E3 2010: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Having premiered during Nintendo’s press conference earlier today, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword might’ve gotten off on the wrong foot, as legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto struggled with the motion controls, claiming there must’ve been some kind of interference caused by someone’s wireless device in the audience. Although the remainder of Nintendo’s E3 conference forgave the game’s lackluster premier, I got a chance to try the game out for myself on the show floor, after Nintendo’s conference and am glad to report that the game plays like a proper Zelda title. There didn’t seem to be any problem with the motion controls during my short time with the game.
The swordplay in Skyward Sword is totally effective and with the aide of the Wii Motion Plus feels closer to 1:1 than one might expect. As I maneuvered the Wii Remote, the sword responded accordingly, tilting to either side and moving in sync with my hand. When I slashed the Remote vertically or horizontally, Link seemed to follow the suggested action with his sword.
Holding in the B button, you’re able to select from several other effective weapons, as well, such as bombs which can be bowled toward an enemy at a distance and a whip, which felt totally satisfying to use against the various enemies. Thrusting the Nunchuck forwarded results in Link raising his shield. It felt intuitive and allowed for more control over Link than what was seen in Twilight Princess.
Visually, the new Zelda is on-par with Twilight Princess but doesn’t exceed what you’ve come to expect a game to look like on the Wii and isn’t competitive with games on other consoles. With that said, I like the semi-realistic approach Nintendo have taken with Skyward Sword’s graphics and am left wishing they didn’t have to work within the limitations of the Wii’s hardware.
Even though it may look like a last generation game, it totally doesn’t play like one. If you watched all three conferences, I think it’s pretty clear that Nintendo still has the best understanding of what people want from motion controlled video games. Although some of the concepts shown on the PlayStation Move and Microsoft Kinect were neat in theory, it’s unlikely any of them will work this well in practice, or ever find the kind of install base of dedicated fans that the Legend of Zelda franchise has garnered.