The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the sixteenth main entry in Nintendo’s popular action-adventure videogame series, it is easily the second most controversial game in the series due to its emphasis on motion controls a feature many players dislike, A HD version of the game released in 2021 which promised to fix these issues. I have had experience with both versions of the game and I have a lot of opinions on this so called HD improvement so without further ado lets get straight into it.
Taking place at the very beginning of the timeline the three goddesses Farore, Din and Nayru created the triforce (a magical artifact able to grant the wishes of who ever possesses it. The Demon King Demise causes destruction and wrath in a desperate search for such power eventually being defeated by the great goddess Hylia and the few survivors of the world.
Many years later, the survivors future kin live on an island of the sky name Skyloft, here a young knight name Link has just passed his final exam to become a knight, at the same time as passing the test the Princess Zelda is taken into the skies by Dark clouds leaving Link to leave Skyloft to rescue her not yet realising the massive quest that he has coming his way.
Before discussing the gameplay I want it clear that most of the images I am using from this point forward are from the HD version due to how much cleaner they look compared to the original (see the image above). Although both are very impressive for the hardware they are played on the HD is generally better for seeing the finer details.
The main new mechanic of this game is how to traverse the skies, you are given a bird which you can use to fly to the different islands of the skies and to access the different parts of the world beneath the clouds. The motion controls for flying while not great do work well enough that once you get the hang of things you can eventually travel with ease. I thought the idea of flying was really ambitious but the lack of real areas to explore outside of the main quest doesn’t give players much incentive to try and find secrets which is a shame as that was originally the whole point of the series. There are some fun minigames to play and chests to find but apart from this there is nothing much here.
By far the best area of the game is Skyloft because not only is it the most diverse and interesting but almost all of the side quests start here. The three areas you can visit beneath the clouds are all very visually appealing and creative but they are linear and again do not really encourage players to explore freely.
Taking a positive spin I actually really like the temples in this game, Zelda games are known for themed dungeons which are packed full of puzzles and challenges, this is no exception and to top it off not only are only are these some of the most creative in the series and on par with Twilight Princesses but they are the most visually appealing as well.
The are only a few in the game but they are very large and again very creative, one dungeon takes place inside of an active Volcano, another on top of an invisible pirate ship, the final dungeon has you rotating the rooms and even the water dungeon is really fun and was actually one my favourites which is saying a lot considering how much I disliked the water dungeons in Ocarina and Twilight.
Apart from its characters and puzzle, one of the best of a parts of a Zelda game is the combat, unfortunately the motion control issues I never saw any improvement in the HD version but thankfully a new control method was optionable allowing you to flick the joysticks to imitate motion swings and this did work much better, its still has some issues with pulling off finisher moves and some times it is difficult to get the perfect angle for an attack but it is doable and a good addition to the new version.
A character named Fi is introduced here as the spirit of the goddess sword or the master sword as it is more commonly known, this is its origin story and explains how the sword has its godly powers in all future installments, the character is fine but interrupts the player with hints far too often in the original version, in the HD version these hints were optional and is another point in the remakes favour.
Skyward Sword is a game that I do actually really like but I just cant look past the issues with its controls and linear gameplay. Its really hard for me to judge it to harshly because I really like the dungeons, the music, visuals and the story but its lack of really memorable side content does make it feel a little lackluster compared to what came before it and while this is a really fun game it just really needed more explorable areas, they could have had larger sky area with lots of little secrets and islands, similar to the ocean in Wind Waker instead of the empty rocks you can land on here often only holding one or two chests.
So thats my opinion of Skyward Sword it is a really weird one for me to rank because from a gameplay perspective I really like this but I just don’t get excited to replay it again, it fails to have that feel of adventure that you get from games such as a Link to the Past, Ocarina of time, Majoras Mask and Windwaker but as controversial as this may be I do think its better than Twilight Princess as the world is less boring and I do really like the vibrant colours and visuals here much more as well as its plot and characters so I think the fairest scores I can give these games are
Skyward Sword 6.2/10
Skywards Sword HD 6.5/10 (mostly due to more control options and less Fi interruptions!)
I skipped a few games to cover this one since the remake just released however I do plan of finishing and reviewing those last few games so next time we do Zelda it will be Phantom Hourglass.
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