Today, during Nintendo’s E3 presentation, we got another peek at The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD. The HD remaster of the 2011 Wii title will be released on the Nintendo Switch July 16 and is available for pre-order now.
First announced during Nintendo’s February direct showcase, Skyward Sword HD aims to improve on the gameplay experience of the original. Skyward Sword HD will give players the option to choose how they play. People who were soured on original Skyward Sword’s motion controls (and those who don’t like them in general, or can’t use them because of a disability) can choose to disable them in favour of button only controls. For motion control enthusiasts, the improved performance of the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers will hopefully ensure more accurate readings of a player’s movements.
Like Link’s wolf form in Twilight Princess, and Link’s King of Red Lions boat in Wind Waker, the major conceit of Skyward Sword focuses on using your Loftwing mount to fly across the world, exploring a number of floating islands and surface lands beneath a sea of clouds. Link, along with his sentient sword companion (and best girl) Fi, must use the power of the Skyward Sword to solve puzzles and defeat the evil Ghirahim.
Skyward Sword was the first Zelda game to extensively use the Wii nunchuck as a part of its core gameplay. To defeat enemies, players had to swing the novelty controller horizontally, vertically, or diagonally and block incoming blows with a shield. Players also used motion controls for a variety of tasks outside of combat, like dowsing for items or playing musical instruments.
Though the motion controls were an interesting take on combat, Skyward Sword was heavily criticised for their implementation. Players were confounded by the extreme precision required to successfully strike an enemy, complaining that the game would often fail to correctly read a player’s movements.
Last month, Nintendo announced it would release a special Zelda & Loftwing Amiibo with Skyward Sword HD. The Amiibo would enable Link to fast travel to the sky from anywhere on the surface rather than only at save points. Fans were upset that a major quality of life upgrade was locked behind an additional purchase. Hopefully, Nintendo will add in the feature for all players.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Legend of Zelda series. With Skyward Sword HD soon to be released, there’s sure to be more Zelda-themed announcements coming soon — perhaps a Wind Waker or Twilight Princess Switch release. One can hope.