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The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Thursday 19 October 2006
Since our snatched playtest at this year's E3, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has undergone a motion-sensing overhaul, rejigging the entire control system so that slashes, stabs and shield bashes mirror the motion of your limbs. But is this good news? We got ourselves cosy with Link, a Wii-mote and the world of Hyrule to find out.

Twilight Princess turns Wii's controllers into your sword, your bow and your shield. Wafting the Wii-mote from side-to-side sees Link perform slashes, or combos of attacks if you keep waving your arm about, while lunging out in a stabbing motion triggers - you guessed it - a stab attack. Draw your bow and the remote is used to aim and unleash each arrow.

Meanwhile the Nunchuk controls spin-attacks (waggle your hand left-to-right) and shield bashes, performed by thrusting your fist towards the screen. All these movements are remarkably easy to pull off, and there's no EyeToy-style frustrations as you wave madly trying to get the game to recognise your exertions. However, we're not sure that Link's adventure really suits such high-intensity antics.

Stabbing and bashing enemies away with your shield is intuitive, and even successfully matches your action to what's happening on screen. But slashing doesn't react to your exact movement - left-to-right or right-to-left it's the same animation that's triggered - and the spin-attack motion is ill-advised.

In previous Zelda's you could rip out Link's spin assault with a full revolution of GameCube's analogue stick, a movement that really fits with the attack and attained the sort of real/virtual crossover that Nintendo are aiming for with Wii's motion-sensing. Just rattling your fist about instead is taking us a step backwards and can't claim to be a more effective or intuitive control method.

There are positives, though. Link's bow and arrow aiming is far more accurate and comfortable than before, with free-aim now offered rather than the self-defeating lock-on we saw previously. Also, the Wii-exclusive fishing game uses the controllers perfectly, with the Nunchuk as the reel and the Wii-mote as the rod, and it'll provide some calming, engaging side-action to the Zelda quest.

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