The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword First Impressions

Shigeru Miyamoto swings, throws, and flicks his way through this first look at the next Zelda Wii adventure direct from the Nintendo E3 2010 press conference.


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Nintendo wasted no time in getting to one of its biggest franchises at its E3 press event this year, starting off the event with a first look at Link's upcoming adventure on the Wii. Titled The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto took to the event stage to personally demo some key aspects of the game, which looks to be much more reliant on motion-control moves than the previous Wii title in the franchise, Twilight Princess.

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Few details were released about the story in Skyward Sword, with the entire presentation devoted to explaining how the redefined controls would work. Miyamoto explained that the Wii Remote and the Wii MotionPlus accessory would be required, with the remote used primarily to swing your sword. The Wii MotionPlus' one-to-one movement translation would make fighting more accurate, Miyamoto said, and demoed it onscreen when he came upon some deku babas. To defeat these carnivorous plants, you'll apparently need to swing your sword in the same direction its mouth opens--Miyamoto showed this by slicing horizontally to defeat a deku baba with a horizontal mouth and vertically to defeat one whose mouth opened in that direction. Your sword will also get a powered-up attack--holding the Wii Remote straight up in the air will see Link do the same with his sword onscreen, charging it up with "energy from the heavens." You can then release this beam as a projectile attack by swinging your hand downward.

With the Wii Remote as your sword, the nunchuk becomes your shield in Skyward Sword. Quickly shaking the nunchuk will bring up your shield, and you'll need to hold it in front of you as you would a real piece of defensive gear. Miyamoto once again demoed this by blocking projectile attacks from some oktoroks, but he also showed that you'll be able to turn defense into attack by quickly pushing forward with the nunchuk just as a projectile hits. This will send the projectile hurtling back at your foe.

The way you access your inventory will also get a makeover in Skyward Sword. Pressing the B button will bring up a radial menu onscreen, and you'll simply use the Wii Remote to select your item. Miyamoto used this opportunity to showcase some of the items and weapons Link will have access to in his next adventure, which included a few returning favourites with some new twists. First up was the slingshot--bringing up this weapon bought up a reticle onscreen, but Miyamoto says you won't have to point the Wii Remote directly at your television to aim. The Nintendo legend then targeted some spiders crawling on a mossy wall, taking several shots to hit them all.

The next item to be used was the bomb, and it seems you'll have a few ways to deploy them in the game. The first is by simply placing them on the floor by pressing A. You can also throw them by swinging the Wii Remote over your head. Finally, you'll be able to throw them like bowling balls via an underarm swing (with Miyamoto saying you could even get spin on the ball a la Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort). The bow will also be making a return appearance, and in another Wii Sports nod, you'll have to aim by holding the Wii Remote in front of you and draw back by pulling the nunchuk behind your ear. Miyamoto tried to demo this feature on stage, but unfortunately came across some targeting problems onscreen (which he blamed on wireless interference).

Also affected by interference was a new addition to the item lineup, which Miyamoto simply called the beetle. The beetle, as its name suggests, is a small flying insect that can be used to pick up far away items or even drop things onto foes. Using the beetle switches your view to just behind the insect, and you'll steer it by using your Wii Remote. Miyamoto, however, had some trouble steering the beetle to pick up something, so he quickly moved on to the final item on show: the whip. As you'd expect, the whip will be used by flicking your Wii Remote, with the direction you're moving it affecting which way Link attacks onscreen. In the demo, two lizalfos came upon Link. Miyamoto used his whip to break their defensive stance and then quickly switched to his sword to finish the job.

With the demo over, a gameplay trailer for Skyward Sword was shown, showcasing some of the moves and items that will be available. The trailer showed such scenes as Link precariously balancing on a rolling boulder atop some lava, attacking a large crablike creature, swinging on vines, using a beetle to drop a bomb onto an enemy, and bowling bombs into small openings. The game looked quite sharp and looked reminiscent of Twilight Princess, but we'll have to wait until we see it on the E3 2010 show floor to make a better judgement.

And now for the bad news--Miyamoto closed off his presentation by saying that development on Skyward Sword would take at least until the end of this year, which means you'll have to wait until 2011 before the game is released. We're looking forward to playing The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword during E3 2010 to see if some of the control bugs in the stage show have become less prevalent, and we'll bring you more details on this highly anticipated game soon.

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