By Jeison Liranzo
The Legend of Zelda franchise has recently made a comeback with a remake of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD. Just as many older Nintendo offerings have done, this gone through some updates from the original Wii U offering that was released on November 30, 2011. If it was an album of music, it would be called a remaster. Nintendo included changes to the graphics, the game controls, characters, along with some dialogue and game mechanics.
The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword is about our main character Link going on a journey to find his childhood friend Zelda. This the trope in all of the series’ games. The setup? The two of them lived on a floating island in the sky called Skyloft along with other villagers. On the day that we won a Loftwing competition, basically a bird flying competition on the wing ceremony to move up the ranks in the Knight academy, we go on a ride with Zelda. But we encounter a tornado that causes Zelda to fall to the surface. We then meet Fi who told us that Zelda was alive on the surface and informs us that we have been the chosen hero who has to go on a mission to save Zelda and defeat Ganondorf. As we explore each sometimes creepy dungeon, we get closer to Zelda. At the end of the game we have to defeat Ganondorf. We can’t bring her back until he is defeated – and he proves hard to bring down!
Despite the classic formula, Skyward Sword brims with its own originality. Unlike unlike other Zelda games, this time we revisit the same areas of the map over and over again, opening up new locations every time to explore so that we can find our way to Zelda. We also meet a lot of goofy characters like Bucha, Gully, Cobal, and we are introduced to the mysterious and beautiful Fi, a blue fairy-like creature who is our sword and guide. She was created by the goddess Hylia to aid us on our quest. The game also has many side missions that you could do if you ever wanted to take a break from the main mission, for example there is a food delivery side quest that you have to do to pay off your debt for destroying a chandelier (if you destroyed it for the heart that was in the chandelier).
My favorite part of the Zelda game was how every dungeon had a different aesthetic. One was forest theme, another was desert theme, and another was like a volcano theme. All dungeons had their different play styles and puzzles, some of which were difficult to figure out. For example, one of the dungeons required you to travel by riding a rock so you wouldn’t die from the lava, and in another one, you had to hit a crystal in order to get rid of quicksand.
Every boss had their unique way of being defeated, and they also had their different fighting styles which made them all memorable. For example, the final demon lord battle had me making the evil one fall into a floor below the one we were battling in order to be able to hit him and finish him. After the first part of the battle we have to reflect upon the attacks of the enemy to be able to deal damage to him all while having to dodge the enemy blades. In his final form, I had to destroy his weapon in order to deal damage to him.
But I found some of the bosses’ fights too simple. Their moves were easy to predict and then, avoid. For example, the scorpion boss and the imprisoned (sealed grounds) battles were so predictable and easy to get the hang of, so unlike the other the final demon lord Ghirahim battle.
Something that I didn’t enjoy that much about the game was how Stamina worked because there was no item to increase my stamina amount and the little amount of stamina I had would run out quickly which would cause me to be defenseless during a battle. I couldn’t continue running away until it recharged. Sword attacks in the game require you to use stamina so you might be in trouble quite often. A way to stop yourself from running out of stamina was to use a stamina potion but that only lasted for a while and I wasn’t able to carry many of them at the same time. Something else I didn’t enjoy about the game was how difficult the controls were unless you play the game on TV with both joysticks out of the Switch.
I love the visuals, though, because of how colorful the scenarios are and how goofy some of the characters’ designs are like the gully and the Faron Woods creatures’ design. The design of the game didn’t go that much into greatly detailing the characters or environments, yet It looked really compelling, even cozy. I think it all fit the soundtrack of the game since it made the game more calming, unless I was in a battle.
Speaking of the soundtrack and sound design I honestly was expecting more but I liked how the design had a nostalgic feeling to it like the opening chest sound and receiving a new item sound. I really enjoyed how the music went well with all the scenes of the game. For example, the part where Link and Zelda meet again brought more to emotion and even romance into the scene.
I don’t know why but I kind of wanted characters to have voice actors when they interacted with each other. The script was all in text so we don’t really get to absorb much emotion from the characters besides facial expression.
In my experience playing the game, I didn’t experience any performance issues which I am happy for because I’m always experiencing glitches or malfunction with other games. I really recommend that people play this game because I found it entertaining, nostalgic, and it also had a riveting story. A very good, updated package overall!
Jeison is our newest New York Videogame Critics Circle contributing intern, part of our ongoing partnership with the Bronx’s DreamYard Prep School.