Why Misguided Critics are Hating on "Skyward Sword"

What's Up With These Guys, Anyway?

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is, hands down, the best thing ever designed for the Wii, a brilliant, imaginative game that uses gesture gaming better than any game that precedes it. And yet, some people have gone to the bother of listing, sometimes in excruciating detail, the ways in which they feel the game screws up. Why would anyone write an article like Seven Ways The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Made Me Crazy or 10 Stupid Things Terribly Wrong with The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword or Five Ways Skyward Sword Went Wrong? And why are there complaints so ridiculous? I’m going to tell you why.

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It Doesn’t Do Exactly What Their Favorite Zelda Games Did

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Wait, Link is riding a bird, not a horse? Eek! I can't play this game!. Nintendo

Why they hate: A lot of criticisms come down to, “it doesn’t have that thing I liked in the other games.” WarpZoned objects to the absence of the horse Epona, although it’s missing from other Zelda games as well. Two of the writers complain about the motion controls, insisting the game would be better without them. There are also complaints about the game’s basic structure, which is somewhat different than that of previous games in the series and thus is, by definition, worse.

Why they're wrong: I don’t believe Nintendo’s goal is to make the same game over and over again. Part of the appeal of the Zelda games has always been the way they explored new ideas from within a very specific construct. To complain that this Zelda game is not like all other Zelda games is to fundamentally misunderstand the nature of Zelda games.

The problem with complaining about changes is, a few games down the line these same people, or others, will be pointing at Skyward Sword and whining that the new game doesn’t do the things they like from this one.

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It Does Exactly What All the Other Zelda Games Did


Why they hate:  While the complainers rage against the game for changing, they also rage at it for not changing. Kotaku complains about how slowly the game starts, even though a) all Zelda games start slowly and b) Skyward Sword begins more briskly than many others of the series.

Why they're wrong:  I’m not saying that every tradition of the series is worth upholding, I’m just pointing out that if you approach a game with a shopping list of the stuff you want retained and the stuff you want removed, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. And that there is a difference between a fundamental flaw and a design choice you disagree with.

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They Are Bad at the Game

What? I have to move my arm to swing a sword? Why can't I just press a button?. Nintendo

Why they hate: Some critics complain that Wind Waker's unique control scheme is hard to use, picking on particular areas they found difficult.

Why they're wrong: I'm not an exceptionally skillful gamer, yet some of the things critics struggled with gave me no problem at all. A game control system you can’t handle is not automatically a bad game control system that should be jettisoned. 

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They Are Easily Annoyed

Why they hate:  At times these articles exhibit a Rainman-like obsession with the littlest things. Kotaku goes on about the appearance of the stamina meter as though it is the equivalent of a flashing neon sign blocking the view of the Grand Canyon, and spends a huge amount of time ranting about how the viewing angle is slightly different than his ideal. Many critics rage against dowsing, with Warpedzone inexplicably complained both that it is annoying both because it makes the game too easy and because it doesn’t make things easy enough. And they all seem to hate Fi, the oddly computer-ish sidekick, 

Why they're wrong: We all can see places where we would like a game improved, but these niggling details have so little to do with the game's overall quality. Personally I like Fi, and dowsing is something you can mainly ignore, even if some writers seem to not realize that.

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They Are Trolling for Page Views

Why they hate:  Writing for the Internet comes down to convincing people to visit your site, and criticizing something will often generate more traffic than praising it. Google “Five Ways Skyward Sword Went Wrong” and you will find it’s been linked to by dozens of other sites.

Why they're wrong: Look, I understand the need for page views, the beauty of getting linked to and the power of angry traffic-driving comments. This article defending the game will get a fraction of the page views of any article attacking it. To me trashing a game for page views seems wrong, but I guess that's just me.

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They Have a Point

I'm sure it wouldn't be that difficult to find someone who could read this line out loud for me. Nintendo

Why they hate: While I disagree with most of the critics arguments, I will say, I agree that Skyward Sword would have been better with voice acting. I should not have had to press the A button a million times to read what people said. At the least I should have been able to set the text speed so I wouldn’t have had to hold down the A button for each sentence to make it unfurl as quickly as I read.

Why they're still wrong:  You know what other games this is true of? Disney Epic Mickey, Okami, and dozens, perhaps hundreds of others. Dialogue in text form is a seemingly incurable plague on videogames. And I suspect most of the designers, like Nintendo, feel that, this is what we’ve always done, and our fathers before us, and their fathers before them, but they’re just being stupid.

But you know what? If they did have voice acting in Skyward Sword, I guarantee you there would be several articles complaining about the game and saying they were really bothered by the addition of voice acting. Because, and this is the final, most important reason for the existence of these attacks on Skyward Sword:

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People Like To Complain, And Nothing Is Ever Good Enough

‘Nuff said.