Friday, 18 November 2011

The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword - 24-Hour Liveblog, Part 1

I don't think I've ever looked forward to a game more than Skyward Sword. In fact, I don't think I've ever needed a game more than Skyward Sword. Review scores and a few trailers aside, I know refreshingly little of what awaits in Link's latest adventure, the first console Zelda since 2006's Twilight Princess. In a first for Moon Witch Cartridge, I'll be live-blogging my experiences in playing Skyward Sword for the first time; this isn't so much about describing everything that happens in the game (whenever I post something that could be a spoiler I'll make it clear by, er, writing the word spoiler in big letters); instead it's an attempt to capture the awe of playing a new Zelda for the first time, as well as being a slightly sadistic exercise in staying awake for a full 24 hours. Will I still be here at 7:00am on Saturday 19th? Hmm.
Feel free to get involved via email ( and Twitter (@mwcartridge) as well as leaving comments right here on this blog!
Ok, here we go...

07:00am, Friday 18th November 2011 - About to turn the Wii on...

07:11am - Exciting huh? I'm staring at the disc start screen, listening to the the swishing sounds of the sky. I'm still writing the intro to this blog. Finished now.

07:12am - Using the gold Wii MotionPlus that came with the limited edition, it even has Triforce insignia on the front! And now I'm pressing start. What a fascinating post, eh readers?

07:22am - "A legend that will be forged by your own hands" is the last line of the dramatic pre-title intro. The characters are depicted by nightmarish ink stains that appear to soak into the screen. It sets up the game superbly.

07:29am - Zelda has just called Link "sleepyhead", but she might as well be talking to me. I should maybe make some coffee.

07:43am - SPOILER!
So I've just spent the last fifteen minutes exploring the Knight Academy, where the game begins. A few ceremonial Zelda moments have already been ticked off: found a blue rupee in Link's wardrobe, and rolled into some vases and promptly smashed them. I also helped Fledge, a fellow classmate, carry a barrel into the nearby kitchen. The old lady was very grateful, until I started to pick up and smash her china, at which point she called me "a little brat". I suppose it was a bit unnecessary. The controls so far are excellent. Z centres the camera behind Link instantly, while pressing 2 at anytime will show you the various interactions available to Link at that particular time.

07:54am - Still exploring the Knight Academy. Found Zelda's bedroom on the floor above Link's, but unfortunately it's locked. Still, that's a delightful twist on the traditional series convention.

08:02am - One of Link's fellow students is called Groose. Right, going to leave the school and step out into Skyloft...

08:52am - SPOILER!
First meeting between Link and Zelda. I'm not the best reader of body language, but I think they fancy each other. Link is about to enter the Wing Ceremony, but his Loftwing bird has gone missing. In a dramatic moment Zelda throws Link from the edge of Skyloft, only to dive down and rescue him when it's clear that Link's rare Crimson Loftwing won't be coming to save him. Now Link has to try and get the race delayed so he can find his missing bird, win the race and get the girl. Or something.

08:58am - Just received a delivery of Triforce bread from a very special Zelda fan, thanks!

09:11am - "You really shouldn't open other people's cupboards without permission..." Good advice, that.

09:45am - Having a pleasant wander around Skyloft, meeting the town's residents. I think I've found my Loftwing, trapped in a cave by the aforementioned Groose who, it turns out, is a comic bully figure in the mould of Biff. The classic high school dynamics are fleshing out nicely. Most of the people living in Skyloft are either bemoaning their children's lack of discipline or, in the case of Peatrice (the Bazaar's Item Check Girl) their life in general. This is what she tells Link: "Most days at work all I can think about is how bored I am, but now that I'm not at work, I'm...even more bored! My life is pretty sad...". Poor girl. In other news, I just ate a yummy mince pie.

09:56am - SPOILER!
First treasure chest and that sound effect! And inside is a practice sword. Time for some sparring...

10:25am - SPOILER!
Zelda has just mentioned that she wonders what is below the clouds of Skyloft, and how she is convinced that there is a world even bigger than the one they live in at the moment. She may well be right. Apparently the Loftwings won't travel under the clouds though. Oh and we've rescued Link's Crimson Loftwing after venturing into a dank cave. The sword controls are great, but I'm looking forward to putting them to use against a combative enemy. But they're intuitive and responsive; thanks to MotionPlus there's a grace to movement that was perhaps lacking in Twilight Princess.

10:40am - Groose is fantasising about Zelda: "Nobody is stopping me and Zelda from having our moment. Oh, it's so real I can... I can see it". This is basically what I was like all throughout high school.

11:05am - Shit just got real.

11:30am - SPOILER!
I think I'm about to get the Master Sword.

11:50am - Turns out it's the Goddess Sword. Lots of dramatic scene-setting and plot development, ending up with Link dressed in fetching green outfit - it suits him. Before heading out (or should we say down...) we've been instructed to visit the Bazaar, which will also hopefully give us the opportunity to meet Peatrice again. The Goddess Sword has a special Skyward Strike attack, in which you need to raise the remote straight up in the air to charge the sword; this is not only powerful but has the added bonus of making you look a little silly.

12:06pm - Headline on the Knight Academy noticeboard: "Link claims winner's perch in the wing ceremony! Sadly, tragedy also strikes"

12:16pm - There's a punchbag in Groose's bedroom adorned with a badly drawn picture of Link. Groose is fast becoming my favourite character in Skyward Sword. Also Fi, who is this Link's version of Navi, can now be called upon with a quick press of the down d-pad. She tells us that our total play time so far is 4:49, a large part of which has probably been spent with the game on standby as I think of witty things to write here.

12:33pm - I was just about to come on here to complain about the cluttered interface when out pops Fi again to tell me that, now I've got used to the controls, I can clear some of the unnecessary information on-screen. There are three stages of interface design: Pro, Light and Standard. You start the game with the silhouette of the remote and nunchuk at either corners of the screen (Standard), but thankfully I'm now playing on Pro, with just the classic hearts and rupee counter in the top left. I am clearly a Pro.

12:47pm - There's a wonderful moment in the Bazaar where you approach a table lined with bombs, arrows and some pellets, with each enquiry met with the response "I can't sell you these until you have..." followed by either a reminder of the requirement for a bomb bag, bow or a slingshot. It's the developer's little joke at our awareness of the familiarity of Zelda's structure, and it's an amusing touch. Also in the Bazaar, Peatrice says: "Not like my time is worth anything..." Sigh.

13:08pm - I should be heading down to the 'surface' to start the adventure proper, but there are still a few nooks to explore in Skyloft. Also I'm looking for a young girl called Kukiel. Her Mum is wondering where she's gone - "I swear that child can disappear in the blink of an eye! She's quite a magician." Skyloft doesn't want another Madeleine McCann on it's hands, after all.

13:17pm - Gear Peddler Rupin lives near the Skyloft cemetery. The first thing the old woman told us is that she's very proud of her antiques, so naturally we smashed every last one. She charged us 20 rupees, and then we left.

14:12pm - SPOILER!
So, less than an hour before the first part of our 24-hour liveblog comes to an end. After wandering around Skyloft for a while longer, pushing around gravestones that reminded us of this moment at 01:12 from A Link To The Past, and having a useful lesson in the handling of our wooden shield, we finally made the Loftwing-assisted flight to the beacon of green light that had broken the divide between the Skyloft clouds and the surface. The descent is awe-inspiring, and there's a suggestion that a dual world mechanic will come into play later in the game... We're now scaling a deep winding chasm at the heart of the Sealed Grounds, a ghostly forest location in which the only sound is a faint wind. We've also battled our first enemies, a row of Deku Baba plants. It looks as though the first temple is only a few minutes ahead, which seems as good a time as any to take a little break for lunch (spicy chorizo soup, mmm). And more coffee. And Triforce bread.

14:17pm - POLL: What do you most want from your ocarina?

14:33pm - SPOILER!
One Skyward Strike on a plinth at the bottom of the chasm has unlocked powerful gusts of wind - stepping into one of these carries us nearly to the top of the path, avoiding the lengthy trek up. Fi has just unlocked the dowsing ability, which allows us to search for the aura of a specific target by pointing our sword in different directions until it glows brighter, indicating we're on the right path. It's a great mechanic, and has led us right to the front door of what is indeed the first temple: the Sealed Temple. So that's what the beginning of Part 2 will bring...

14:38pm - Huge thanks to the folk at the wonderful Zelda Universe for featuring this liveblog on their homepage! A red rupee for you all.

Part 1 has now closed! Part 2 continues here.


  1. I want to read it but at the same time I dont want to know!
    Going to pop out to Game at lunch and try and snag a copy!

  2. It's beautiful so far! I'm trying to give advance warning of spoilers, just in case.

  3. I liked the bit where you pressed 'start'.

    - Simeon

  4. You should have seen the bit when I pressed '+'.

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