The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has always been divisive amongst fans, but the remaster heading to Nintendo Switch seeks to hopefully change the games reputation with a host of changes big and small. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD releases on July 16th 2021, and this guide will break down all the changes from the original Wii version to the Nintendo Switch version confirmed by Nintendo or early reviewers of the game. Let’s dive in!
The original Skyward Sword looked great, but the Nintendo Switch version looks even better. The resolution is higher, going from the Wii’s 480p to the Switch’s 1080p in docked mode and 720p in handheld. Anti-aliasing is also improved, making some of the characters, objects and locations in the game look a lot smoother and less sharp and pointed. Distant objects appear less fuzzy and blurred out, characters close to the camera look a lot better without visible pixelated edges on their features, and the beautiful vistas that Skyward Sword has to offer just look nicer.
On the Wii, Skyward Sword was locked at a rather unsatisfying 30fps, as was typical for the time in console gaming. Using the power of the Nintendo Switch however, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD runs in a glorious full 60fps. The combination of graphical and performance enhancements make the game feel a lot more modern. A fresh coat of paint brings the often overlooked game into the current generation of gaming, much like Twilight Princess HD and Wind Waker HD did for their respective games.
Perhaps the biggest change from the original Skyward Sword is the fact that the game now supports full stick controls, removing the need for motion controls. Not only is this a huge accessibility win for disabled gamers, it also enables the game to be played in handheld mode without any barriers. The right stick acts as a sword-control stick, with different combinations of pressing and swiping allowing for full utilisation of Link’s skills.
If you liked the original motion controls however, they are still completely intact. Playing in docked mode with a Joy-Con controller enables you to experience the game’s controls exactly as they were first intended on the Wii.
Free Camera Controls
Skyward Sword on the Wii featured a locked camera, following Link from behind, only turning when he does. This has now been changed, so players using motion controls can use the right stick to control the camera as their handheld motions control the sword. Thankfully, those who would rather not use motion controls still have a way to move the camera around when their right stick is for sword controls. Holding L on a Switch controller will put the right stick into camera control mode. Motion controls are also an option to control the camera for those using the stick to control the sword.
Tutorials are a great option for inexperienced or younger players to get a hang of the controls, but Skyward Sword on the Wii may have gone too far. Now, for those who already feel comfortable using Link’s sword, you can skip straight through the sword practice tutorial and get into the action without having everything you may already know explained to you again.
Fi was one of the most controversial and frustrating elements of Skyward Sword. The companion would constantly interrupt the player telling them what to do and how to do it. In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD however, this is completely gone. All of Fi’s assistance will be optional. Players only have to listen to her tips and advice when they want to hear it.
Autosave and Save Slots
On Nintendo Switch, Skyward Sword HD has an autosave system that will save the players progress at regular intervals throughout their exploration of the land and skies. This is a modern convenience missing from the original Wii game, and a very welcome addition on Switch. The game also has three save slots, unlike the original which had a single one.
And with that, that’s all the known changes confirmed in the Nintendo Switch version of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD. Whilst not a complete remake, tweaking some things from the Wii, giving better performance, nicer graphics and trimming away some of the frustrations goes a long way to make a controversial entry in the Zelda series a far more enjoyable one.