Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
After playing through the new and improved The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD on Nintendo Switch, I feel relieved that this game got another chance to show its full potential through the upgraded graphics and the option of not using the motion controls from the original game on the Wii console. I feel very optimistic and wanderlust about my decision of spending countless hours and book buying, revisiting the Zelda universe’s origin story for another time. My love for the Zelda universe started when I saw a YouTuber release a video of the game ‘Majoras Mask’, I've been hooked into this diverse world since. Although I never thought Skyward Sword could quite take the stand with some of the more prominent games of the series like Ocarina of Time or The Wind Waker
The visual art style of Skyward sword is to be one of the best in the series with the 1080p/60fps upgrade while docked and with 720p/60fps in handheld mode. Compared to Breath of the Wild it's not as detailed but is a massive improvement over the Wii version.One of the most memorable moments for me is When we are Sailing on the Pirate boat while time-traveling through time which again is breathtaking while the expressions on the character's faces manage to put across a lot of emotion despite the artists using a minimalist way of drawing compared to today's standards.
When the original game came out in 2011, there was a heavy discussion around the use of motion controls and now with the new release offers both motion-based and thumbstick control options. Even with motion controls disabled, nearly every battle and puzzle adds the direction in which you swing Link’s trusty blade and you’re often asked to draw a symbol on a wall or some other task that was clearly built with the Wii Remote in as its main option. Swinging your Joy-con around at an enemy can be very entertaining. And, naturally, when it occasionally doesn’t detect your movement correctly it’s just frustrating and not the fun you were hoping for.
But with that feedback and little touches that Nintendo has done, it has aged quite well especially in light of its updated graphics. The story and characters have also been some of the best creations within this weird universe and the particular side quests of the world remain extraordinary good. On the other side of the fence, the nightmarish Wii-era motion control mechanics are still very prominent reminding me why it didn't work well, and the majority of the dungeons and not to mention the boss fights within the game aren't very memorable or challenging. But despite the journey of Link in Skyward sword it has kept me going and hopefully you too.
Within the Zelda universe, we can all agree that the world has a fairly disjointed plot, with Skyward Sword creating an origin story is merely no small task but Nintendo lands it with ease. The characters within this story have been the best I've seen and the most memorable. Even if it's the main characters like Zelda or Link, Even a more goofy character like Groose. This story sets the stage for the events of every story that comes after it, while also creating an origin story for the master sword itself. The was all impressively pulled off with no voice acting and creating such an all-star cast in the process makes me wonder what bargain was struck to make that possible.
There are instances though, where motion controls feel absolutely sublime, like the rare scene where you put your sword into the ground during a cutscene or draw a sigil with your sword to perform a sealing ritual. In spite of that, the quick-time event-like interactions are satisfying and memorable. For those who typically aren’t into motion controls who are in the same situation as myself, there’s an option to disable them altogether. Unfortunately, the replacement is every bit as much of a pain in the neck, I hate how unreliable they are. But the motion-free answer to this, which is the only way to play in handheld mode or on a Switch Lite (unless you buy another controller) is that the right joystick serves as a directional pointer that you flick around in place of swinging your arm, and there are just as many issues with that.
Just one example is that you actually have to flick the stick around for a swing to register, not move it slowly. If you do, Link merely draws back his sword in preparation for an attack – he’ll only swing it once you rapidly flick the stick in a direction. Because you can’t take your time to line up those inputs, this means you end up with the exact same issues of inaccuracy as you’d get from motion controls. Which is to say, it works ~80% of the time, but when it doesn’t work it gets old really fast.
On the other hand, the remastered version adds the ability to fully control the camera which wasn't there on the Wii version, but the disadvantage of this here is that it uses the same joystick as your sword in motion-free mode. Since you use the right thumbstick to control the camera normally, when that stick is occupied serving as your sword arm, you instead need to hold down L to move the camera then release it to regain control of your sword, which can be a bit clunky and not very well thought out. Still, it’s a welcome addition, and it’s a huge improvement over the Wii version
As well as all of the changes mentioned above there is also a bunch of changes to the little added extras, as I like to call it. For example, skippable dialogue and cutscenes, autosaves, tutorials at the beginning are now optional, and no more repeated item explanations every time you pick something up. All of these things add up to a much smoother and enjoyable experience.
Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword still remains as one of my favorite games from the bizarre universe of zelda, even if it’s dominated by clunky controls. The characters and story have aged like fine wine and the meaning behind the game is even better than i remember, the quality of life improvements help alleviate some of the Wii-era weirdness, and the improved graphics and performance make this version look and play better than ever. The unsolved control issues to oneside, this skystriken adventure is everything you might expect it to be, for better or worse. And having a chance to play it has added alittle more sparkle to my day to day life.