A great game that still feels lacking.

User Rating: 8.5 | The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword WII
Skyward Sword is a Zelda game, make no mistake about it. If you've ever played a Zelda game, you'll know what to expect. Its dungeons are generally impressive with neat mechanics. The story and characters simple, flat and typical. And the tools/weapons are mostly the same you've seen throughout the series, though some are used in new ways.

I find the gameplay side of the game to be satisfactory. Yeah, you fetch things, you revisit areas, you fight monsters, solve puzzles, etc. A lot of people have complained about this aspect, but personally this is fine to me. The past 40 something hours I took to complete the game, only once did I feel annoyed about the task I was given. But even then it was no biggie, because all the tasks require some thinking and some level of skill (and they rarely take longer than ten minutes) to be engaging. However, I think Nintendo would save themselves a lot of complaints if they had made some stuff (maybe about a third of the main story) optional.

In fact, I feel that the gameplay is the best part of Skyward Sword. In certain aspects, Skyward Sword felt like a Zelda-lite and not in a bad way. The overworld (under the sky) are like mini dungeons and the dungeon layouts have been streamlined, and because of these things, the quest never feels exhaustive. You always feel like you're doing something and you never can get stuck. And the game is also more tightly balanced when it comes to hearts and rupees (compared to Wind Waker and Twilight Princess), especially in Hero Mode (the new game+ so to speak). The motion controls work fine for the most part and I never had much issue with it aside from playing the harp for Fi.

My personal issues with the game is the lack of an interesting narrative/charm/characters. Yes, the game is designed to look more charming. Yes, the music is orchestrated. Yes, Zelda and Link are actually in some sort of relationship at the start. But even when you check off the features, the game itself never hits its stride with any of these things. They didn't even do anything at all with the school setting. Nothing much ends up memorable. And this is very important for me. I had fun with the game and I plan on playing through Hero Mode ASAP because I enjoy the game for its gameplay, but when I think back on the game itself, nothing really hit me. And that's what depresses me most.

So... I enjoyed it. A fun game. The forty hours to complete it went by like it was nothing. But looking back on it, I don't feel satisfied. It's missing something that I can't explain simply.