GamesTM's review has been criticized for giving it a 9/10. Keep in mind that they use whole numbers, and the review itself was rather positive anyway.
As an unusual spin on the trope, the Italian Official Nintendo Magazine, known for giving away perfect/near perfect scores to Nintendo games like candynote Super Mario Galaxy was given eleven out of ten., while not breaking the tradition for this game (10/10), used a proper caption in a separate page of the same review for nitpicking the game's few flaws out of a sense of fairness.
Giant Bomb got flak for giving the game the lowest score on Metacritic, though it was the highest non-perfect score possible with their five star system. Granted, it was a positive review anyway, but it was enough to drag the metascore down. Interestingly, despite Giant Bomb being founded by the Trope Namer, he didn't review the game at all.
EGM, while giving the game a good score, has gotten some backlash for deducting points off because of the controls, which even less positive reviews have praised. Heck, the reviewer even said that he threw the Wii Remote at the wall in frustration. Most fans groaned at his apparent incompetence.
A bit of an odd inversion from Gametrailers. While the score itself is good (9.1), by watching the review you wouldn't even guess they would give it one. The numerous contradictions in complaints/praises and some facts they just plain get wrong have a distinct air of ineptitude coursing through it.
The biggest offender, in the opinion of fans, was Gamespot after giving the game a 7.5, the lowest score anywhere. Fans seethed with rage. Even worse was the reason for it. They said that the reviewer somehow managed to ignore the several times the game tells you how to control it (specifically, he thought it was controlled through the infrared sensor, which might mean he was trying to keep the remote aimed toward the screen the whole time). To top it all off, despite admitting the error, he still stood firm to the score.
CNN's review also got some flak, especially because the same reviewer gave Modern Warfare 3 almost nothing but praise. The fact that he seemed absolutely clueless about the game did not help, with such gems as calling Link an elf, saying Link has little emotion despite a lot of evidence on the contrary, and the most damning of all, absolutely screwing up the game's placement in the timeline, even implying that he thought there was only one Link in the series! Fans were less angry and more amused by it due to its lack ofbasic research.
Strangely, Zero Punctuation's review got relatively little backlash, despite Yahtzee calling it the worst Zelda he's ever played. Though, they might have thought the outcomewasinevitable, or that it echoed several complaints they had of the game, despite Yahtzee calling out some Zelda fans as people who see no wrong in the series.
Hylia the goddess (as opposed to Zelda the human vessel): all-seeing benevolent goddess who defeated the demons and saved Hyrule? Or Manipulative Bitch who laid her plans without any thought to the well-being of her vessel or her chosen hero?
All Tentalus really wanted was some Clear Eyes. It gets the red out.
The Reveal that Zelda wasn't in actual danger at the beginning, and Hylia only did it to invoke It's Personal and motivate Link raises some questions about Link. Would he have saved the world regardless, or was this truly necessary and the only thing motivating him, giving him disturbing shades of Always Save the Girl?
The second and third acts of the story suffer from this. After the focus on trailing Zelda throughout the first third ending with her and Impa traveling back through time, the second third has no important story events up until Link opens the Gate of Time to meet up with Zelda. And while the third act isn't quite as bad about this by virtue of being somewhat shorter, it still takes quite a bit of time until you get to the game's final dungeon, with no important story events happening in between.
When it comes to sub-arcs, the lead-up to the Fire Sanctuary really drags in particular. First you have to search for the Silent Realm entry point, then complete the Silent Realm (which itself is just the main portion of the Eldin Province). Afterwards, you can travel to the Volcano Summit and find the entrance to the Fire Sanctuary, but you will likely have to backtrack to the water source to solve the Frog Switch puzzles. But the kicker comes at the Fire Sanctuary's doorway, where after you encounter it, you have to travel all the way to Faron Woods to borrow Faron's giant water bucket and call Scrapper to take it to the doorway. And then Scrapper rushes to the base of the mountain, necessitating that you slowly have to escort him all the way to the Volcano Summit while protecting him from the Blins that suddenly appear. In short, it takes you a really long time just to access the final dungeon of the Sacred Flames arc.
Fi. Is she a helpful and cute companion with an awesome voice? Or is she a Captain Obvious who's almost as bad as Navi, if not worse? By the end of the game, though, a lot of people who didn't like her come around because of her sacrifice. One particularly divisive moment is in the Sandship, where she reveals that you can shoot through the vents to reach the giant Timeshift stone. Fans are divided on whether this is the absolute example of handholding, ruining what could have been a particularly clever puzzle, or a completely necessary hint for what would otherwise be a completely unintuitive solution.
Faron is another example. Is she a badass dragon whose jerkass tendencies make her a Love to Hate character, or is she far too mean and condescending towards Link to be considered likeable? It doesn't help that her Fetch Quest was not well received with some fans.
Right handed Link is a major one for long time fans and lefties being that he's the only well-known left handed game character that even non-gamers know of.
Some fans consider the game the best Zelda ever, while others believe it to be the absolute worst of the series, in keeping with series tradition of every new entry being considered both the best and worst of the franchise by different parts of the fanbase.
The motion controls in general have been a point of division with nearly everyone. Some think they're revolutionary and adds an extra layer of challenge to the formula, while others simply can't get around the fact that they're still using motion controls, and find the game to be difficult or even unplayable because of them. Some reviewers suggested that it would sell better (despite that it was the fastest selling Zelda game ever) if the motion controls were omitted entirely or add an option for a traditional controller, while others say the game would be taking out an integral part of the gameplay if that happened and become nearly unplayable, since the game was designed specifically with motion controls in mind.
Was this a very strong candidate for 2011's Game of the Year, or did it pale badly in comparison to the competition?
While the sword controls were considered good by those who didn't consider the motion controls to be horribly offensive, some would say that they overrode the things the developers should have focused on, like a more connected overworld, deeper dungeons and more varied enemies.
The music. Many criticize the rather conservative use of a full orchestra in comparison to Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel, expecting the same sort of ambition that those games had with their soundtrack. Considering the sense of majesty that the series's music normally conveys, it's understandably disappointing that it's mostly ambient noise in this game, to the point that it's the first game in the series to have no theme that plays at the title screen. But bizarrely enough, if we examine the soundtrack by individual tracks, the game still has plenty of great pieces, arguably just as many as some of the top contenders in the franchise. The problem? They're mostly restrained to main events and boss themes, which means they are played once or twice in the whole game. Worse still, most of them have very little screen time, to the point that they go unnoticed by many players, and never to reappear again.
Several years after its release, the focus on combat and puzzles over exploration has become a major point of contention. Supporters of this direction say that the game cut out the fat and instead played up the series' strengths. Detractors say that it caused the game to lose the mystique of the series and caused the game to lose exploration, one of the major pillars of Zelda.
The story and narrative have become another point of debate after a few years, particularly the relationship between Link and Zelda. Supporters consider it one of, if not the most heartwarming narrative in the entire franchise, to the point that, for some who don't like the gameplay that much, it's THE one redeemable feature that saves the whole game. Detractors, on the other hand, consider it an unbearable teenage-anime-like Cliché Storm which on top of that, it's severely dragged down by the game's pacing, and the No Hugging, No Kissing certainly doesn't help either.
Are the Silent Realms a terribly unfair and stressful single-player gauntlet? Or an hilarious chaotic "Let's Play" experience?
Contested Sequel: Standard for the series, especially considering the amount of shake-ups to the series that were introduced compared to some earlier games.
The Guardians encountered in the Silent Realm, which can One-Hit Kill Link. And even if you're doing your best to avoid them, their lookouts can ruin your day. They're all placed in spots and routes designed to make your Tear collecting as difficult and time-consuming as possible. And as we all know, time is a very precious thing in a Silent Realm.
Stalfos Knights, which can easily take out three hearts in one hit at a point when your max health would be around a mere six.
Groose has quite a lot of popularity among fans due to his Character Development from Jerkass to badass. Even people who dislike or don't care for Skyward Sword will often say they liked the character.
Out of the races introduced in this game, two have become very popular: the Mogmas and the Kikwis.
Koloktos, who is regarded as one of the best bosses in the series.
Also Stalmaster, who managed to make just as much of an impact as the main bosses.
Out of the Items, the Beetle became very popular with fans.
The Hylian Shield due to the fact it's indestructible. Also, the fully upgraded Goddess Shield, while not as powerful as the Hylian Shield, can heal itself.
By extension, Shield Bashing, which is taking out the shield just as the enemy is about to hit you. It doesn't lower the Break Meter, can be mastered quickly, and can make an enemy drop their defenses and leave a big opening for you to strike. This tactic will help you a lot in Hero Mode.
The potions, especially in a mode where enemies do twice as much damage and there are no hearts dropped.
In Hero Mode, the Heart Medal is the ONLY way you can obtain hearts, making the medal all but necessity.
Also, despite your Adventure Pouch items not carrying over, your treasures and raw materials do, making upgrading your gear easier.
Fairies are one of the only ways to heal in Hero Mode, so the devs were kind enough to keep them as pickups.
Also, in Hero Mode, the Skyward Strike retains its attack power and ridiculous range from late in the game in normal mode. It can one-shot Bokoblins with correct timing, and charge extremely fast. It can be upgraded again for an instant charge, to boot.
If you have the money and the bugs, you can get the Guardian Potion+, which makes you flat-out invincible for a time. Get all five bottles and you have five of them. Get the potion medal, and each one will feel like it lasts forever. The game's mechanics may still require that you use good sword skills to get hits, but you can basically flail your way through fights.
Another potion upgrade is the Heart Potion++, which contains two servings, and both servings can bring you back up to full hearts. This becomes nearly a necessity in Hero Mode, where potions are one of your only means of healing.
Certain boss/mini-boss fights, like Stalfos and Koloktos, are made easier if you use bombs instead of attacking their weak points.
The Beetle can be this if you want to save your Seeds, Bombs, Arrows, etc. Even more so since it can also reach Rupees, Items, etc., in normally unreachable places.
Genius Bonus: At one point, Ghirahim says that he will "stain the string of fate that binds us red with your blood" to Link. The red string of fate is a Chinese legend that says the Gods connect two people who are destined be lovers and can never be broken over any distance.
What makes the Imprisoned fascinating is that he's not trying to fight you. What makes the Imprisoned an absolute pain in the backside is that he's not trying to fight you. His goal is to escape from the Sealed Grounds, and he casually stomps over Link like Godzilla, completely ignoring him. Link's job is to chase after him and stop him. Not once, but three times.
Koloktos can take forever to beat since you have to go through its fighting animation and rip off its arms to expose its weakpoint. You have to do that many times.
Harsher in Hindsight: Every single instance where the Master Sword is in a weakened state (Wind Waker, for instance) becomes this with the reveal that Fi is the legendary blade. This becomes even more tragic with the reveal of Breath of the Wild and its title card showing a rusty Master Sword...
That's how fans feel about Gamespot's Tom McShea's review for the game, even though he didn't necessarily pan it so much as knock down its score for misunderstanding basic control mechanics.
Egoraptor was expecting this trope when he complained about Skyward Sword in a 2-minute Author Filibuster about how much he loathes it. So far, not a lot of people seem too bothered, beyond a few who mention he's overreacting over a fairly inoffensive game.
Jerkass Woobie: Scrapper. The last one of his kind (excluding Skipper and his crew, fully aware of living literally on borrowed time), unaware of the fate of his people during the ages, and hopelessly in love with Fi. He's also kind of a dick, especially to the player, but it still sucks to be him, poor Scrapper.
The part of the trailer where Link jumps off of the cliff has been turned into countless GIFs, typically with captions claiming that he is committing suicide over the game. Or swan diving into the logo.
Ghirahim is so fabulous.
Following the game's first announcement at E3 2009, the Zelda Universe forum members decided to see if they could fool some gaming news sites by producing fake screenshots for what was then only known as "Zelda Wii" using Garry's Mod. No sites ever got fooled, but the forum goers still had fun coming up with both serious and wacky pictures. The thread has remained active even after footage of the final game itself was revealed at later press conferences.
Do you have any idea how that made Demon Lord Ghirahim feel inside?! Furious! Outraged!Sick with anger! It's acknowledged in Ghirahim's "Mission Failed" quote in Hyrule Warriors. Acknowledged again in Legends where he says this in one of Linkle's levels.
Parodies and snowclones of Groose intercepting Link in mid-skydive have begun popping up already, many of them involving someone's face superimposed over Groose's, such as SaxtonHale, Trollface. Heck, Link's shocked face itself has become quite exploitable.
Ghiraham's weird little... dance that he does before he begins the ritual to sacrifice Zelda has had a GIF made of it. It's acknowledged in Hyrule Warriors, where he does this dance right before summoning The Imprisoned.
The Legend of Groose: The Lost Groosenator of Grooseland
One thing that people have noticed is the rather goofy way Link holds out his sword. However, this is because the journalists who were controlling the game were holding their MotionPlus as they have always held the Wiimote: straight toward the screen, rather than straight up like an actual sword.
Footage of the Italian version of the game shows how Ghirahim's line, "furious, outraged, sick with anger" ultimately turned out to be too hard to be properly translated to Italian.
The Imprisonedlooks really freaky... for the most part. Then you get to its incredibly goofy toes. When it Turns Red, it rockets up the path to the Sealed Temple like a demonic Pac-Man. And the second time around, it grows ridiculously long arms.
Every time someone mentioned killing Demise, the dialogue feels a bit redundant.
Fi's final scene. For every one that considered it a Tear Jerker, there's gonna be someone who will consider it unbearably corny. Fi's singing animation is equal measures Nightmare Fuel and Narm. At least her voice is nice.
The wrappings on Zelda's hair look almost exactly like the foam netting they use to pack fruit. Or like a Chinese finger trap.
The hair accessories, bracelets, and sandals also glow a bright, almost neon blue, which really clashes with her serene, white goddess dress.
Link's expression whenever he hears pieces of the Song of the Hero. It's supposed to be peaceful, but he kind of looks like he's peeing.
The Craniocs, despite being dreaded by every NPC, looks like Beavis in the form of a fish.
The harp duet in the Lumpy Pumpkin with Kina amounts to Link strumming the harp back and forth like an idiot.
Gratitude Crystals are generated by one person feeling happy about what you did for them, and there are several sidequests for which this is at the expense of someone else. Arguably the strongest punch comes from cleaning Pipit's house of dust. It seems like you did a good deed for his mother, and Link even got some money out of it, except the family is dirt poor and Pipit can barely pay for his schooling while his mother blows the money on frivolities such as a personal cleaner. You can still clean her house for money afterwards, but after hearing this, you most likely won't want to.
The option of rejecting Peatrice's love confession. There's just something about this girl who was so bored of her life until she fell in love with Link and rejecting her (for whatever reason you might have) that makes you feel like a jerk. You still get Gratitude Crystals, from her rather overprotective father.
The moment when Ghirahim kidnaps Zelda just after she'd been released from the crystal and was having a heartwarming reunion with Link, Impa, and Groose.
The quest to deliver the love letter turns out as this no matter what you do: if you deliver the letter, then Cawlin is rejected in favor of Pipit and spends the rest of the game crying on Groose's bed. If you give the letter to the ghost, then the ghost falls in love with Cawlin, who becomes enraged that you didn't deliver the letter and is stalked for the rest of the game by the ghost.
While players concur that the motion controls are mostly well done, swinging on vines (which uses a rather unwieldy motion control scheme, rather than the usual analog controls) has not really been received well.
The harp has been a frequent criticism, mostly for not offering as much control as previous instruments in the series, as well as not having a bigger role in gameplay.
The tightrope can be rather finicky, as it often doesn't balance out no matter how you tilt the remote in tandem with Link's steps. It's ultimately easier to fall, shuffle along the rope by your hands, then climb back up when your stamina is gone and let it recover.
The skydiving controls don't make sense most of the time, and to dive as far as you need to be able to get some of the hard-to-reach items practically requires you to point the remote straight down.
The stamina meter. It does give players a limitation that allows for some clever puzzles, but most of the time, they're holding down the sprint button just to get around faster. The problem is, the stamina meter drains very quickly when you're running, which defeats the purpose of using it to get around faster most of the time.
The screen's pointer not using the infrared sensor, thus forcing you to constantly recalibrate/recenter it when your cursor ends up far off from where your remote is pointing.
When you pick up a treasure or bug for the first time, the game will stop you to explain what you do. The DS Games only did this the very first time you picked one up. Skyward Sword does it the first time you pick it up during that play session. This can get you stung by Deku Hornets a lot of times, when catching the first one or two will make Link put away the net to hold out the hornet and make you read the completely irrelevant information about it.
Scrappy Weapon: As usual, the Slingshot. It can only stun enemies, has horrible range, and unlike other games in the series, it's not replaced by the Bow until over halfway through the game. Even its upgrade is almost entirely useless compared to everything else in the game.
Every single item and weapon in the game clips through everything. When the rest of the game looks so great, this is a little jarring. Much like other examples of this trope, once you notice it, you won't stop noticing it.
For the umpteenth time in the series, Link's hat still clips through his shield. While the clipping sword/items bit may be justified by that bit about the freedom you have with your sword, the fact that they still haven't fixed this glitch even after moving to a new engine is nothing short of ridiculous.
Squick: The enhanced potions you drink are made out of ground up bugs. Made extra-squicky when the enhancement includes Eldin Rollers (dung beetles).
Ghirahim, the boss of the very first dungeon, will kick your ass if you shake the remote willy nilly, requiring precise swordplay and a bit of forethought.
Then later on is the Imprisoned, namely the second and third times. Time-Limit Boss, plus the realization that the stamina meter gives out too quickly unless you drank a potion, and then the fact that the last parts of it rely mostly on your aim.
That One Level: The Silent Realm trials. They amount to stealth timed obstacle course collect-a-thons in areas you've already explored. Get caught once and you have to do the whole thing over. And yes, you have to complete each of them to progress further in the story. And because of the stamina meter, it's hard to escape from the Guardians when they do spot you.
The fact that the ground-based sections aren't inter-connected hadn't been received well, especially since it's a carry-over from the DSgames in which this mechanic was already controversial. Cue cries of it being completely ruined. This quickly petered out when Miyamoto said that the areas were incredibly large anyway, in contrast with the DS games' rather compact areas, and a comparison was drawn to Majora's Mask, which had a similar set-up for the overworld.
Fi, in contrast to some of the previous partners in the series like Midna and the King of Red Lions, receives very little Character Development and is almost completely uninvolved in the main plot. She seems to exist more for Exposition Fairy purposes than as a character. Which is a shame, because she actually had a lot of potential to be interesting — she's a living personification of the Master Sword! Her farewell at the end of the game could have been a lot more poignant if the story had gotten us attached to her, but instead comes off as a half-baked justification as to why she's not in any of the other games. She's also the Good Counterpart to Ghirahim, the main antagonist of the game, but this is not explored by the game itself. The two never even speak!
Zelda. The opening section of the game sets her up to be a very close friend to Link and even stands up for him against Groose. But during the main story, she's little more than a Living MacGuffin who always stays justout of the reach of both Ghirahim and Link, as well as limiting Link and her interaction to a brief interlude between the Scared Flames and Song of the Hero arcs.
As far as enemies go, Moblins, Lizalfos, Stalfos, and Staldra fall under this. All of them are very interesting to fight and have distinctive and creative methods for getting past their defenses, but each of them appear in very few locations throughout the game. Instead, Bokoblins are found practically everywhere and offer little-to-no variation in their fighting styles.
Considering that a huge part of the series' fandom was waiting for a Zelda game to really play the romance angle between Link and Zelda for all of its 25 years, a lot of people felt it to be too downplayed and the No Hugging, No Kissing brought too far (the biggest form of physical intimacy between them is just a Rescue Hug after Zelda wakes up from her thousand-year slumber).
The Sky could have been a fantastic overworld with many things to explore and various settlements to interact with, but the only settlement in the Sky is Skyloft itself, with only a handful of minigames scattered throughout the Sky, and the treasure chests scattered throughout have to be unlocked with very easy-to-find Goddess Cubes on the surface. Almost no story events even take place in the Sky past the intro sequence.
Faron, a water dragon, has a face that is oddly humanoid, contrasting with her reptilian body. Creepier than it sounds.
Koloktos, a giant statue with a metal "face" that includes a perpetual smile and small holes in the place of eyes. It gets creepier with his death animation. The worst part is that its smile and its eyes broaden as you damage it throughout the fight, and by the time it dies, it has become a horrifying Slasher Smile.
Whenever Fi starts singing, her jerking head, blank eyes, and wide-open mouth make her look quite creepy, almost like she's screaming.
Quite a few of the Skyloftians actually. Seriously, can someone explain why a little kid has pointy teeth and is always smiling?
Sparrot. Even Fi describes his eyes as "unsettling".
Groose's lackey Cawlin was initially thought by some to be female before press releases proved them wrong.
And, of course, Ghirahim.
The fortune teller Sparrot has been mistaken for a woman, despite having a small moustache and decidedly male voice clips.
Visual Effects of Awesome: Distant objects have a filter that make them look like an impressionist painting. It looks amazing, helping emphasize the game's art style.
Waggle: The developers defied this by using the Wii MotionPlus to make sword play more accurate than the Wii port of Twilight Princess. Also defied with regular enemies and bosses. Ghirahim himself is a great example of how randomly waving your sword around is a good way to get yourself killed.
Wangst: Played for Laughs with Cawlin; regardless of how his sidequest ends, he'll spend the rest of the game shelled up in Groose's room saddened because his love interest does not return his feelings. He is rudely turned down in favor for someone else in one outcome and in the other harassed in his sleep by a ghost FOREVER...
The Woobie: Link, full-stop. He is traumatized and sent into peril deadlier than literally any human has ever faced in history, all to save the girl he cares for, all the while being chastised and having his "worthiness" questioned, and it all turns out he was just Hylia's pawn to become a "suitable" hero, and this revelation is crowned by Zelda being sealed away into eternal slumber with nothing he can do about it. And even when he does everything right, even finds the Triforce and destroys Demise, he returns to at long last be reunited with Zelda, only for her to have her soul consumed by the past incarnation of the very evil he'd beat the odds to end in his own time. Even if he gets his happy ending in the end, both "good" and evil sides toyed with him to get their results.
Batreaux is a minor example. The poor guy just wants to be friends with the townsfolk, but is discriminated against because of his appearance, to the point he desperately wants to be human so other people will accept him. Luckily, Link and Kukiel are nice enough to become his friends.
Woobie Species: The Ancient Robots, especially the ones at the Sand Sea, who are a tribe of Cute Machines who were all wiped out years ago and can only be talked to in the past. Scrapper is proof that it's possible they can be brought back to life, but even then their entire civilization is in ruins.
The official translation of the intro is generally considered to be incredible, not to mention it manages to make it even more terrifying than the fan-made translations spread across the internet in the wake of it first being leaked.
The European Spanish translation is one of the best the series has ever had. For starters, they give the Big Bad a truly frightening name: Instead of "Demise", he's called the "Heraldo de la Muerte" ("Death's Herald"), which sounds pretty great. The characterization of most characters is impressive too.
All the alternate names for Demise are really good. The French version is Avatar du Néant, meaning "Avatar of Oblivion", and the German version is Todbringer, meaning "Deathbringer". They all get to the same point, and they're all Names to Run Away from Really Fast.
Likewise, Demise's Italian name is Mortipher, Latin for "Deathbringer". Somehow like Batreaux, who in Italian is Morsego (Latin for "I, Death").
Even his original Japanese name is pretty great, though "The Person of the End" doesn't roll off of the tongue, it could easily be rendered as "The Ender". However, there is a pun with its original name evolved, that it can be read as "Tyrannical Being".
This extends to the names of characters and objects as well. "Timeshift Stones" in the English version? Not bad ... Chronolites in the Spanish and French versions? Even better. And etymologically, it does makes sense.
The Silent Realms, which are called Hypneas in Spanish. (Hypnos is the greek word for "dream").
In English, the giant birds of Skyloft are Loftwings. In French, they're Célestrier (Skysteed). In Italian, they're Solcanubi (Cloudsailer). In European Spanish, they're called "Pelícaros", a portmanteau of "Pelícano" (Pelican) and "Ícaro" (Icarus) and Neburís in Latin América.
WTH, Costuming Department?: IGN rated the outfit Link wears at the beginning of the game as making him one of the worst-dressed video game characters of 2011, calling it a "burlap sack disaster" and saying that "dressing like an Arizona grandma" was bad for the already effeminate hero.