Zelda: Skyward Sword E3 2010 Preview

By Raymond Padilla, Jun 15, 2010 9:56pm PDT QUICK TAKE: Skyward Sword features a fun and fast way to switch between Link's vast arsenal using motion controls. Unfortunately, the full precision of the controls (or lack thereof) was not able to be shown on the E3 2010 show floor. Still, all the classic Zelda elements seem to be in place for another great adventure.

Next to the 3DS, the longest line at Nintendo's E3 2010 booth belonged to The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. I was lucky enough to cut the line and get my hands on the game for a few minutes. As with every other Zelda game, Link has a variety of weapons and gadgets to use in his epic fight against evil (as opposed to those mundane fights against chaotic neutral foes). Using the Wiimote, I pulled up a radial menu to switch between weapons. It only took a few tries to get used to the system and after a minute it was a snap switching between Link's various tools of smiting.

Not all of Link's weapons were playable in the demo, but I had a blast with the ones that were. The standard sword-and-shield combo gets a fun twist with heavy use of the shield to deflect projectile attacks. The whip has a funky feel and took me a while to do something damaging with it. The "beetle" item is similar to using an RC helicopter to gather objects and do some scouting. The important part is that all the weapons felt very different and added nice variety.

Overall the controls felt very good, though not overly impressive. At a Nintendo roundtable discussion, Shigeru Miyamoto said that the game's pointer functionality was turned off due to interference concerns. He had trouble demoing the game due to all the mobile and WiFi signal at the company's press conference. He didn't want interference from all the consoles, lights, and electromagnetic mutants on the E3 show floor interfering with the gameplay. He promised that the controls in the final version will be tight and take full advantage of Wii MotionPlus' precision.

During the roundtable discussion, Miyamoto was quick to point out that the game isn't nearly as tiring as the demo makes it appear to be. While the demo was very heavy on motion action, there are a lot of exploration and puzzle-solving aspects of the game that weren't shown in the demo. These portions of the game should ensure that your triceps aren't sore from too much swordplay, whipping, and beetle flying.

Skyward Sword appears to have all the classic elements of a great Zelda game. Link has great gadgets at his disposal. The game uses two worlds -- Link's pleasant home in the sky and a world below that's ruled by evil -- to differentiate the gameplay. And of course, Link has evil to smite. If the controls are as tight as Miyamoto promised, this could be the best motion-controlled adventure-game to date.

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