Articles

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD Review

Will my praise of this game reach Skyloft, or will I come crashing through the clouds?


  • Genre: Adventure, Action
  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch
  • Developer | Publisher: Nintendo | Nintendo
  • Age Rating: PEGI 12 | ESRB Everyone 10+
  • Price: UK £49,99 | US $59,99 | EUR € 59,99
  • Release Date: 16-07-2021

No review code was provided, and all opinions contained below are my own.

I’ll just start by saying that this game is definitely worth the praise. It took me about 80 hours, but I could not put this game down. Having just finished Breath of the Wild, the controls were something I needed to get used to, but more on that later. I remember when I first got the sailcloth and I expected to glide like in BotW, but for those of you that haven’t played this game yet: that does not happen.

Story/Characters

Skyward Sword is set at the beginning of the Legend of Zelda timeline, telling the story of the formation of the Master Sword and the origin of the evil that would later be known as Ganon. It’s also the tale of Zelda and her knight Link, as it explores their relationship unlike anything we had seen previously. The story is well-paced and I loved learning about the rich history of Hyrule. Special shout-out to Demon-Lord Ghirahim who is the life of the party and a brilliant antagonist.

Gameplay

Originally released on the Wii in 2011 Skyward Sword was the last Zelda entry in the franchise before BotW and you can really tell how it influenced it, from the stamina counter to exploration, and catching critters for potions and stuff.

Having played Skyward Sword I really noticed what I’d been missing in BotW, and that’s the dungeons. BotW had its shrines and yeah, they’re okay, but it’s not the same. I missed exploring rooms in a dungeon, fighting enemies, solving puzzles and getting cool new items after beating really cool dungeon bosses, all the while every dungeon has its own theme and style. And the dungeons in Skyward Sword are really good, especially in the second half of the game!

We have to talk about the controls though. There are two ways to play Skyward Sword, either with motion control (like the original Wii version), or with buttons (this feature is new). While moving around and changing the camera angle was something I quickly got used to, I found that battling and especially getting your sword to slash in a certain direction quite a challenge. Especially with the buttons. During boss battles I’d sometimes switch to motion control, but that didn’t always work, so I’m just go back to buttons and just try to get it right. It was quite frustrating at times, but I got used to it eventually.

I’ve heard some people complain about how much effort it takes to travel to different areas, but I did not really mind that. You basically have to fly a lot with your Sky Wing and I enjoyed that.

Graphics, Sound and Performance

The game looks stunning! Hyrule is rich in colour and detail. The same applies to the dungeons. I haven’t played it on the OLED yet, but it’s going to look even better on that. The regular enemies and bosses look good as well.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the first Zelda game with a fully orchestrated soundtrack. And the music is honestly top notch. It’s so good I bought the soundtrack.

I mostly played the game in handheld mode and didn’t experience any frame rate drops. Apart from the aforementioned issues with the controls, I did not experience any performance issues. It runs quite smoothly actually. Also didn’t experience any delays when entering new areas.

Difficulty

Mastering the controls while trying to battle the dungeon bosses made the game initially more difficult than it should have been. Then again, once I got the hang of it, it was quite good. The dungeons have a pretty good difficulty level as you progress through the game. And after you’ve healed the dragon at Lanaryu, you unlock the Boss Rush mode, which lets you battle previous dungeon (mini-)bosses consecutively. It’s quite a fun mode and you don’t get to heal in between, so it really tests your skills.

Conclusion

This game is honestly amazing. The storytelling, the characters and lore, the dungeons and scenery. I just love this whole game. Apart from the controls which I had to get used to, honestly full praise. 9/10

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