Saturday, April 25, 2015

MIXED BAG. THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: SKYWARD SWORD'S LINK FIGMA FIGURE REVIEW!

I like Skyward Sword.

I think it gets a bad rap in the same way that Super Mario Sunshine gets a bad rap-- it is not a bad game, it just suffers in comparison to the more polished, beloved and innovative titles in the Zelda series in the same way Sunshine is a good platformer but is mediocre compared to 64 or Galaxy.

While the bad controls and some poor level design holds the game back, the production-- from the character & world design to the fantastic soundtrack to the neat little evolution of the Link & Zelda relationship makes this game hold a special place in my heart. Plus...

... it has Groose!

To get my full opinion on Skyward Sword check out the articles from Skyward Sword Week or, if you wanna get straight to the point, the review of the 25th Anniv. Collector's Edition.

Today's subject is a figure from Good Smile's Figma line based on the character model for Skward Sword's Link!

Much like review of the Kill La Kill Nendoroid figures, the format I'm going to use is rating the figures based on packaging, quality, pose-ability/functionality, creativity, and value.

Before we get to the review, check out the unboxing!


Sometimes I wonder if I should ditch the sunglasses? Thoughts?


Now, let's see how the product holds up under the rigors of trial and research!

PACKAGING

Much like the box-art and packaging of the Collector's Edition of Skyward Sword, is a work of Zelda art in it's own right: the colorful pallet, using the blue background with clouds and the repeated use of green, gold, white and red, in a very Zelda way, creates a composition that brings me right back to the gorgeous scenery of Skyloft. And, the inclusion of the Official Nintendo product and Skyward Sword logos make this a nice piece for my...uh...box collection. Well, when I say box collection I sound silly, right?

The boxes, though, seriously, are useful when it comes to figma figures as they give you example poses to work off of on the back of the box (pictured further below) and provide a storage unit for the various pieces and instructions.

Furthermore, the package makes a nice display if you wanna keep your toys mint! All-in-all, Japanese figure packaging beats the crap out of all the boxes I've gotten for figures in the States and figma is the best.

QUALITY

The sculpt and paintjob is a fantastic representation of Skyward Sword Link (pictured below) in all of Skyloft Knight glory.
There are some minor discrepancies to break down before we talk about the level of detail presented in the figure. Instead of chainmail armor, it seems they gave link a brown tunic layer under his classic green tunic. The shield and sword, along with his proportions in general, are slightly more heroicly built. In fact, the big and pleasant improvement on the figure over the game model is that the figure better matches the promotional art and design work of Link for the game that makes for a figure model that is superior to the game model.

As for the paint job, I really like how Link's coloration reads across up close and at a distance (the sign of a good work) and, like the fine work of art he is, he will be proudly displayed alongside my amiibos.

POSE-ABILITY AND FUNCTIONALITY

This is where the first problems pop up because, much like the game, this figure doesn't quite work quite like it is supposed to.

Link is quite posable and with a lot of functional accessories/pieces, the figure lacks in execution due to some fundamental limitations of the figure. While the figure has many points of articulation from his ball joint abdomen & neck to the many joins on his limbs, his biggest limitation comes from the sculpt of his tunic. While the sculpt captures the design perfectly, it creates to issues for posing the figure: the tunic's abdoment sculpt makes posing his arms upwards quite difficult and the bottom of the tunic restricts his leg posing quite a bit. This means most of his poses will be difficult to pull off, as opposed to a figure like the Ryuko Matoi figma (pictured above in defeat), and I spent a good bit of time just finding a few poses to pull off. Otherwise, you can pull off several dramatic and amusing poses if you have patience.

The hat joint is plus.

The accessories are a mixed bag ("he said it!"). The Master Sword and Hylian Shield are beautiful pieces of work that, with some trial and error, I discovered could be taken apart in several ways to allow you to pin the items to his back or in his arms in a number of ways.  Some other accessories are a bit of a let down. I'm not sure how to use all of the hands in conjunction with the sword and shield, properly, and it can be difficult to attach them to the wrist ports. The other accessory that fails, hard, is the sword swoosh piece. This blue piece, meant to represent the animation of the Master Sword being swung, is too heavy for the wrists of most hands to handle and it is difficult to pose him with it attached to the blade.

And so, when it comes to what I can do with Link, I am left wanting more (maybe the Windwaker Nenderoid would deliver more).

CREATIVITY

This is where the figure, honestly, is most lacking. None of the accessories included surprised me and it would've been nice to get another face plate. The accessories they could've included would have been game items like hearts, rupies and/or chests or the tools that Link uses like the Grappling Hook or one of the lesser known (and therefore stupid) ones like the digging gloves.

But if there is anything to credit this figure with, creativity wise, is that it tried between the blue swoosh, sword/shield pieces, and the action hair piece.

I hope I never need an action hair piece.

VALUE

Usually this figure retails somewhere between $50 to $75 (plus shipping) on the legitimate suppliers I found online, with the less scrupulous websites and stores probably trying to sell something like this for as much as $100 (yikes), but I got lucky and picked it up on Amazon with free shipping for $35.

And for $35? That's a fantastic value.

Personally, I would never have paid $50 or more for this figure and I wouldn't recommend spending your dough like that. Then again I paid $25 for a King Dedede Amiibo that doesn't pose and only functions with Smash Bros. & Kirby's newest game.

So, I guess the value is pretty decent.

CONCLUSION?

I feel more meh or should I say "myeah!" about the figure then when I took it out of the box and played with it. Figma and Nenderoid figures I've picked up have blown me away with their creativity and quality, but this Link figure, while being a beautiful sculpt, fails to live up to the rest of the figures I've purchased in the line. But that doesn't mean I don't like the figure!

If you're a big fan of Skyward Sword or just want a high quality Link figure, I still feel that this Figma figure is best bet and makes a nice addition to any Nintendo fan's collection.

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