Last week I talked about people who say Skyward Sword’s motion controls were unresponsive and put forth my own arguments against that. This is something of a follow-up, but it will be a bit different: I’m going to list solutions to some of the control problems I’ve heard of. Don’t worry, this is a one-time thing; I won’t be talking about Skyward Sword’s motion controls this much in future posts!
As I said in my last post, Skyward Sword’s controls don’t have any problems working right. All issues with them are actually human error. This is something that was inevitable as people are controlling Skyward Sword in a way that requires physical movement. In the comments for that last post, a few people said that they still had issues with the controls and that because of this they were still bad. The thing is, most of these were issues I had… and figured out what I was doing wrong. In other words, even those specific issues were still generally human error. So, here’s some examples of how to fix common problems I’ve heard of. Please don’t mind the length, just read the ones that are relevant to you!
Swinging the Sword
Honestly, chances are your biggest problem here is calibration. When calibrated correctly and things are working fine, this is not something you should be having trouble with. My advice is to take a look at the Wiimote Plus’ or Wii Motion Plus’ manual and carefully read the calibration instructions and follow them exactly. I’ve heard of people doing it wrong when they thought they’d done it as instructed, so you should check again anyway.
Furthermore, there can be an issue of a “neutral position”, which is going to be brought up a few more times. Skyward Sword seems to recognize whatever position you hold the Wiimote in for long enough as the neutral position, and therefore all sword swinging will be based on this position. This is mainly a problem for people who point their controller down when not fighting, and it wasn’t an issue for me because my hands are always on my knees with the Wiimote pointing at the TV. As explained in the sword training sequence at the beginning of the game, if this happens you can usually fix it by doing a couple of vertical slashes. If not, try recalibrating and keep in mind the neutral position stuff.
If you’re still having problems, try swinging with more force, less force, and see if making bigger or smaller swings helps. I usually play best with wide wrist-flicking motions, but some people seem to be able to make full swings just fine. Experiment with it and find your sweet spot.
Thrusting the Sword
Trouble thrusting is one of the most common problems people have in Skyward Sword and is also one of the things that plagued me for the longest. Eventually I came to a conclusion as to why I had trouble with it and ever since I came up with a solution, I haven’t had the problem.
The key issue with thrusting is not a control issue, but a muscle one. It’s far easier to get more momentum going with a swing than with a thrust. You have to use a lot more force to get the same speed on your thrust. When you don’t manage adequate thrusting force, I think the game registers the vertical or horizontal speed (because there’s no way your thrust is 100% straight) before it can detect that you’re thrusting, and so it does a slash instead.
Simple solution: Thrust with a lot more force. Again, experiment with it until you can do it without problems.
Charging a Skyward Strike
Caleb has actually done a YouTube video tutorial for this. There’s not much I can say because I didn’t struggle with this. As always, I say you experiment with the arm angle and wrist angle, and see where you need to hold your arm to charge a Skyward Strike. Most problems with the controls can be sorted out with a little experimentation.
Undesired Shield Bashes/Rolls/Spin Attacks
There’s literally only one cause for this to happen. You shook the Nunchuk. A lot of people say they barely move it and it still registers, but I’ve never found that to be the case, so I suspect it’s moving more than people realize. The only way this can happen is if you jerk your Nunchuk hand or move your whole body, neither of which should happen when you swing (only the limb you’re swinging with should move). If you jerk or move any other part of your body, then that’s what’s causing your problem.
My playing posture involves my hands being on my knees when I’m not fighting, and although I do raise the Nunchuk in combat, you might have some luck if you use that posture while fighting, only shaking the Nunchuk on your knee when you want to use the shield or whatever.
Repositioning the Sword Without Slashing
This is an issue of finesse. It’s not that hard to move the sword (even at a reasonable speed) without doing a slash. Just make sure it’s a smooth movement. It’s typically jerking and flicking that trigger the slash. Again, experiment. Preferably outside of combat.
Like the screwy slashing, this is a neutral position issue. Any item that requires aiming registers its neutral position as soon as you pull it out. Wherever you’re pointing the Wiimote when you ready the item and start aiming, is now considered the center of the screen. This includes pointing straight up. Make sure your arm is actually where you want it to be before pulling out the item. You can always use the centering option to reset the center position without putting the item away.
Playing the Harp
Actually Caleb also gave some advice for this in a video, where he gives advice for the Kina Harp minigame. That’s one example of difficult harping but it’s pretty much universally considered the hardest Harp section. Again this is one that’s hard to help with because I never had problems with it… until my second playthrough. I’m working it out though. Caleb’s advice would be better than mine.
Flying with the Loftwing or Beetle
Some people have trouble steering with the Loftwing or Beetle, though the biggest problem I’ve heard of is actually the flapping on the bird. I’ve found that proper flapping involves flicking or twisting your wrist upward until the Wiimote is almost pointing up and bringing it back down the same way. It mimics an actual flapping motion and generally works really well without accidentally tilting the controller. As for steering with either, careful control of the tilt is all that’s needed, though it may take practice. The Loftwing and Beetle do not turn as quickly as you turn your hand, but this is to be expected since they still need to function with the game’s mechanics.
Our final entry, swimming is one thing I hear a lot of people have trouble with. Enough to make them completely hate collecting the Tadtones and even the other briefer swimming sections. The fact is though, that the controls for this are almost identical to those of the Loftwing and Beetle. The first mistake anyone makes is to point the Wiimote in the direction you want to turn. You have to tilt it like with the Beetle. Pointing it seems to work sometimes, so as always I encourage you to experiment with it and figure out what works for you, but I’ve had far more luck tilting. The mechanics are also slightly different from the Loftwing and Beetle since it’s in the water, but it’s closest to the Beetle’s.
Now I still make mistakes on occasion with the swimming, but it’s basically always a lack of precision. Every time I’ve swam into a wall I can easily recognize that I didn’t turn soon enough or sharply enough. Like all other motion control issues, it’s human error. I’m not saying this to insult anyone who had trouble with the controls. As I said last time, the fact that the problems are human error doesn’t have to debunk any and all unhappiness with the controls… it just changes your reason. You can still feel that the controls should have been easier to use, and therefore were still bad. But that’s not an issue of unresponsive controls. Honestly, if people are having problems with the Skyward Sword controls, they would have far more if the game was made more responsive; people are struggling enough as-is with getting things to register right. If they made the controls any more realistic, it would be far worse.
So how about you? Did you experience any of these problems? Have you used my solutions before and have they worked, or are you going to try them now? Tell me in the comments!
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