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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD – Review

Classic Zelda perfectly polished?

Idestova released The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword nearly ten years ago, in November 2011, on the current console of the big N, a Wii with a built-in motion sensor that was running a huge success series at the time. The game seemed to be the most ambitious title of the Japanese company in the series at the time, and the press certainly unanimously hailed the work as a classic of Hyrule’s origins.

Time, however, hasn’t treated anything graciously with the last traditional Zelda adventure. If we look at a top list specialising in that today, we don’t usually have to look for a piece near the podium anymore. There are several reasons for this: on the one hand, ambition for the Skyward Sword is not necessarily to be found in the innovation of Nintendo’s series-renewal classics, and on the other hand, the iron teeth of time dropped.

The fact that Nintendo acknowledged the unequivocal reception of Skyward Sword and changed direction concerning the concept of the Zelda series is now history, as Breath of the Wild is one of the most reckless of not only the series but Nintendo’s otherwise terribly creative past. Became its most innovative title. That’s why I wondered if I, who called Skyward Sword the best Zelda adventure at the time, would be disappointed with the dusting along with many critics, or if my passion would be reaffirmed if the game turns out to be as old as it was. Best for wines.

As a foreword, I am not persuaded to stress that our judgment will largely depend on what we loved about BotW and what we did not. This is because Breath of the Wild does everything differently from the now-renovated adventure, as that was the purpose of the full-back face. This is because Skyward Sword is the most linear Zelda of the full 3D era (though still not as much as the also great Link’s Awakening or its predecessors): let’s jump over the obstacles our developers put in the way of virtually the entire game. And although we will return to previous tracks many times, there is no trace of the freedom offered by BotW.

In return, Skyward Sword is the most story-centric act of the entire Zelda series, which BotW had no chance of. The worthy story was sacrificed on the altar of endless freedom given to the player and exhausted in flashbacks to past events a hundred years earlier. There’s no mention of this in the SS: not only are the characters and the interactions between Link and Zelda the most elaborate in the series, but our heroes (and not even anti-heroes in one case) go through serious character development over hundreds of hours of adventure, stakes and the interactions in the series feel real, meaningful for the first time, and the endgame is one of the most memorable, adrenaline-fueled in the history of Zelda games, and for that very reason, thanks to its very memorable protagonist.

By the way, the main villains: the other aspect on which the Breath of the Wild could have bled smoothly is the totally sweaty boss fights that are the trademark of the series and the complete lack of decent, multi-storey dungeons. The subject of our present test, perhaps, needless to say, abounds in both: the labyrinths/temples at the end of the map are among the most powerful and most powerful in the series, exploring levels, opening doors, rolling obstacles is a real challenge for the black belt veterans of the series and the bosses at the end of excellent labyrinths elaborated with the needs of artisans down to the smallest detail all in their own way are memorable, require different gameplay solutions, and because the geniuses are terribly tough and constantly change their behaviour, they are a serious challenge.

As for the iconic game elements of the series, here they are. In fact! In this regard, Nintendo has not only chosen the path it has taken but has done so with an outstanding level so that we can open/pick up the most varied gadgets in the whole series one after the other, until the very end of the adventure, even in the last 10 hours. The game is bombarded with new game elements as it fits through the pipe.

A novelty is the flying, controllable golden beetle, with which we can detect even the smallest secret flights. Still, the types and methods of using bombs are also much more varied than in the Switch classic, which utilizes the developed (and largely missing here) physics. The game also draws from the best Metroid vanias in the sense that returning to previously vast tracks with new abilities and tools opens up completely new paths and even underwater levels, so discovery will never be boring, thanks to its linear structure allowed for the creation of more diverse, unique worlds and dungeons than the ruins of BotW and its tiny shrines based on variations of a physical puzzle. The difficulty curve is also much more meticulous than in Hyrule’s iterations, which can be traversed in any order, so the game will never be too easy; we will always sweat by completing the current track.

Unfortunately, after 10 years, it seems that BotW’s innovations had a place in gameplay: much of the world is much more empty in Skyward Sword than in the previous parts. One feels a bit like the developers have crammed the contents of the villages from previous episodes into the areas of Skyloft, the starting location for both the game’s lengthy tutorial. Not to mention, the NPCs that populate it are all memorable. Our changing relationship with them gives the story a nice arc, there’s plenty to do here, even at the end of the game, but the sky surrounding our crimson bird Skyloft would have endured plenty of extra content as the above-ground world itself becomes a little too homely after the many returns. Not to mention that soaring becomes tiring after a while,

From here, we can parachute from Skyloft to the game’s tracks. The following legitimate criticism can also be made here by the developers: the new version includes completely free express travel, while in the original, if we don’t stick to these now, we’ll certainly have to buy a dedicated bamboo to unlock the option, which is by no means an elegant pull on the part of Nintendo for a $ 60 full-price refurbishment. It’s a joy to come across plenty of totems without having to reach into our pockets, so we can only talk about an annoying gesture rather than a blunder that spoils the gaming experience.

Maybe a little worn already, but still stylish.

Skyward Sword is a real gaming monster: we can count hundreds of hours smoothly through it to uncover every secret and collect all the collectable stuff because there are so many of them compared to BotW 1000. Ages seed collection can feel like an easy warm-up. Countless mini-games and side quests are waiting for us to cut into, the collection of which gives a noticeable advantage over the already mentioned seeds of BotW when ticking off an epic, story-long quest. A few more words about the narrative: despite the complete lack of dubbing, the characters in Skyward Sword are perhaps the most elaborate figures in the series, and its story holds perhaps the most twists of the entire 35-year-old franchise episodes.

As for the garnish, we can have another objective advantage over the youngest episode of our test subject. This is the wonderful music played by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra’s grand orchestra, which holds more varied, catchy melodies in addition to the already well-known re-arranged versions than BotW soon. But of course, he races perfectly ‘musician’ in that game.

But let’s look at what’s new in the latest version! The first thing that catches our eye is the scaled-up graphics, which here are not just a difference in resolution: the textures are much more detailed than they were 10 years ago, just as colour management throws a lot at the experience, making the whole world look more colourful and vibrant. Thanks to assets. Not to mention, the SS can’t deny its age and look shabby with BotW’s live-breathing world, but thanks to its artistic design, you don’t have to be ashamed. The character animations and designs are among the best in the series, even if a Bokoblin or other opponent may be unusually cartoonish for those familiar with the series, or if one finds it a little intimidating, but its characteristic physics.

The biggest issue, of course, was to rethink control from the ground up, and to put it mildly, Nintendo solved it interestingly, as it immediately built two completely different control methods into the game. Taking the JoyCons in our hands, we get into action one of the coolest innovations in the game, interestingly little to no publicity, the free camera management that gives the world a much more open feel.

By moving the right analogue lever, we can change our point of view as desired. JoyCons’ gyroscopes are great for quoting Wii iteration solutions while being much more convenient, handy and intuitive. As for the sometimes a little inaccurate control of the original game, don’t be surprised: in the heat of a boss fight, we’ll be squabbling this time when we don’t hold our sword high enough to activate our super attack, or the game doesn’t register a vital circular swing. However, all this is no worse than it used to be. The little controllers also spare our arms more, not to mention that we finally don’t have to linger through the game: we can also play through the comfort of our couch pillows. So the use of motion sensors, despite all the rumours, is better than it was and is very, very enjoyable,

As for the other method, we get much more precise control, which in the case of more pulling fights gives the feeling that for the first time, we have a catch on even the tiniest moves of Link, as the creators dreamed of. In this case, you can cause the JoyCons to swing by moving the right stick in the right direction, minimizing vest overhangs and targeting any lateral, vertical, diagonal, or circular strokes. Of course, this loses the feeling that we are waving Link’s sword ourselves, but even the smallest input becomes needle-accurate.

Compared to this, it can be a headache at first that in this mode, we have to hold down the left shoulder button to move the camera freely, thus activating the camera function of the right stick: unfortunately, the solution is not intuitive, but I have no better idea for another alternative, and after a few hours perfectly familiar (you should set the camera sensitivity to the fastest right away). Overall, the game is perfectly playable with both alternatives, better than when it was originally released, and which one to choose is just a matter of preference – and that’s no small feat.

What’s more worth mentioning is the weeding out of a couple of annoying childhood illnesses, which nevertheless throws a lot at the gaming experience: such as making optional the monologues of our previously constantly embedded, easily annoying sword in the long run (this time Fi only honours your advice if you really need it). And we’ll express that by activating it) and weeding out the boredom-repeating tutorial windows that reappear after each restart of the game, which used to chew a continuous stream into our mouths, even after picking up a hundred-thousandth rupee or heart.

From the above, it may already be clear that my initial worries soon waned away, and we are certainly getting a great refurbishment rebuilt from the ground up, which the Skyward Sword should have been original. This adventure is the inverse of BotW in every way: what we were innovating there would be in vain. We get the best elements of the classic Zeldas in exchange, packed into a richly adventurous adventure, which is also the most important in the series.


The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD was released on July 16, 2021, exclusively for Nintendo Switch consoles. For more releases and tests this year, visit our constantly updated game calendar!

Positive

  • Solutions that make the experience more comfortable and fluid
  • Perhaps the best dungeons and boss fights in the series ’history
  • Free camera management
  • Well implemented management
  • Wonderful world, story
  • Higher resolution, nicer graphics

Negative

  • Sometimes it grinds
  • Annoying amiboo paywall
  • You need to get used to moving the camera in a handheld
  • One of the most linear is Zelda

Cue

If you loved the Breath of the Wild, try the Skyward Sword to see what the most mature incarnations of the previous Zeldas look like and if you couldn’t stand it, for that. What you have lost on Customs with BotW’s fantastic innovations can be found in Skyward Sword to the brim. If you accept the slightly shabby graphics, the (almost) complete lack of freedom, you’ll be richer with a wonderful story and an unforgettable marathon adventure in which the developers thought they know all along where you’re going to do it, in return, they really pack themselves into every aspect of the game when it comes to levels, dungeons, and the world.

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