One of the best Wii games ever is now available for Switch so get ready to hop back onto your Loftwing and go on a nostalgic ride.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a wonderful game with its blend of classic 3D Zelda gameplay, motion controls, and flight-based overworld. Looking back, it was kind of a risky move on Nintendo's behalf seeing as they changed a lot about the typical Zelda formula to create something truly unique and for the most part, it worked out beautifully.
For the unfamiliar, Skyward Sword's gameplay loop essentially involves flying around on your Loftwing to a destination then working through that area in order to progress the story or acquire some sort of valuable treasure. These areas actually play a lot like dungeons which is funny because there are dungeons as well so it often feels like you complete a dungeon only to immediately enter another one. Anyway, it all comes together to make for one memorable adventure that's filled with distinct environments and characters.
As you progress and uncover more islands, you'll discover oodles of gear that expands your capabilities such as the Beetle which you control as it flies in order to cut down ropes and collect items. That one's my favourite but there are also classic items such as bombs, a bow and arrows, and a bug net. You'll also obtain and upgrade swords and shields which is rewarding stuff, especially because your darn shields will break frequently in the early goings. All of these gadgets and enhancements will help you master the incredibly intricate puzzle-filled dungeons which could be argued are the best in the entire franchise. Plus, taking down the bosses is great fun as well.
With all of that being said, one aspect of Skyward Sword feels lacking when you compare it to previous entries such as Ocarina of Time which is the fact that you don't really explore a vast open-world. Instead, you just fly to the next area then work your way through it. Even though the areas can be intricate, there's no denying that they're generally linear in that you have to follow a specified series of events in order to create shortcuts, snag items, and eventually advance. I imagine that if someone only played Breath of the Wild, they might be disappointed going from an awe-inspiringly massive world to one where you simply fly from point A to point B.
Now that you know what to expect from the core game, what's different about The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD? For starters, it features comprehensive control options which allow you to tailor them to your preference. This is excellent news for those who would rather play with button controls as you simply wiggle the right stick to attack instead of waving a couple of Joy-Con controllers around your living room. Other control options allow you to use motion controls for aiming or the camera as well as adjust the camera's speed and decide which axes to invert. Finding the best setup is crucial because Skyward Sword can be a tricky game to control at first.
In addition to the control options, Skyward Sword HD features some minor enhancements that help streamline its gameplay. For starters, you can choose to talk to Fi whenever you need help instead of having her automatically say obvious things. Sometimes, I was stuck and she didn't help much but she was useful more often than not. Anyway, you can also fast-forward dialogue and skip cutscenes and repeat item descriptions no longer show which is handy if you're speedrunning. These aren't huge improvements but cool nonetheless.
Last but not least, let's discuss the graphics. Unfortunately, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD isn't really a remake or intensive visual overhaul as it's merely a boosted version of the original when it comes to both resolution and frame rate. Its visuals still look like they're from the Wii era for the most part and some textures can look downright jarring when they're up-close. In fact, I would even say that The Wind Waker HD looks better than this; at least it was a bigger step up from its original GameCube release.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is an absolutely incredible game so if you haven't played it yet, this HD iteration makes for a great excuse to finally give it a go. Those who still own it on Wii might want to hold out, though, because it's surely not a huge step up.
- + Same incredible game complete with awesome dungeons and memorable world
- + Plenty of additional control options
- + Some welcome minor enhancements
- - The classic sense of exploration is hindered by rather linear areas
- - Graphics aren't all that improved