The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Hands-On Preview
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword box art
System: Wii
Dev: Nintendo
Pub: Nintendo
Release: November 20, 2011
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 480p Fantasy Violence
Ready to Send your Sword Skyward?
by Amanda L. Kondolojy

June 17, 2010 - Last year's E3 brought with it the announcement that a new Legend of Zelda game was in development. This was definitely great news for fans, but the wait for details for this new title definitely felt long. Fortunately, the wait ended on the first day of E3, when The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was finally unveiled. After Nintendo's press conference, we were able to attend a special closed-door meeting with Nintendo and got some hands-on time with this hotly anticipated title.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword screenshot

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword again follows Link on an adventure through a magical land filled with plenty of stylized creatures. However, instead of beginning your adventure in the fictional world of Hyrule, you begin in a city that is floating above the Earth. We were able to attend a special meeting with Shigeru Miyamoto and he said that while they can't reveal too much about the story at this time, Link will eventually break through to the world below, and that point in the game will be a pivotal scene.

We also learned at the meeting that Skyward Sword was developed with an eye towards highly stylistic visuals. Miyamoto said that he really wanted to go towards an impressionistic, fantasy-style for the game, and he said that most of the creatures in the game will feature bright colors and intricate designs to reflect this approach.

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After the meeting we were able to actually check out the game, and we definitely came away impressed. The game uses the Wii MotionPlus peripheral to deliver true 1:1 sword slashing motion. Although Link carries a whip, bow, and bombs, the sword is by far the easiest and most intuitive weapon to use.

Slashing with the sword is incredibly easy, and while I attempted to succeed in the game by performing the "Wii Waggle" we've all come to know and loathe, I was surprised to find that the waggle technique didn't work at all here. If you want to slash left to right, you'll have to pull the Wii-mote across your chest to the right. Same thing if you want to slash in a different direction. The sword fighting is very accurate, which is great news for people who were frustrated with the control in Twilight Princess.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword screenshot

During our time with the demo, we were also able to check out two boss fights. Both of these boss fights required you to slash your sword a certain way to defeat the enemy. The first was a skeleton who parried by holding his swords a certain way. By slashing your sword in the opposite direction, this enemy was defeated rather simply. The second boss fight worked in the same way, but instead of a skeleton, we fought a giant scorpion. We were instructed to attack the glowing pincers on the scorpion, which opened a certain way, leaving it vulnerable to a specific type of directional slash (much like the skeleton's swords). Both bosses required the use of the sword, which led to a little disappointment, as I couldn't put the other weapons in the game to better use.

In addition to the improved controls and the new enemies, Skyward Sword also has a completely redesigned HUD and menu system. While previous games required you to press the pause button to select new weapons and items, Skyward Sword gets rid of this problem by using a real-time menu system that keeps you in the game while you make selections. Though this can be a tad inconvenient during boss battles, it makes the game feel a little more seamless, as you never have to jump out of gameplay to drink a potion or use your slingshot.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword screenshot

Though our time with The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was brief, it was definitely enjoyable. We were reminded several times that the game was still in development and they were planning to do a lot with the visuals between now and the game's launch sometime in 2011. Still, from where we were standing, the game played well and, aside from some blurriness, it looked pretty good too. Zelda fans are definitely in for a treat with this one, and I definitely can't wait to check this one out more when it releases next year.

By Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor


Game Features:

  • Thanks to the required Wii MotionPlus accessory, every movement of Link's sword matches the player's motion with exact precision. If players motion left to right, Link swings from left to right. The precision play control is applied to enemies as well, as players must contemplate strategy when battling opponents that actively try to defend against attacks.
  • Wii MotionPlus puts an arsenal of items at the player's disposal. It offers a multitude of actions with just simple, intuitive motions. Players will try their hand at firing a bow, tossing bombs, and using a whip to battle enemies and solve puzzles.
  • The game will also introduce a distinct new graphical style perfectly suited to the franchise's fantastical universe, like a painting come to life.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword will offer a multitude of new gameplay mechanics, giving it a refreshingly different feel from all of the past titles in the series.


  • Videos / Game Trailers
    The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword - SDCC 2011 - Comic Con Trailer - click to enlarge
    SDCC 2011 - Comic Con Trailer
    The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword - E3 2011: Story Trailer - click to enlarge
    E3 2011: Story Trailer
    The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword - GDC 11: Hylian Hero Trailer - click to enlarge
    GDC 11: Hylian Hero Trailer
    The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword - E3 2010: Debut Trailer - click to enlarge
    E3 2010: Debut Trailer

    Screenshots / Images
    The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword screenshot - click to enlarge The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword screenshot - click to enlarge The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword screenshot - click to enlarge The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword screenshot - click to enlarge The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword screenshot - click to enlarge The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword screenshot - click to enlarge The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword screenshot - click to enlarge The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword screenshot - click to enlarge The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword screenshot - click to enlarge The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword screenshot - click to enlarge

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