The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Hands On Preview
The Wii's swan song shows the system's unknown potential - Updated with footage!
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is most likely on every hardcore Wii fan's wish list. It's for good reason, too: the Zelda series' iconic music and gameplay has continued to inspire and innovate over its 25 years of existence. Skyward Sword is no exception.
Skyward Sword's demo consists of three different parts: one is an introductory flying level, the next is a portion of the Sky Temple, and the last is a boss fight against the ambiguous Girahim. In my hands-on time with the game, I played the Sky Temple portion.
You start off walking in a huge room with a few options for where to go. Off to the side, enemies like Keese and Bokoblins lurk. Taking the initiative, I engaged them in battle. As I took on the Bokoblin, I noticed that he started to guard in defensive patterns so I had to adjust my strikes accordingly. I can't stress it enough: the days of Wii-waggling are over. Players who do will surely be punished (trust me, I've seen people try and fail horribly). Timed and precise slices are the optimal way to attack. If he blocks to the left, strike from the right. If he guards high, swipe from the bottom. It's simple and effective and really shows off what the Wii Motion Plus can do. Even more impressively, the fights with the Skulltulas require an amount of strategy that has never existed before. If a Skulltula approaches from the ground, you cannot harm it by simply slashing at it. You have to use the sword to flick it up on its side and stab its weak point. Things like this create a very original, yet familiar experience.
After my encounter with these preliminary enemies, I was ready for the sub-boss. After using the golden beetle to unlock one of the doors, I headed into a room in which I encountered a Stalfos. This enemy, wielding two swords, has added ability to guard from multiple directions which makes your choices in combat a lot more crucial. After a bit of strategy and careful blocking, the Stalfos was defeated. I was rewarded with an update to the golden beetle shortly before my hands-on experience ended.
One thing resonated with me after playing: I was getting engrossed in the world they had created and could have easily kept playing. As I learned the controls, I got a lot more into the game. The new sword and weapon controls add a level of depth and innovation that the Zelda series needed, and I'm sure that people will latch on to its changes when the game releases on November 20th this year.