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e3 2010

The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword First Impressions

by Annette Gonzalez on Jun 15, 2010 at 07:00 AM

Nintendo kicks off it's 2010 conference with an announcement we've all been waiting for regarding the latest title in the Zelda franchise. Reggie Fils-Aime spoke about how Nintendo plans to raise the bar of overall game experiences with it's announcement of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. We got to check out a live demo during the press conference revealing how Wii Motion Plus will be used as a key part of gameplay. Shigeru Miyamoto took the stage to show us how Skyward Sword will be "a key turning point in Zelda's long history."

We see a quick video clip showing the evolution of Link over the years from the early pixel days to cel-shaded Link, to his current matured form. Miyamoto says part of Zelda's history is refining the user interface to make mechanics easy, so with Skyward Sword the player will wield sword and shield with the aid of Wii Motion Plus. You will use the Nunchuck to raise your shield, and naturally, the Wii remote will be your sword. In order to access items, the B button will raise a radial item menu onscreen for quick item access.

Miyamoto brings out Nintendo translator Bill Trinen to show off how these mechanics work. Trinen inevitably gets whooped by a vicious plant, so Miyamoto takes over and shows everyone how it's done. All of the sword swinging action is done with realistic motions as the game tracks your arm movements with Wii Motion Plus. Still, this doesn't make Skyward Sword a simple hack-and-slash adventure. Each enemy will require strategy as opposed to uncoordinated arm flailing. To defeat the troublesome plant, the player will have to slash in the direction of the plant's mouth as it chomps away. A shielded enemy will require swinging the sword around the shield. In one case of a puzzle where an eye kept a door locked needed to progress, you'll swing your sword in circles. This way the eye tracks your movement and will become confused making it easier to give it a stab and unlock the door. Swinging with both hands will trigger spin attacks to take out tricky patches of grass or groups of enemies, and holding your shield up with the Nunchuck and jerking it forward will block enemy projectiles and return the blow.

We also got to see how items will be used. In the demo, Miyamoto and Trinen accessed the sling shot that will automatically bring up a reticule on screen. Just move the remote around in front of you to shoot. You can also use a Wii Bowling mechanic with bombs by rolling them anywhere you wish with a swing of the remote. Knock out a group of enemies like bowling pins.

One new item introduced is a flying beetle that you can launch into the world and navigate remotely in order to access hard-to-reach places. It's also a great way to scan an unsafe area before you traverse. We also saw the whip item that will change in movement depending on which direction you swing your arm. It works great with aerial foes (you can even get multiple takedowns) and is helpful for snagging items from a distance.

During the demo, Miyamoto and Trinen experienced some issues with Wii motion tracking, and blamed "interference" from other wireless connections in the room. Thankfully we'll get to check out the game for ourselves with full impressions on the E3 show floor this week. Stay tuned.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword will be available exclusively on Nintendo Wii next year.