The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword it's a very controversial title. Since its announcement, the first chapter entirely developed on the Wii attracted a lot of criticism. Accomplice a presentation on the stage of theE3 disastrous to say the least, the historic Nintendo saga seemed to have lost all its verve. A chapter far from the glories of Ocarina of Time, even more distant from the oceanic expanses of Wind Waker that had made us dream so much, diametrically opposed to the dark spirit of Majora's Mask. Skyward Sword represented the end of a path and, paradoxically, also its maximum expression, which however came out of time. The title directed by Hidemaro Fujibayashi (the father of Breath of the Wild) summed up everything that had become the saga after Ocarina of Time. Today the title is revived on Switch in a revised and corrected version that perhaps does justice to a title forgotten too quickly.
One large dungeon
Over the years, environmental puzzles had progressively replaced the exploration of the overworld, making it practically useless. Already in Ocarina's time, the lands of Hyrule were nothing more than a mere link between one area and another and, over the years, they have become more and more so. Fujibayashi, endorsed by Aonuma, did nothing but remove the superfluous within the work. The connection areas between one dungeon and another became, in essence, a labyrinth within a labyrinth. Skyward Sword no longer left room for exploration in the purest sense of the term. The criticisms on this aspect, however, were decidedly spurious. In fact, the lack of a mechanic that does not clearly fall within the intentions of its creators certainly cannot be counted among the defects.
The chapter released on Wii is the extremeization of Aonuma's vision of the Zelda saga
Skyward Sword's main problem was, essentially, its competitors. While the world had admired Red Dead Redemption and was preparing to put his hand - in the same year - on Skyrim, Nintendo proposed a vision of high quality but extremely niche. As the world opened, Nintendo closed, taking refuge in the most extreme backtracking and refining every single detail of its new chapter of the franchise. There isn't a single detail in the chapter for Wii that isn't programmed to the millimeter and that doesn't go through solving a little environmental puzzle. There is no room for imagination or for trying to fail. Impossible to approach such a video game thinking of dealing with it in your own way. The care in the level design was so extreme and obsessive that it passed by default. The pecurial control system did the rest ...
Sword and shield, but for real!
For the first time in the history of the saga, the idea of originality was not entrusted to a precise mechanics, but to the control system. Thanks to the Wii motion sensors, Skyward Sword was conceived around the movement of the sword and shield reproduced 1: 1. It was not just a habit but a real mechanic. Puzzles and combats were based entirely on motion control so as to take the concept of combat system to extremes. Fighting enemies meant analyzing their movements and moving the sword according to them. This fil rouge extended to puzzles by packaging what is the most refined product built around motion controls. The remastering started from this aspect.
We completed The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword in about 35 hours finishing it at 100%.Duration
- The main adventure can be completed in about 25 hours. To complete the game 100% it takes about ten more hours.
- Skyward Sword is a third-person action adventure heavily focused on dungeons and environmental puzzles with a strongly linear structure.
- The game features a fair amount of collectibles, as well as the classic collection of heart fragments typical of each chapter of the saga.
Quality of life
Nintendo itself, during the communication campaign around the title, wanted to stress several times that it was not a simple remastered. Many elements have been retouched, starting with the movement controls. In addition, therefore, to the classic controls imported from Wii, here rendered in a more precise way thanks to a more advanced hardware, Nintendo is also committed to implementing more "classic" controls. It was impossible to eliminate the realistic movement of the sword, unless the whole game had to be reprogrammed. A hybrid solution was therefore chosen that relegated the movement of the sword to the right analog stick. The solution is not only optimal but, we are sorry to admit, it makes the action more frenetic and less frustrating. Once you become familiar with the more classic controls, the game benefits from practically every point of view.
The changes and additions to this new edition have been small but numerous
Nintendo's fixes didn't stop there and the changes were numerous. The pedantic initial tutorial has been lightened, as has the unbearable guide (Faih!) That accompanies us throughout the adventure. The ability to speed up dialogue is another welcome addition. In short, many small corrections that would seem insignificant but which, if considered as a whole, make the adventure much more fluid, making it appreciated the many advantages.
Farewell to impressionism
To get around the technical limitations of Wii, the game's art style was inspired by the impressionistic style. The limited visual horizon was mitigated by a splendid watercolor style that echoed the French artistic current of the late 800th century. The result was excellent at the time, also considering the limited hardware available. This remastered brings with it the 60 fps but also a general cleaning of the textures up to a resolution increase to 1080p. Paradoxically, this increase in resolution kills a bit the initial intent of the designers, even if it certainly returns a cleaner and more pleasant image, also thanks to the improvement of many textures.
Nostalgia operation or historical recovery?
Difficult to define this remastered among the nostalgia operations. Given the controversy of the title in question, it is clear that Nintendo is willing to streamline the work, get it out of the limbo of motion controls and re-propose it in a revised and corrected version. Skyward Sword was a brave title that featured exceptional dungeons (perhaps among the best of the saga) but which was definitely out of time. Today, after the hangover of the open world and having channeled the saga towards a rosy future after the new course of Breath of the Wild, Nintendo can perhaps afford to finally present this peculiar chapter with all the dignity it deserves.
New players will be able to rediscover a more intimate dimension of this historic franchise and get a taste of one of the many transformations of an immortal saga. Historical fans will undoubtedly be able to put their hands back to a chapter that has all the genius of the Nintendo developers within it and will be able to do it in a definitive version that corrects all those small defects that, at the time, had made many turn up their noses. In short, whether you are part of the first group of players or the second, the reasons to (re) put your hand to Skyward Sword will certainly not be lacking.Review by Stefano Cherubini
The graphic updating of the title is the most classic thing that can be done in an operation of this type. Increased resolution and frame rate and the marked improvement of many textures in the game, which return a much cleaner image. Paradoxically, due to the peculiar nature of the original artistic direction, the graphic rejuvenation spoils the original intentions by killing the impressionistic inspiration of the title.
SOUNDTRACK AND DOUBLE ROOM
The first orchestral soundtrack of the saga is simply extraordinary and fits without too much difficulty in the top 3 of the entire saga. The main theme is portentous and riding the pipe furrow on the notes of the celestial theme is sensational.
Difficult to find a more refined and accurate chapter in level design. The environmental puzzles are very inspired, the dungeons balanced and never too long. The game is nothing more than a giant puzzle stuffed across multiple levels of complexity. The mechanism is perfectly oiled but remains highly conservative, where all its original charge is relegated to its peculiar control system.