The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Hands-On Preview

Link, I miss you. Yes, getting re-acquainted with you on the 3DS was great and all, but it didn’t fulfill my Zelda needs. I need something NEW, something we’ve never shared before…which is making the wait for Skyward Sword all the more difficult.

Skyward Sword is shaping up to be more Zelda excellence. I played two different parts of the E3 demo, then saw a third part only viewable during the Nintendo Developer’s Roundtable. Each slice of Zelda that I tasted left me wanting more and more, and I can only imagine that the full game will be even better

I first played the Boss Battle demo, going up against the Demon Lord Ghirahim pictured above. Our new friend is quite adept in battle, blocking my sword and holding it in place with just his index and middle fingers. We tussled for awhile, going blow for blow (and block for block, in his case) until he finally revealed his sword and started to attack. Ghirahim had three main techniques: a charging sword slash (that seemed unblockable, only dodgeable), a teleport (where he would always materialize RIGHT FREAKIN’ BEHIND ME), and a projectile attack. The projectile attack brought the MotionPlus controls to light: the five blades would always appear in a straight line, and if you slashed at the same angle as the line, you would send the projectiles back to their maker, damaging him. In battling Ghirahim, I found myself thinking of the Stalfos and Lizalfos I fought back in the N64 days. The battle was tense and fierce, just the way I like it.

Though I would like to say one thing: Hey Ghirahim, David Bowie called, he wants his look back. Androgynous jerk.

Anyhow, part two of the playable demo was spent soaring through the sky on the back of a giant bird. The point of the minigame was to chase down and catch a small golden bird before the opponents, with the winner getting the hand of a young lass named Zelda. Once the cutscene explaining the rules was over Harry…er, Link ran to the edge, jumped into the air, and mounted his noble steed for an intense game of Quidditch…I mean Catch The Bird.

Flight controls were smooth and steady. I could shake the Wii Remote up and down to gain altitude, then hold it down to speed toward my target. Turning the bird was done by shifting the Wii Remote left and right, and the A button gave me a sudden burst of speed. Like the odl Epona controls, I could only use so many of these charges at a time (specifically, three). From there, the game was just a matter of finding that damn bird and grabbing hold of it. Of course, nothing ever being easy in Link’s world, the rabblerousers make you catch the stinkin’ bird again, this time while they throws eggs at you! After catching the damn bird a second time, you get the Bird Statue, which proves your victory. The bird flying seems like another great minigame, a la the fishing in Ocarina of Time, to act as a sidequest to the grand adventure.

The third item was a brief presentation shown at the Nintendo Roundtable Discussion. In this demo, Link activates a “siren power” in his sword that sends him into an alternate dimension reminiscent of the Twilight Realm. Here, Link must collect 16 tear drops scattered throughout the area, but this isn’t as easy as it sounds. The parallel world is guarded by white, glowing hulks known as The Guardians. Since you used the sword to enter the world, you are defenseless against these brutes, and one swipe will make you start all over again. Luckily, whenever Link grabs one of the teardrops, the Guardians are reset and frozen for s short time, allowing Link to press on. Speed seems to be the key in these alternate realm parts, as the faster you grab the tears, the less likely it is that you’ll have to deal with those Guardians. I’m not exactly sure what this parallel world has to do with Skyward Sword’s plot in general, but color me intrigued.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is showing great potential. The gameplay has been excellent, the story points that have come out are intruguing (origin of the Master Sword? YES PLEASE), and the aesthetic presentation is amazing. With Zelda’s 25th Anniversary fast approaching, I can only hope that Skyward Sword comes sooner rather than later.


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Author: Jason Fanelli View all posts by
Jason lives and breathes gaming. Legend tells that he taught himself to read using Wheel of Fortune Family Edition on the NES. He's been covering this industry for three years, all with the Node, and you can see his ugly mug once a week on Hot Off The Grill.

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