Here he is – the long-awaited editor of “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword”. The new version offers a welcome set of improvements, but there is still a feeling that it could have been better.
There are a few Zelda games that have divided fans like “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword”. So, it looks like this HD update may be the most compelling Zelda remaster to date, as “Skyward Sword HD” makes the original game’s most famous and hated feature – motion control – optional. For me, who has never clicked with a Wii waving, the new button control is very welcome, and the fact is that it works perfectly fine! To simulate Link’s sword strike, the correct joystick is used, you simply drag the direction you want to attack and Link’s sword will obediently follow. The new control takes a while to get used to but then sits like a slam and makes fighters who need a little more tactics and precision nowadays can’t be explained away by semi-dirty motion control if you go with a whip… at the same time you should add time because Classic motion control works better than the original Wii! The Switch clearly has better motion control than the old Wii and I was less bothered by “waving” this switch.
But the game control of course is not the only news in “Skyward Sword HD”. Now you can control the camera angle yourself instead of the locked and slightly old version of the original game. “Skyward Sword HD” is also, as the title suggests, high resolution with a clearer picture than a lackluster Wii game. Here, perhaps a little bit of the game’s artistic feel is lost, as the watercolor-inspired design was better on a CRT TV.
Less grip when you don’t need it
Image refresh has been bumped up to 60fps, giving a huge boost in both control and a more consistent image. Fortunately, Nintendo has also listened to fans and toned down the hand a bit – the talking sword that interrupted you in time and after time runs out with real Captain Oblear dialogues now stays in the background, but it’s still close if you get stuck and should need some help on the stack .
So far, so good. But how is the game itself then?
Yes, “Skyward Sword HD” delivers! It all starts on Skyloft, an isolated island high above the clouds. There, Link trains with his giant bird to become a Skyloft knight, before Zelda sweeps his lovable interest away by a hurricane far to the surface. The surface is the mythical world that is said to be far from the clouds, and this is where Link must go to save and be reunited with Zelda…
The plot of “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD” isn’t great, but it does its job and offers better and deeper characters than many other Zelda games. Zelda herself for once is a very strong and energetic young girl (despite the rescue efforts) and also many side characters are well written and really develop during the game. Sure, it takes a while for the story to begin, but once it does, it’s the classic Zelda story that takes over. As most Zelda fans know, “Skyward Sword HD” is the number one game in Zelda’s timeline, although I personally prefer seeing each Zelda independently as long as it’s not a direct sequel.
Well made dungeons but there are a lot of downtime in between
When “Skyward Sword HD” is at its best, it’s really good. There are plenty of dungeons to explore and some of them are undoubtedly among the best that the series has to offer. But at the same time, the game weighs on its uneven pace, as Nintendo wanted to prolong playtime with too many filling missions that often feel like a waste of time. This is strange, because “Skyward Sword HD” is a long game that takes 40-50 hours. Here, Nintendo had a golden opportunity in this editor to cut a few hours and get a tighter overall experience — but that didn’t happen.
For those transitioning straight from “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” to “Skyward Sword HD,” the first hours of gameplay can be a harrowing experience. This is Zelda for when you’re in the most control and linear, and there’s no hint of the freedom and open landscape found in “Breath of the Wild.” Instead, almost the entire gaming world is a huge puzzle. I miss the grandeur of riding around the open Hyrule Field and wandering the world and relaxing occasionally, among all the dungeons and puzzles. The gaming world also doesn’t feel cohesive and lively, with Link only accessing various select spots on the surface that can be accessed by flying over the clouds.
The final version of “Skyward Sword”
Updates in “Skyward Sword HD” mean that this is the final version of Skyward Sword. I would have liked to see more profound changes, but this remaster gives the game a second chance to turn those who haven’t really clicked with the original. For those who haven’t played before, there’s also an incredible amount of Zelda candy to pick up here, despite it being one of the weakest titles in the series. The Skyward Sword HD tops are heavenly, but be prepared for a lot of elaborate stuffing to get there.
“The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD”
Type: action adventure
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Formula: Nintendo Switch
chest: out now
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