REVIEW: ‘Skyward Sword HD’ Improves the Original Game (Switch)

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legend of zelda skyward sword HD

The Legend of Zelda franchise is one of the most famous and historic video game franchises of all time, so it is no surprise to see Nintendo taking every chance they get to make the older games more available to new audiences. The remake of Link’s Awakening for the Nintendo Switch was actually the first Legend of Zelda game that really helped sell me wholeheartedly on the franchise. I had played several of the older games before, but none really drew me in like Link’s Awakening. That is until they released the HD remake of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Skyward Sword HD) on the Nintendo Switch. I missed out on the game when it was originally released on the Wii in 2011, so having a chance to play it now with some quality of life improvements was a treat.

Skyward Sword HD is an action-adventure game that actually serves as the chronological start of the entire Legend of Zelda timeline. I’m not going to pretend to understand how the entire timeline works, but if you are the type of person who wants to play through everything chronologically then this is the place to start. Legend of Zelda games do not typically require knowledge of other games in order to make sense, but I won’t judge anyone for wanting to binge such a great series. Since Skyward Sword HD serves as the canonical start, we get a chance to see series mainstays, Link and Zelda, from the beginning of their character development.  We also get to see the origin of the famous Master Sword and Triforce, as well as interesting side characters like Groose.

The story of the game is fairly standard for a Legend of Zelda game. The main character Link is tasked with saving the world from assured destruction, with Zelda both helping and needing Link’s help at various times. I won’t give any major details for anyone who, like me, had not played the game before, but rest assured the story is very interesting. If you’re interested at all in any of the Legend of Zelda lore, you will definitely gain a lot from playing through Skyward Sword HD.

The gameplay is also what you would expect from a Legend of Zelda game. The main action takes place in various dungeons, and some of them are extremely well done. Unfortunately, some of them can also be a little too familiar and did not always keep me as engaged as I would have liked. The bosses are also extremely hit or miss in the game, more so than the dungeons themselves. I found a good chunk of them to be pretty tedious and repetitive, but there are some real solid standouts towards the end of the game that helps make up for the lower quality ones.

The game also looks great, despite being only an HD remaster of a Wii game. None of the art is redone or made to look like a fresh game from 2021, but the designs are interesting as always and at times are really impressiveSkyward Sword HD is not a graphical masterpiece, but it doesn’t claim to be. It’s still a Legend of Zelda game, so fans are going to be very happy with the setting and the way it all looks.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the absolute worst part of the game; the controls. The original version leaned exclusively on motion controls since it was a Wii game. Those controls are extremely divisive for many, and I understand why. Skyward Sword HD does give an alternate option to motion controls, but I’m not really convinced it’s any better. You have the option to use the thumbsticks to replicate the motion controls, but the constant flicking instead of normal button presses and moves gets old very quickly. I never got to the point where the controls made me want to stop playing, but I can see how some people would be really turned off to the point that they don’t finish what is an otherwise excellent game.

On a more positive note, Skyward Sword HD upholds the Legend of Zelda tradition of having some truly remarkable music. If you have read any of my previous reviews you’ll know that music in a game is extremely important to me, and Skyward Sword absolutely succeeds in that department. Groose’s theme is an absolute bop and the various boss battle themes are quite good as well.

Overall, the Skyward Sword HD remaster is an excellent game worth playing despite some of it’s flaws. There are some quality-of-life improvements throughout that may not stick out as obviously as you would expect, but they really help the gameplay a bit more like a modern game despite the janky controls. It may not be as beloved as Link to the Past or Ocarina of Time, but Skyward Sword HD is absolutely a game worth your time.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD is available now, wherever games are sold.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

Overall, the Skyward Sword HD remaster is an excellent game worth playing despite some of it’s flaws. There are some quality of life improvements throughout that may not stick out as obviously as you would expect, but they really help the game play a bit more like a modern game despite the janky controls. It may not be as beloved as Link to the Past or Ocarina of Time, but Skyward Sword is absolutely a game worth your time.