I loved Twilight Princess. I really did. But I said it then and I say it now with complete vindication – it was the end of the Ocarina of Time formula. It was a fantastic send off, don’t get me wrong, but it was the natural conclusion of a concept that was a decade old, and had entertained millions of us.
So here we are with Skyward Sword. In many ways, it’s familiar Zelda. But unlike Twilight Princess, which was almost insultingly flagrant with its homage to Ocarina of Time, this new Zelda is an evolution of the formula. The evolution, one can argue, Twilight Princess should have been.
It’s not my place to spoiler too much as I haven’t had it long myself, but in so many ways this isn’t just the sendoff to the Wii – the last great hurrah before the Wii U swoops in next year – it’s one of the finest works by Nintendo in years, far above the Super Mario Galaxy stable, and arguably greater in scale and charm than Skyrim. I’m sorry, but you know I am right on this. Skyward Sword is deep, rich and rewarding – as well as being capable of charming the coo from a dove, and as warming and uplifting as a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winters night.
I will say the Wiimote controls are still a little annoying, but not anywhere near enough to dampen what should be one of the most towering triumphs of gaming in years – a game that even by Nintendo standards is almost revolutionary in tone, concept and thought. It may be the end of the Wii for Nintendo, but if Eiji Aonuma, Shigeru Miyamoto and all others at Nintendo can maintain even half this standard for their initial Wii-U launch titles, the reports of Nintendo’s demise are as wildly exaggerated as ever.
Skyward Sword is amazing. And a reminder by Nintendo that it is still capable of making some of the best games on the market – a reminder that some may argue is sorely needed in its transition to the Wii-U, and refocusing their efforts on making games for all rather than expanding their market. But a reminder nonetheless – and one that suggests maybe, just maybe, Nintendo may get it – and that the Wii-U is in safe hands.