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Another Pass At The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

LinkNintendo is just weeks away from releasing The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for the Wii, and strangely enough, I'm still feeling slightly meh towards it.  The last major game in the series, Twilight Princess, never quite came together for me and what I played of Skyward Sword at E3 this year didn't do very much to inspire my confidence.  My industry colleague David Oxford felt similarly at the time, but recently he had another chance to try this latest Zelda adventure and he's starting to change his mind.  Perhaps I should take another look, too.  Here's some of his updated impressions:

We spoke of what the E3 demo contained in our previous article, and this demo was very much the same. A lot of articles have come forth recently, speaking to the content of the game, but here, we would like to focus on the feel and experience we got to enjoy-- as well as some do's and don'ts for when you first play the game.

As it turns out, the booth lady who assisted us at E3 was not as knowledgable about the game as would have been helpful; fortunately, this event had some of the pros from Nintendo of America itself on hand to help properly guide us.

Perhaps the single biggest mistake we (and others, apparently) had made when we first tried to play The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Swordis to try to play it as we would other sword titles for the Wii, such as Red Steel 2, or how we would expect a game boasting 1:1 sword motion to play. That is, we attempted to act as though we were actually holding a sword, swinging the Wii Remote through the air in front of us.

Simply put: this is wrong, and will more than likely lead to frustration on your part as Link almost seems to be on the other end of a game of "Telephone" between himself and the Wii Remote.

This sounds more promising to me.  David also namechecked me at the end of his article with another take on the bird-riding portion of the game that put me off of the title back at E3, and as it turns out, there's more to it than I was told back in Los Angeles earlier this year:

Before we wrap this up, we also want to address our time with the bird-riding portion of the game. While we were unable to personally try this at E3, our colleague Matthew Green from Press the Buttons was less than impressed. And when we gave it a shot here, we were equally unimpressed as the stage seemed to carry on forever...

...that is, until another Nintendo of America representative came to help us out. She pointed out that this portion of the game needed you to not only steer the bird, but to flap its wings with a motion of the Wii Remote-- a fact a lot of people were not informed of at E3, according to her testimony. Once we began having our bird flap, things became much, much easier as we used it in tandem with our speed boosts. What once dragged on for many minutes became a snap.

Once again we see that failing to staff a solid demo with knowledgable people can break a game's early buzz.  Had I known about this aspect of the controls back at E3... well, I'd probably still have been a bit tweaked because I want to fight monsters in a Zelda game, not steer a bird, but I'd at least have been more open to the idea.