Hands On-The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the next title in the long-standing, and successful Zelda series. Released on the 18th November, London’s MCM Expo was offering gamers a chance to preview Skyward Sword in the Nintendo booth, alongside a host of other titles.

This hands-on experience allows players to choose between playing a “bird flying” level, sampling an obligatory Zelda dungeon, or diving straight into a boss battle with the game’s antagonist, Ghirahim. The Skyward Sword demo was definitely anticipated by many, with large queues forming throughout the day, so I managed to sample the bird flying level, and the boss battle, but unfortunately, the dungeon would have to wait for another day.

In the chronology of the series, Skyward Sword is the prequel to Ocarina of Time, and sees Link living as a resident of Skyloft, which is a made up of a group of islands sitting above the clouds. This time around, Zelda is not a Princess, but merely one of Link’s oldest and dearest friends. When Zelda is kidnapped, Link must race to save her by travelling between sky and land, defeating enemies, cracking dungeons, and much more. Oh, and the series’ regular enemy Ganon/Ganondorf will not be making an appearance here. 

The bird flying section of the demo presented the flying sequences which make up Link’s key transportation in the main game. In this instance, we are instructed to navigate Link and his bird through the sky in a race to grab a golden bird. Players will compete against a few NPCs, and in order to progress further in the game, Link must be the first retrieve this bird. The game now works with the Wiimote’s Motion Plus, which sees players taking a greater control over their movements in the game. The bird flying took a little while to get used to, but eventually this becomes a lot easier as the demo progresses. The bird can ascend by pulling the Wiimote up, descend by quickly aiming it downwards, and tilt it side to side to move left or right. Although it was somewhat frustrating at first due to mastering this motion-control input, it turned into an enjoyable, bright and colourful aspect of the game.

The bird race in Skyward Sword

The second section featured a boss battle with the game’s main antagonist Demon Lord Ghirahim. The battle begins with Ghirahim blocking every single attack that Link throws at him. I dodged his rather nasty blade attack, whilst constantly trying to get past his block. After a while, Ghirahim unblocks, and Link is able to go in there with his trusty sword and Hylian shield to deliver some damage. There have been a few changes to the gameplay, which I experienced during this boss battle fight, but thankfully they were positive ones. First of all, the motion-plus add on allows for a greater control over the sword swings. Link swipes and stabs smoothly or erratically, depending on the wrist movement you have attempted. Health potions no longer interrupt gameplay, and a stamina meter allows Link to sprint, or run up walls whenever he pleases. 

Judging from this hands on experience, the style of the game looks beautiful. Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto has on occasions expressed his love for impressionist art, and it is clear that this has been adopted into the gameplay. One fan expressed that Skyward Sword looks, “just like a painting,” and that the graphics are, “even better than Twilight Princess.”

My experience with Skyward Sword was a beautiful, and enjoyable one, and it seemed that many other players of the demo agreed with me on this point. Zelda fans should not be disappointed with this when it is released next month!

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