How long is Skyward Sword?
In 'Skyward Sword,” gamers can use the accurate Switch Joy-Cons to control Link's sword, shield and more. So if you plan to use the motion controls, you should plan on sweating. A lot. For about 80 hours. dailycamera.comRocky Mountain Gamer: Zelda’s ‘Skyward Sword’ soars to Switch
23 July, 2021 - 01:00am
In November 2011, I plugged my brand new MotionPlus attachment into the bottom of my Wii remote. I booted up the console, pointed my newly accessorized Wiimote at the screen and clicked on the icon for the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. A new Zelda title had finally arrived.
Skyward Sword HD deserves our attention, even if it's only a remaster. Nintendo isn't known for updating their older games, but they're always up for an HD or 3D remake. And Skyward Sword isn't a perfect game, but any addition to a franchise as influential as Zelda warrants discussion and critical review.
Skyward Sword radiates beauty and charm. My older brother once described it as a mixture of two other Zelda games, the cartoony brightness of Windwaker and the darker, realistic art style of Twilight Princess. When they combine, the result is a vibrant installment of a franchise that's constantly changing from game to game. Memorable characters like Ghirahim, the flamboyant, sadistic Demon Lord or Groose, the dumb jock crushing on Zelda, make cutscenes and dialogue entertaining (even if there is too much of it).
Skyward Sword's overworld is a breathtaking site. Skyloft, where your journey begins, is a quaint, yet thriving town perched above the clouds. Waterfalls cascade down into the puffy white sea below them as giant birds called Loftwings take flight with their owners. Tiny islands float around Skyloft, begging to be explored. Whether they house little shops or a rogue treasure chest, there is endless fun in the sky around your home base. A well-designed overworld, in my opinion, is one of the most important aspects of a game as linear as Skyward Sword. It's the perfect way to break up some of the game's monotony as you search for Zelda. When you have places like this to explore in your backyard, it makes coming home almost as much fun as the areas below the clouds.
Like many Zelda titles, our hero Link's got a trusty sidekick in Skyward Sword: A data-driven, AI-like spirit who inhabits your main weapon. Her name is Fi, and Zelda fans love to gripe about how annoying she was in the original game. And truth be told, they're right. Fi was constantly interrupting gameplay, bestowing painfully obvious hints about how to proceed while I was already running in that direction. You don't need to hold our hands, Fi; we got this.
Luckily, Skyward Sword HD makes her a bit more taciturn, which smooths the game a bit, allowing players the freedom to explore without interruption. Fi still pops up from time to time, and for folks new to Skyward Sword, she does provide the occasional helpful hint.
The Fi fix, however, does not resolve many of Skyward Sword's original pacing problems. The gameplay interruptions are constant; one moment you're running impatiently into a new environment, the next you're being cut off by a minor character with one too many lines of dialogue. It's frustrating having your desired pace obstructed and limited with meaningless interactions. Granted, some of these interactions are amusing, like an NPC being frightened when Fi pops out of your sword, but most are unnecessary and clumsy.
When Skyward Sword released on Wii, it was the first major title that experimented with Nintendo's new motion controls. The MotionPlus attachment that I mentioned earlier is a small upgrade to the original Wii remote; it could identify directional swings, opening up the chance for developers to make combat more interesting. An enemy is blocking your downward sword swings? Slice from side to side to expose its weak points.
Oftentimes, a gimmick like motion control is limited to one specific game, or short era of games. Take the Xbox Kinect, for instance: it was popular very briefly in the early 2010s, but never produced games of note. The novelty wore off. The Wii MotionPlus wasn't dissimilar; Skyward Sword was the only major release that required motion controls, and Nintendo never brought it to other core franchises like Mario or Pokémon. Needless to say, it wasn't an overwhelming success.
In Skyward Sword HD, players have two options: continue to wield the gimmick from ten years ago (Joy-Cons detached) or switch to button-only controls while using a traditional controller. Similar to the original Skyward Sword, the motion controls on Switch are cloddish. Constantly recentering my pointer felt no different than it did ten years ago, but with increasing frustration because I was expecting the technology to have improved after a decade; I eventually stuck exclusively to the button-only controls.
Despite their imperfections, 'Skyward Sword' and its HD remaster are memorable games.
It took some getting used to, but the button-only controls worked well for me. Rather than swing a Joy-Con, I could simply tilt the control stick to influence my sword swings. After about an hour of adjusting, I found it much easier to play when I didn't need to waste time recalibrating the motion controls.
Despite their imperfections, Skyward Sword and its HD remaster are memorable games. And while my younger self wants me to enjoy the game as much as I did back then, there are noticeable stumbling blocks that trip me up as I give it a refreshed playthrough. I still love this game, don't get me wrong. But when you play a game like the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild only a couple of years beforehand, an older Zelda just feels a bit stale, especially one whose repetitive, linear gameplay leaves me wanting more.
21 July, 2021 - 12:28pm
Skyward Sword HD is one of those rare, once-in-a-lifetime mystical games that’s enthralling, immersive, and a lot of fun. It’s not only the best Zelda game, but one of the greatest games of all-time. Skyward Sword HD fixes every quality of life flaw which was present in the original, something that fans have been asking for for years, which enhances the gameplay experiences. It was a great game, but now it’s a masterpiece. There are no more annoyances. Skyward Sword HD has the best story in the Zelda franchise, it has the best dungeons, the best puzzles, and it has the most developed characters and sidequests, not to mention the best iterations of both Link and Zelda in the series. Many herald Breath of the Wild as the greatest Zelda game of all-time and the greatest game of all-time; they are severely mistaken. Skyward Sword HD is superior in almost every facet.
There are two things that make Skyward Sword HD stand out so much are the story and the gameplay. So much care went into the gameplay, both the button controls and, of course, the motion controls. The motion controls are mostly the same, but they are much more precise which makes for a much smoother experience. The story is not only one of the best stories in the Zelda franchise, but one of the best stories in all of gaming, period. It may not have the bravado like a game like Final Fantasy VII, but its execution is perfection. It’s the perfect origin story for The Legend of Zelda, and is one of the few entries in the saga that has a coherent story. Both the story and the gameplay enhance the experience so much. The game is incredibly immersive. You feel like you are Link. As Link grows, you grow. Link faces many trials throughout his journey, and Zelda puts it best.
Skyward Sword HD is the only game where I felt so immersed in the experience that I felt like I was Link. I grew spiritually as Link grew, which I think is the entire point the developers were trying to get across. The motion controls only enhanced this aspect of the game, and still enhance it to this day. The Link and Zelda of Skyward Sword are also the best iterations of the characters to date. Both are so expressive, much moreso than their predecessors and their successors. When Link got angry, upset, happy, uplifted, etc., I did. This may not be everyone’s experience, but this is such a rare thing in gaming and there are very few, if any games, that can replicate this. Zelda is not a princess in this game, but she’s actually much more than that, without spoiling anything. These are two classic characters, the best in all of video games, and while they may be underappreciated elsewhere, they are not here. When analyzing a game, all of these factors have to be taken into account. Skyward Sword is, based on this alone, the best Zelda game, but there is more yet to come!
Skyward Sword HD has some wonderful characters. Groose is one that stands out. Unlike other Zelda games, Skyward Sword HD has actual character development. Groose goes from your neighborhood bully to a true hero and one to be counted on. Fledge, another character, begins out as a weakling and a coward but learns the value of strength from Link. The sidequests in the game are not only enjoyable and don’t feel like a chore, but they are actually rewarding. Gratitude Crystals actually net you some necessary pouch items and a lot of Rupees, which you need a lot of in Skyward Sword HD. Goddess Cubes have items for your pouch, Rupees, and other various items that are pertinent for your quest. Compared to other Zelda games, it’s not even a contest: Skyward Sword HD has the best sidequests of them all. One sidequest even opens up one of the best minigames in the franchise, which actually has an excellent reward. There is also so much variety in your quests that it never gets old. This is just one of the special aspects of Skyward Sword HD, but one of the most important ones. It sets the game apart not only from other Zelda games, but other games as a whole, which is why it is a masterpiece.
Skyward Sword HD has seven dungeons in the game, eight if you count the re-tread into Skyview Temple, and numerous mini-dungeons. The puzzles are excellent, the boss battles are some of the best in the series (though perhaps not the best as a whole), and the variety of the dungeons is what keeps them fresh and exciting. Sky Keep is the ultimate puzzle dungeon. While it does not have a boss, it takes your critical thinking skills to new heights, forcing you to think long and hard about every step you make. Lanayru Mines also stands out with its devious puzzles and its Timeshift Stone mechanics, as well as the Fire Sanctuary, the Ancient Cistern, and the Sandship (which utilizes the Timeshift Stones as well.) There are also some of the best boss battles in the series. Koloktos is both unique, difficult, and a lot of fun to play against. Ghirahim x3 may sound like overkill, but each battle is different giving it a level of variety. The other boss battles are interesting, but not on the level of these two (although it adds up to four), and that’s not even taking into account the final boss. Another thing that needs to be talked about is the items in the game. There are several newcomers, such as the Beetle, Whip, the Mogma Mitts, and the Gust Bellow. Surprisingly, all of these items are used fairly frequently; none of them are only used a handful of times and then tossed aside. This enhances the gameplay experience and Nintendo must have been listening to criticism from Twilight Princess. All in all, the dungeons, puzzles, and bosses are among the best in the Zelda franchise and enhances the aspects of Skyward Sword HD which are already superb.
Skyward Sword HD is a masterpiece. It is among, if not the best, game on the Nintendo Switch, whether you’re playing with motion controls or button controls. It has an excellent story, superb characterizations of both classic characters and newcomers, and some of the best puzzles, dungeons, and boss battles in all of The Legend of Zelda. It also has excellent sidequests which only enhance side characters and fleshes them out, giving them character development, something Skyward Sword’s successors didn’t do. Skyward Sword HD is the definitive Zelda game and the perfect origin story for the franchise. There’s so much to say about the game but so little space, but this can definitely be said: Skyward Sword HD is the best Zelda game of all-time.
Morgan Lewis is a Video Game Journalist and is the Founder, Owner, and Editor-in-Chief of VGCultureHQ. He has been writing about games for eight years and has written 3,000 articles during that timeframe. He first fell in love with gaming when he received A Link to the Past for Christmas when he was six, and is the guywazeldatatt. He also loves anime and anything that has to do with gaming culture. He is a huge fan of Zelda, Xenosaga, Zero Escape, Star Wars, and Attack on Titan.