The Switch has kindled a new love affair with the Zelda series. Breath of the Wild blew me away because it is… you know… one of the greatest games ever made.
Then The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening remade on the Switch demonstrated the best way to remake a classic. The game being fundamentally the same as the original with overhauled graphics meant I got to experience it as if it was new, because it was new.
Then Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity was a banger of a Warriors game with BoTW’s beautiful aesthetic. It was the best of two worlds and a game worthy of fans of either franchise checking out.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD on the other hand is more of a Remaster with a bit of polish as opposed to a newer game like the previous ones. This had me so damn curious to see how a Wii game with a little bit of new paint would stand up. Well it turns out… well.
Skyward Sword tells an interesting story. Link and Zelda are friends who live in the floating kingdom of Skyloft. For generations they have existed on these floating islands in the sky not knowing what existed under the thick blanket of clouds below their isolated world.
In this world the people build relationships with these giant birds who they fly from island to island. After completing his test with his bird to become a knight, Link’s friend Zelda is pulled away under the clouds. Not knowing what is down there Link gets his hero on, and ventures below.
Breaking through the clouds Link finds himself in this mysterious place called… you know.. Hyrule. If you don’t know, you haven’t played enough Zelda games yet and should go play Breath of the Wild…like right now. Seriously… I’ll wait.
Go grab BoTW, smash that colossal game out then come back and find out why you should also buy Skyward Sword. I may have gotten distracted but seriously, BoTW is one of the greatest games ever made.
So yeah, he lands on Hyrule. Down here Link meets a whole lot of people and enemies, and more importantly temples. He needs to track down and follow the prophets telling of the goddess a.k.a. Zelda, and the mystery and heroics ensue.
Visually the game is both stunning, and dated… if that makes sense.
It has a unique design where characters are in proportion, but things like the birds and surroundings have such a unique style that they are so beautiful. Though you should be ready for a game where the textures, faces, and edges are a Wii game.
The edges have been taken off so it doesn’t look that old, but you will notice it is a game that is a decade old.
Though the aesthetic kinda holding up and kinda not has no bearing on how amazing it is. The gameplay which is also pretty old and clunky has been well adapted to using a controller. When you move around you need to hold the L button to move the camera else it stays static.
This has clearly been built for the Wii remote and works using the Joycons handheld, but the best way to play this is using a controller. As such you will find you tend to hold L most of the game.
The combat, also built for the Wii Remote, kinda works brilliantly in both modes.
So using your joy-cons motion control you need to slash in different ways to hit different areas of enemies or hit them in different directions to hit where they aren’t blocking. Using the controller (or game in handheld mode) you will hold ZL and then wiggle the right Joycon in different ways to slash. It works surprisingly well, and a little frustrating at times.
Either way it gives the game a feel and a hook that is so unique that even when it is being annoying, it is still charming and fun.
The world is kind of open where you can move anywhere you have access to, but kind of linear. Think of the Tomb Raider remake type of open. You can fast travel back to the sky where you can fly around Skyloft and jump to the save statues all around the world.
There is a thing where if you buy the Amiibo you can use that to auto jump to Skyloft and return without a save statue. This is a feature that should be built in and not Amiibo locked. Though I did buy the Amiibo because it’s an awesome figure.
Still it should be a quality of life improvement built into the game for everyone.
10 years on The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is still an absolute banger. The game plays well, the style is unique, the voice acting is pretty good, but the story and dungeons are well worth every frustration. As a Switch game it gives you so many options to play, but no matter which you choose you should have an excellent experience with this classic.
Bring on more classic Zelda’s. Pleeeease Nintendo.
Released: November 2021
Platforms reviewed: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Nintendo, Monolith Soft, Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development