Zelda: Skyward Sword E3 2010 Preview

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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.

From The Chatty

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    June 15, 2010 10:00 PM

    Odd visual style, but it's miles better than what Twilight Princess had. I can't play that game it's so bland. Not that I expect anything more from this.

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      June 15, 2010 11:22 PM

      I kinda liked Twilight princess dark atmosphere, this one is way too colorful, then again, so was Wind Waker, it will just have to grow on me over time.

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        June 16, 2010 6:17 AM

        ^This

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        June 16, 2010 6:44 AM

        Between the midi sound track and the giggling fairy shadowing you through the game, I never felt a sense of dark atmosphere even when shadow demon things were falling out of black holes. There was just too much of a disconnect between that dark visual and that annoying audio to give me a sense of cohesive atmosphere.

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        June 20, 2010 3:14 PM

        Eh, TP was boring in it's look and gameplay, at least I felt so. Especially the god awful music, oh how irritating the sound was in that game. Where as Wind Waker at least seemed to have some personality to it.

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      June 16, 2010 10:52 AM

      I really liked Twilight Princess' visual style, dark and gritty was excellentn for a Zelda game. I never cared for Windwakers visual style, WAY to cartoony for me.

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      June 16, 2010 12:31 PM

      Totally disagree. I thought the visuals and style in TP were fantastic. I actually questioned the overtly cartoony graphics in this upcoming title, but I guess they're there for people like you? Either way the game's gonna be great I'm sure.

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      June 17, 2010 7:12 PM

      The visual style was a little shocking at first but after seeing the game I really enjoy the style that they chose. It looks very bright and vibrant unlike a lot of games nowadays that just look like HD wastelands. Also this is only the sky world...we havent seen what Hyrule looks like so there is still much more to see.