The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Preview for Wii

Platform: Wii Check Price
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword screenshot
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword screenshot

There's 50 minutes left of E3 2010. My interview with the legendary Warren Spector had run late, and I found myself running to the South Hall of the convention centre with the intention of playing one last game. That game was Zelda: Skyward Sword, which was finally revealed in Nintendo's press conference earlier in the week. Now I'm not the biggest Zelda fan in the world, but if VideoGamer.com had left E3 without having played it, there'd have been a lot of very unhappy bunnies in our otherwise joyous community. Upon arriving at the Nintendo booth, panting, wheezing and aching from limb to limb, I was welcomed by a queue of truly epic proportions. It looped around the entirety of Nintendo's booth (which is no short distance, I can tell) you), and at my best estimate, would have taken around 3 hours to endure. There was no chance in hell I was seeing Zelda on this occasion.

The Gods of Nintendo took pity on me this particular day, however, and sent down an angel from their pixelated white clouds to help me out. That angel was the one and only Charles Martinet, the man who lends his vocal talents to the portly Italian plumber. How did he help me? I hear you cry - well, before my arrival at the Ninty booth, we'd arranged a queue jump (which us media types are entitled to). The problem was that the people who would normally answer such a request had all gone home, and so Charles Martinet, who just so happened to be milling about behind the scenes at the time, was asked to chaperone us to the front of the queue.

And that is the fairy tale explanation of how I came to play Zelda. The story of our exploits with Charles goes on, but this is not the time to recount it. No, the focus of this prose is Zelda, but I hope you'd agree that it was a fantastically cool way to be introduced to the game. With the Wii Remote and Nunchuck in hand, I was able to lay to rest any worries about the unresponsive and unruly controls seen in the Nintendo press conference. It was common knowledge at this point that these issues were the result of a room full of journalists and their interfering wireless devices, but it was nice to see first-hand how the game was plagued by no such problems.

The biggest advantage Skyward Sword has over its predecessor concerns these controls. Where Twilight Princess had players waving their arms around in a way that barely correlated with the action on screen, Wii Motion Plus this time around means that Link's sword skills are brought to life with 1:1 precision. While sword moves are mapped exclusively to the motion controls, Link's shield can be raised with a quick waggle of the Nunchuck. From here, thrusting the Nunchuck forward will prompt Link to ram his shield into his foe. The B button brings up your item wheel, where new weapons can be equipped with a quick flick of the analogue stick. Everything else is essentially the same as it was in Twilight Princess, except the UI on the whole feels much tighter.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword screenshot

Long before I'd turned my attentions towards the controls, I'd been trying to work out what I made of the visuals. Although the game was an early build, and a little rough around the edges, its aesthetic style was incredibly pleasing on the eye. A helpful Nintendo chap that was guiding me through the demo described it as an 'oil painting brought to life', which is pretty bang on the money as far as I'm concerned. Hyrule is painted with a very vivid colour palette, with an overall style lurking somewhere between Twilight Princess and Wind Waker. That said, the more adult character models mean that the game bears a closer resemblance to the former. While Twilight Princess could be perceived as somewhat drab in places, Skyward Bound is the exact opposite: a vivid explosion of colour in combination with clever use of shaders.

My time with the game was restricted to around ten minutes, which as I'm sure you can appreciate is no way near long enough to form much of an opinion. The controls are great (if you're the type of gamer that gets on with motion controls), the UI is fantastic, and the game oozes with the same charm that we've come to expect from the series. My worry is, however, whether the game brings enough new mechanics to the series. Obviously I only saw a small portion of the overall experience, but that portion was the same rehashed gameplay that we've been playing for years - other than the enemies that need to be sliced in a certain way. Don't get me wrong, it does what it does very well, but so did Ocarina of Time twelve years previously. For me to remain enthusiastic about the game when it's finally released next year, there's going to have to be something fundamental that sets it apart from its predecessors.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is out 2011 exclusively on Nintendo Wii

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strickers66's Avatar

strickers66

Problem is that the animation looked absolutely terrible.The old shuffle move while locked on,it looked early or low budget Ps2.In 2010,first party should not look like that on any system and to be honest,the art doesn't even look as good as Wind Waker.
Posted 18:56 on 21 June 2010
wannabefree's Avatar

wannabefree

It looks almost cel shaded, remember the benefits of freeing up texture memory include more/smoother animation and larger scale environments. It could pay off in the scheme of things. I loved the wind waker artstyle and the fabulously animated bosses, so i have hope for this title.
Posted 14:15 on 21 June 2010
chelskiboy247's Avatar

chelskiboy247

Nice preview, I haven't played a zelda game since Wind Waker on the gamecube so I think I'll be picking this up.
Posted 14:05 on 21 June 2010
scaz2244's Avatar

scaz2244

as much as i love wind waker cel shaded style this just comes across half graphics half cel shaded and doesnt look that great but. as a big zelda fan i would most likely put aside the graphics and happily playing knowing it will be good
Posted 14:04 on 20 June 2010
MJTH's Avatar

MJTH

When I first saw the trailer I would have totally agreed with you. The impression I always got from legend of Zelda is that it was nintendo's more adult and darker game, so when I saw it I first thought that it looked childish, blocky and to colourful to be a zelda game in my mind, but when I got over that I found it looked actually quite detailed, for a demo build and I started to like the graphical style and could see it working when finished....

.... but I will admit the enemys look horrible and it needs to be shadowyer (spelling?) for me to say it look beautiful.
Posted 12:16 on 19 June 2010
strickers66's Avatar

strickers66

I really can't understand how anyone thinks this game is graphically pleasing.It looks awful,but then I suppose Zelda is like Mario,it is videogame law that you have to like it and are not allowed to criticise it.
Posted 08:24 on 19 June 2010

Game Stats

Release Date: 18/11/2011
Developer: In-house
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Action
No. Players: One
Rating: PEGI 12+
Site Rank: 951 10
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