Derek Heemsbergen
E3 2011: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Impressions
Link in the sky, flying oh-so-high with beetles, birds, and androgynous bosses!
06.09.11 - 4:50 PM

Ten minutes of excellence. That's what I was treated to after lining up at Nintendo's booth for a chance to play this year's demo of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

The demo was split into three sections: a bird-riding competition, a dungeon, and a boss battle with the mysterious Demon Lord Ghirahim. The flying competition started with a brief introduction, in which Link listened to a speech by a village elder with his fellow competitors, who were all vying for the grand prize: Zelda herself. Her humble village-girl design, reminiscent of Luna from Lunar: Silver Star Story, was refreshing. After diving off a precipice in his home village of Skyloft, Link called for his bird, and the competition began. The bird controlled by twisting the Wii remote left and right to change course, shaking the controller to ascend by flapping the bird's wings, and speeding up by pressing the A button. It quickly became second nature as I gained altitude and dive-bombed the golden bird, securing my prize and ending the first section of the demo.

In the dungeon portion, Link was outfitted with a large arsenal of tools. Finding the exit required careful use of the golden beetle, which Link deployed and controlled similarly to his bird. The area seemed like pretty standard Zelda fare, with boxes, switches, and puzzles aplenty. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to play this section of the demo, so my impressions are limited.

Finally, I fought against Ghirahim, the swooshy white-haired character revealed some time ago. He wielded a katana and teleported around the arena with ease. My slash connected with him when I attacked from various angles, but occasionally he grabbed my sword and I had to pull up on the Wii remote to break free of his grasp. He also attacked with projectiles, which I deflected by raising up my shield with the Nunchuk. It wasn't an especially difficult battle, but my victory was rewarded by Ghirahim with dismissive taunts, so I suspect that his true power has yet to be revealed.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword looks to be another high-quality entry in this acclaimed series. Nintendo insists that this title will "redefine the Zelda framework," and I have faith that they will deliver on their promises. Look for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword when it releases in the 2011 Holiday season.