We just arrived at PAX 2011 and dropped by the Nintendo booth first thing to go hands-on with Skyward Sword...again. Although the demo was the same as at E3, there were still details to glean!
I also spent some significant time with the various items, including the flying beetle, bow and arrow, and slingshot. To select an item, you simply hold “B” and point at the item you wish to equip. Unfortunately, this method is slower than the dedicated buttons of previous Zelda games. At any rate, flying the beetle was a breeze, simply tilting the controller to change its flight path. It can be used to fly through webs that hold suspended treasure, or to activate distance switch, or even kill those pesky Deku Plants by flying through their stem. The bow and arrow was perhaps most interesting, taking a cue from Wii Sports Resort. Once you've aimed your shot, you hold "C" to ready your arrow, then pull on nunchuk to pull the arrow taught, then release it by releasing the button. It sounds cumbersome, but it works pretty well--though it is slower and more methodical than previous Zeldas.
We also played around with the inventory screen (separate from the Items screen) a bit more and noticed there were three shields that could be equipped: Wooden, Iron, and Hylian. Unfortunately, we did not notice any practical difference between them, though the shield gauge’s length did change suggesting some are stronger than others (Iron > Wood, after all). We also noted 5 bottles on that screen, which might be indicative of how many will be in the final game.
The motion controls were as responsive as I remembered, with Link’s sword movements mirroring my own almost exactly. And any lag you may perceive in the videos is not noticeable at all when playing. Our only complaint was the unclear requirements for maintaining your balance when crossing tight beams, which requires holding the controller vertically, then waving it side-to-side to prevent Link from falling off.
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Release: November 20, 2011
Available On: Wii
Link to the Past: Loved
Ocarina of Time: Loved
Majoraís Mask: Loved
Spirit Tracks: Loved
Phantom Hourglass: Meh
Wind Waker: Meh
Twilight Princess: Kill it with fire
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