A Hero Takes Flight

While Link prepares for take-off, we discuss land, water and air in Zelda.

By Nintendojo Staff. Posted 11/17/2011 10:00 1 Comment     ShareThis

A (Sky)lofty Retort by Kevin Knezevic

The terrain may have been present for most of Link’s adventures, but as Skyward Sword reveals to us, the heavens are where they originated. Hyrule as we know it would not even exist were it not for Skyloft and its denizens, and for that reason alone it is the most important of the franchise’s backdrops. Indeed, the sky in general has begun playing an increasingly prominent role in Hyrulian legend, so it’s only appropriate that Link’s latest (or chronoligically first) adventure be set in it. There is a certain mystique to the sphere that is befitting of such a well-loved fantasy series as Zelda, and the entire game looks like it will successfully recapture the sense of wonder and magic that is absent in so many other modern titles (even, arguably, some of its own).

Aerial Bird Race in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Link soars above the clouds in his latest outing, leaving his previous adventures far below.

It also has a history of being incorporated into the series’ gameplay. Beginning with The Wind Waker, Link has had some (limited) capacity to take to the skies– in that particular title, he could temporarily control seagulls by baiting them with Hyoi pears, and the Deku Leaf allowed him to defy gravity and glide through the air across wide chasms (provided he had the sufficient magic to support his flight). Twilight Princess embraced the sphere even further by introducing an entirely new race of sky beings called the Oocca to the series’ mythology. These fowl-like humanoids played an important role in that title’s storyline, but it was their airborne homeworld, the City in the Sky, that had the biggest significance. This floating labyrinth was the game’s most complex dungeon, not least because of its many wind-based puzzles, and it was an eerie change of pace from the predominantely rote selection of challenges that made up the rest of the adventure.

Skyward Sword can expand upon any of these examples in a number of ways. As we’ve already seen, Link and the other residents of Skyloft travel through the air on the backs of large birds, and it is not a leap to predict that this new mode of transportation will supplant Epona (and the King of Red Lions) in the grander scheme of the game. There are countless other new story and gameplay opportunities afforded by this setting that it is a wonder the series took this long to embrace it. Our hero may be more at home on the ground, but the sky truly is the limit for his adventures.

Now that each side has had a fair chance to fight their case, it’s up to you! Let us know in the comments whether you’re all over the green, green grass of Hyrule, if you’re married to the sea or ready for take off in Skyward Sword. Be sure to tell us why and if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, suggest where Link should explore in his next adventure! (A cookie for the first commenter who can submit a vaguely plausible plotline for The Legend of Zelda: Galactic Gnome. -Ed)

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