The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is not your typical Zelda game, so let's not make this a typical review, shall we? How about I just cut to the chase right here? The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the best Legend of Zelda game...ever. Of course, that's my opinion, and there will be plenty of other opinions out there as well. If I'm going to come across with that line of thinking, I have to explain myself, don't I?
I'm going to do just that, but you're not going to have to worry about spoilers. I promise to keep this as spoiler free as possible. I'm not going to ruin game-specific elements of the story or anything like that. I won't specifically discuss locations in great detail. I promise you'll be safe from spoilers, but hopefully along the way I can still show you why this Zelda title is head and shoulders above the rest.
That's not a statement that should be made or taken lightly. I can understand how just starting my review with that thought is going to put some of you against this review. That's perfectly fine and I'm willing to deal with that. I may not convince you by the end of this review either. That's the way things are, but I feel so strongly with my opinion this time around that I will stand firm and not waver in my direction.
Over the past few years, we've heard Nintendo say time and time again that this Legend of Zelda game was going to be different from the previous entries. We heard a little of that talk with Twilight Princess, and while that was an excellent game, it simply wasn't really embracing new ideas. Skyward Sword is without a doubt a Legend of Zelda game, but it embraces so much in the way of new ideas and mechanics that it absolutely floored me.
What's the best way to describe this? For me, I was constantly wowed by every twist and turn along the way. Keep in mind that I don't believe in the saying 'change is good'. Just because things change doesn't mean that they're better. It would be absolutely ignorant of me to say that Skyward Sword changes, and that change alone is worthy of praise. Thankfully the changes made in this title are indeed for the better, and they open up the series for even bigger diversions in future entries.
I think we can all admit that in most Zelda games, we're always working to get into the next dungeon. The dungeon elements were the most sought-after aspect of the gameplay. Dungeons offered up unique puzzles and engaging enemies, whereas the elements inbetween just felt like stopgaps. They were fun, but they were in the way of the real meat-and-potatoes of the game. Skyward Sword completely turns that old notion on its head.
All that talk of Skyward Sword turning the overworld elements into a dungeon are, in my eyes, 100% true. I've completely shifted the Zelda logic in my head. I honestly couldn't and still can't believe it, but Nintendo truly has managed to shift one of the major elements of the Zelda experience. I no longer found myself looking forward to just the next dungeon. Now the entire game was a case of 'what's next?' Dungeons are just icing on a very delicious cake.
The areas inbetween dungeons play out much like dungeons themselves. You are given tasks to take on that aren't filler content or time-wasters. You'll actually take on engaging areas that are jam-packed with interesting things to do. Usually you have one clear goal to tackle, but you'll come across other tidbits along the way. Sometimes you'll have to hunt down certain items to gain access to an area. Other times you'll need to find out simply how to navigate the terrain infront of you to progress.
I honestly cannot commend Nintendo enough on making the overworld element of Skyward Sword as engaging as it is. Honestly, I believe it to be as engaging and entertaining as any previous dungeon in the series. I truly did not find myself longing for the next dungeon. I found myself dreading it, because I feared it would put me one step closer to wrapping the game up. The notion of wondering what's next is something I haven't felt in Zelda for a long time.
You grab an item in a dungeon, you use that item in a dungeon and then you move out into the game world to find the path to the next dungeon. That's how things were in Zelda games before, and while it's true that you're moving towards dungeons in this game, that's not the feeling I had while playing. I took the adventure as it came to me, and after a few hours into it I began to realize that the whole game was really going to offer up unique and varied content.
What's the best way for me to sum up my praise of this aspect of the game? If future console Zelda titles were to revert back to the more traditional aspects of the series in this regard, I would find it a huge detriment to the series. This is one major revolution for the Legend of Zelda series, and it's one that completely changes how you play and feel while tackling the adventure. Pacing is no longer an issue, as gameplay flows smoother than ever before, and also keeps you tuned in much more.
Talking like this makes my review sound as if I loathed the Zelda series before, but that couldn't be further from the truth. What I'm trying to say is that this new approach to gameplay layout is such a major achievement for the series that things need to continue down this path. There's more to be explored and exploited in this design choice, but the first outing with this method has proven to be an absolutely resounding success.
But...let's pretend all that stuff doesn't matter to you. You just want to know about the dungeon situation. I'd find it a true shame to ignore this major series progression with overworld design, but I'll indulge those dungeon-hungry Zelda fans for now. Once again, I feel that Skyward Sword manages to put forth some of the most unique dungeons that the entire franchise has seen. You'll get a healthy dose of familiar ideas, but these are mixed so well with new mechanics that it's very easy to see how much care was put into the project.
Here's the old way of Zelda thinking that I feel Skyward Sword does away with. Previously Zelda fans used to worry about how many dungeons were in the game. I was one of those gamers. That's because we all knew the major challenge and fun was to be found in the dungeons. Again, this line of thinking simply doesn't apply to my time with Skyward Sword. Through the overworld and dungeon design itself, I came to realize the game as a fully engaging experience, and not peaks/valleys that met its heights with dungeon crawling.
With that said, indeed there are some fantastic dungeons here. I think the best word I can use to describe the dungeons is organic. They feel more alive and, for the lack of a better description, real. The very first dungeon you tackle doesn't come until about 4 hours into the game, and it ends up serving as a perfect introduction to the dungeon design. It's a bit more simple than the other dungeons, yet it still puts forth new ideas and mechanics.
I need to back this stuff up with proof, yet I don't want to spoil the experience. Luckily, I have the perfect example. My girlfriend and her friends were playing through Skyward Sword together, and they finally made it into the first dungeon. Keep in mind they haven't been spoiling themselves with trailers/gameplay details/spoilers. Everything was new and fresh to them, including the puzzle they hit just 5 minutes into this first dungeon.
Keep in mind that all three of these girls have experience with Zelda titles, with all three having played through multiple Zelda games. On top of that, all three have tackled Ocarina of Time. With that said, these three girls worked together for just under an hour to come up with the solution for a single puzzle. Some of you might get it in 5 minutes, others might take as much time as they did. It requires a line of thinking that isn't in line with what many call 'Zelda' thinking. You come across one answer, and then you realize it's not the right one.
What's the best part about this puzzle? As I was watching the girls play through, I realized just how many subtle hints there are to help you answer the puzzle. The room is full of context clues, but they are very subtle unless you're looking for very tiny details. I honestly let loose a 'Wow' with a giggle when they were exploring the room for clues. I knew the answer to the puzzle, but I never realized just how many hints there were in the room to help you out. It should a deep understanding of player habits and thinking patterns that Nintendo has gained from 25 years of Zelda creation.
As you progress through the game, the dungeons get more engaging and sophisticated. There were a handful of times where I found myself scratching my head. There were also instances where I knew what I had to do, but getting it done was a daunting task. That's not to say that there were frustrations with the methods of tackling a puzzle, but instead, I knew I'd have to bring my A game to get things done. There are situations that dungeons offer up where you'll be forced to look at things from a different perspective. Your previous Zelda 'training' will indeed help, but get ready for new mechanics and ideas that will surprise even the most sophisticated Zelda fan.
Oh, and how varied these dungeons are. Things start off with the typical themes for dungeons, and then the game takes quite a turn. There are some dungeons locations or themes are are truly awe-inspiring. Remember how we thought the snow dungeon from Twilight Princess was a unique idea? It still is, but that sensibility and approach has been really fleshed out here. You'll see things you've never seen in Zelda dungeons before. You'll visit locations and themes in multiple different approaches. Don't think that once you've seen a Fire temple that you've seen them all. This Zelda game goes out of its way to show you just how many different ways a single theme can be used. If you're going into dungeons thinking about how long they are or what themes are used, you are entirely missing the point.
As if these dungeons weren't enough on their own, the boss battles are some of the best I've seen yet. Overall I'd say that the boss battles can stand toe-to-toe with the highlights from any other Zelda game, but personally I feel there are two, if not three boss battles that are the best the series has seen. One in particular gave me goosebumps while playing, and I couldn't help but grin from ear to ear. It was engaging, sophisticated, multi-faceted and unlike anything else I've seen in a Zelda game. My dear lord, just typing about it now is making those goosebumps come back.
If you haven't guessed thus far, I'll come out and say it. Nintendo has been paying close attention to their handling of the Zelda series up to this point. They know it was time for a change. Skyward Sword shows that they've come to realize new ways to freshen up the series, if not radically change it. It's true that the overworld design is a major change for the series, and a much needed one. With that said, it might be the biggest and most impressive design choice.
Twilight Princess was hailed for its handling of story and detail when it came out. I still recognize that game as a level of story sophistication for Nintendo, and now I can clearly see that it paved the way for Skyward Sword. I'm sorry to sound like a broken record, but Skyward Sword's story is leagues beyond what other games have offered. I really hope this comes off as genuine. I've been with Zelda since the first outing, which means I've experienced all the story that's out there. Skyward Sword's story flows better, ties up loose ends and creates more twists than you can even imagine.
There are moments when things clicked in my head. A handful of cut-scenes hit me with a huge impact, bringing back memories of previous games. There are storyline elements that hit you and make the long-time Zelda fan realize just how some of these Zelda games are connected. There are direct lines drawn that make you realize that Aonuma and Miyamoto really do have a storyline penned out. I'm not saying this is the end-all-be-all to storyline concerns and questions, but you will indeed get some answers to questions you've had. Those may come with even more things to ponder, but that's the way the series goes!
It also helps that these cut-scenes show off some of the most expressive and well-realized character animations since Wind Waker. Wind Waker's cel-shaded approach was a turn off for many, but the story and emotions of the characters really came through. Skyward Sword matches that element of emotion, but with a different visual style. I feel that these visuals will sit better with fans that didn't like Wind Waker's style. I happen to love the visuals of Wind Waker, but I can also realize that it's nice to have a visual style that won't keep some people from playing the game.
With that said, I have to bring up a point I constantly felt while playing. I believe that the graphics of Skyward Sword may be the most overlooked and under-appreciated aspect of the game. Not since Wind Waker have I stopped to look around and take in the scenery so often. The way the game takes background elements and fades them into/out of an impressionist art style is absolutely mesmerizing. Honestly, the visual effect that's put into place boggles my mind. I don't know how Nintendo achieved this design. To take in-game elements that you can visit and give them a surreal visual flare while they're in the background...it's gorgeous. You literally watch globs of beautiful watercolors go from vaguely familiar shapes into fully-realized set pieces in front of your eyes. Please, take some time to note this feature of the game. It's a bold and risky approach that humbled me time and time again.
Also falling into the risky approach is the design of the game's worlds and travel. Zelda games are synonymous with unique methods of travel, especially since the days of Ocarina of Time. Horses, boats, portals, wolf running and even trains. We've seen it all, but we all had an idea that some sort of flight mechanic would be thrown in there. While we might have seen that inclusion coming, the bird flight mechanic brings with it some other big changes to the Zelda series.
If you read the most recent Iwata Asks feature, you might know that the Zelda dev team was inspired by the Mario games when it came to world design. They wanted to take the map stage-style approach of Mario games and fit it into Zelda. How in the world would that work? It seems like the perfect way to kill off the travel mechanic that so many people love. Just zipping from point A to point B wouldn't make any sense in a Zelda game! When you look at it as cut-and-dry as that, I can understand how things wouldn't work. When I look at it how this approach was implemented into Skyward Sword, I'm floored.
If you didn't like the long boat travel of Wind Waker or Phantom Hourglass, you should be more than happy with Skyward Sword. There are finite amount of major locations where all the action takes place, and traveling to/from those places takes less than a couple minutes each. You can get right to where you want to go, and that's if you're looking to take on just the main quest itself. You won't be setting your bird for flight and walking away for 10 minutes to get a snack. You'll hop on your bird, hit the winds and directly control your flight path to your final location, marked by an easy-to-find glowing beam.
For those that want the long, exploration-filled travel of Wind Waker, that's here for you as well. There are a number of floating islands that involve side-quests or are meant for exploration alone. You can hit the skies from any save point and take on this exploration all you want. Fly at your own leisure to any island and dive in from any point. Some islands contain multiple items to pick up, but you'll have to explore every nook and cranny to find them all. What looks like a tiny island might require diving in from multiple angles to find every little hidden bit. There's one island in particular where I found myself revisiting four separate times to find all of its goodies, and that involved flying over it at multiple angles to find those treasures.
'Dense' is a word you've heard from Nintendo when concerning the content of Skyward Sword, and boy is it true. I promise you, never have you ever seen a Zelda game with this much content packed into every area you visit. Locations in this game were utilized to their fullest. There are no filler areas where you just wander, only to realize that there's nothing to do. I kid you not, 99% of the locations you visit have either a main storyline element or side-quest related content. These areas may be quite expansive in and of themselves, but there are always things to see and do that can help you on your quest.
I can hear some people complaining right now. You long for the expansive Hyrule field where you set out with Epona and just ride. I agree with you, that was indeed an amazing element of Ocarina of Time. That was a huge point for the series, and it really showed us what Zelda games could be in 3D. That version of Hyrule Field is a high point for the series, but as that vast span approach continued on with the series, it wowed less and less.
Think about the open-land approach to Twilight Princess. How much did you love riding your horse along that span as the game went on? I don't know about you, but I felt it to be a bit boring and bland. I didn't judge the game on it because I didn't find it a detriment, but I wouldn't call it a high point. That's what Skyward Sword is aiming to do. It wants to take away those aimless moments and pointless travel. Nintendo wants you engaged and entertained. The areas of Skyward Sword do just that, and it comes from the content-bulging areas.
Will you be returning to ares that you've visited in the past? Indeed you will, and you'll be given new things to tackle. Will those new mechanics offer up new locations and experiences? That's one of the best parts, because they indeed do. Some people might be put off by traveling to older areas to obtain new items, but Skyward Sword handles it beautifully. You'll return to four specific locations in the game a handful of times, but when you do you'll discover new elements. You'll find parts of the world you couldn't access before, which open up entirely new regions. I'm not talking about one new cave...I'm talking about entirely new expanses.
Just when you think the maps for these locations are full, you'll gain access to a new area that opens up into a brand new element. I'd be told along the way to return to a previous location, and a few times I had an idea of what I would be doing or where I'd go, but other times I was genuinely surprised with how the game opened up. Backtracking may be a dirty word to some gamers, but when you're given so much content to explore, it's hard not to be excited with each return.
That's the thing...for those that pay attention, you'll most likely know early on that these locations are going to require a couple visits in the future. If you keep your eyes peeled, you'll see content that requires new items to access, or locations that are just out of reach due to requirements that haven't been met yet. What I found truly fun was how I would notice elements that hinted at a future return, but the game wouldn't take me there until far into the future. By that time I had forgotten about those teasers, and when I realized where I was heading I was excited to finally see what I had put into the back of my mind.
There one location in particular that you revisit that surprised me, as it's something you don't do in any other Zelda game. This area features content that you can't access until you get some items later in the game, so you might notice it on your first runthrough. The second time you get there, things are much more streamlined due to your familiarity with the location and the items you've received. With that said, you still have new enemies to take on, a new reason to search and a storyline mechanic that both motivates and seems very plausible. If there were ANY backtracking elements that might upset a player, this half hour section might do it. Personally, I felt the return to this specific spot to be a wonderful revisit, as I had been interested in seeing just what some of these locations held for a Link that had furthered his tool set. I just know this half hour portion of the game is going to be a negative point for some people, but to each his own.
If anything, this design choice just goes to show how truly dense this experience is. There is a ridiculous amount to do in every major location of the game. You'll be finding new areas and goodies, taking on new quests and enemies in these locations right up to the end of the game. Every single virtual square-foot is utilized, and it's brimming with content. This is a major change for the series, and it absolutely screams out at you when playing. If you long for the days when Zelda offered open wandering but you want a more focused goal at the same time, this would be your optimal blend.
That actually gives me the perfect opportunity to talk about another major aspect of the gameplay, but it's actually one that's completely optional as well. I'm sure many of you know of the dowsing mechanic in the game. This is one that lets you select the specific 'aura' of an item or person in order to help you hunt them down. You go into a first-person mode which gives you a target, and much like a medal detector, the target will both beep and blink more rapidly the closer you get to the item(s) you're looking for. This comes up time and time again while you play, but it's not a necessary one.
The dowsing mechanic is one that shows Nintendo is really thinking about all types of players. There are millions of Zelda fans that want to explore on their own. They don't want their hand held on the mission, lead with a virtual trail of breadcrumbs. Dowsing will do just that for you, but it's an option you have at your disposal. It's not something you have to use. I can honestly tell you that for about 95% of the game, I didn't use dowsing. When the game set me out to find someone or something, I explored on my own and went where I thought would be smart places to search. Since you're in self-contained worlds, you know that the goodies you're huntdown down have to at least be in that themed world. It made the game SO much more enjoyable for me, and it fed my need for exploration when I wanted that feeling.
On the flip-side, if you want some help on your quest, dowsing is there to do just that. There are also other mechanics there to help you along the way. A support character is always at your side, ready to tell you some hints or clues if you want them. There are also in-game world locations that you can visit to help get a lead on what to do next. If that's not enough, you can visit the series' staple of the fortune teller to get even more of a helping hand. If you need help, Skyward Sword will aid you as best it can. If you want to go it alone with just you and your brain, the game caters to that as well.
Of course, that dowsing mechanic gets thrown right out the door when you enter the Silent Realm. I'm not going to spoil details as I said, but most of you already know what this is all about, and how it relates to a certain task in Twilight Princess. Where I found that task in Twilight Princess a bit repetitive and uninspired, it comes through a fresh coat of paint in Skyward Sword. The realms look and feel screams an atmosphere that Twilight Princess' similar aspect lacked. The pacing of these events also helps to act as a nice respite from all the swordfighting you'll be doing. It's a wonderful contrast to the main part of the gamplay, and this even shines through in the music. This wonderfully eerie Silent Realm comes with eerily calm music as well. That is, until you set off one of the guardians...
You'll have to find out that for yourself, but I'd like to expand upon the music of Skyward Sword itself. This is one of the most robust soundtracks the game has ever experienced, and there are multiple occasions where it wows. Much like the gameplay itself, the Skyward Sword soundtrack ventures into new territory. You'll have some industrial music thrown in alongside jazz, upbeat tunes and many other genres. The music of orchestral and digital seems to hit a perfect blend, giving you the grand themes you want when taking on bosses, all while offering up some simpler tunes while you're wandering about town or chatting it up with NPCs. Dungeons once again shine through with their themes, with the third dungeon being a true favorite of mine.
Moreso than ever before, the music in Skyward Sword is very dependent on what's going on while you're listening to it. A dungeon theme can change depending on how far into a dungeon you are. Another theme can take on a completely different approach depending on when certain conditions are met. There's one dungeon in particular that takes its theme and adds in an entirely new accompaniment when you activate certain switches, and it was a real 'Wow' moment for me. That same dungeon lead my girlfriend to yell out 'This theme is amazing!' without me even telling her of my love for it. Skyward Sword is Nintendo's biggest musical project for any of their games, and the fruits of that labor shine through.
Get ready to enjoy tons of music, as there will be plenty of things to search out and accomplish as you go throughout the game, with some being main story related and others being side-mission content. It's up to you to pick and choose as you go along, with one of the major optional aspects being the ability to upgrade your items and potions. The town bazaar is the go-to place to power up your items and weapons along the way. If you want a faster this or a stronger that, the game will let you do that. You just have to hunt out the right bugs or elements along the way to get the job done. You'll have to get a healthy helping of rupees as well, and it's oh-so nice to have something to spend all that money on!
Again, this kind of content adds hours and hours to gameplay, gives you reasons to hunt down every little item, and actually gives you content that can make the game easier or more wortwhile...but it's all up to you. Having items that cost over 1,000 rupees is great. Getting powered-up items to make your quest a bit easier can always come in handy. Hunting down bugs for someones collection or for potion enhancing becomes ridiculously addictive. The care and reasoning behind the side-missions and content is so well planned out that you'll feel highly motivated to do so.
Perhaps that has something to do with one major feeling I had while playing Skyward Sword. More than ever before, I felt that I was actually playing as Link rather than just controlling him. That is 100% related to the control scheme of Skyward Sword, which is hands-down the best control scheme the entire series has ever seen. You're more in control of Link than ever before, and I never...EVER want the series to turn away from this design choice.
I know, how can I go this far into the review without talking about controls?! It's because the controls are one aspect of the game where everyone knows things have changed up. You won't know what you think of them until you go hands on with the game yourself, but I can tell you that my experience with them was more immersive than anything else I've experienced game-wise. Do you want the proof that motion controls can not only handle traditional gameplay, but also enhance it? Do you want responsive controls that we all dreamed of when the Wii was announced? Do you want to see how smart controls can be more engaging than just pressing buttons? Skyward Sword does all of those things.
Other reviewers or gamers can lash out at me for saying this next statement, but I don't care. If you read a review where someone complains about how the controls don't work or get in the way, that person is simply incorrect. To me, it would be like saying the controls in Super Mario Bros. don't work. There was never an instance where I felt the controls betrayed me. There was never an instance where I felt something would have been better served by buttons. The MotionPlus accessory has finally proven itself 100%. These controls put you closer to Link and the action than ever before.
The game even gives you the option to recenter your controls if you feel like things aren't syncing up. You want to know how many times I did that? I recentered my controls zero times. There was never, ever a time where I felt the controls weren't doing what I was aiming for. Rolling bombs, getting into swordfights, catching bugs with a net. All of this worked extremely well with a 1:1 motion approach that changes up gameplay that has been traditional over 25 years. The MotionPlus controls of Skyward Sword could very well be the biggest and most important change the series has ever seen.
Every enemy fight you get into is now a puzzle it and of itself. I know, you've heard that line time and time again. You know why you heard Nintendo say it so many times? It's because it's actually true. You have to learn enemy patterns, and approaching new enemies is a learning process. Even basic enemies require specific sword slashes. The earlier enemies in the game can be taken out quite easily indeed, but even with them you'll find that swinging a certain way can make the process easier and quicker. Enemies just a couple hours into the game will show you that waggling your Wiimote will do nothing for you. You'll see Link standing with his sword in hand, wiggling it back and forth as the enemy clocks you. Real swings and swipes, real defense and planning. This is the closest thing to swordfighting that any game has ever offered.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword may be Nintendo's best game to date. The things they've done here are absolutely staggering. Skyward Sword shows just how a long-running series can be completely revamped yet still retain elements that long-time fans have come to love. It goes out of its way to show that not only Nintendo, but the Zelda series has SO many new tricks up its sleeves. This is a crowning example of achievement in pretty much every area of gameplay.
Will all reviewers agree with that? Of course they won't, and I don't expect them to. There will also be plenty of people that say I'm a biased Nintendo fan. I could argue against that, but those people would never listen. What I can do is tell you that I would never, ever review a game with a pre-installed score in mind. I review games based on the game itself, not based on my interest in the series or what previous entries have scored. I will not blindly follow a company like Nintendo. I will and have criticized and will continue to do so. If running a Nintendo fan site makes me incapable of doing that in your eyes, I'm sorry you feel that way. Just because Super Mario Galaxy 2 is fantastic doesn't mean that Super Mario 3D land deserves the same score. I still receive flack for my 7-range review score for Metroid: Other M, and I will always stand by it. I will give you my honest opinion every single time, and I will not let my passion for a series determine that.
Here's how I feel about Skyward Sword. I feel it's the best Zelda game yet. I also feel its one of the best games I've ever played. The amount of content is staggering, the attention to detail is bar-none. A game that has you playing for over 40 hours and still yearning for more when it ends is a major achievement. Keep in mind that I only did a small handful of sidequests along the way, saving that content for my post-game plays. There are those that will say that the controls don't work, but they are simply incorrect. We know that some people don't like motion controls, and that will blind them here. These controls are spot-on, I promise you.
There will also be people that use Zelda traditions to argue against Skyward Sword. Dungeon counts and other long-running series staples will be argued. Things the series has stayed true in for 25 years are now changed. Things you've come to expect may not be here, and others have been completely altered. In my opinion, all of this is done with the betterment of the series in mind, and I truly believe that's what the final product shows. While I can say that those calling out with broken controls are 100% incorrect, I can't say the same for those making the arguments above. Some people may find those missing series mainstays sorely missed. I would say that the changes made are very, very much for the better...but that's simply opinion.
If I'm being 100% honest and open, not meaning to be cruel, I would say that those tearing up over the 'sacred cows' that Skyward Sword slaughters are living a bit too much in the past. As much things change they also stay the same. Skyward Sword has managed to change up so much along the way, yet I came out of the experience loving the series just as much as before. Okay...maybe I love it a little bit more. How Nintendo changed the way we play Zelda yet still give me that Zelda feeling is beyond me. That's why I play games and Nintendo makes them.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a brave new beginning for the series, which is the only fitting way to celebrate 25 years. Here's to another 25 years with Link, Zelda and the rest of the gang. I can only hope that Skyward Sword is built upon from here on out, if only to show us just how amazing and relevant the series can be.