The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - Hands-On Introduction

We take a look around Skyloft in the first few hours of Skyward Sword.

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.

There is a lot of flirting between Link and Zelda in the early parts of Skyward Sword
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.

Written By

Former GameSpot Associate Editor, current Content Manager for EA SPORTS.

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Discussion

138 comments
Andrex1212
Andrex1212

@penpusher Do you know how to read? I was comparing the graphics of the Gamecube version of TP with the Wii version; I never even mentioned the graphics of Skyward Sword which are clearly quite impressive for such a technically unimpressive system. I also didn't say standing DIRECTLY IN FRONT of the TV. Considering you would need to be near your TV to actually SEE it which most people would call being IN FRONT of the TV rather than... what... BEHIND the TV? It's amazing how far off you were in interpreting a single sentence in what I said.

Andrex1212
Andrex1212

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

penpusher
penpusher

@Andrex1212 you sir need to actually read some articles and watch a preview ... Youve never even tried the motion controls and youre dismissing the game just because of that? You dont have to stand directly infront of your tv to play it, it uses the motion plus for motion control, you could be facing away from the tv and it'll still pick up your movements. As for the graphics they're far superior to twilight princess, true bright isnt everyones thing but most of the zelda games have had bright colourful graphics so I dont understand this whole "it needs to be realistic" thing

cjetter
cjetter

i am getting this. all zelda games are awsome and this one will be to.

Wolflink001
Wolflink001

@Andrex1212 Skyward Sword is far from being ruined my friend. Don't let something like Wii Motion Plus make you think the game is ruined. I personally would have liked to play it with a Gamecube controller just as you did. But Nintendo strives for innovation and I respect them for being different. Trust me, once this game comes out you will probrably forget all about complaining and be too busy playing it and marveling at the awesomeness that is the Zelda series. Just my 2 cents...

jonb4play
jonb4play

is there voice acting in this game?

chefstubbies
chefstubbies

Game looks good, but why'd they make princess Zelda so fugly?

biggestnewb
biggestnewb

link doesn't need to talk in text nor voice. that's what keeps him so appealing. the mysteriousness. and i agree on a majora's mask remake, haven't played it since i was a child :(

Trenchman
Trenchman

@Crypto145 I'm not saying that is should be that way because it always has been, and I don't have a problem with change. What I am saying is that change, although not always bad, is not always good, and I think that these games were better the way they were before. Also, I'm sure that a Zelda movie could be made that I would like, but I love Zelda a lot. Because of that, I would have very high expectations, so chances are, I wouldn't like it.

HenryKrinkle666
HenryKrinkle666

Okay, everybody, Link doesn't need a voice, but I really do wish that he would actually talk in the text. All he ever says is yes, no, maybe. It would be cool if he actually engaged in conversation with the people that are talking to him rather than staring at them as though he were a mute.

HenryKrinkle666
HenryKrinkle666

@dbzfan156 Pff, why would the guy with a Link user icon want the limited edition of a Zelda game...? That's just dumb...

Wormkid_64
Wormkid_64

I just may nab the limited edition of this game. 15 years from now,it'll be cool to look back on the gold Wii remote the way you look back on all the special colored games and controllers for the N64. Plus the game seems to be quite a bit more juicy then previous Zelda games,in that the enemies are more intelligent. I read an article in Gameinformer about it,and it sounded cool the way many of them react to you. I guess having the freedom of one to one motion means the enemies can be more flexible than attack,display weakness,repeat.

dbzfan156
dbzfan156

i think im getting the limited edition

Wolflink001
Wolflink001

I don't believe we need a remake of Majora's Mask just yet for 3DS. We need some brand new Zelda titles on 3DS instead of remakes of the same Zelda games we've played before. OOT 3D is enough for now, can we see some new Zelda titles for 3DS?

drummerboy71
drummerboy71

We need a remake of "Majora's Mask" for the 3DS!!!! Support Operation Moonfall on Facebook, and learn more. "Majora's Mask 3D" may happen with your support.

DS-man
DS-man

Got this pre-ordered, Cant wait, looks like the greatest Zelda game since OOT, Not saying the others rubbish, I loved them all, but this one looks fantastic!. I also liked Minish Cap, One of the most underrated Zelda game, But best Handheld, Even better than the DS versions. Id love to see how Nintendo will make a zelda game for the 3DS. I hope they'll make it like OOT3D than PH and ST

Darkstrike15
Darkstrike15

Looks awesome! It'll be great to add to my collection. But, nothing will hit me as emotionally and/or spiritually as Ocarina of Time/Majora's mask did.

jetfreakist
jetfreakist

nothing beats classic! LoZ is still a must have these days ;)

Primus_Elite
Primus_Elite

How can you people not be geeking out at being able to control Link's sword 1:1 and get into real swordplay instead of button mashing or flailing motions. And some of you are stone cold fools if you think Nintendo would let Zelda go to a competitor's console. Real system or not, with the death of Nintendo would go Zelda. If you were true fans you would suck it up and play through what is most likely going to be a classic.

Chozn275
Chozn275

Ugh, I hate motion controller games. Zelda is one of my favorite franchises. I was 5 when the original Zelda came out and grew up playing all of them. I cant play this one because of how much I hate the Wii, the majority of kiddie games, and it being motion a motion controller game. I come home from work, go to the gym and then come home to relax and play a video game, not jump around, wave my arms around and dance around my TV. So disappointed.

smuckfuzzer
smuckfuzzer

I like the graphics. It keeps it from being dark like Twilight Princess was.

Regulus27
Regulus27

This is looking good. Glad they finally switched the controls to 1 to 1 movement instead of the use a waggle with buttons to attack. Also this is looking much more detailed and vibrant then the gamecube zelda games.

707107
707107

@Andrex1212 But, honestly, do you really want a game that you beat in one day?

Andrex1212
Andrex1212

Too bad they ruined this game by completely utilizing wii-only controls throughout the entire game... it'll be the first Zelda game I haven't bought and beaten the day of release... other than Zelda II... that one took me awhile to even get around to playing considering how different the play style was. Does any zelda fan actually enjoy that they now need to stand in front of their TV waving a wand with horrible accuracy around to try and kill things...? At least Twilight Princess you could get it for the gamecube and use a REAL controller... and the graphics seemed much more smooth on the Gamecube in my opinion as well. The Wii version seemed like a poorly done port of an awesome game. Just my 2 cents...

waZelda
waZelda

@justoneguy: I really don't understand why so many people have to predict who will win the GOTY before the most hyped games are even released. Can't we all just wait untill we've played them.

waZelda
waZelda

The fact that Link doesn't have a voice leaves him more open for the player to interpret. Sometimes voice acting just ruins things. For instance in Dragon Age Origins I made my character out to me a moddest, polite and righteous character, so it really threw me off how during combat he would shout stuff like "is it just me, or do you actually think you have a chance", in an arrogant voice that just made him sound like an a-hole.

Wolflink001
Wolflink001

Guys, Link doesn't need a voice! Giving Link a voice would destroy his character! Do you want the Zelda series to end up like Other M? Giving Link a voice would be like giving a mime a voice. It just doesn't work.

Sleepyhun1
Sleepyhun1

Did anyone else notice at 1:13 that i can make enemies fall off a rope? :D The problem with voice acting is that there were so many different links and people have so many different voices imagined for him that you can't statisfy enough people if you made it. So i say they should stay with the text and play it safe. Bad voice acting could destroy the whole atmosphere of the game.

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

@IgorZeCruel Exactly, thats the character Nintendo wants to make Link, a character you could leave his voice and personality to your own imagination and whatever you want it to be

IgorZeCruel
IgorZeCruel

The thing is that most fans of the Zelda series have created their own Link and voicing him will effectively break that illusion. Where you had the privilege of making Link whoever you wanted him to be for you, with the addition of voices, you are suddenly fed a finished character, and I personally think that is a major reason why most fans don't want to see voices on their characters.

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

I love how the artstyle is, its unique and if its style was translated into Realistic, it would be HORRIBLE, the Cartoonish style keeps the artstyle looking beutifully. Games these days are always grey and dark, its nice to see Colorful games come around like this and Kirby's Return to Dreamland, and its not crap, they look awesome.

IgorZeCruel
IgorZeCruel

@Crypto145 That adding voice actors is beneficial, as you put it, is purely subjective. It depends solely on what you want out of a game - how you want to experience it. Let me just say, I wouldn't be against seeing voices on the NPC's in Zelda. Actually, with the goofy characters that often inhabit Zelda games, with the right voices, I think it could be quite fun. But the voices would have to be right, not just there for the sake of it. As to Link himself, I'm totally against voicing him. It's really a question of design philosophy. Some people prefer a more interactive experience where characters come to life fully voiced and kicking, whereas others prefer to let their personal impression of the characters involved dictate how they bring them to life in their own imagination.

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

This games gonna be awesome! All you Naysayers will eat your words, Miyamoto wants this game to be nothing but awesome,thinking that Windwaker went unfinished and that he didnt like Twilight princess makes this game sound heavily developed and this game keeps getting better everytime it shows up. Its beutiful Visuals are never truley shown by Pictures and Vids and so far, we keep hearing that the motion is awesome and not just some broken piece of Crap. This game is being Underrated before its release, JUST like how Galaxy 2 was but when the game came out, it did hugely well, it just makes waiting for Skyward sword even more worth it!

justoneguy
justoneguy

Zelda is freakin awesome, but no GOTY :/

Crypto145
Crypto145

@Trenchman By the way, would you hate a Zelda movie regardless of quality? Would you hate voice acting if it was top notch? Change is not bad people!

Crypto145
Crypto145

@Trenchman I don't agree that people should dislike benificial change just because "it's always been that way" @Banisowicz People are too damn narrow-minded.

hawaiiinsomniac
hawaiiinsomniac

Seriously... this is the only Wii game I preordered this year... GIMME GIMME GIMME!

taddia
taddia

It's always like that. Initially, im slightly interested in the new zeldas. Then all of a sudden i feel "the shiver" which indicates me this game is gonna be amazing as and more than the previous one. This is where is start delirating, and say: I WANT IT DAMN NOW!!!

Aspire85
Aspire85

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

superxtreme101
superxtreme101

I did not read a word in this article because I do not want to spoil the game for myself. I just came here for the comments

blaze-killer
blaze-killer

Is the zelda wii remote going to be out in stores??

AzatiS
AzatiS

@nightfox313 In order to be GOTY this Zelda need seriously to bring something new and fresh to series gameplay wise. Dont exaggerate like you did with TP . Time will tell and when you play it and have an ingame opinion THEN claim Game of the century... Not just by some trailer...

skunkpants
skunkpants

Please do not give Link a voice! The other characters is not too bad but not great either but not Link!

AzatiS
AzatiS

Its the trailer or the games fault that it didnt make me feel excited like previous Zelda did? Weird...