural footprints aren't just given lip service--they inform the construction of the world and the player's interactions with it, enriching every facet of the presentation.


Even in light of all of this, the Ancient Cistern still stands out from the rest. To understand the location requires figuratively walking through it, because nearly every detail warrants explication. From the beginning, the player encounters a giant golden Buddha, establishing the themes to be encountered deeper inside. Further interactions involve the inspection of chakra points on the Buddha's body, and the earthly temptations represented as great treasure awaiting their taker in his open palms. A central mechanic involves the numerous lotus blossoms filling the cistern, beautiful and harmonius in an upright orientation but dangerous and injurious if flipped over. Gratitude itself is made reference to, something that exists as a real, tactile concept in the game's cosmology in the form of the gratitude crystals bestowed by people whom the player has aided. Eventually the road leads to the underworld through Buddha's very body, emerging into a cavernous miasma filled with pooled blood and ravenous preta. Escape involves clutching onto giant columns reminiscent of prayer wheels as the very act of traversal becomes an appeal for salvation, and at its climax the player is made to re-enact a scene of desperate flight from Ryūnosuke Akutagawa's The Spider's Thread, itself modeled after Buddhist parables and tradition. Escape from Hell and the rise to Heaven culminates in an encounter with a corrupted icon of a bodhisattva, as much a fight as an act of spiritual purification.


To lay this all out is important because it arrives at Skyward Sword's greatest strengths, its ability to create mythic and religious narratives in the Zelda framework, through conventional Zelda verbs and design. The Ancient Cistern might "only" be a singular dungeon within the series, but it is also among the best single stories the series has ever told, and most indicative of what it's part of. Zelda has always been a religious narrative and concerned with expressions of faith, from its own sort of polytheistic paganism filtered through Shinto concepts and the regular presence of Christian iconography to create its brand of cultural intermingling. Skyward Sword is a textually explicit godly narrative, and that's to be seen in the regimented structure of the game world set to test the player, the cultural authenticity of its sources and the constant presence of its own pantheon in the story it's telling. When Faron floods her woodland domain toward the end of the game, seemingly at a whim and out of annoyance at meddlers in her lands, I felt the game's commitment to a mythic structure as she sends the player on a capricious errand that serves no legitimate purpose other than her own entertainment. Every act is given meaning through this lens, and even if I had been mechanically less enthused about what the game does, the thematic tenor would have carried me through in satisfaction that I rarely feel with this series. Skyward Sword's credit is that I found both of these expressions compelling throughout.


Zelda continues to exist as it mostly always has: consistent and predictable in the themes inherent to it, unchanging in some ways even as it adjusts others to iterate and sometimes innovate. Skyward Sword is frustrating in most of the same ways the rest of the series is to me, and my delight was in finding an angle for personal value in an unexpected corner of it, even through minding my own context of worries and misgivings. Maybe I'll find yet more.

We were compiling the list of favourite Zelda characters around that time too, so a few words about someone I think is great in this game from back then.

Most romances in Zelda are badly written or handled. The absolute nadir is Ocarina of Time, a game structured akin to a harem narrative where nearly every woman Link meets along the way becomes enraptured or even betrothed to him through the magnetic allure of a player protagonist while acting as proxy to the player and as their representation in the game's world. It's the stuff of Ys and other more unmentionable video games that presume the male point-of-view character's right to every woman they interact with during the course of their adventure. A rare exception to this attitude comes in Skyward Sword, where bored-as-hell warehouse clerk Peatrice occupies a role that is not thrust upon the player as a matter of narrative inevitability even as she oversees an important service in the game's world. Interactions with Peatrice only reach romantic momentum if the player chooses to visit her and spend time with her often over a sustained period, literally creating the relationship the attraction is founded on. As the two teens arrive at a make-it-or-break-it juncture in their courtship, there is another player choice given: affirm the relationship or break it off, both leading to equally valid conclusions. For the former, there is a seriously-treated outlining of the burgeoning dynamics of a new relationship, and for the latter, rejection does not lead to the breaking off of all contact between the two and Peatrice's disappearance from Link's life if he doesn't choose to be with her. Instead, Peatrice is heartbroken over being rejected, but wryly and sardonically as she continues to needle Link over it with her head held high. It's an uncharacteristic resolution because it allows for Peatrice to continue to exist as an autonomous individual even after the "end" of her arc relative to Link, and changes the tenor of their relationship from tentatively romantic to maybe a truer and more valuable depiction of a friendship between mutual amicable exes.

I'm somewhat curious what kind of reassessment if any will result from a decade of video games having been created in the interim and the changes in narrative-shaping tastes at large that have resulted from it in how people react to Skyward Sword now. The contrast to Breath of the Wild is of course obvious, and it frames the game that has been treated as the culmination of the vestigial cruft infesting the series in a curious light now as something expected to be returned or introduced to with great fondness or anticipation.
 

Gaer

chat.exe a cessé de fonctionner
Staff member
Moderator
Honestly as I’m playing it, I’m seeing how Skyward Sword began the process as well as informed the organic overworld building that occurred in botw.

I’ll need to play more of course to confirm my feelings.
 

Lokii

It's always time for burgers
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
I played a significant way into the original but never finished it. The whole time there I felt like there was a resistance in playing that keep me at a distance. Whether this was because of controls or design or slow text or if I was just tired of Zelda at the time I don't know, but I dropped it after a while and wrote it off as no great loss.

Playing now I'm utterly enchanted. This HD remake goes a long way to refine the experience into something really fun and compelling. Maybe sanding down those rough edges were all the game needed, but I think too its clearer now what the game was trying to be and do, from a story experience, that was a little muddled at the time. Post-BotW it's apparent just how this game is in conversation with previous 3D Zeldas and the ways it plays with the formula, not just in terms of design, but in story and experiential expression too. Anyway it's a peach, and if nothing else, a real stunner. A great example of the artistic achievements found at the end of the SD era. I'm real glad it got a second chance.
 
I'm not a big fan of the waggle controls (I'm just too old/set in my ways and was never very dexterous to begin with) but I do appreciate what they're doing and love that there are people who experienced them and loved them the way you did Peklo. One thing that strikes me with the waggle is just how immersive it was intended to be as a playing experience, and how the meta experience of learning to play in this new way mirrors Link's experience of learning to be a hero for the first time in the lore of the franchise. In a lot of ways, it evokes the same feelings I had while wrestling to learn how to play MGS3 (easy top 3 game of all time for me) where at first you really feel the same struggle Big Boss did while trying to adapt to learning a new way of fighting and sneaking in the jungle, and by the end of the game feeling like you've grown as a person and mastered the controls as a meta reflection of Big Boss's journey and growth as a fighter in-game. Here we're learning how to be Link/a hero essentially from scratch, as Link builds the foundations for Hyrule and his generational journey through time. It's a great little synergy moment where the formal composition of a game reinforces the thematic composition of a game, and that's the kind of actual galaxy brain game design that really manages to get me going.

Re: love and heteronormativity - as a mostly hetero person myself, who is a softie for romance of any flavor in my media, the thing that bothers me the most about the Zelda franchise is not necessarily the heteronormativity of things but just how chaste and boring Zelda games typically are. There are extremely mild but baity romantic flares in past Zelda games, but they're just that. Mild and bait. They're almost never meant to be an expression of real love, and the overly masculine ideal (though I contend it's not inherently gendered - see: the original concept of Mary Sues) of the noble protagonist of a story to be destined for tragic heroic solitude was just downright infuriating. And that was just always a staple of the franchise, be it Link wandering off to wander the world alone after Link to the Past, or waking up alone in Link's Awakening, or Link wandering off to wander the world alone after Ocarina of Time, or Link having to say farewell to Midna in Twilight Princess, etc. It always ends in bittersweet sorrow and solitude for Link and his affections. And Skyward Sword is the game that was finally like, you know what, screw it. These two unmistakenly and undeniably love each other, and there's nothing that can stop them, and their love is so strong it'll reincarnate over and over again to safeguard this beautiful world they love together. And while in the grand scheme of all media that might be route and passe, in Zelda it was just so refreshing and endearing. Love it. It's a big part of why this game has my favorite Link and Zelda, because they don't just care for one another but in secret, but they manage to be very emotive and communicative and honest with each other about it, and it's just adorable and wholesome and a breath of fresh air versus their later reincarnations that seem to always manage to fudge things up because they can't ever just like, you know, talk to each other. The way this Link just brightens up and expresses a range of emotions around Zelda (and really the world in general) gives him so much more personality, and it stands in great contrast to one of my bigger pet peeves in Zelda/video games in general of the boring blank slate protagonist. This Link has his own agency, beliefs, ideas, and loves, and we're just along for the ride.

Re: Religion in Zelda games - this video's conversation is very basic, but I always thought was a good primer for looking at and discussing the religious iconography and practices depicted in the franchise. Doesn't hurt either that the guy doing it is a decent academic who has a fun youtube channel:


(Mild visual spoilers for Skyward Sword if you haven't beaten it before)
 
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Exposition Owl

could use a space fortress
(he/him/his)
Doesn't hurt either that the guy doing it is a decent academic who has a fun youtube channel:


(Mild visual spoilers for Skyward Sword if you haven't beaten it before)

Thanks for posting this! Andrew is a friend and former colleague of mine, but I hadn’t seen that he’d done a video about Zelda. I’ll definitely have to watch this!
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
I played the WW and TP HD remasters so I'll probably play this too. Curious how it plays with stick controls.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
I've heard pretty much nothing but good things all over the place about this remaster, so I'll probably have to pick it up. The fact that Gaer is enjoying it is what's tipping me over into probably buying it... I hated the game originally, 100% because of the motion controls.
 

Lokii

It's always time for burgers
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
I'm finding motion controls to be slick and elegant for me, aside from the occasional jank. I'd say its worth it for achieving the feel of the game and how so much of it is based around motion elements. I don't like stick. Swordplay is fine but having to hold L1 for camera feels awkward.

I just finished the Mining Facility. What a great dungeon. All of them are pretty fantastic in this game. I can't wait to get to the really acclaimed ones.
 
I’m glad that I disengaged from The Discourse and general gamer culture long ago. Because I’m floored learning that people didn’t like Fi???? Gamers are the worst.
 

Droewyn

Smol Monster
(She/her, they/them)
Fi as a character was fine. I liked her design, and her interactions with me were pretty great. Fi interrupting to tell me every time my hearts were low EVEN THOUGH there was also the traditional "low health" beeping made me want to hit her until the candy came out.

I think they made her 100% less annoying in the Switch version, and I am thrilled for that.

I do agree that R should have been camera by default, and R+L should have been sword -- I'm having the same trouble you are with constantly pulling my sword out when I'm just trying to look around.

So far I am enjoying the game! I haven't tried motion controls yet, but button-flick fighting is going well for the most part. It only took me two tries to beat Ghirahim the first time, too!
 
Has anyone seen a write up or video about, or could anyone here write up how exactly the button controls work? From the trailers, the gist of it seems more or less like I wished it would have worked when I played the original game, but my memory is that there were more potential sword moves than just 8 directions and R3 (stick as a button) could cover, maybe? How do they handle those moves? Or am I misremembering? I remember being told that this general idea for a control scheme was impossible for some reason, and I think that was why, so I'm curious how the game handles the moves that don't fit to 8 directions and R3.
 

4-So

Spicy
This is my first trip through the game and I don't like Fi. I knew as soon as she popped up. "Oh, for fuck's sake, another Zelda helper character." I have some major qualms with Breath of the Wild but at least that's not one of them.

The controls work by holding the LB on the controller, allowing the right analog stick to use the sword. A spin attack is a quick L R L motion, thrusting is R3, and shield is L3. Not sure about anything else; I played the original for all of an hour and then tapped out because of motion controls.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
I liked Fi, mainly because it felt like the series was lampooning itself, with her stating very obvious things in that sort of humorous android way.

I will always go to bat for Skyward Sword, even in its original form. I had an absolute blast with it, but I generally do have fun with Zelda games regardless. I admit, everyone griping about SS led to Breath of the Wild, a game I also greatly enjoyed, although it doesn't quite hit the mark for me like my favorite 3D Zelda games. Which reminds me, I should probably go and replay Twilight Princess.
 
I'm only a few hours in, playing in handheld, and am feeling pretty lukewarm on it so far. The setting and characters and aesthetics and such all seem neat, but it's origins as a Wii game is just this omnipresent shadow over the whole experience for me. I feel like I'm playing Mario Odyssey with a keyboard and mouse or something. Like, I can do it, but at no point am I forgetting that this feels less than ideal.

I do agree that R should have been camera by default, and R+L should have been sword -- I'm having the same trouble you are with constantly pulling my sword out when I'm just trying to look around.

This is my top complaint. I fiddle with the camera position every two seconds and only occasionally need to swing my sword, but it's the latter that is the default action and the former that requires and extra button hold. The net result is I am spending 99% of my play time holding down the L button, and when I enter combat and have to quickly toggle back and forth between the two, it's just so awkward and clumsy feeling. I am finding myself just running past all but the mandatory fights, which really isn't how I want to play the game.
 
This is my top complaint. I fiddle with the camera position every two seconds and only occasionally need to swing my sword, but it's the latter that is the default action and the former that requires and extra button hold. The net result is I am spending 99% of my play time holding down the L button, and when I enter combat and have to quickly toggle back and forth between the two, it's just so awkward and clumsy feeling. I am finding myself just running past all but the mandatory fights, which really isn't how I want to play the game.

It will never happen but this seems like this would have been a good, simple solution for many:

 

Ludendorkk

(he/him)
The entire game was designed around not having free camera control and to me drawing the sword instantly with a gesture beats having camera control on by default. That said, they 100% should have set a toggle for what L button does (and have left-handed motion control option while we're at it, c'mon Nintendo).
 

Gaer

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I've heard pretty much nothing but good things all over the place about this remaster, so I'll probably have to pick it up. The fact that Gaer is enjoying it is what's tipping me over into probably buying it... I hated the game originally, 100% because of the motion controls.

I'm finding motion controls to be slick and elegant for me, aside from the occasional jank. I'd say its worth it for achieving the feel of the game and how so much of it is based around motion elements. I don't like stick. Swordplay is fine but having to hold L1 for camera feels awkward.

I just finished the Mining Facility. What a great dungeon. All of them are pretty fantastic in this game. I can't wait to get to the really acclaimed ones.

I couldn't play the game whatsoever because of the lack of a lefthanded option. I tried really hard on the Wii cos I was enthralled by everything else I saw in Skyward Sword. I just got too many brain cramps by the time I got past the third dungeon at the beginning.

So I'm really happy they finally gave me a way to play it. I low how crunchy the combat is (and I did back then even if I was frustrated). You can't just hide behind a shield like in previous games, which I hated even if I never did it much. Nothing feels as good as parrying an enemy attack and going ham on them (similar to BoTW parry and flurry rushes).

The entire game was designed around not having free camera control and to me drawing the sword instantly with a gesture beats having camera control on by default. That said, they 100% should have set a toggle for what L button does (and have left-handed motion control option while we're at it, c'mon Nintendo).

It's super telling that back when TP Wii was being made (and then later again with SS) that the testers said there was a "huge disconnect" with Link being left handed when using the wiimote.

So of course, they made him right handed for right handed players. And somehow they didn't think this would be an issue for anyone who is... not right handed.

But apparently 10% of the population just doesn't exist. I'm still mad about this.
 

Gaer

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This is the first time I've reached
the Lanayru Land Sea.

BoTW's quiet anguish the landscape tells you in silence, aching with the memories of days long past had its beginning here.

The few NPCs who talk to you and aren't quite sure you're real.

Link, a wandering ghost, travelling sea and sand both with a long dead captain searching for his friends. Who just almost seems to discern Link's true nature, and the aeons that have passed between them on their journey to find the Flame of Nayru.

It's a masterful and somber experience.

I've truly been moved.
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
I’m glad that I disengaged from The Discourse and general gamer culture long ago. Because I’m floored learning that people didn’t like Fi???? Gamers are the worst.
For me it's not exactly Fi that's the problem, although she's a huge step down from Midna. It's that (at least in the Wii original) she rarely shuts up and lets you think for yourself. There's a particularly good puzzle on one of the last dungeons and she immediately drops a hint so heavy she may as well just tell you the answer.
 

nataeryn

Discovered Construction
(he/him)
I'm just so happy that people are enjoying this game. I loved my playthrough of Skyward Sword on WiiU. I loved the setting. I loved the characters. I loved the music. I had some challenges with the motion controls, but ultimately felt like I had figured the controls out mostly.
 

Gaer

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For me it's not exactly Fi that's the problem, although she's a huge step down from Midna. It's that (at least in the Wii original) she rarely shuts up and lets you think for yourself. There's a particularly good puzzle on one of the last dungeons and she immediately drops a hint so heavy she may as well just tell you the answer.

She doesn’t interrupt you whatsoever now other than for cutscenes.
 

Lokii

It's always time for burgers
(He/Him)
Staff member
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There's a lot of small refinements that really bring the game together. Fi giving you a break, not being interrupted with item descriptions, general speed-ups all around. It's nice to see Nintendo taking the opportunity to address these little annoyances and backing away from some of their absolutist tendencies.
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
I think this game might be a bit too difficult for my girlfriend to handle. She's played Breath, LA on Switch, and LTTP via Switch Online, but the elevated combat difficulty combined with non-ideal camera controls seem to be a big hurdle for her to get through. She made it to the first Ghirahim boss fight yesterday and was getting super frustrated not figuring out how to swing the sword to hit him. Like, she knew what to do, but actually getting Link to do it was A Problem. When I tried to help her, even I was having some issues understanding how his sword catch thing was actually working (have never played this game before). She tried using the motion-only controls, but that was even more problematic for her. She hasn't given up yet, but considering Ghirahim has a second phase where he actually attacks you... I'm not confident she can get through it.
 
The combat in this game isn't really any different than other Zelda games at its core. It's about finding the weaknesses of enemies and then cheezing the shit out of it. It's just that the verbs for doing so are different and it takes some time to explore. Like the Deku Baba plants that open their mouths either vertically or horizontally. The game wants you to swing your sword to hit the specific way to hit the open mouth the right way. Which I find difficult because often I'm jamming the right stick so fast that it confuses the game. And the plants also don't hold their mouths open for long so if your reaction time is slow it can cost you. But you can cheese the crap out of them fast and easy by just rapid-fire hitting R3 so you poke/thrust your sword, which will hit either type of open mouth while locked on and kill 'em asap. You can also send out your flying beetle and aim at its stock, which will snip the stock and one-shot them. Or the Moblins that come at you - they continually block your sword strikes, and you're supposed to read which way they're holding their sword defensively, and attack from the opposite side. But if you just parry their strikes with your shield (which the game actually has a lot more generous window for doing so versus the parrys in BotW) you knock the moblin off balance and can then just slash like a maniac until they're dead - which is a lot faster and safer than trying to go swords-only at 'em. Or the fat moblins. Those guys sucked until I realized you could throw a bomb behind them. That would cause them to begin to rotate around to face and block the bomb, leaving their big fat butts wide open to slash away until they quickly died.

With Ghirahim, he continually walks forward at you in a menacing way, throwing you into a panic as a player and causing you to continually run away from him. But if you stand still, he gets up close but then also just kinda stands still too and waits for you to swing your sword first. So you've actually got quite a lot of leeway to study his hand patterns and realize which way you need to swing your sword to complete the fight. If he holds his hand down, you're supposed to swing downward with the sword. If he's holding it to the left, you swing at the back side of his hand from the right, etc. It's hard to tell which way he's holding his hand when you're both doing the shuffle, but if you both stand still it becomes a lot easier to handle. The second phase isn't really all that different. And by then, if you've been studying his body movements and how to swing at him, it only takes a few combos to finish him off.
 

Gaer

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You can move your sword one way to bait Ghiranim, who will follow with his hand.

Then do the opposite swing. But it can be hard, I agree. It still took me awhile, an avid gamer, a bit to get used to how the sword works in Skyward.
 
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