November has certainly seen some great releases. Of course, there's the eight-hundred pound gorilla, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim with its colossal world and massive scale. On the other end of the spectrum, there's indie darling To the Moon and its unforgettable tale of a dying man's final moments. There's also a little release from Nintendo that you may have heard of.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a game that some see as the grand compromise between the hyper-cheerful cel shading of Wind Waker and the gritty darkness of Twilight Princess. This is true, in a way, but to say that any part of this game is a compromise would be to do it a great disservice. For the first time in years, Nintendo has taken a scalpel to this series, cutting away long-held traditions in a way that some have called sacrilegious.
Yet, for everything taken away, something new has been added–bold changes to progression and exploration, new ways of approaching long-standing series traditions, and tight, 1:1 motion controlled swordplay. Gone are the days of "comb the overworld for the dungeon, find an item in that dungeon, beat the boss with that item, and repeat eight times." In Skyward Sword, you'll cruise the skies and hurl yourself off endless drops like a daredevil, traveling across huge-yet-disconnected areas that slowly reveal more of their secrets as your collection of those ever-important items expands. You'll look down across the landscape as it bleeds away into a beautiful watercolor background, and for the first time in many years, you may find yourself surprised by a series that is acclaimed for just about everything other than its propensity for change.
We've seen a number of incredible titles this month. And while most of those games have their strengths and weaknesses, Skyward Sword runs ahead of the pack in every aspect: the story, with its sharp writing and memorable characters; the music, fully orchestrated for the first time in the series' history; the graphics, impressionistic, colorful, and utterly breathtaking in spite of their lack of high definition resolution; and, as always, the classic Zelda gameplay, which has captivated gamers for 25 years and stands now in its arguably greatest form yet. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the total package, and it is for that reason that we have chosen it as RPGFan's November Game of the Month.