The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Hands-On Impressions Part 2 – Learning Painful Lessons in the Skyview TempleBy Nikole Zivalich - Posted Oct 07, 2011
In Part 1 of our three-part The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword preview, our hero Link had just learned he was destined to be the hero of time. His best friend, and in my eyes, potential love interest: Zelda, had just been taken away by an unknown evil. Link, along with his new mystical sidekick Fi, must embark on the world below. Thanks to the discovery of a magical emerald embossed tablet, a green portal to the land below has been opened. Link knows what he must do; he just isn't sure how to do it.
After I stocked up on supplies at the friendly neighborhood bazaar, I jumped off the nearest ledge I could find. To call your Loftbird one simply needs to push down on the d-pad. By this point in the game, I'd become comfortable with the flying mechanics, comfortable, not proficient. The green beam of light protruded from the clouds. I knew I had to fly into it, but I wasn't sure how to initiate the action sequence that would send me below the clouds.
I flew my bird closer and closer, until it seemed like I wasn't even progressing anymore. Then I finally saw in the right corner of the screen I was being prompted to dive. Okay, Nintendo, I'll take that leap of faith. And so I jumped off my bird into the green light and fell, spiraling through the air. For a moment I saw nothing but clouds, but soon the green, leafy land below came into focus. Like I mentioned in my previous preview, your Sailcloth will save your ass throughout this game. Before I hit the ground, I quickly held down B to gracefully float to the ground.
The land I was standing in had not been confirmed to me as Hyrule, but I've played enough Zelda games to know wherever I was, my next step was a Forest Temple. I landed in a green garden area, behind me was a statue similar to the bird statues in Skyloft but this one was inactive. More aggressive enemies, like Deku Babas, lined the path to a huge, stone door. I didn't know how to open the door, so naturally I jumped in the ravine to my left.
At the bottom stood a statue that bore the same crest seen in the temple where Link acquired the Skyward Sword. The crest looks like emblem from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess except the triforce is missing. This symbol means it's time to use a special sword attack. Hold the Wiimote up to make Link hold his sword straight up until a blue light surges up the sword, with a flick of the wrist a special blue light shoots out of the sword. When this blue light hit the statue the entire level responded. The sealed door opened, and vents of air rose from the ground.
The people of Skyloft had no idea what lurked under their cloud city. From what the townspeople had said, I thought perhaps the land was uninhabited; I was pleasantly wrong. As Link walks through the once sealed door, he notices an old woman, seemingly waiting for him. She tells him it has been her calling to wait for the one who would be sent from the sky. Flattery is nice, but the real money is in beacons. After you talk to her, you’re able to access a beacon option on your map. This new world is massive. Setting a waypoint was absolutely appreciated. The woman urges you to make your first beacon at the entrance of the Faron Woods. To the Woods we go!
As I wondered up a path, I came across a familiar face. It was large, tan, and round. A Goron explorer had been tasked with exploring the mysteries of the forest. Link finds him as he’s studying a metallic cube with the Skyward Sword symbol. I performed the special sword slash sending the cube flying in though the air. I honestly don’t know where it went, but the Goron was impressed.
As Link progressed through the Faron Woods, he and I took out the occasional baddie until we came across a whimpering leaf creature. Imagine if an Oddish and a penguin had a baby. Once freed from his tormentors, the creature revealed himself as a Kikwi. It took some coercing, but I earned his trust and met the Kikwi elder, Bucha. He tasked me with finding his fellow Kikwis, all of which were being bothered by forest monsters. Link and I are a killer team. We aided all of the Kikwis in need in no time. (Actual time: 30 minutes) Bucha was so pleased he rewarded Link with a slingshot, Dun nah nah nah! He flopped onto his belly, exposing his tail, out of which popped the slingshot. “Climb up my back to claim your reward.” It was weird, and I liked it.
The slingshot has the ability to shoot down vines that can be used to swing across large gaps in the land. I wandered around the woods until I came across a white stone temple. And lo and behold, there was a gap I needed to jump across and a vine, ripe for the swinging.
It takes a big person to admit they are wrong, and I was wrong. The first temple is the Skyview Temple. It’s full of translucent plants, like jellyfish. Some of the plants can be slashed to acquire deku seeds or the occasional much-needed hearts. I say much needed because this isn’t an easy temple. The enemies are big, and they require you to use the motion controls. There’s something ingrained in me that resists using motion controls in any way that doesn’t involve flailing.
Skyward Sword has its own version of Skulltulas and Stalfos. The Skulltulas have a soft spot on their belly, like past Zelda games. Getting it to expose its weakness was no easy feat. Using a combination of the nun-chuck and the motion-controls on the Wiimote, Link can perform a spin attack that works well against most enemies. I don’t know why I chose to tell you about that sweet move now. It doesn’t work against Skulltulas. Honestly, I just ran past them every chance I had.
I was making serious progress through the level when Link entered a room and a Stalfos rose from the floor. Memories of the Forest Temple in Ocarina of Time rushed through my mind. “I’ve got this,” I thought. I didn’t have it. None of action-adventure game skills I’ve acquired helped. I died. Then I died again. I really don’t feel comfortable letting you know how many times I died.
Eventually, one of the Nintendo devs took pity on me and explained all my tactics were wrong, miserably wrong. The Stalfos have two swords they are constantly moving. In order to defeat it you must use the motion controls to aim your sword where its sword is not. This means slashing down the middle, from left to right and right to left. The motion control made sense, but it didn’t come naturally to me.
The Skyview Temple isn’t all jellyfish and enemies. There are also puzzles that stumped even a Zelda-vet like myself. One puzzle in particular tested my patience. It involves eyeballs that let you into a closed gate. Make sense? I didn’t think so. I’m not going to explain how to beat this puzzle, because the moment you figure it out on your own it feels amazing, take a victory lap amazing. Behind one of these doors was a magical, flying beetle that could be equipped. That’s the only way I can describe it.
Soon the temple’s scenery changed. Link progressed into a large room surrounded by holes in the walls and locked doors. In this room there was a switch I couldn’t reach. Enter magical beetle! When you launch the beetle in the air, the perspective changes and you’re able to control the beetle as it flies through the air. It’s a useful weapon for hitting switches, and even killing minor enemies on the ceiling.
Link, with my guidance, finally found his way to the last place Zelda was. As Link ran into the room, a cloud of diamond shapes flashed before him. The level’s boss began to materialize. Ghirahim, although he prefers to be called “Ghirahim the Demon Lord,” was a tall, slender, male. He had an angular haircut, one diamond earring, and a skin tight bodysuit. He looked like Ziggy Stardust. After a dramatic and drawn out explanation, it was made clear he was searching for Zelda too. “B*tch, she’s mine,” ran through my head. He admitted to being the one who summoned the storm that took her in the first place. Zelda had evaded capture because a “servant of the goddess” found her first. This angered Ghirahim, and he was perfectly happy to take that anger out on Link.
Ghirahim’s attacks mirrored the Stalfos. His sword was always changing positions. The key was to find the unprotected spot and slash your sword there. Like a normal boss fight, his attacks become more frequent until I finally broke him down. I didn’t win really. HHe just teleported away the way he appeared, in a cloud of diamond shapes. And that was that. Link had managed to survive. Neither of us was sure what was next.