Hands-On Impressions Of Zelda: Skyward Sword - The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - Nintendo Wii - www.GameInformer.com
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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Hands-On Impressions Of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Coming into E3, it was no secret that Nintendo would be showing off a new Zelda title for the Wii. However, that's about all we knew. Outside of a single piece of concept art released last year, virtually no information had been released outside of the fact that it would utilize MotionPlus. Despite the drought of information in the last year regarding Link's future, Nintendo came out swinging at their press conference by immediately showing off their most anticipated title.

As Shigeru Miyamoto demonstrated the newly-named Skyward Sword, some in the audience were concerned about what appeared to be technical issues. As the legendary developer tried to aim Link's bow, the controls behaved erratically, causing him to shoot arrows into the ground. After playing through a section of the game, however, I can confirm that this truly must have been a fluke technical error during the conference - the controls are fantastic.

MotionPlus integration is immediately apparent, as Link swings his sword in a much more precise and accurate manner than the preset animations from Twilight Princess. As the game's title would indicate, your sword gains special abilities when pointed towards the heavens. We don't yet know how crucial this will be to gameplay, but it granted Link a stronger sword swipe in the demo we played.

New motions will control various advanced attacks in Skyward Sword. As I swiped the Wii remote and Nunchuk together from left to right, Link performed his trademark spin slash. Swipe them together in a downward motion, and he performs an impressive (and powerful) flipping vertical slice.

Enemies feature movement patterns that will require you to alter the direction of your slash. As seen during the Nintendo press conference, new "deku bobba" plants open their mouths either vertically or horizontally. As you can imagine, you'll need to slash according to the alignment of their mouths. I encountered what appeared to be a Stalfos Knight at one point, and his guard patterns forced me to switch up my attack patterns on the fly. Aiming your sword swipe correctly is absolutely crucial to getting past enemy defenses in Skyward Sword.

One big change to the series' history is the item management system. Ever since the original NES Zelda, switching weapons always required the gamer to pause. Skyward Sword makes this process far more convenient and intuitive, as holding in the B button will bring up an item wheel without pausing the action. At one point, I encountered a swarm of bats while my bombs were equipped. As they flew at me, I ran away, held the B button to bring up the wheel (while still running), rotated the wheel with MotionPlus control, and let go to select my whip. The action doesn't stop at any point, but it's still easy to move around and select your new item while avoiding danger.

Another interesting implementation of motion involves bomb control. You'll pull the explosive out with the B button, and can either throw it or roll it across the ground depending on the motion you use with the remote. Instead of slashing at one particular deku-bobba, I baited him into lowering his mouth to the ground and finished him off by bowling a bomb directly into it.

Other items in the demo include a flying beetle, bow, and slingshot. The beetle is thrown and then remote-controlled by moving the remote around, and the controls are spot-on. You can use it to collect items, annoy enemies, explore areas, and more. Slingshot use is fairly basic (point and shoot), but the bow more closely resembles Wii Sports Resort's archery minigame. You'll aim in first-person mode, hold the C button to steady your aim, pull the Nunchuk back, and release to fire your arrow. It feels natural, and it's certainly more interesting than simply hitting a button while pointing at the screen.

Twilight Princess was a very good Zelda game, but it left Wii owners wanting more out of their console. Considering that it was essentially a Gamecube port, the game wasn't designed around the Wii's capabilities. With Skyward Sword, we finally have a built-from-the-ground-up Zelda experience that takes full advantage of the system and its underused MotionPlus accessory.

Comments
  • i say meh but ill give it a try. if it fails me ill burn it into a wall with a fist.

  • Sounds like this could replace A Link to the Past as your favorite Dan :p

    Was the control more precise then, say, Red Steel 2?

  • *drools* I must have this game today. I don't care if it's not done yet. I'll play until the content is finished. Release it episodically.

    Another fun fact. Ocarina of Time 3DS remake confirmed. Get on it Dan.

  • This game looked so good, and from Dan's article it seems that Miyamoto's technical difficulties didn't transfer over to the showroom floor.  Awesome, I can't wait for this game!

  • SICK!!!!  I must have it...

  • I want bomb bowling.

  • i had no doubts about Zelda's performance during E3 and knew full well it was a freak accident. i absolutely love the new graphics on this one. looks like Wind Waker's graphics with a different style.

  • IS it just me or are the colors and textures a lot brighter than what weve come to expect from a zelda game staring adult link...not sure if I like it

  • Just curious Dan, is there going to be hands-on video of the demo in the coming days? It'd be cool to see some more of the game in action.

  • its so great to hear that it really was 'interference.' this game looks awesome, and i cannot wait to play it. the visuals give me a sorta watercolor-impressionistic feel, and i like it.

  • Man, this sounds great! My skepticism about one part of Nintendo's conference is gone now, and I am really looking forward to getting Skyward Sword. Though I'd love to see a gameplay video....

  • I'm game...as always...for another Zelda title.  

  • i dont know what people are saying about Twilight Princess not giving the full Zelda experience, i was personally amazing by it

  • Looks sick! I want to play this. Actually having to physically change strategy mid-battle is a pretty cool concept.

  • If anyone didn't know already, Zelda OOT is gonna be remade on the 3DS!

    So we have two Zelda games to look forward to.

    http://ds.ign.com/articles/109/1098192p1.html

    Edit: Hmm, read something that said the OOT remake might just be a tech demo, I hope not.
  • yes,yes,yes,YES,YES,YESSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    OH MY GOD!!!!! I CANT WAIT!!!!!!!! I MUST HAVE THE DEMO!!!!!!!!!!!! I MUST!!!!!!!!!!

  • Saw this on G4 and it looks absolutely insane, i'm going to be investing some long hours in this one.

  • Zelda once again proves why it's one of , if not, the best video game series of all time.

  • i love this game! skyward sword! i cant wait to hear more about the plot

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