E3: Zelda: Skyward Sword Revelations

The new Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was unveiled at this years E3. It was a big, albeit not-unexpected, announcement from the Big N, and we got some hands-on time with the demo. I managed to make it through the whole thing and defeat the Scorpion boss teased at the end – something the rep told me only 8 people had managed to do that day. Needless to say, I felt pretty full of myself.

First thing everyone who has seen the trailer or gameplay videos will notice is the visual style. They direction the team was going in was a “painting come to life.” As such, the game doesn’t look as dark as Twilight Princess, although there are some similarities. Colours are brighter, giving everything a nice vibrant feeling – immediately, it’s a world you want to explore.

Enemies themselves are brighter, bigger and more exaggerated – a lot of you might be thinking back to Wind Waker right now. And whether or not you were a fan of Wind Waker, as far as Skyward Sword is concerned, it works. Now that you need to target specific parts of the enemy, those bigger body expressions help you figure it out.

The big kerfuffle at the Nintendo conference was Miyamoto’s demo of the game – the controls didn’t react, he could barely aim using the Wii-mote and it was slightly embarrassing for everyone involved.

I can say with confidence that the actual game plays much more smoothly – almost perfect in fact.

Using the wii-mote as a sword, it tracked my hand motions precisely. It felt so natural in fact, that within seconds I dispatched a few Deku Baba’s – carnivorous plants that open their mouths horizontally or diagonally, and have to be sliced by your sword in that same direction in order to be defeated.

The boss fight against the giant Scorpion at the end was similar – there were eyes in the claws that only opened certain ways, and you had to cut them accordingly. Once the claws were dealt with, you had to thrust the controller forward in order to get through the armour on it’s head. A few hits later, and it was defeated.

The demo had no real end – after beating the boss, I was just put back outside to fool around until the 10 minute timer ended.

The gameplay is, at it’s core, the same as we’ve been used to since Ocarina of Time, but Skyward Sword bring the most significant changes to the system we’ve seen since then.

Of course, there’s using the wii-mote to control your sword. Holding it still in any direction charges it, allowing you to unleash a ranged attack. Your health does not need to be full to pull off the attack, unlike older games.

Then there is using the nun-chuck as your shield. A quick flick raises it, and flicking it again allows you to shield bash. For now, the bash was just used to send projectiles back at your enemies, but I was told that it might be used for other things (like dizzying enemies I mused) in the future, as development continues.

Using the sword will automatically put down your shield, and you still have full control over the sword with your shield raised.

A big change is the inventory system. No longer do you have to go into the pause menu and hotkey which three items you want. Instead, everything is done live from a radial menu. Opening up the menu, you use the pointer to select which item you want to equip. This does not pause the game, but you can continue moving with the menu open.

The same goes for potions, which have a menu of their own. Even better, you can drink a potion while running.

The system definitely promotes a more active kind of gameplay, and adding to this is the dash. Holding A allows you to start running – no more rolling everywhere, thinking it’s sightly faster. The roll still exists however, and doing this like running and rolling causes a stamina meter to decrease.

Although it may be adjusted in the future, as it stands the meter is nothing to worry about. It takes a while to empty out, and recharges really quickly. Even when it’s empty, it just means you can’t do those actions for a few seconds (and Link starts breathing heavily).

As far as plot is concerned, it looks like we’re going to have something reminiscent of Ocarina and a Link to the Past, in that you’ll be travelling between two worlds (but, hey, those are widely regarded as the best games in the series).

This time it will be between the sky, where Link lives, and the dangerous world below. That concept art we saw a while back, with the sword-shaped girl and Link standing behind her? She’s the Skyward Sword. She transforms and gives you advice during your adventure, like Midna or Navi or any other series companion.

I also asked Nintedo Representative Julie Gagnon some questions about the demo, and got a few interesting tidbits:

- The elements of the HUD may not be final – some aspects are just for the demo (which is good, because it’s looking a little cluttered right now).

- The demo level was created just for E3. It’s not the first dungeon of the game or anything, although (obviously) aspects of it will be in the final game.

- Left-handed controls are not currently planned. So, there’s no option to have a left-handed Link. This could mean a bit of getting used to for left-handed players, as your hand is controlling the opposite arm on Link, but given the wii-motes design, button placement won’t be a problem.

Skyward Sword is due out next year. Look for more news and coverage from Wild Gunmen as it comes in!

To contact the author of this post: aaron.chatha@wildgunmen.com

Comments (48)

  1. Gary Wintle says:

    Kind of sucks about the no left-handed options.Might be worth getting use to though.

  2. Colt-45 says:

    but left handed people are the devil

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    Griffey comes through in 9th as M’s end losing streak

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    Arizona Diamondbacks give Justin Upton $51.25M deal | MLB

    Justin Upton has lived with high expectations virtually since the day he picked up a baseball bat.

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    Omir Santos tried on his new batting gloves, said to slow the impact of a harmful fastball down to the mere annoyance of a junkball, and voiced excitement.

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    ? The Chicago Cubs agreed to terms with Cuban defector Juan Yasser Serrano, 21, a right-handed pitcher.griffeys 2012

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    Reds, Baker have deal through 2012

    Dusty Baker brought in a tailor during his first spring training as the Reds manager, getting the clubhouse staff ready to look good for the day when the marooned franchise would finally win.

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    The Reds were the biggest surprise of the division champions, winning the Central despite a young and inexperienced lineup and pitching rotation. Baker kept it together during one of the tightest pennant races in years. The Reds and Cardinals weren’t separated by more than three games from mid-May to mid-August.

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    Cincinnati hadn’t been to the playoffs since 1995, when Davey Johnson took the Reds to the NL championship series, then got replaced by owner Marge Schott, who simply didn’t like him. The Reds went through five more managers before hiring Baker, who presided over a quick rebuilding process.cheap griffeys

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    Mariners go into Winter Meetings “open-minded,” but not likely to be bidders for high-priced free agents

    The tearing down of a 101-loss Mariners team has been under way since before the disastrous 2010 season ended.

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    Zduriencik arrives in Florida on Sunday for the annual baseball winter meetings looking to accelerate his plans to rebuild what has been torn down. The Mariners already have youngsters Justin Smoak, Adam Moore, Michael Saunders, Dustin Ackley and Michael Pineda either at or near the majors, but must figure out where they fit and how to bolster an offense that ranked among the worst in the last 40 years.

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    ASICS Australia runs safely on Juniper Networks

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    Ken Griffey Jr. says he left because he was “a distraction” to team

    Ken Griffey Jr. says he retired abruptly last year because he felt he’d become a distraction to the team.

    “I’m not upset,” he said. “I think people thought I was upset about certain things, but that’s not the case.”

    Griffey said he merely feared that people he’d grown close to on the team would try to talk him out of retirement if he stuck around for a press conference. griffeys 2012

    So, I asked him, if everything else was fine, why hasn’t he spoken to former manager Don Wakamatsu since he walked away from the team and the game back on June 2?

    “My phone rings,” he said, implying that Wakamatsu should have called him. “That’s just the way it is.”http://www.onitsukatiger2012.com

    Players and Wakamatsu himself say that the pair didn’t speak for the final two weeks of Griffey’s career. One player told the Times last summer that Griffey erroneously believed that Wakamatsu had been the source of the Sleep Gate story in which the future Hall of Famer was said to be napping in the clubhouse during a game in May.

    The player said Griffey shared his opinion with others on the team and only realized weeks later — after he’d already retired — that Wakamatsu was not the story’s source. But today, Griffey merely says he wasn’t upset at the time and left because he feared he’d become a distraction to the team.

    Griffey was asked what he has to say to fans disappointed by his abrupt departure. ken griffey shoes 2012

    “You want me to apologize for something that I felt was right? I felt that it was right for me to leave. I’m not going to do it. Because it’s not intended to hurt people. It was a decision that I made. I made that 15 years ago…there are some people who are upset and some people who are not. I can’t worry about it. I had to do what I thought was right for me.”

    Griffey had indeed spoken for a long time of retiring without fanfare or a press conference. Again, though, one wonders why — if he insists he left with no ill feelings and had simply planned to leave this way all along — he didn’t extend his manager or general manager the courtesy of a phone call. And why, to this day, he still hasn’t spoken to a manager he had a close relationship with in 2009. He did call team president Chuck Armstrong, but, typically, if nothing’s wrong, the manager and GM do get calls and are offered an explanation when a player suddenly retires.

    So, today, the question was asked and answered. Griffey’s phone rings is his answer. That’s all he’s prepared to say about it. We can keep asking the same question over and over again, but I doubt we’ll get a different answer.

    So, that’s his explanation. Whether or not you accept it is up to you. cheap griffeys

    The bottom line, as I’ve written before, is that this franchise needs as many of its few icons to come back within the fold. It says a lot that one of the most popular, if not the most popular, public figures for this team was not a player, but a broadcaster. The death of Dave Niehaus left the Mariners reeling back in November, not just because of the human being they lost, but also because a part of the organization died with him.

    Griffey said it will be hard for the organization and those who met Niehaus up-close to get over his death from a heart attack last November at age 73. He was asked whether it will be odd not having Niehaus around on Opening Day.king griffey shoes

    “Yeah, it’s odd,” he said. “If somebody tells you it isn’t, it is. Definitely, looking around and not seeing those white shoes, those tight pants he wears and that semi-tight shirt. And that voice. I think that’s the biggest thing. That voice saying hello to you, teasing you, having a good time at the ballpark.

    “I think that’s the thing that a lot of the guys who were here over the years are going to really miss. And even the guys who knew him for a year or so, they’re going to miss him, too. But I’ve known him since 17, so like I said, in Seattle he’s like the grandfather to a lot of guys. I know he was one to me, so I’m going to miss that. You’re not going to be able to replace that. You can replace a player, but that voice, you can’t do it. It’s going to take 50 people and even those 50, it’s still not going to be the same.”

    Griffey may not be the most popular guy for some fans right now, but he is a future first ballot Hall of Famer and arguably the most famous face for the franchise around the world of baseball and at-large.http://griffeys2012.weebly.com

    He just got back from a trip to the Philippines, where he was serving as a goodwill ambassador on behalf of the United States government. Now, he’ll be an ambassador of sorts within the organization, especially when it comes to spreading the message to younger players about what’s expected of them.

    “This is the organization I grew up in,” he said. “So, if there’s going to be an opportunity for me to be in baseball, it’s going to be here. I had an opportunity to get a chance to do it. It’s a lot of learning because it’s a little different. It’s not going to change. I’m still going to be the same person. You’re going to know how I feel.”

    And what’s his main message going to be?http://kengriffeyshoes2012.weebly.com

    “Hard work doesn’t start during the game,” he said. “Hard work starts the night before.”

    Regardless of what happened last year — and several good people did lose jobs because of the events of 2010 — the organziation has to try to put it in the rear-view mirror. It will take time for some to forgive Griffey. And some fans may never do that. That’s their choice.

    But in my view, you do have to put the events of last year into the context of a 20-year career. If some of you want to include 1999 in that context, again, it’s your right.

    You’ve read my stuff about Griffey and know how I feel about what went on last season.http://cheapgriffeys.weebly.com

    But you also know, if you’ve kept reading this space, that I believe the organization, in the wake of Niehaus’s death, had to find some way to bring Griffey back into the fold. That he was too important a part of Mariners’ history — good and bad, but mostly good — to be estranged from the city he spent most of his career in.

    Griffey said he has no regrets about coming back to play in 2010 after what could have been a storybook sendoff in 2009.http://kinggriffeyshoes.weebly.com

    “No,” he said. “I mean, things happen. Through no fault of its own, things happen. I got to meet some great people last year. If I wouldn’t have done it, I wouldn’t have had an opportunity to meet some of the people in Seattle that I did meet…and who still call me today. So, no, I’m not sorry that I came back.”

    It may take time for some to get the appreciation back that many fans felt in 2009. And some may never get it back. But the team had to try.http://www.nikesoccercleatsmvp.com

    Griffey came today and offered his explanation. It may be enough for some, not enough for others, but it’s a start. And it’s as good as it’s going to get.

    We’ll see where things go from here.

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