The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Updated Hands-On

We delve deeper into the control scheme of Link's latest adventure and find out why sitting on tree logs can be beneficial to your health.

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In our previous coverage of Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, we focused largely on the overall feel of the in-game world.

This time, we thought we'd take things to the next level and look at what it's like to actually play the game, paying particular attention to how Wii MotionPlus will drive the entire experience.

Our gameplay demo took place around the end of the 14-hour mark in the game, allowing us the freedom to try out some of Link's more updated skills and abilities as well as a variety of different swordplay moves.

The majority of our time was spent in Faron Woods, dealing with a wide assortment of idiosyncratic small-scale enemies who provided the perfect opportunity for some creative swordplay. Unlike Twilight Princess, Link's sword attacks are not confined to just a few moves. The Wii MotionPlus provides a number of different directional combinations: swinging in any direction or lunging forward will elicit a number of basic attacks, while shaking the Nunchuk and Wii MotionPlus controller at the same time will make Link perform a spin attack. Performing a downward motion with both the controllers will also see Link embark on an overhead attack that usually has him stomping right on top of his enemies with the style and panache we love him for.

Link can also use his shield in an attack called the shield bash attack; this is done by shaking the nunchuk just as an enemy's attack is about to reach its target. The attack will deflect off Link's shield and hit the enemy instead. (This is great for those pesky little guys who insist on spitting spiky things at you.) The most important thing to remember in combat, however, is to always use the lock-on feature first, before you do any sword-swinging or bomb-throwing--this is done by pressing Z on the nunchuk. After this, it's all about thinking ahead--swiping from left to right will get you only so far. The game really rewards players who have put a little effort into understanding and utilising the different attack combinations. A quick flick of the Wii MotionPlus remote will also see Link swapping between his current weapon and his last-selected item, saving you from pulling up the in-game menu should you for some reason require a bee-catching net halfway through a fight (which happens more often than you'd think).

The in-game menus also require you to use the remote, but not in the way you'd think: the menu works kind of like an elastic band, meaning players cannot just simply point to the item they want with the Wii MotionPlus remote but rather slowly move in a curve either left or right until the menu required is highlighted.

During our demo we also had the chance to see one of the rare tree logs scattered throughout the game--merely sitting down on one when prompted will replenish all of Link's health in one hit. However, we were warned not to rely on them too much, as there aren't as many around as we'd like to see, and they're often tucked away out of sight.

The control scheme gets even more creative when it comes to Link's other weapons. Because we were so far into the game, we had quite a few of these at our disposal and finally had the chance to put them to good use in one of the dungeons.

The main feature of this particular dungeon was lava, and Link had to solve a few elementary door-opening puzzles with a bit of platform work for good measure. Our first chance to use Link's bow came up when we spotted a number of enemies behind a grilled door. Players will have two options when it comes to the bow: the easy option (automatic pull-back) and the option that requires some actual physical effort (the non-automatic pull-back). The former requires a simple press of the A button, aiming with the Wii MotionPlus controller, and releasing the A button when satisfied. The latter is trickier: after pressing the C button, you are required to make a pull-back motion with your nunchuk hand just as if you were drawing a real bow. Aim, release. (Of course, aiming is going to be slightly more difficult with this option unless you are a professional archer). There's also a difference in accuracy between the two options: the automatic one is speedy, but you have to wait for accuracy to build, while the other is slower and instantly accurate.

There's also a whip (handy for when you don't fancy getting too close to some enemies or when items are just out of reach), which requires a very satisfying whipping motion to control, and the handy flying beetle, which Link can deploy to help him flick faraway switches, attain faraway items, or deploy well-timed bombs. The beetle requires you to navigate left and right until it reaches its intended destination.

Even some of the puzzles in the dungeons will require you to perform a series of spatial maths feats by using the Wii MotionPlus controller to manipulate puzzle pieces to fit them correctly into a certain door lock.

Finally--and we know this has nothing to do with controls--we couldn't help but notice yet again how incredibly beautiful the game looks with its Impressionism-inspired visuals and vivid colour palette.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is out for the Nintendo Wii on November 20.

Discussion

29 comments
TairuSzoola
TairuSzoola

I can not wait to get this game, I must admit Nintendo was lagging behind but Nintendo seems to be pulling it together and is going to be back on top ! :)

Nicksonman
Nicksonman

@titus25 Get your nose checked buddy :P

titus25
titus25

I can Smell a Perfect 10 !!!!!!

LunchSackSal
LunchSackSal

Hmmm... normally just bag on Nintendo.. but Ive been reading the reviews and I may have to go ahead and give Nintendo another shot.

sugrim
sugrim

It will be EPIC!!!!!!!

madsnakehhh
madsnakehhh

GOTY??? yeah right, more like Game of the Gen!!!

princevigeta
princevigeta

looks like a great game. I'm not to crazy about combining the graphics of wind waker and twilight princess though.

DAFTArticuno
DAFTArticuno

I seriously cannot wait any longer. It NEEDS to be November 20th already. Ohhh and Spike TV nominated this for Game of the Year! But at the same time i really don't care because their awards are crap compared to others.

dxdevilex0
dxdevilex0

The reviews are around 9-10 for this game,good to know.

Sepewrath
Sepewrath

The wait is almost over. And for anyone wondering, you don't have to pre order to get the bundle. I know amazing right? You get the full game, a music CD and a Gold Wiimote if you want it. Without pre-order from X, Y and Z store, playing a Facebook game and standing on one leg, while you pat your head and rub your belly.

Linkmaster2010
Linkmaster2010

@Gurzoclurlo I'm not familiar with UK, but usually you'd have to pre-order it for the gold wii mote+ edition. In USA, Best Buy usually gets a big pack of the special editions to just be picked up.

Muteki_X
Muteki_X

@Gurzociurlo I may be wrong, but I believe a preorder is not necessary to get the limited edition, but from what I hear, they are going very fast. Preordering is the surest way if you want one. The bonus music CD comes with both editions, but only for the first run and not after that.

Wolflink001
Wolflink001

@Gurzociurlo I believe the Golden Wii Remote is only avalible through reservation of limited edition. You could problably eBay it though sometime after its release though.

omenjamlord
omenjamlord

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

Gurzociurlo
Gurzociurlo

I liked everything so far, except for the map, it looks small (no snowy levels :( I wanted an icy place so much...), anyway I'll take this day 1, I mean, day 2... November the 19th. I have a question. The version with the golden wii mote included is available only under reservation or I can buy it in a regular shop? Zelda Skyward Sword - Portal 2 - Skyrim, this is la crème de la crème of 2011.

Muteki_X
Muteki_X

...just enough time for me to beat OoT 3D (first time 3D, millionth time overall), then I'll slide right into this.

GH_Goomba
GH_Goomba

Can't wait for November 18. Just 15 days left!

OmegaRecon
OmegaRecon

This and Skyrim will keep me busy for a _very_ long while. Gonna love it!

Pete5506
Pete5506

So many games to buy this November

Wolflink001
Wolflink001

All I know is Gamespot better not give this game the standard protocol 8.5 review job like they always seem to do when it comes to Wii games. Pro tip Gamespot, pick an editor who has actually played a Zelda game in their life and don't pick the editor whos a huge fan of speech bubbles and hunts for "spider monsters" that don't exist in the Gohma boss room while not looking up at the ceiling!

aermeus
aermeus

I would have loved to jump back in time to my childhood days with a nostalgic zelda title...that is with a classic controller in hand...just not in to the whole motion control thing...at the end of a work day after i put the kids down to bed i dont feel like standing in my living room swinging an imaginary sword :(

dxdevilex0
dxdevilex0

just 17 more days.....it's WAY TOO LONG.

Harrydapro
Harrydapro

ENOUGH GAMEPLAY! I JUST WANT THE GAME TO COME OUT ALREADY!!!

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

This game keeps getting better, I cant wait for this game! Nov. 20 is gonna be a LONG wait :(

fitzokoli
fitzokoli

Shaping up nicely!!! Cant wait!!!