The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD is a successful translation of a Wii classic from ten years ago – despite its small missteps.
Date of issue 16.7.2021
Studio: Tantalus Media
Available: Nintendo Switch
Age limit: K12
Games played for review: 23 hours
Seen in 2011 The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword received a rather opinion-sharing reception at the time of its original Wii release; many of the game’s technical solutions aroused many mainly irritation. Switch received in mid-summer The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD has sought to make the experience more playable. The end result is an even more spectacular adventure, but not all corners have been completely honed.
Skyward Sword is chronologically the first part of the series on the timeline. Thus, among other things, the main evil Gano and the kingdom of Hyrule, known from previous games, shine this time in their absence. The origin of the legendary Master Sword, for example, is also determined along the lines.
The events of the game originate in the city of Softloft hovering above the clouds, whose inhabitants rule the sky together – including the Loftwing big birds that serve as cavalry. From a young age, Zelda and Link, who grew up as close friends in the city, drift into a storm in the eye on one of their flight trips. As a result, Zelda disappears into the non-existent, which is where Link’s adventure toward the earth’s crust hidden under the cloud begins. As his travel guide, Link has a spirit creature Fi popping out of his Goddess Sword sword, from whom he can, if he wants to – or sometimes not the player’s wish – receive advice on problems that slow down the adventure.
Most of the time in the early stages of the game is spent mastering the controls as well as mastering your own Loftwing knight. So, like many games in the series, Skyward Sword is no more in a hurry with the plot.
As the adventure finally progresses, Link’s journey goes through a cloud cover to an abandoned world. The terrestrial county is divided into separate larger areas that differ in their terrain and caverns.
In many of the dungeon puzzles, you can easily nut for several hours, in addition to which the boss battle at the end of the tunnel is always a kind of challenge. However, the journey to the dungeon in the new area is not quite instantaneous, and the player may have to spend more than one key, for example, to find the parts that serve his office, scattered all over the field, which made the progress feel very dragged from time to time. In addition, flying with a Loftwing bird eventually turned out to be a very small part of the game, which it felt like Wind Wakerin after sailing the seas from a somewhat nasty backpack.
However, with the eventual opening of the dungeon – or temple – the Skyward Sword will reach its full potential. The dungeons and their hidden puzzles as well as boss battles have been one of the biggest strengths of the Zelda series, and Skyward Sword is no exception at all in this area.
If the player wants to return from the surface of the earth to the back of the bird, it is possible to return to the sky conveniently through the bird statues found in the areas. At the same time, the statues also act as manual recording points. In order to travel more freely between heaven and earth, one would then have to take advantage of the separately traded Amiibo figure, which has plagued many players – and rightly so. As a few words of consolation, however, it should be noted that the recording points had, at least in my opinion, been sprinkled galore on almost every plateau and corner, thanks to which the jumping between the distances went very well without a figure.
Those who have played the Wii version will come across many much-needed changes at the forefront, including fast-forwarding of the dialogue, automatic recording and the ability to skip intermediate videos if they wish. The resolution has also been raised from a rugged 480p resolution to 1080p. The screen refresh, on the other hand, now rotates steadily at 60 frames per second, both on TV and when playing on Switch’s own screen, making the experience look and feel smoother than before.
In terms of its outer shell, Skyward Sword is in good condition, and I think the game is one of the most spectacular games in the Zelda series, alongside Wind Waker.
Perhaps the biggest nuisance in the original version was the battle system tied to the game’s motion control, where the MotionPlus controller stick served as the player’s sword while Nunchuck was driving the shield. Thanks to the more advanced motion detection of the Joy-Con controllers, swaying the sword should now feel smoother than before. In addition, the Switch version has to offer an alternative control method where the shield and sword commands are placed on the control bars. When trying the new option, there was little to miss the old motion control. Despite the fact that playing with the new keys also had its own shortcomings.
Some of the problems in the game are clearly designed with the motion detection in mind, which is clearly reflected in the new way of controlling the game. Fencing also proved to be a somewhat harsher option than hand-waving with the new method. At least in situations where more precise timing of the trajectory would have been helpful – like a few boss battles. Thus, when playing with motion control, the battles could be handled more quickly, but nothing else so much. For example, flying on Loftwing’s back and other maneuvering according to Joy-Con’s trajectory proved to be an inaccurate hustle and bustle. Both good and bad moments were thus found in both modes of control.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword wasn’t perfect in its 2011 release, and it still isn’t. However, the Switch version can be warmly recommended for both new players as well as those who played the original adventure during the Piston Years, who may be considering giving the game a new chance with the re-release. Many of the problems with the Wii version have been fixed, making the gaming experience in many ways more enjoyable. Although the controls as well as the long sky to the cavern entrances took a hard time from time to time, the ensemble remained really entertaining most of its time.
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: SKYWARD SWORD HD
“The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is back more playable than before, though not quite bruised.”
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