To round out my booth tour with Nintendo, I was able to take about ten minutes and play with the demo they had of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. The first thing I noticed when I picked up the controllers is the art style, which looks almost like everything had stepped out of a painting. According to the representative that was there, this was on purpose, as the art design was modeled after Impressionist paintings to give it that feeling.
For fans of Twilight Princess, the controls appear to be very similar in nature, although the use of the Wii MotionPlus controller means that your actions will be even more accurate. The game was able to accurately sense when I would thrust forward, when I would move the sword up…and when I was simply flailing around.
The area I played in was a dungeon and one of the things that was explained is that unlike previous Zelda games, there isn’t a discrete overworld and underworld. The game flows seamlessly between them instead of the standard Zelda pattern of ‘find a dungeon, find a key, find the boss, kill the boss’ and repeat.
The other thing that was readily apparent after getting used to the controls was that the monsters were not of the simple ‘find, attack and squash’ variety. Spiders were armored and had to have their weak parts exposed so you could kill them; skeletons would block and counter-attack making it harder to hit them, and bosses…well…that’s another thing entirely.
Timeline-wise, Skyward Sword is actually more of a prequel to Ocarina of Time as it sets up the premise for the previous game. Overall, however, while I wasn’t very good at the game, it was fairly easy to pick up, and I’m sure they’ll have a solid in-game tutorial for new players. It looks beautiful and feels solid, and it’ll be interesting to see how this one shapes up come this holiday season.