A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: SKYWARD SWORD is an adventure game that is ideal for tweens (and older) but not little kids as there is a lot of fantasy combat. Hero Link's main weapon is a sword that can hack and slash enemies -- and with the Wii MotionPlus controller is accurately modeled to the player's real movement in front of the TV -- which might concern some parents. There is a small amount of blood seen in the game from fallen baddies, but it disappears with the body.
What's it about?
As with past The Legend of Zelda titles, you play as a young boy named Link, who must rescue his childhood companion Zelda from evil kidnappers. Zelda -- not yet a princess in this prequel to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time -- was snatched from the peaceful floating islands of Skyloft and taken to the dangerous surface world below. To aid in his quest, Link is presented with the magical Skyward Sword, which houses a spiritual aid named Fi; she resides inside the blade when Link needs some guidance. Control and flight are two of the key differences between The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and previous Zelda games. With the former, the game takes advantage of Wii MotionPlus technology to synchronize your real-world movements with the controller and Link's swordplay in the game. Whether you're holding the sword skyward (up) to charge its magic, slicing diagonally, jabbing forward, or performing a spin attack, all the actions are precisely mirrored in the game. Link can also hop on the back of a giant bird, known as a Loftwing, and soar the unfriendly skies.
Is it any good?
Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a huge and ambitious single-player adventure. Much of your time will be spent exploring vast lands (including multiple dungeons, towns, and deserts), bypassing traps and other obstacles, engaging in real-time combat, talking with characters, and amassing an inventory of items that can be used to upgrade weapons and equipment. Visually speaking, Skyward Sword is the best-looking Zelda game to date but anyone who spends time gaming on an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or PC will no doubt feel the graphics are outdated. Also, be prepared for quite a bit of dialogue. It's often repetitive, too, so younger gamers may grow tired of reading all the text (and no, these lines aren't spoken aloud). Despite its few shortcomings, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is an extraordinary adventure, whether you're new to the franchise or a longtime fan. It cleverly fuses multiple play mechanics together -- action, exploration, platforming, flying, puzzle-solving, and some role-playing -- all wrapped in a lengthy, enchanting tale.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the 25 year-old Legend of Zelda series and what makes it so special? Is it the classic good vs. evil premise? The tender relationship between Link and Zelda? The clever combination of action, platforming, puzzle-solving, and exploration?
Families can then talk about whether this latest game still has the magic, and if so, why.
- Platforms: Nintendo Wii
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, reading, reading comprehension
Science: energy, physics
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, decision-making, solving puzzles
Emotional Development: empathy, moving beyond obstacles
Health & Fitness: fine motor skills, gross motor skills, movement
- Price: $49.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release date: November 20, 2011
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and fantasy
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Animated Blood, Comic Mischief, Fantasy Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.