Skyward Sword introduced a semi-advanced upgrade system to make leveling Link more interesting. What it brought to the table was something fresh and new while unrefined all the awhile. The acquisition of said treasures was actually enjoyable, but the amount and variety of treasures necessary to successfully refine equipment was unbalanced.

When it comes to The Legend of Zelda, gamers have high standards for every new title. Nintendo was bold to experiment with a deeper upgrade system, however they nearly dropped the ball on this this particular aspect of Skyward Sword. Make the jump to read more.

The first of Skyward Sword‘s upgrade system’s shortcomings is the requirements to fortify items and weapons. For instance, plentiful treasures will often pile up in Link’s inventory and are under-used in the crafting of new and improved items. Amber Relics, Dusk Relics, Monster Claws, Blessed and Ornamental Skulls are hardly required to strengthen Link’s trusty carry-ons, while slightly more rare treasures like Goddess Plumes, Jelly Blobs, Golden Skulls and Evil Crystals are equally necessary to improve weapons. Why is that?

Also, Tumbleweeds are needed to create the Braced Shield, Fortified Shield, Bug Net, Iron Bow and Sacred Bow. The big problem here is that Tumbleweeds occur in the Lanayru Desert and can only be obtained if Link has his net out and is able to catch one of these fast-moving treasures. It can be annoying to try to gather Tumbleweeds in order to enhance your Wooden/Iron Shield or Bug Net.

When it comes to potions, various insects must be brewed to create beneficial potions safe for our hero’s consumption. I liked the way the game handled creating potions better than the item and weapon upgrades, but it doesn’t mean that it was great. I like the use of Blessed Butterflies, Volcanic Ladybuds and Lanayru Ants, but quite a few bugs are difficult to come by and still costs plenty of rupees to boot. I would’ve liked a more equal distribution of insects in the world, instead of there simply being an abundance of a few species.

Secondly, the upgraded weaponry that Link gets after much hard work collecting treasures is a little lackluster. Link isn’t getting enough bang for his buck! Shelling out dozens of rupees and hard-earned treasures and bugs for slightly more powerful weapons or a bigger Bomb Bag isn’t cool. If the purpose was to make the player work hard for rewards, I think there should have been more phases of upgrades. Simply put, more depth would have been nice. Now this obviously wasn’t Nintendo’s number one priority when designing Skyward Sword, but if they were going to make upgrades this advanced, why leave it half-baked?

The release of Skyward Sword was a stellar opportunity for Nintendo to expand its horizons in terms of character leveling. The Legend of Zelda isn’t supposed to be an RPG, but I think RPG elements could augment the experience without detracting from it. I understand that many fans believe that Zelda is fine the way it is and doesn’t need any extra detailing, but it wouldn’t hurt. Developers continually strive to advance their products and make progress in terms of game design.

Honestly, adding a more complex upgrade system could be a draw for some players. It could be something on the side that the player enjoys in their leisure time in the game. I don’t think that it’s putting the cart before the horse – The Legend of Zelda is a puzzle-adventure franchise first and foremost, and a more fleshed-out upgrade system won’t necessarily be a major focal point and alter the focus of the game.

So what do you think? Can Zelda do with a more advanced upgrade system in terms of weaponry, items and potions? Feel free to let us know in the comments below!

Sorted Under: Editorials, Skyward Sword