Hands On: Skyward Sword, Beetles, Clovers, Whips… Oh My.

Skyward Sword is the fifth Zelda game since the series jump into the world of Polygonal 3D. While the game is very stylized; it seems to be taking cues from the previous four games. The game play of Ocarina of Time, the fanciful mysterious world of Majora’s Mask, the art shading of Wind Waker, and the unique items of Twilight Princess.

When I first started the demo, I have to say I had some doubts about it since Miyamoto’s attempt to play failed so horribly on stage. However, when I got the controller in my hands I have to say that the games MotionPlus control of the sword worked fantastically.

As we all know, Nintendo has been planning to use more of their MotionPlus accessory. The fact that the device is used in conjunction with Links sword, the Skyward Sword, it allows for very precise movements.

This allows you to move Link’s sword freely in any direction. As many people have seen in various videos of gameplay, you can use that to get past an eye puzzle door seen in the trailer above. Motion plus allows the user to all sorts of possibilities, from holding a sword in a specific direction, thrusting or pointing at different things, and even being able to block some attacks. However, some of the most interesting things you can do with the sword are impaling squash and other movable items. Allowing you to carry them on your blade.

Yet, the more interesting ability is the skyward charge, which allows you to create a power beam to be shot out in any direction you slash or thrust. Giving you even more opportunities to plan how you want to attack characters.

However, besides the 1:1 swordplay, there are a few more features that are unique to skyward sword that aren’t in any other Zelda game. Link now has a stamina meter which is represented by a four leaf clover. All we know at this point is that the meter allows him to run, and climb walls. If the meter depletes he gets tired.

This meter allows for some very unique game play, think about trying to sneak, swim, or do any other action that requires stamina. It opens up a lot of elements.

The menu system has also been completely revamped. The reason I say revamped is that in the old games when you brought the menu up, the action stopped. However, now everything is always in active time. So when you press B to bring up the item screen you can quickly select an item while fighting a boss.

This brings in some tactical elements, about planning where you need to be to switch items and also opens up the ability to create well made puzzles.

As we all know, Link has a many different items to use at his disposal, but the way he uses them has also changed thanks to Motion Plus. Think Wii Sports bowling when rolling a bomb at an enemy. Or Wii Sports Resort airplane game for the flying Beetle.

Yet the most unique item that link has at his disposal is the Whip. Which can be used to stun enemies, whip objects away, grab onto things you want, and so forth. It makes me feel giddy that the game play for the whip works so well. Wishing that Igarashi would release a Castlevania game featuring the mechanic.

As always, the game features various attack moves and special sword strikes that can be performed in conjunction with how you swing the WiiRemote and Nunchuck. Those attacks being shield bash, a front flip slash, a jump slash, and even a rolling side slash. So there is a lot the demo had to offer, it makes me anxious knowing we all have to wait until 2011 to actually play this game.

As I’m sure a lot of people are feeling distanced by the art style, rest assured that when you play the game you see how naturally it fits. The surreal surroundings and deformed enemy proportions help with distinguishing how to attack them. Some people hated Wind Waker, because of the style. I hope people actually open up to this game since it is fantastic.

What are your thoughts on Skyward Sword?

An artist from New York. Will has been writing, designing, and loving video games since he was young. He has traveled across the United States, and parts of Canada in order to learn more about the world of gaming. After visiting E3 for the first time in 2009, he has vowed to return there and show off a game of his own. In his spare time he tinkers with electronics, programming, and of course collecting video games.