Nintendo might not be developing that many games for the Nintendo Wii, but the one game that matters, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is fast approaching its November 20 release date. This latest adventure puts Link and Zelda in the skies, and we got to play through the first few hours of the game.
Your journey as Link begins as he awakens from a strange and somewhat unclear nightmare. The dream's meaning is unknown to Link, but to loyal fans of the series, it acts as a precursor for the pointy-eared hero's adventure. You wake up on the morning of a very important day in the land of Skyloft. On that day, Link must prove that he and his trusted loftwing are the best pair to collect an artifact that is to be offered to the Sky Goddess. In order to be a knight in Skyloft, every boy must successfully complete this task, so it's imperative that Link wins it.
For the unfamiliar, loftwings are your flying companions. Every citizen of Skyloft is paired with one, and Link is lucky enough to have a crimson loftwing, which is one of the rarest of breeds. The two are a fantastic pair and because of this, others are jealous of Link and will do what they can to split the two up, thus creating your first real quest in the game.
Your rival Groose and his cohorts have captured your loftwing, and it's up to you to find out where it is being held captive. But before you can go after it, you'll need to get a sword and familiarize yourself with the game's controls. As always, the way in which you familiarize yourself with the controls is done at a nice and steady pace that is extremely easy learn. Essentially, even before you trigger this search quest, you perform basic functions to get a hang of how Link moves and attacks. Once you obtain a sword, you can rush out there and begin the hunt for your loftwing.
Retrieving your crimson loftwing isn't difficult and allows you the opportunity to walk around and discover some of what Skyloft has to offer. This area is fairly large with a lot of people to interact with and cool areas to explore. As with any previous Zelda games, certain areas are either sealed off or unreachable in your current state, but once you acquire the necessary gear, you can easily lose track of time trying to find something new.
After finding your loftwing, you still have to compete in the challenge, and racing with your bird is surprisingly easy. You hold the Wii Remote as you would hold a paper airplane, and your motions left or right and up or down determine your direction. Loftwings can brake by pressing the down button and speed up by shaking the controller. They even have an attack, which is actually more of a speed boost that can be triggered by pressing the A button. These are limited to three at first but recharge over time. In this race/chase, the proper timing of these boosts will factor greatly in your success.
Upon winning this challenge, the story begins to open up and your true adventure unfolds. It's difficult to give details regarding a lot of what is going in the beginning without spoiling the story. The first few hours do a good job of developing the relationship between Zelda and Link, as well as provide a better understanding of the world in which they exist. As you'd expect, there are a lot of interesting conversations between not only these two but also the other citizens of Skyloft, and no two act alike. Those who enjoy traveling around and chatting with non-player characters will have fun learning more about this world through these characters.
This initial part of the game should take the average player about two to three hours to complete, and that greatly depends on how much adventuring you feel like doing early on in the game. Skyloft acts as your central hub in Skyward Sword, and Link will return to it numerous times throughout his adventure. So you shouldn't feel like you have to uncover and do everything here immediately. This wasn't where our adventure with Link ended, and we'll cover more on Skyward Sword during the next few weeks. Again, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword will be released on November 20 for the Nintendo Wii.