In June 2021, on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of one of their most popular and influential franchises, The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo upset many of its customers.
The previous year, during the anniversary of the original Mario, Nintendo had given gamers the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection, which brought Mario titles from three different consoles onto the Nintendo Switch. Hoping for something similar, until this June Zelda fans were speculating about which games from the series would be included.
Instead of a collection, though, Nintendo provided a remaster of only a single Zelda title. To add insult to injury, the company picked what is according to Metacritic the worst-rated of the 3D entries: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. The rerelease allowed fans to revisit the game, now with an HD attached to its name, before the release of Breath of the Wild 2.
Fans were unhappy. They were getting one Zelda game instead of three. Second, although Skyward Sword has a 9/10 rating, many fans regard it as the weakest of the 3D entries; not bad, but not as good as the others. Moreover, Skyward Sword was the most recent 3D Zelda release; people had been hoping to play something they hadn’t played in a long time, not something so recent. The price tag didn’t help either.
Despite such complaints, there are some good reasons to get Skyward Sword HD.
It’s Probably Going to Be Connected to Breath of the Wild 2
The Zelda timeline is notoriously confusing. But one thing we know for sure about Skyward Sword is that it is canonically the first game in the franchise, telling us how the story begins. This fact is important when you look at the trailer for Breath of the Wild 2, released in the same presentation. Breath of the Wild 2 involves an overt mechanism of time reversal or time travel. The creators have extended the world of Hyrule by allowing players to go up into the ancient skies of the kingdom.
Skyward Sword takes place in Skyloft, a land among the clouds. I bet that these are the ruins we will be entering in Breath of the Wild 2. This may be one reason that Nintendo decided to rerelease Skyward Sword so shortly before releasing the sequel.
Skyward Sword Has Many of the Things People Loved About Breath of the Wild, But It’s Simpler
Breath of the Wild has been much appreciated for its crafting systems and unique ways of enabling you to gather materials to progress and to improve your gear. These systems were based on Skyward Sword. But there’s a big difference. Breath of the Wild is overwhelming; Skyward Sword is much more contained. You can accomplish everything in the game, including improving your equipment to the max, without burning out.
As Unique As Every Zelda
The greatest strength of the Zelda franchise is that the creators innovate in every game, trying new mechanics and keeping what works. Every Zelda game is unique; you can’t know what all of them are like just by playing one of them. The same is true of Skyward Sword. The motion-control combat, the crafting, and the tone set it apart from every other entry in the franchise. As long as you like the core parts of Zelda, these distinctive features provide a nice new take on the games.
The Combat Is Great
Many people hate the motion-control combat in Skyward Sword. Not me. Although there are some technical problems, I’d argue that much of the distaste is provoked by having to do something so unfamiliar. Yet the ability to slash directionally, a unique aspect of the game, adds a lot of depth to swordplay. This element shines bright during certain boss fights. There is nothing like having to block the direction a swing is coming from and find a way around the opponent’s guard. In any case, Skyward Sword HD promises to solve many of the technical problems with the combat.
A major antagonist of Skyward Sword is the Demon Lord Ghirahim. His fights are some of the best in the game, making you feel as if you’re really in a heated sword fight with a challenging opponent. Ghirahim’s theme and the battle theme are two of my favorite tunes in the series, and are well worth listening to even if you dislike the combat itself.
Like Majora’s Mask, Skyward Sword probably has some of the most interesting and unconventional items and tools in the Zelda Series, from the Gust Bellows to the Beetle. Although they may not be applicable in other Zelda games, they’re well worth playing with in Skyward Sword.