Bits & Bytes: Sky

Robert returns to the original Skyward Sword right before delving into the HD remaster!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 07/18/2021 20:18 Comment on this     ShareThis

Link and Zelda on a Loftwing, on a date, in Zelda: Skyward Sword

Bits & Bytes is a weekly column where Editor-in-Chief Robert shares his thoughts about video games and the industry on a lazy Sunday. Light reading for a day of rest, Bits & Bytes is short, to the point, and something to read with a nice drink.

I’ve written about this before, but when I transferred all of my Wii data to my Wii U, eventually I needed to send the latter in for repairs and lost everything. All of my save data from my Wii was gone in an instant. This included my save file for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Over 100 hours were spent in that file but in the ten years since it launched and the six or seven years since I lost the file, I had yet to go back and replay the game. That is, until now when Skyward Sword HD released this past Friday.

Prior to Friday, though, I decided to play the original Skyward Sword on my Wii. I wanted to get a feel for the game again, and to be able to more clearly recall what it was like playing Skyward Sword with the original Wii motion controls. I started Monday and played off and on until Thursday, getting through the first temple. There’s so much to go over in regards to this replay, but the thing that struck me most was how great the motion controls in Skyward Sword still are. The entire game is built around them and it shows.

Whether I was manipulating the Beetle item through the open air or simply swiping at opponents with the Goddess Sword, Link’s various motion-based abilities and attacks remain some of the best interactions on Wii. Are they a tad finnicky? Sure, and with age I think the infrared tech that powers Wii’s motion sensing has become a measure more unwieldy owing to physical degradation. Yet, the majority of the time all of this swinging and waggling works exactly like it’s supposed to, and it’s brilliant. As the Switch version attests, yes it’s possible to complete all of these actions without motion controls, but something is lacking when choosing to forego them for traditional button inputs.

Mind you, this is coming from me—someone who has lambasted motion controls more than once and will nearly always choose buttons over hand gestures any day of the week. Skyward Sword is just that special that even I prefer to go it the original way. Which isn’t to say that the button setup for Skyward Sword HD doesn’t work (it does, and quite well), but rather that it’s clunky at times, and the use of L3 and R3 (depressing the left and right control sticks) only serves to exacerbate that feeling. I bought the Zelda Joy-Con along with the game on Friday, so the next part of my playthrough I’ll be switching to Skyward Sword HD’s take on motion controls to see how they compare.

One last parting thought: the music in Skyward Sword is some of the best in the series. When the game launched, Zelda was hitting its 25th anniversary and the concert series Symphony of the Goddess was entering its first run. It isn’t a coincidence: the music in Skyward Sword is all orchestrated and is among some of the catchiest tunes to ever grace a Zelda adventure. If you’re playing Skyward Sword for the first time, do take a moment to soak in the music. It adds so much to the experience. My review of Skyward Sword HD will be up this week and I’m glad that I took the time to play the original again. It’s helped me remember what I liked so much about Skyward Sword the first time around, and now a decade later I think I’ve come to appreciate the game even more.

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