As gamers, we’ve come to expect certain things from remasters. We want the visuals to be touched up, for sure. We also want there to be some tweaks that at least try to make the game feel more modern. Mass Effect Legendary Edition just came out and showed every other company how to do it. Nintendo, with Skyward Sword HD, is unfortunately going a different route (h/t Ars Technica). It’s requiring the purchase of a $25 Skyward Sword HD Amiibo in order to use the game’s new and improved fast travel system.
The Amiibo itself? Totally cool. It features Zelda and her Loftwing, and is definitely the kind of item you might want to have sitting on yourself if you’re a Legend of Zelda fan or just a fan of Skyward Sword in particular.
What Nintendo is doing with its fast travel feature, however, is pretty outrageous. Fast travel in the game otherwise works as you remember it from the original, in that you’re only able to use it at save points. If you buy this $25 Amiibo, however, suddenly you’re granted far more freedom. As Nintendo describes, “using the Zelda & Loftwing amiibo while on the surface in the game will allow you to return to the skies from anywhere on the surface, even inside dungeons.”
This is a massive improvement. It is added modern convenience. It is time saved. It is basically the Breath of the Wild fast travel system in Skyward Sword, but sadly, it requires this Amiibo to be activated. There’s no way around it.
One might’ve assumed this enhancement would be included in the remaster. As we’ve established, this is the kind of thing remasters do. Nintendo demanding an extra $25 for it seems pretty out of line, especially since — like so many first-party Switch titles — Skyward Sword HD is a port from a prior Nintendo console.
Nintendo just announced this Skyward Sword HD Amiibo last night, so it’ll likely take some fans some time to learn about it and process what the company is doing here. If I had to guess, though, I can’t imagine many are going to be very happy about this move.