I finally got a chance to play the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
I rate it a 6.5/10.
I'm a Zelda fan and I guess I had pretty high expectations on this one based on some of the major sites' reviews. My favorite Zelda game is the Wind Waker, so when I first got on my loftwing and saw the big map full of sky islands, I felt the same excitement I felt the first time Link set out onto the ocean, or the first time he stepped onto Hyrule field. Unfortunately, I was sadly mistaken. While the game appears to give you a lot of freedom, it is actually one of the most linear Zelda games I've encountered. The game has you revisit the same three surface locations to find new dungeons and it becomes bland very quickly. There is a lot of handholding and guidance that does not help the feeling of linearity. There is a distinct lack of unique enemies; it always feels like you are fighting bokoblins and there is no spice within the combat so you cannot even take solace in the thrill of fighting. Fi, the Navi of Skyward Sword, takes the annoyance level of these assistance characters up several notches. Even in the final battle of the game, when Link becomes low on health she still reminds you that you should find hearts to replenish your health. Really? The forced dialogs that appear when you obtain "treasure" also wear on you. On top of all of it are the controls, which are quite frustrating at times because you know how the motion controls should work but they don't. You never truly feel in control of your sword, and even with careful effort you end up doing the opposite of what you intended.
Despite this, the game has some redeeming qualities. The characters are varied and well designed, there are a fair amount of new items that actually put the motion controls to good use and the graphics combine Wind Waker's and Twilight Princess' visual styles well. Several times during the game I found myself thinking that I would really been enjoying myself if I wasn't so distracted by the bad controls. Somehow I found myself coming back to the game often even with all of my frustrations.
If you are a Zelda fan who hasn't played this yet, I'm sure you feel as obligated to play this as I did and you should get to it eventually. But for non-fans who are on the fence about it, if you can find a used copy for $15 I would say it's still worth your while. As a Zelda game I would rank it well down in the lower half overall.