The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD is an adventure worth taking, a chance to reevaluate one of the largest and most experimental games in the series’ history.
Link spends most of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD looking a little ridiculous. Sprinting breathlessly from one sprawling settlement to the next, the Goddess Sword held awkwardly aloft by an extended arm that refuses to lower. It’s a visual distraction, one born out of Nintendo’s decision to set motion controls aside in this Switch remaster. While it does mean that Link resembles a kid who is expressly warned never to run with scissors, and is doing so anyway in gleeful defiance, it’s but a small price to pay for precise input and action.
When this ambitious adventure first launched for Nintendo Wii in 2011, we were promised an experiment in theatricality. GameCube’s Wind Waker and Twilight Princess let us recount grand adventures as if we were flipping through them in a painterly picture book, but Skyward Sword would let us live this journey for ourselves. The Wii Remote would register every flick of the wrist and MotionPlus would translate it into nuanced action – play-acting as we had never experienced it before. The results were divisive. Nintendo may have given us a stage to perform on, but the technology wasn’t ready to bring its vision to life.