‘The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD’ brings a divisive Nintendo game to a new generation on Switch

  • “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD” is a Nintendo Switch remaster of a Nintendo Wii classic.
  • Skyward Sword HD” improves on the original 2008 release’s graphics, controls, and overall tempo.
  • “Skyward Sword” can help keep Zelda fans entertained until “Breath of the Wild 2,” despite its age.
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On the Nintendo Switch, “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD” remasters an aged installment in the blockbuster franchise for a new generation of players. “Skyward Sword HD” was released on July 16, more than a decade after its original Wii release.

The Switch version of “Skyward Sword” has been upgraded aesthetically and includes important quality-of-life enhancements. Loading times, menus, and required dialogues are all faster, resulting in a faster overall pace. “Skyward Sword HD,” like all Nintendo Switch games, is geared for handheld play and no longer requires motion controllers.

The original “Skyward Sword” was a Wii exclusive that made innovative use of the console’s motion capabilities and required an extra device dubbed the Wiimote Plus. Fans who preferred the series’ old control method were enraged by these design choices, although “Skyward Sword HD” gives players the option of using motion controls or a new button-only layout.

The ‘Legend of Zelda’ tale begins with ‘Skyward Sword.’

“The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” is the first game in the “The Legend of Zelda” timeline, providing players with backstory on significant story aspects that repeat throughout the franchise.

‘The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD' brings a divisive Nintendo game to a new generation on Switch

Players take control of Link, a knight in training on Skyloft, a floating island. There, Link and his pal Zelda learn that they have been selected to save the world in order to fulfill an ancient legend. Link travels from Skyloft to the world below, discovering new parts of the surface and clearing dungeons in search of crucial materials for his quest.

‘Skyward Sword’ combines traditional Zelda dungeon crawling with elements from ‘Breath of the Wild.’

Skyward Sword HD,” like other Zelda games, combines adventure and puzzle solving with a gentle learning curve. The inclusion of motion controls, which are optional on the Nintendo Switch, distinguishes “Skyward Sword” from prior games in the series.

Swinging the right Joy-Con controller or using the right analog stick controls the direction of Link’s sword slashes. Motion controls can also be used to aim other weapons like the slingshot and bow, and several puzzles demand precise user actions.

‘The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD' brings a divisive Nintendo game to a new generation on Switch

Fans of “The Legend of Zelda” will recognize gameplay aspects from “Breath of the Wild,” the critically praised game that debuted alongside the Nintendo Switch in 2017. The first “Zelda” game to include a stamina meter and a crafting system for enhancing items was “Skyward Sword.” However, some of the platforming and motion control aspects in “Skyward Sword HD” are still a little rough around the edges.

‘Skyward Sword’ is now more accessible thanks to a new button-only option, but the motion controls are shockingly accurate.

Skyward Sword HD” works on the portable Switch thanks to a button-only controller option, but the game was built with motion controls in mind. Whether you’re using the analog stick on the controller or waving your arm with a Switch Joy-Con in hand, puzzles and fights require precise motions.

‘The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD' brings a divisive Nintendo game to a new generation on Switch

Because I’m experienced with previous Zelda games, I prefer utilizing button-only controls, yet I still get annoyed while trying to control the camera. The motion controls in “Skyward Sword HD” are surprisingly accurate, but the more than 30 hours of gameplay will require a lot of swinging and shooting.

Skyward Sword HD” also allows players to combine button-only and motion controls, allowing them to point at the screen to aim or move the camera while still using the right analog stick to control weapons and other activities.

Thanks to its distinctive graphical design, the visuals of ‘Skyward Sword HD’ still seem fantastic.

Skyward Sword HD” upgrades the game’s visuals from 480p standard definition to a full 1080p high definition display, as the name implies. The frame rate has also been boosted to 60 frames per second, resulting in smoother animations than before.

While certain animations appear a little stiff after 12 years, the game’s art style and presentation have held up nicely. Nintendo also sped up the pace of “Skyward Sword” by including an auto-save tool, skipping monotonous text automatically, and speeding up mandatory conversations.

‘The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD' brings a divisive Nintendo game to a new generation on Switch

“Skyward Sword” doesn’t have the same level of open-world adventure as “Breath of the Wild,” but it does boast one of the largest Zelda environments to date. The dungeon designs are also noticeably more complicated than those in “Breath of the Wild,” particularly the shrine riddles.

‘Skyward Sword HD’ brings a classic game to a new generation, but it isn’t the finest Zelda on the Switch.

Though it shows its age at times, “Skyward Sword HD” is an amazing upgrade to a classic action-adventure game. It’s one of the best Switch exclusives of 2021, and we recommend it to any Nintendo Switch owner.

Fans of “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” will feel right at home, and gamers who bypassed the original “Skyward Sword’s” obligatory motion controls will have no trouble enjoying the game.

‘The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD' brings a divisive Nintendo game to a new generation on Switch

Newcomers to the “Zelda” brand might want to try “Breath of the Wild” or “The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening,” a reworked version of a series classic for the Switch, because the controls can still be a touch clunky.

‘Skyward Sword’ is currently available in stores, along with these other Nintendo Zelda memorabilia.

The Nintendo Switch version of “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD” is currently available. The game has a list price of $60, but some physical versions have already gone on sale for $10 discount. Nintendo’s eshop also has a digital version that you may download right to your Switch.

Nintendo is also selling Joy-Cons with a special “Skyward Sword” design and an amiibo figurine of Zelda and her loftwing, the soaring bird that assists her in her travels around Skyloft, in addition to the game.

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