Console Corner: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD Nintendo Switch review
If any Wii title deserved a high-definition remaster to bring it back to life on the Nintendo Switch it is the brilliant Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
A full decade on from the 2011 Wii original, the Switch welcomed Skyward Sword HD earlier this month.
Gameplay in Skyward Sword HD is largely unchanged from the original game with Link primarily using his sword and shield, bow and arrows and bombs.
The remaster features two control methods. One aims to replicate the functions of the Wii Remote Plus and Nunchuck through improved motion controls on the Joy-Con. The other aims to replicate a traditional control scheme by using the right analog stick to control the previously motion-controlled sword. The latter method allows the game to be played in handheld mode, on a Pro Controller and on the Nintendo Switch Lite - which is important to know before you purchase.
It goes without saying that the Switch version features higher-resolution graphics and now plays at 60 frames per second.
Other quality of life features added include autosave and the ability to save to any of the three save files instead of just the original file.
If you did not have the Wii you may not be aware that the original Skyward Sword was one of the most controversial Zelda titles in the franchise’s rich history. That was down to the controversial use of motion controls for such a blue ribband game. Things aren’t perfect in the remaster by any means, but the tweaks definitely improve the experience without a shadow of a doubt.
Dungeons are cleverly designed (would you expect anything else from a Zelda game!?) and the crowning achievement, as ever, is the fact they are just so, so satisfying to solve.
The story is emotive and original and accompanied by what is surely one of the best soundtracks we have heard in any Zelda game to date.
Any grind is softened by the improvements previously mentioned and the speed of play is infinitely more enjoyable and balanced as a result.
Interestingly, while the motion controls were controversial in the original, it is the button-only controls which have drawn criticism in the remaster. That’s because they feel somewhat clumsy and awkward. The Switch’s gyro controls are very responsive but seem to go askew all too often and I found myself having to redo them quite frequently.
But they are minor blemishes on what is a brilliant addition to the Switch roster which is packed full of the usual Nintendo charm.
Zelda’s characters and the enthralling story seem to get better with the passing of time. Improved graphics and performance take Skyward Sword to the next level and it is no overstatement to say it is better than ever.