The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD made a nasty recreation good. However Skyward Sword deserves much more than it acquired.
Skyward Sword HD provides me the prospect to throw my Wii Remotes within the rubbish the place they belong, in change for analog stick controls on Change. The result’s a much more exact, enjoyable, and enjoyable expertise than the unique Wii recreation. However Skyward Sword HD is hamstrung by its previous: even with movement controls turned off, the sport is full of awkward motion-first mechanics that really feel extra like a workaround than an replace. Skyward Sword didn’t want a remaster, it wanted a remake.
The nonsense isn’t gone, solely hidden
The unique Skyward Sword modified up the usual Zelda controls via the Wii Distant, forcing gamers to swing their arm as in the event that they have been Hyperlink himself, slashing with the Grasp Sword. However the Wii Distant was an imprecise software, and it was infuriating to undergo the trouble of swinging diagonally and to the fitting so as to hit an enemy’s weak level just for the sport to interpret it as a horizontal proper slash. Worse, it made the sport very troublesome to play whereas sitting down — the place I, and I’d assume many individuals, choose to take whereas enjoyable with a Zelda recreation.
Skyward Sword HD isn’t just like the “faucet A to slice” Zelda video games of outdated, nor does it have Twilight Princess’ particular combo assaults. As an alternative, I can management the Grasp Sword with the Professional Controller’s proper analog stick. No fight is easy in Skyward Sword HD, however with the elimination of movement controls, it’s a minimum of snug and exact — one thing the unique model positively was not.
Nonetheless, the odd remnants of the unique Skyward Sword and its obsession with movement controls stay. The fight will certainly appear odd to gamers who don’t know the sport’s “motion-first” historical past, and actions like rotating the boss key to suit into its keyhole are downright complicated. Skyward Sword is full of these random moments that remind you what it as soon as was, like utilizing Hyperlink’s sword to attract on partitions to get hearts or bombs. It was clunky with movement controls, but it surely’s utterly misplaced when utilizing a controller.
These movement management moments are jarring, however Skyward Sword HD’s new controls additionally endure from attempting to work across the Wii Distant’s restricted button structure. You profit from having the ability to simply flip Skulltulas by swiping up, or stabbing a crystal out of an Armos’ open mouth with a click on of the stick. However easy actions like shifting the digicam makes Skyward Sword really feel like a remastered Nintendo 64 title, the place I’m spending as a lot time attempting to see what’s in entrance of me as I’m shifting my character.
To maneuver Hyperlink’s digicam — with out jarringly resetting it behind his again — you must maintain the fitting shoulder button after which transfer the fitting stick, overriding its assault capabilities. You may’t even try this when sprinting. The fitting stick, which has historically managed the digicam in video games for the reason that invention of twin analog sticks, is true there — however as an alternative of simply utilizing it to assist me see the place I’m going, I’ve to make use of it to manage Skyward Sword’s gimmicky fight as an alternative.
Skyward Sword HD is full of these varieties of wierd frustrations. None of them are game-ruining, however they’re annoying. It’s like Nintendo bulldozed over a rocky subject, turning it into a stunning highway. However the rocks are nonetheless there, beneath the floor, and typically they poke up via the asphalt.
Why a remake?
Remasters permit builders an opportunity to fine-tune an outdated recreation, or add new instruments just like the 3DS model of Majora’s Masks’s Bomber’s Pocket book. However a remaster additionally has to depend on what was there earlier than. Remakes, in fact, take way more time and sources to create than a remaster — simply take a look at Remaining Fantasy 7: Remake and the way lengthy followers waited for that — however they will depart from a few of the recreation’s unique design selections to make one thing that feels fashionable. Remakes can be taught from earlier errors by constructing one thing “new” from the bottom up, the place remasters are sometimes locked into what was.
A few of the workarounds in Skyward Sword HD really feel like patching a gap in your home and never portray it to match the partitions: It doesn’t look fairly, but it surely’s purposeful. A Skyward Sword remake may’ve given Nintendo an opportunity to discover a few of Skyward Sword’s actually good concepts with out an ungainly remnant surfacing each hour or so. A remade Skyward Sword with higher digicam controls and extra conventional Zelda “mash A to combo” fight may have eliminated a few of the recreation’s obstacles whereas nonetheless that includes the necessary story and (principally) unimaginable dungeons.
The best argument towards a remake, except for growth sources, is that we would lose a few of what makes unimaginable dungeons like Sandship and Sky Maintain iconic. However the four-way lock that I open with my sword isn’t what makes the Historic Cistern dungeon good, it’s what jogs my memory of the sport that Skyward Sword was.
A very good remake can open an older recreation to a totally new viewers whereas additionally holding onto what made the unique particular. Up to now handful of years, we’ve gotten each Resident Evil 2 and Remaining Fantasy 7 remakes, and each are answerable for pulling gamers like me — who hardly ever touched the originals — headlong into outdated franchises. These video games felt new, re-envisioned for a contemporary era whereas evoking what got here earlier than. Skyward Sword’s remaster doesn’t really feel that approach. It’s the sport we had a decade in the past, however with extra responsive fight that doesn’t depend on movement controls. It’s the model of the sport I’ll gladly use in my subsequent Zelda playthrough, however not like the most effective remakes of the previous 5 years, you’d by no means confuse Skyward Sword for a 2021 title. It holds on to simply sufficient of its previous that it feels dated, reasonably than new.
I’ve spent years hating Skyward Sword. Hell, I replayed it final winter and hated it. With the movement controls stripped away, Skyward Sword’s wonderful content material high quality is simpler to see than ever, and I’m virtually shocked to see how a lot the sport’s shitty play expertise coated up a terrific online game. However as I lastly really feel snug enjoying Skyward Sword and begin rating its numerous dungeons and devices among the many collection’ greats, I can’t assist however marvel what may’ve been if Nintendo had gone a step additional.