So there’s now two Zelda games on the Wii, the first being Twilight Princess (Which I will play again properly when I find a cheap game cube version, cause given the chance I will not use motion control) and the second being Skyward Sword, which is not only the most recent Zelda game out, but also a prequel to all the Zelda games before it; Confused yet? Lets see if I can explain this.
You see up until recently the Zelda time line had been a thing of speculation, every fan had his or her idea of what game went where , which gave way to forums upon forums of fans arguing that their timeline made more sense; so along with Skyward Sword, Shigeru Miyamoto ; who I guess got fed up his fans ,finally released an official timeline, with Skyward Sword starting the who epic saga off.
Like I said at the beginning , Skyward Sword is the second Zelda game on the Wii and is as determined as Twilight princess to shove the whole motion control thing in our faces. You start the game, like most of the zelda games, with naming the protagonist, I’m unoriginal and boring I stuck with his official name: Link. After a quick cut scene we cut to link asleep in bed only to be interrupted by a giant bird who spits a letter at him ( I wish I was making this up ) the letter is from Zelda , who in this game is Links childhood friend as opposed to the Princess we all know her as from other games, after a quick read of the note link leaps off the bed and hands the control over to you.
Using the circle pad on the nunchuck makes movement easy and fluid , the camera is reasonably well-behaved, only occasionally looking at the sky instead of what your meant to be doing, but a quick tap of the ‘Z’ button and the camera centres itself , so no worries there. Running and jumping are again straight forward aswell; unfortunately the motion control isn’t so smooth. Even with addition of the Wii motion plus, there’s still a delay with links movements, and trying to roll a bomb can be a nightmare if the sensor isn’t positioned in just the right way; throwing a bomb is simple, with the bombs selected bit ‘B’ , move into position and give the wiimote a small flick, but to roll a bomb, you have to raise the wiimote in the air whilst your positioning yourself, but with the delay link doesn’t always register that you want him to roll it right away, so you end up being blown up because our spiky eared hero won’t respond to your commands, all you can do there is throw the bomb before it blows and try again.
One of the first things I noticed about Skyward Sword , when I first turned it on, was the art style.
Look at that, its gorgeous! we’re welcomed into the world by bright colours and a cartoony art style which looks like the cell shaded versions like Wind Waker and Twilight Princess all rolled into one , and throwing the music into the mix makes it pretty on the eyes and the ears.
It would’ve been nice to have had more to do whilst in the over world, soaring through the sky on your loftwing is fun, but there is not enough to do, with the five main floating islands being host to mini games or shopping, the smaller pieces of rock that hover in the sky are either empty or have treasure chests that you can only open once you find their goddess cube equivalent in one of the levels below the clouds.
I guess, overall, I can only really recommend Skyward Sword to people who are already fans of the Zelda series, despite the fact that it’s supposed to be the first in the series, the game still expects the player to have a certain amount of knowledge of the world and lore before they even start playing, so whilst fans will probably feel right at home in skyward sword, to the people who want to get into the Zelda series…..Start anywhere else in the series and pick up some of the history before you try out skyward sword, otherwise a lot of the story may not make a lot of sense.
Right has everyone got a drink? Good then let’s begin!
Bayonetta was released in Japan back in 2009 (and everywhere else a year later) with Sega as its publisher and Platinum Games as its Developer (or Nex entertainment if you own a PS3). I should probably say that to call Bayonetta an”Overly sexualized character ” would be an understatement. Everything about her, from her BDSM attack moves right down to that tiny lollypop she’s always sucking on , looks like something out of a teenage boys wet dream.
Whilst I thought that fanservice would bother me, after about an hour of play I noticed how little it phased me. It was actually funny watching bayonetta use a spear as a stripper pole as she kicks and shoots anything that comes near her like some kind of super powered burlesque dancer.
The storyline can be a bit hard to follow at times, but its an interesting story none the less.
Bayonetta is a witch; which in this game seems to mean that she runs around strapping guns to her boots and wears a cat suit made out her own hair…yeah eww. She wakes up after a 500 year slumber to find herself in a stone tomb that’s at the bottom of a lake, and for some reason she has amnesia,brilliant!. Anyway, we then seem to be jumped forward 20 years and join bayonetta again as she searches for a mysterious object known as ‘ the right eye ‘ which apparently will help with her memory loss, but the Angels and Virtues are getting in her way.
There’s also two factions of magic users called Umbrian witches and the Lumen sages who are something to do with this right eye object. There’s also a left eye and together they make the ‘eye’s of the world’ which summon the creator who apparently can bring heaven, hell and earth together.
I could go on but its more fun if you play it and see for yourselves, and don’t worry if you can’t understand what’s going on right away, the plot gets clearer as the game progresses and until then there’s always good old-fashioned violence to keep you entertained.
While the angels will come at you in swarms like ants to a sugar cube, they aren’t much of a threat and with a few torture moves even the mightiest angel will fall. Even the mini boss battles with an umbrian witch called Jeanne are fairly straight forward. The real challenge is the virtue Boss battles.
With up to 6-7 health bars and a plethora of attacks to beat you down with, the virtues are a force to be reckoned with.
But luckily bayonetta has a few tricks up her own cat suit sleeves; one of which is known as witch time.
Pressing the dodge button just as the enemy strikes is what sets of this particular skill; during which everything except bayonetta comes to a complete stop. Thus allowing the player to inflict some major damage on the enemy without worry of loosing any health points, but don’t get too used to this ability because it only lasts for a short time; so make sure to get out of the way before time returns to its normal state, or you may end up on the other end of a spear.
I’ve mentioned a lot of good points, but no game is perfect and the cutscenes are where bayonetta falls short. The majority of cut scenes are still images pasted to a movie reel animation; and the all the rest are filled to the brim with quicktime events which are frustrating at the best of times. But these ones always jump out at you just as you begin to lose interest, and they give you a minuscule amount of time to react before the game sends Bayonetta hurtling to the ground before making you watch the same scene all over again.
I’m going to stop myself here before I begin to rant. Overall Bayonetta is an entertaining game, the sheer level of sexual innuendo is so bad its funny. The boss battles are challenging yet fun at the same time. While the story is a little hard to follow at first , once you get the basic plot it becomes an immersive tale with some fairly well written characters.
I’m going to talk about shadow of the colossus, its a fairly old game,but it’s got a HD remake coming out later this year (along with its spiritual sequel ICO) so I thought we should take a look at the original.
Shadow of the colossus (or SotC to shorten the title down) was made by team Ico way back in 2005 as a sequel to their first game, ICO. On the first game you play as Wander a man who has traveled to a forbidden land to ask the god who lives there, Dorim; if he/she can bring his true love, Mono, back from the dead. In return , Dorim sets you the task of slaying 16 colossi that roam the forbidden land.
Finding the colossi is harder than it sounds, you raise your sword to the sky and follow the ray of light, but that only leads you so far. Then it becomes a game of run around like mad person and hope that something sets off the pre-battle cutscene . All that searching is worth it the second you first catch a glimpse of a colossi. Each battle has it’s own unique strategy to deal with these amazing creatures , but don’t worry if you have trouble figuring out what it is because Dorim will give you a hint if they think that you’re taking to much time. Once you’ve climbed onto the colossi its then time to find its weak point, a glowing sigil, whilst holding onto the creature’s body as it tries to shake you off. Stab the sigil with your sword a few times and the beast falls to the floor defeated, but its not over yet. Now it’s time to play outrun the creepy soul corrupting tentacles that are coming your way (unfortunately you can’t outrun them, but its fun to try :P).
Outside of the colossi battles you spend most of your time wandering the vast landscape or if you don’t want to walk there’s always your loyal horse Agro; and I use the term loyal very loosely. Agro is Wander’s only mode of transport , besides running, and trust me, with a horse like agro you’ll be running a lot. Controlling Agro is like steering a trolley with a broken wheel, repeatedly hitting the ‘X’ button will make the horse go from a gentle trot to a gallop. He isn’t stupid though; if you get too close to a cliff or even a slight ditch in the earth agro come to a grinding halt. Also, when you cross a bridge, get off the horse or you may end up plummeting towards the water below. During colossi battles is where Agro is at his most annoying. On the few occasions I called to him, in need of a quicker escape, he just wandered away in the opposite direction.
I could go on all day abut how beautiful my music is or how the art style looks as if its something out of a painting, but those sort of things are best seen with your own eyes and your own ears.
See? Now wasn’t that like 100 times better than me describing it to you?
Ok, I don’t think there’s much else I can get into regarding this game without entering the dreaded spoiler zone, so let me finish this review with a few final words. If you have a PS2 sitting at home gathering dust in a corner somewhere, take it out , give it a good clean. Then get ahold of a copy of Shadow of the Colossus and immerse yourself in a wonderful game that is, in my honest opinion, still better than many modern adventure/RPG titles to come out in the last 3-4 years. But if your an owner of a PS3, I recommend keeping ahold of that money and get the shiny HD remastered team Ico Collection which contains both Shadow of the Colossus and ICO in one neat package. Here’s the trailer if I’ve managed to pique your curiosity.
I promise it will be worth the wait.