The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: First impressions and compared to Twilight Princess

I had a lot of fun with Zelda: Twilight Princess on the Wii and decided to try Skyward Sword when it came out. The biggest change between the two is the use of the Wii MotionPlus for control of Link’s sword: The motion of the sword follows the way you swing — or even hold — the remote. This creates some new and interesting gameplay mechanics, but this wasn’t the only gameplay change between the same. I’ll elaborate on a few others:

The other major change that I notice immediately is that it doesn’t use the wiimote IR for “pointing” (I covered the sensor to be sure). It uses the accel/gyroscope in the motionplus, relative to its starting “center” position. Unfortunately the “center” can go out quite easily depending on the way you handle the controls, but fortunately re-centering is done quite easily: Every time you are able to “aim”, simply pointing your remote at the center of the screen and pressing DOWN on the Wii remotes D-pad re-centers the aim. Though it’s quick and easy, I find myself having to do it a LOT. I wish there was some sort of auto-centering, perhaps making use of the sensor bar. Though if you get into the habit of pointing “center” when you select an item or open a menu, the cursor is already there and there is less need to center as often.

There’s also an overlay which shows you the controls, which can be disabled from the ‘gear’ menu (button 1).

If you played Twilight Princess, you may recall your NPC companion. Link’s companion is in his sword this time, instead of his shadow. As before, the townsfolk are willing to help you learn the controls (which, except for sword swinging, are quite similiar to TP so that you don’t can skip the tutorials). An on-screen overlay — enabled by default but which can be disabled — reminds you of the controls and item use.

This time however, there’s an emphasis on HOW you attack enemies. Some are vulnerable to attacks only from certain directions or at certain times, and since Link’s sword follows the wiimote almost exactly, how you swing the wiimote is important. That’s a sharp contrast from the TP, where any “swinging” motion would cause Link to swing in a pre-configured pattern of strikes.

There’s also two new motion-based environmental challenges: Ropes and vines. Ropes, which Link has to walk across and keep his balance (by swinging the wiimote left and right to correct his balance); and vines which Link has to swing across. With the vines, you can swing the wiimote backwards or forwards to gain momentum, and hold the B button to slow the vines momentum. Some areas have vines which you have to stop and vine and change the direction of its swing in order to jump to the next one. Timing can be critical.

Overall Skyward Sword is a fun game, and the changes in the play control make it fun, but could have been improved slightly. This is just gameplay mechanics, and there’s some interesting story to go with, but these are a few first impressions.

What are your thoughts on Skyward Sword? Have you played Twilight Princess? If so, how do you feel about the changes? Please feel free to comment below. Thank you!