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E3 2010: 5 reasons Skyward Sword will rock

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A year ago Shigeru Miyamoto teased a new Zelda game for Wii by revealing one piece of art. And for a year, that’s all we’ve had to go on. Literally one year later he took center stage at E3 2010 and premiered Skyward Sword, a MotionPlus-capable sequel that’s set to release in 2011. Miyamoto’s demo didn’t fare too well due to some form of “technical difficulties,” which unfairly made the alleged one-to-one sword control seem unresponsive.


Above: Moments from motion fiasco

Well, that’s not the case at all, and I feel there are some other points that make this more than “just another Zelda.”

 

The motion controls work

As mentioned, the MotionPlus-enabled Skyward Sword does indeed read your movements. I could hold my hand out and turn the remote side to side or straight out and watch Link do the very same onscreen. Swing sideways and he’ll swing sideways. Swing vertical, you get vertical. Push both the remote and Nunchuk down and you get a fierce downward slice. Bump both to the left or right for the iconic spin attack. And lastly, yank the Nunchuk to raise and shove your shield, which blocks and also bounces projectiles back at the baddies. Then there’s the whip, which strikes out from Link at more or less the same angle you swing the Wii Remote.


Above: The Stalfos’ stance dictates how you should attack

This allows for more interesting and varied combat that’s reminiscent of Red Steel 2. If you skipped that one (and you probably did), that means changing up your attack patterns and reacting to enemy stances instead of just swinging away like you’re forever trapped in the final moments of Shyamalan’s Signs. That said, it’s not as demanding as Red Steel 2 (at least not the demo area), so you won’t have to waggle wildly for extended periods of time – there’s still plenty of puzzle solving and exploration like previous Zeldas.

 

The menus are streamlined

As you might expect, Nintendo didn’t provide a bunch of shots of the menus. But one of the biggest legitimate points are those menus, or more specifically the way they now function. You used to have to pause, select or equip an item, use it, then go through it all over again if you wanted to change weapons or drink potions. Now you can bring up two different radial menus that let you simply point at the thing you want and immediately equip or use it. Twilight Princess had a similar feature, but it’s even smoother this time around – especially the potion-drinking, which used to literally freeze the world while you ingested it. Now Link keeps moving and just downs the thing.

 

The structure will be different

Skyward Sword is still a year away so I can’t expect this demo version to be fully representative of the finished product, but in this case the area-to-area structure was a bit different. It started in a narrow field that basically funneled you forward. Along the way you’d swing on vines, bowl bombs into tiny areas to open up small tunnels and fight man-eating plants, eventually coming to the large scorpion boss that’s been seen around so much this week.

After defeating it (by making note of its attack stances and patterns, remember), Link passes through to a cliffside that overlooks a vast expanse of gorgeous outdoors, suggesting this path is neither lengthy dungeon nor open area. Both Miyamoto and series director Eiji Aonuma said this was intentional, and to expect a bit of deviation from the usual formula. Hey, we love just about everything Zelda, but it’s always cool to see Nintendo shaking things up with both the plot and the new items, like the motion-guided beetle that can take off and provide an aerial view.

This beetle also can grab bombs and drop them on enemies or trigger other events in the world. Obviously, this will play a major role in the puzzles, and thus influence how the entire world will be built. So yes, it should be a very, very fresh experience.

Next page: Two more reasons Skyward Sword demands a closer look

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32 comments

  • gamefreakl1996 - July 14, 2010 7:39 p.m.

    looks 75% good but 25% ok to me, im still gonna get it though
  • smbfanboy - June 21, 2010 1:43 p.m.

    Can't wait to play it!
  • sarge_51 - June 20, 2010 5:29 a.m.

    Well, it looks like I must be the one to ask the question that's on everyone's minds, but nobody has voiced: What will the consequence for attacking a cucco be? In the pre-Twilight Princess games, the consequence was always Poultry Armageddon. Your victim's cucco buddies protected him by relentlessly dive-bombing you. Now, in Twilight Princess, we saw a different approach; when you attacked a cucco enough, you got the opportunity to control that cucco for a short period of time. Ultimately, this had no real fruit beyond its inherent awesomeness. Except for the chance to make a cucco swim. Which was cool. So, will Skyward Sword feature Poultry-geddon? Will it offer another chance to pilot a cucco? Or will it branch off in an entirely new direction? I suppose we'll just have to wait and see.
  • lovinmyps3 - June 18, 2010 8:14 p.m.

    #6: It's Zelda!! Zelda can never go wrong!!
  • Modroneman - June 18, 2010 7:26 p.m.

    Zelda games are a buy no matter what. Zelda games are just so well done.
  • ninwiilink - June 18, 2010 6:10 p.m.

    Maybe with all the "sky stuff" they will use Vaati once again... but I prefer ganon :3
  • NeonSalmon - June 18, 2010 3:54 p.m.

    i really hope they change those moblins and mushrooms by release time
  • Limbo - June 18, 2010 7:20 a.m.

    Zelda is probably my favorite game series. The art style in this looks just fine to me, it is basically the N64 game graphics with a touch of Wind Waker to it. I really like the cel-shaded style in Wind Waker, but I'm glad they didn't use it for this game. Adult Link would look really weird if he was cel-shaded. I really hope that 1 to 1 ratio for the sword and shield actually work. It was something I was expecting in Twilight Princess and it disappointed me when I discovered it was just ficking your wrist. Either way, it's Zelda, so it will be good no matter what.
  • GoodGuyWithACrappyJob - June 18, 2010 5:52 a.m.

    Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those showing a new road. It's almost the opposite in this case, at least from Voltaire's point of view. All these reasons to look at this game are great ones, but they could be applied to almost any itineration of Zelda. Not that that's bad, and the final product is still a year away, so I'm gonna give it a chance. I'll wait and hope for this one, because it really has that sheen, the kind of thing that makes you look twice and wonder... And it's Zelda? Since when has Zelda not been amazing? (The ones who shouldn't answer this question, you know who you are).
  • TriforcePlayer - June 18, 2010 5:13 a.m.

    Mega DITTOS
  • Shagnasty - June 18, 2010 4:55 a.m.

    :( I loved Windwaker's art style and Twilight Princess's art style, but mixing them together looks... pretty gay.
  • Mexiflan - June 18, 2010 4:44 a.m.

    Even for a second,i loved to see Majora's Mask with modern dat graphics.
  • Tenfey - June 18, 2010 4:30 a.m.

    Also number 6: It's Zelda.
  • GameManiac - June 18, 2010 4:19 a.m.

    Why are people so worried about the graphics? What's truly important is the gameplay. Nintendo has proven that time and time and time again. Thank goodness I got Wii Sports Resort and don't need to get a new WiiMotionPlus apparatus.
  • taterboob - June 18, 2010 3:31 a.m.

    @mgkyo666 I don't think it's so much that Link looks like Justin Bieber. It's more that Justin Bieber looks like an effiminate elf boy.
  • FrozenImplosion - June 18, 2010 2:57 a.m.

    I LOVEDDDDD Windwaker's graphics, it's probably my favorite of the series. But this new style just isn't hooking me. It was ok when the main character was a kid, but it just looks really strange to me to see grown up Link in the almost cel-shaded looking new Hyrule. Either way, I'm sure it will be extremely fun :D
  • Cyberninja - June 18, 2010 2:40 a.m.

    i personaly like the art it reminds me of the 64 games which were great
  • KREATIVEassassin - June 18, 2010 2:38 a.m.

    For whatever reason, I just cannot bring myself to give a damn about this game. Everything I've seen about it I find incredibly unimpressive.
  • oldbaconface - June 18, 2010 2:30 a.m.

    I have new hopes for this game. I'm glad the controls actually work.
  • ATLAS - June 18, 2010 2:28 a.m.

    @crumbdunky So you're not going to buy a Zelda game just because of the graphics? You say multiple times that you're sure it'll be a great game, but you keep complaining about the art style and how Nintendo isn't shaking it up with this one. Every sequel is a retread in some form or another. Some add great new features and new gameplay mechanics, others are just the same game with "2" slapped on the cover. Zeldas are good retreads. If there's a retread out there, it's definitely Modern Warfare 2. Wow.

Showing 1-20 of 32 comments

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