Nintendo Nintendo Switch

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD Impresses On Switch

Courtesy of J&L Game
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD Splash
Courtesy of Nintendo

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD

Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: July 16, 2021
Available as: Digital and Physical

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword -- Ten Years Later

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was released ten years ago on the Nintendo Wii in 2011, which honestly feels like “just the other day” more than anything else, but it also shows just how much both Nintendo and the series have progressed since then. As someone who isn’t necessarily the biggest Legend of Zelda fan around, I wasn’t too sure if it was on the Wii or the Gamecube that this game came out on (It would ultimately fall on me confusing this game with Twilight Princess oops) but, ten years changes a lot. As such, a remaster of a Zelda title is always a good thing as it brings players like myself, who hadn't played Skyward Sword, a chance to play one of Zelda’s most underrated classics.

Zelda Link Skyward Sword Cutscene
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

Grab Your Loftwing And Fly High In Skyward Sword HD

The main aim for Skyward Sword HD was to keep things as close to the original as possible, which would include keeping the motion controls from the Wii version intact. This is of course made possible due to the joycons and its gyro capabilities, which in its defense offer better accuracy than the Wiimote ever did. Part of the reason for the turn-off involving anything “motion controls” was because of the finicky nature of the console itself.

Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

In recent years, Nintendo had seemingly refined the motion controls capabilities of its consoles starting with the Switch gyro functions. Playing Let’s Go Eevee and even Splatoon 2 on motion controls briefly made me a fan of a feature I used to hate, so I had a feeling that Skyward Sword HD would pull off what the original couldn’t do and for the most part, it does just that. 

The right joycon is used to swing Link’s sword, as swinging left and right will cause him to swing horizontally, swinging up and down means Link does the same, left, right, and left again will cause him to do his spin attack, and thrusting the sword will initiate a thrusting attack.

How To Make A Motion Game, Motionless

Link Bats Motion Controls
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

Players who wish to play the game normally or with a Pro Controller will be happy to know that the game accepts traditional controls, however, some differences are made to “emulate” the swinging of Link’s sword, where the right joycon analog is used to swing his sword instead of being used as a traditional way to control the camera. 

To turn the camera, players will need to press L then use the right joycon analog to move the camera around, which can throw veteran players off guard but it’s easy to get used to the control scheme in this game. The freedom of Link’s sword movements means that attacking enemies above, below, or for precision’s sake, is easier to handle than simply “pressing Y to attack.”

Skyward Sword HD Holds Up Well A Decade Later

Dialogue Selection Link
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

The graphics flourish well on the Switch, with Skyward Sword being one of the more colorful entries in the series. It plays at a resolution that simply wasn’t possible on the Wii for many reasons, showing just how powerful the Switch is compared to its older brother. Docked, the game runs at a constant 60fps, and controls are responsive, though the flying portions are annoying because of the bird that’s due to the bird itself being unable to process basic orders like flying straight ahead.

From the first hour, the story was pretty engaging as this was one of the few games that you see the dynamic between Link and Zelda. In most games, like Ocarina of Time which comes to mind, you begin the game as Young Link and you eventually meet Zelda. In this game, Zelda and Link are childhood friends and their interactions are rather charming and, even dare I say, heartwarming as Zelda’s fondness of Link is evident. It makes the eventual abduction of Zelda even direr as since we get to see Zelda for more than five minutes with personality aside from a mere “princess,” it made me invested as a player with very limited knowledge of the series.

Budding Romance, Giant Birds, And More Await

Loftwing Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

While the flying portions were annoying at first, the concept of the flight being a central point in Skyward Sword was a different approach than previous games, which relied on Epona and grounded forms of travel in the past. The separation between the sky-based world and the “surface” makes this Zelda a different dynamic than other games in the past and the future.

I enjoyed my time with the game for the first hour, despite the learning curve of flight, as it was one of the few instances that I felt Link had a personality. You have choice prompts where you can answer dialogue choices depending on the circumstances given to you and even the antagonists themselves have personalities outside of “Me evil me bad.” Overall it was a fun experience. Maybe you can expect a full review out of me soon.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD is now available on the Nintendo Switch.

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