Best of 2011 Honorable Mention: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

The 2011 Shacknews 'Game of the Year' awards begin today with our list of honorable mentions. These titles didn't quite crack our overall top five, but deserve your attention.


The Legend of Zelda has always been one of my favorite game series. Having said that, I've always been a bit cool towards the idea of motion controls in Zelda games ever since Twilight Princess failed to resonate with me. So I approached The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword with caution.

What I walked away with was one of the best Zelda games in recent memory. First and foremost, it's one of the best motion control-based games I've experienced. Link's sword and shield were both incredibly responsive thanks to the Wii's MotionPlus attachment. The motion control required a different approach to tackling old foes, but instead of feeling like a forced feature, it felt like a seamless addition. I was suddenly challenged to tackle enemies in a new way, rather than simply hack and slash like in the old days. Link's inventory was also a lot of fun to use, whether it was the new flying Beetle, the Whip that first debuted in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, or any of Link's normal weaponry.

But the reason I truly love Skyward Sword is because it tells the story of a hero growing into that role before the player's eyes. To play Skyward Sword is to watch many of the key elements of the Legend of Zelda mythos unfold over the course of a 50-plus-hour story filled with larger-than-life dungeons and exciting boss battles, including a doozy at the end. It's easy to take for granted what an epic tale the Legend of Zelda is, but Skyward Sword more than exceeds the lofty standards set by its predecessors.

The Shacknews 2011 Game of the Year awards are based on a weighted scoring system between all staff writers and editors. Throughout the week we'll be revealing our 'Honorable Mentions,' which include the titles that did not quite make our overall 'Top Five Games of the Year.' The Shacknews 'Game of the Year 2011 Award' will be revealed on January 20.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 11, 2012 12:00 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Best of 2011 Honorable Mention: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

    The 2011 Shacknews 'Game of the Year' awards begin today with our list of honorable mentions. These titles didn't quite crack our overall top five, but deserve your attention.

    • reply
      January 11, 2012 12:15 PM

      Too much awesome this year I suppose, c'est la vie.

      • reply
        January 11, 2012 4:32 PM

        If you take a step back and look over everything that released in 2011, it really is a matter of just too much awesome this year.

    • reply
      January 11, 2012 12:35 PM


    • reply
      January 11, 2012 2:16 PM

      Losing faith in this list...

    • reply
      January 11, 2012 2:21 PM

      I can't imagine what could be in the top 5 if this isn't good enough to make it.

    • reply
      January 11, 2012 2:55 PM

      Oh no it's Skyrim.

    • reply
      January 11, 2012 11:00 PM

      I found this Zelda to be one of the most frustrating games I've played. Mostly due to the god awful, nail in the coffin that is any hope motion control is anything but a waste of time, controls and the combat that's 90% based around said rubbish controls and less so about using your new found items.

      But there was also a lot tiny things that just added up and really shat me. Such as picking up a treasure and waiting 5 minutes for it to show it to you in your inventory (it wont show subsequent pick ups of the same treasure, unless you quit the game, ie turn it off and go to bed. As in a lot).
      Or not being able to skip dialogue at all (A barely sped up the text), especially dialogue you just read. Also, it's STILL not voiced? The cutscenes are getting very extravagant, but still have to read pages of text?

      After Twilight Princess, this is a gigantic leap backwards

      • reply
        January 11, 2012 11:04 PM

        Although I will say, I enjoy parts of it. I loved the story, the characters, the art style and the general look of the game, at least.

      • reply
        January 12, 2012 4:54 AM

        I have to agree with this. While I am enjoying the game so far, the fact that they assume the player is a retarded 6 year old is definitely not appreciated.

      • reply
        January 12, 2012 5:21 AM

        i don't think voice overs would make the game better. the current system is part of the overall styling and does a good job of conveying emotion while guiding the audience to use their imagination to substitute the intended effects i.e. the speech

      • reply
        January 12, 2012 1:50 PM

        I don't get why people want voice over? So I have to wait 8 seconds to hear the person say the stuff so the cutscene synchs up rather than read it in 2 and press A, and I only have the option to entirely skip cutscenes so I have no idea what's going on rather than skim reading the important info? So development time and budget can be increased because I can't imagine talking, and games like The Elder Scrolls can completely restrict me in my options to speak to people and record information because they can't afford the money and storage space required. So they have to make 10% of the dialogue of the previous games and just make it so every guard says ARROW IN THE KNEE instead of anything meaningful?

        The wiiscrubbed iso size of Skyward Sword is 3.93GB, and Wii single layer discs can hold a maximum of 4.37GB. They have all sorts of problems with the dual layered discs, and the manufacturing costs are much greater. To put voice acting for the whole game in, that would easily drag Skyward Sword to a data size that would have to be dual layer.

        Plus, people now say something and then say something else implying Link has told them something. To voice that over would require an actual Link voice over, which would entirely ruin the series.

        I never had any problem with treasure not showing up on the inventory.

        The combat makes every fight puzzle based in a game predominantly about puzzles instead of mashing B.

        • reply
          January 12, 2012 3:09 PM

          Lol, a Zelda apologist. I love Zelda series, but this one is a cock up.

          You have to wait ages anyway while waiting for the text to print on screen and pressing A does nothing to speed it up. Most RPG's let you read the text and skip dialogue if you desire or let the dialogue play out. As for cutscenes and not in game chatting, having walls of text is absurd. You talk about restricting what people say if they use spoken dialogue... zelda suffers from this problem more than any other RPG, WITHOUT speech. They all say the same dialogue over and over again. The amount of dialogue in Skyward Sword isn't that great. As for the dual layer thing, that's Nintendo's problem to fix. Other games can do it, why can't Nintendo.

          Seriously? Link speaking would "entirely ruin the series"? Just because Team Ninja completely ruined Samus, doesn't mean that's what would happen to Link. He already has a voice, he makes a lot of grunts and gasps, he simply doesn't speak.

          I never said there was a problem with treasure showing up in the inventory, I said the fact it has to show you each time is treating the player like a complete idiot.

          The combat is NOT a puzzle each time. 90% of fights can be defeated by waving the remote around randomly, the equivalent of mashing the attack button. Whenever you can only do some specific action, it'll often wont register. It's like playing a normal fighting game where the buttons will not work randomly. It's retarded.

          • reply
            January 12, 2012 4:17 PM

            They would fuck up speech. I just have a strong feeling they would...hell shit in Skyward Sword and the other Zeldas really really strengthen that feeling (Groose for example). They would saturday morning cartoon it all up and it would be fucking horrible. Or it would be anime horrible. Or...and I shudder to think could be Sonic Adventure on Dreamcast horrible (that was what really made me decide that I DON'T FUCKING WANT voice over in Zelda).

            I DO think you should be able to speed the text up...but I think text itself is fine in this case.

Hello, Meet Lola