Skyward Sword HD – Initial Thoughts

I love the Legend of Zelda series.  Ocarina of Time was an absolute turning point in my gaming life, Breath of the Wild holds the heady title of my favourite game of all time, and I’ve a slew of other Zelda titles under my belt.  Alas, I never had a Wii, and I never got chance to play Skyward Sword.

Often derided as “not really one of the good ones” and also noted for the impact it play story-wise on the ever-weird timeline.

Skyward Sword has always been on the periphery but never something I bothered about.  Until it was released as a HD remaster on Nintendo Switch! Better still, it was a leaving gift from my job.  So I had no outlay, didn’t need a Wii and now I get to play it.

Where will it rank in my favourites of the series?

Skyward Sword
 

First Impressions

Skyward Sword looks great! I love the vibrancy, the textures (obviously remastered) are decent, and the whole world has a Breath of the Wild/Wind Waker liveliness to it.

I was surprised straight away at the aesthetic. Having barely paid Skyward Sword any mind for a long long time, my expectations are low and frankly non-existent. I’m totally blind to this, and I love that.

Now, a few hours in, I’m hearing those all-so-familiar sounds of rupees, chests opened and pots smashed. It’s a beautiful symphony of sounds that have followed me for over 20 years. Nostalgia is kicking in and helping me ease into the game.

The multiple-choice conversation response is a surprise, I don’t recall seeing this before?  Although I’m not convinced that it has much bearing on anything, it’s nice to think I’m using my voice on behalf of the ever-silent Link.

As the story unfolds, Zelda disappears, and oddly, her dad is largely un-concerned. Perhaps due to faith in the old legends, and the fact that both she and Link are the chosen youth? I don’t know, but he’s pretty chill about the whole ordeal!

Skyward Sword is a strong start in terms of story and introduction to the world. The hand-holding hasn’t been too much, but that could continue beyond where I’m at right now.

Early impressions are that Breath of the Wild has taken quite a lot from Skyward Sword, and I would have never known it! Stamina meters, shields breaking and shield deflections, for instance.

 

Warning signs

Skyward Sword is shaping-up nicely, and to be honest I need to finish purely out of the need to have it in my list of Zelda games that I have played-through!

I refuse to play with motion controls. It really put me off back when it came out on Wii, and honestly, I just don’t enjoy wafting my arms around to play a game. Especially an adventure RPG that I suspect is going to requires some serious hours to finish.

The problem there is that the sword combat on a thumbstick isn’t great.  It’s not terrible and I’ll manage, but it doesn’t do it for me at all.

Combine that with the really odd decision to make free-looking require holding down a shoulder button, I’m always drawing a sword and swinging it, when I need to be seeing the world around me.  It’s a niggle at worst, but it can be very frustrating when trying to see what’s going on.

It’s a traditional Zelda, with dungeons, keys and maps. I love it, but Breath of the Wild liberated me from that and it’s going to take some getting used to to really sink back into the groove of a game like this.  It will come, but it won’t come as easily as I’d like.

 

So far…

Skyward Sword is looking good from the outset.  With the added Switch benefit of being able to play it almost anywhere, I’m encouraged to keep at it no matter the location.

With nostalgia, influence on Breath of the Wild and just a lovely aesthetic, it’s hard not to get suckered-in.  I just hope I can get past the combat and free-looking.

I can’t wait to get really deep into it, though and that’s a rare occurrence for me.  Knowing the mountain of hours I may need to climb, I’m not phased, and that’s really important.  Forcing yourself through a game is never a fun time.

So yeah, it’s brief, but initial impressions are mostly strong, and Skyward Sword is going up on my all-time Zelda list.  I just need to finish it to figure out where (note, it can’t be as bad as Twilight Princess…..)

I love me some Zelda

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