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Feature: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword in Motion

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Were the motion controls worth the wait?

Very few games over the past decade have had the sheer level of hype and anticipation that The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has found heaped upon it. Not only has the game been in development for an extremely long time, but it's also been hampered by developmental challenges that, at one point, almost led to the game losing its trademark motion controls altogether. But now here we are near the end of the Wii console's lifespan and the game is about to finally be released onto eager fans as what will likely be the system's last marquee title.

As you begin your quest, you'll immediately see a series of cinematic sequences that set up the initial storyline. Much like previous Zelda releases, you'll be guided through a series of menial tasks that function as a story-driven tutorial of sorts in order to acclimate you to the controls. And since this is the first release in the series to make full use of 1:1 motion controls, there will be quite a lot to cover in the first hour of the game. You'll even get to traverse a small dungeon to help you get your feet wet with the game's unique combat mechanics followed by a rather intense flight competition to come to grips with piloting your Loftwing bird.

Once the tutorial section is completed, your real adventure will begin and you'll be sent on your way with only a handful of items and your sword and shield. It's at this moment that you'll begin the routine that will follow you to the end of your adventure, consisting of the rampant amounts of exploration and the lineup of dungeons you'll be forced to trudge through, most of which are filled to the brim with a mammoth assortment of enemies, including some insane bosses to tackle. It's in this arena where the motion controls play such an integral part of the overall combat presentation.

While there are a lot of similarities in the way the game is played out, the motion controls will take a while to come to grips with. The MotionPlus gives them an impressive level of responsiveness, but learning the variety of moves and being able to pull them off in a pinch will take some practice. It's also a good idea to experiment with the various menus and button assignments early on in order to be able to make use of them when the action really heats up. It's a whole new experience this time around and though the game does ease you into the adventure with care, it won't last long and then you're going to need every move in your arsenal in order to safely navigate your way through the more treacherous areas you'll encounter.

It's easy to think that inserting motion controls into a Zelda experience might take the game in a more casual direction, but it's perfectly clear from the first time you tackle one of the game's bosses that never before has this level of realism and intensity been brought to life from a control perspective. It's also the closest thing to actually being inside of the actual adventure you've ever experienced, something the developers have said was one of their main goals during development.

It's almost impossible to not be blown away by the level of polish and refinement the game exudes, even from the very beginning of the game when you turn it on for the first time. And the combination of familiar and brand new elements will make the game appealing to both long time fans as well as gamers who are new to the series. Although we're still quite early on in the adventure, everything so far leads us to believe that Skyward Sword could very well be as epic and moving a video gaming experience as has ever been crafted for a Nintendo platform, or any other platform for that matter.

With Skyward Sword set to be released next week we're spending as much time in Link's world as possible to make sure we bring you the definitive review just before its European release on 18th November.

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User Comments (45)

Arthedain

#1

Arthedain said:

Man am I looking forward to the 18th. Lucky for me I'm free that weekend :) It's hard to avoid spoilers though.

sc100

#3

sc100 said:

IGN just gave Skyward Sword a 10. Said it was the greatest Zelda game ever made. This game is looking more than epic right now.

Boyoshi

#6

Boyoshi said:

I pre-ordered this and i cant wait for the 18th. If only it would come sooner.

ImDiggerDan

#7

ImDiggerDan said:

Gah! I'm away for the whole weekend diving. Will try get some time with it on the 18th, though.

eviLaTtenDant

#9

eviLaTtenDant said:

Damn Corbie, now i'm really hyped for the game. Even when you're very satisfied with most of the Nintendo games in the last couple of years you just never really know what's next with 'em. :)

One question here though 'cause you mentioned you've got to pull off an awful lot of moves here.
You can always look up all the controls in-game, right ?

grumblebuzz

#11

grumblebuzz said:

Waiting for an in-store demo somewhere before I get it. I want to try these controls first hand before I commit, stellar reviews or not. I was NOT a fan of the waggle-waggle-waggleness of Twilight Princess.

yoyogamer

#12

yoyogamer said:

Do you truly plan to review the game before the 18th? I presume this means no eating, no sleeping, just Zelda. Well, at least you're getting constant exercise!

Spoony_Tech

#14

Spoony_Tech said:

Sounding great so far! I think for this game there should be two reviews for the first time! Like a second opinion type of a review!

Late

#16

Late said:

One week left. For the first time I'm really waiting for a Zelda game to be released. I like Zelda games but somehow it doesn't bother me if I get them on launch day or a year after. This time it's different. This game seems to be something special. And I can't wait to get the Golden Wiimote xD

StarDust4Ever

#19

StarDust4Ever said:

I have three classic Wiimotes, and none of them are motion plus enabled. And I believe they stopped selling the plus dongles a long time ago. Will I have to buy extra Wiimotes just to play this game?

Given the level of hype behind this game, you'd think it was on the same caliber release as LOZ:OOT for N64. I am enjoying that adventure for the first time on 3DS, despite owning the original Nintendo consoles. I'm still not convinced though. I'm really not half as much the Zelda fan as I am a Mario fan. I may get this though when the Wii-U arrives and Nintendo finally releases this game for $20 as part of the Nintendo Selects series.

@grumblebuzz: If you hate "waggle" controls and you still have a Game Cube compatible Wii, I recommend hunting down the Game Cube version of Twilight Princess. I never played either version, but many reviewers praised the Game Cube version for having tighter controls, even if the graphics were dumbed down a little. I also heard rumours from somewhere that the Game Cube Twilight Princess levels were mirror images of the Wii game, so it might feel a little wierd playing one version if you were used to the other.

kobe1724

#20

kobe1724 said:

This is kind of a dumb question, but I'm assuming you can use the Wii Motion Plus add-on (like from Wii Sports Resort) to play this game instead of Wii Remote Plus? It's very hard to describe my excitement for Skyward Sword at this point. That's why I have it reserved! Can't wait!

CorbsAdmin

#21

Corbs said:

Yes, you can use the Wii Motion Plus add-on for the game. They're basically the same thing, just with the Wii Remote Plus featuring the technology built into the Wii Remote itself. :D

Xiao_Pai

#23

Xiao_Pai said:

ok I'm officially done reading up on Skyward Sword stuff until it comes out. xD

Token_Girl

#25

Token_Girl said:

Preordered the gold Wiimote bundle from Target. Playing OoT furiously until then! I hope I'll get some time to sink my teeth into it during Thanksgiving weekend.

I miss being a student, and getting winter break just in time for holiday game releases.

Henmii

#27

Henmii said:

Nice preview! So the game doesn't start with the flying mini-game (where you have to capture a bird-statue)? Pfff, what a relief!

I mean: When I come home excited, sweaty and a little bit tired of the trip, I just want to dip in very quickly. The last thing you want at such a time is chasing endlessly after a statue (and getting hugely frustrated)! That's just my opinion!

C-195

#28

C-195 said:

28. Why do we Aussie's always get left out and neglected by Nintendo? It's not fair.

k8sMum

#30

k8sMum said:

what about the left/right hand thing? i so wish they'd kept link a leftie...do i now have to become proficient with my right hand? the gods help link if i do.

XD375

#31

XD375 said:

@StarDust

There is no graphical difference between versions of Twilight Princess, and the GameCube version was developed first so the Wii version is the one with the mirrored images.

The Wii version has widescreen, but it actually just zooms the image in, so you're not getting anything extra on the sides if you play it on Wii. You actually have the bottom and top cut off, in fact.

Sam_Loser2

#32

Sam_Loser2 said:

Within one week two games are coming out that should shock the gaming world by themselves. Luckly I just got Skyrim to help pass the time until next week. But will I be able to get myself away from Skyrim long enough?

kingofe3

#33

kingofe3 said:

I'm thinking about getting the limited edition, my family could use another Wii remote since they love playing the dancing games at family events, and it's near christmas.

Supremeist

#34

Supremeist said:

So the motion controls are good. :) My aunt has a Wii and I'm thinking about buying Skyward Sword for it.. though it just doesn't feel right because It's not my console. Will have to see. This game looks so great and has the potential to be the best Zelda game ever, I bet everyone who has this game reserved can't wait any longer. Just a few more days, guys!!! (NA)

Henmii

#35

Henmii said:

"what about the left/right hand thing? i so wish they'd kept link a leftie...do i now have to become proficient with my right hand? the gods help link if i do"

Yeah it's strange, especially since Miyamoto is left-handed himself. The controls can't feel right (got it?) for him!

sinalefa

#36

sinalefa said:

I am very eager to have this review, as yours and IGNs are the ones I usually enjoy the most.

At Grumblebuzz:

Of course I have not tried SS, but I imagine it will the same or better than Wii Sports Resort's Swordplay, which allows for a good level of skill, as opposed to TP's mindless waggle. In fact I bought WSR mostly because the archery and swordplay would be like the prototype for Zelda's.

Edwrd

#37

Edwrd said:

My 480p tube TV is on the fritz, I'm going to get a full HD set and play this game on that, its going to be so awesome.

NinjaMario

#38

NinjaMario said:

Preordered this game yesterday!!! Sooooooo happy for the CD and the golden wiimote!!!!! Awesomeness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so excited just to run around in Skyloft!!! Just play! Only 7 more days!!!!! ONLY ONE WEEK LEFT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm VERY excited

boob

#39

boob said:

Pre ordered with gold wiimote. When you look at the price if you need another wiimote absoloute bargain. The kids have bought it for me for christmas though. They are making me wait. Aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrggggggggg.

Ben_Rage_V2

#40

Ben_Rage_V2 said:

I'm more excited for this game than any other game that has been released this generation (barely edging out Mass Effect 2 and Skyrim). The last six years has had the most amazing selection of masterpiece games I can ever recall (Super Mario Galaxy 1&2, Bioshock, Mass Effect 2, Fallout 3, Batman Arkham Asylum/City etc . . . . But I am even more excited for Skyward Sword. It is going to be a true revolution in gaming control and a monumental achievement in modern entertainment. And I'm getting it for Christmas!!!!!!

timp29

#41

timp29 said:

So Corbie, are there painful backtracking fetch quests? I bet $5 on a 10/10 either way :)

CorbsAdmin

#42

Corbs said:

There is backtracking quests, yes, but they play a key role in the development of the story and these backtracked areas have new content upon revisit.

rjejr

#43

rjejr said:

Monster Hunter Tri didn't use Plus but it did have some weird button pushing waggle attacks, I hope this makes more sense. And has a lock-on ;-)

I'm glad you guys get it 2 days earlier so I can read the review. I'm sure it will get a 10 but I'm still on the fence. I'm surrounded by stores so not too worried about getting it day 1 if I decide too.

apa-sl

#44

apa-sl said:

Can you let us know when Nintendo Life's SS review will be published exactly? ;-) I suspect that we will have to wait till Nov 17th or 18th :-(

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