Ahead of its release on November 18th, the review embargo on Nintendo’s Wii title The Legends of Zelda: Skyward Sword has lifted.
And as has become customary in recent weeks, yes, it looks like we have another absolute belter on our hands.
“If you own a Wii, do we even need to advise you to buy it?” The Guardian advised in its 5 Star assessment. “Whether or not it's the best ever Zelda game is open to debate, but it's certainly up there. However, nobody could argue that it's anything less than a masterclass in the art of crafting video games.”
IGN also awarded top marks, concluding: “It's fitting that Skyward Sword arrives on Zelda's 25th anniversary, because it truly pulls from the franchise's entire history, even addressing the winding narrative directly within its story.
“It captures a grandness and scope we haven't seen since the 2D era. It advances combat and control in the most significant way since Ocarina of Time. It finds a tonal and visual harmony between Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. And, most importantly, it leaves a mark on the franchise that future installments will no doubt draw inspiration from for years to come.
“This is the Wii game we've been waiting for. Through all of the mini-games and odd sports collections, many wondered if and when Nintendo would ever find a way to deliver a deeper experience that still fulfilled on Wii's limitless potential. Skyward Sword makes good on that promise.”
Joystiq scored the game at 4.5/5 stars, saying: “Somewhere within Skyward Sword slumbers the best Zelda game of all time. It is choked by a dozen hours of needless cruft; but it's there, a masterpiece entombed by a misguided ambition to be the lengthiest game in the franchise's history.
“It's still an incredible game, but it could have been the greatest game ever made, and the moments that keep it from doing so are absolutely going to break your heart. That being said, that buried brilliance of Skyward Sword is given plenty of time to shine through its excess, and when it does, it will completely consume you.”
1UP settled for a B+ in its review: “Skyward Sword is still an incredible adventure, even by the high standards of this series, with characters and dungeons worthy of the Zelda name. But while the developers made a conscious effort to shake things up with new ideas and implementations, the game falls into a weird middle ground filled with genuine surprises, inessential carry-overs, and copy/paste quest structures.
“That said, I still believe this to be one of the more admirable chapters of the series, even if at times it feels the developers were unsure of which sacred cows to keep and which to sacrifice.”