You asked, I answered – and now we’re going to do it all over again! I took another round of your questions about my impressions of Skyward Sword and now it’s time to deliver the goods. You guys are asking some pretty awesome stuff, so this has been a really fun experience. Again, I’ll always take questions as long as they’re about something I haven’t specifically covered, so feel free to ask me more if there’s anything you feel has been left unsaid.
What did you think of the new HUD?
I guess you haven’t seen yet – the HUD’s been seriously stripped down, and now more or less resembles the one from Twilight Princess in terms of simplicity and lack of clutter. All we see now are the heart and shield meters in the top-left corner, and the B button item icon at the top-right, with the D-pad, A button, and + & – buttons below that. It’s looking a lot nicer than that blocky Wii Remote and Nunchuk diagram from the earlier demos. Take a look for yourself in the image at right.
How many items can you equip?
how does the item wheel work? is it a pain or is it awesome? do you prefer it to other menu styles? I heard the game was still in action while you switch items. sorry for all the questions 😉
Only one at a time. You’ll see your active item in the circle at the top-right corner of the screen. Instead of pressing buttons on the D-pad to change items, you’ll hold down the B button and cycle through an “inventory wheel” similar to the one in Twilight Princess. It’s really easy to navigate – you just gesture with the Wii Remote to move your cursor and release B once you’ve highlighted the item you want to select. The action will continue even while you’re cycling through items so that you don’t have to wait through a menu screen before you can use your new item.
It’s definitely my favorite item selection style, with Ocarina of Time 3D‘s touch screen inventory taking a close second. There were no necessary pause menus in the demo whatsoever – the only feature that stopped the action altogether was the map.
That shield meter… What is that? Did it have any use in the demo?
The shield meter indicates how much strength is left in your shield before it breaks. Different shields have different levels of endurance – there’s a wooden shield, for example, that takes only a couple hits before shattering, and is probably also weak against fire. The Iron Shield can take a little more punishment and is probably resistant to flames, but the Hylian Shield is the strongest of all and it doesn’t look like anything but magic can damage it.
If you lose a shield, you can replace it by buying a new one at a shop. It sounds like this is going to be an important feature in combat – most likely we won’t get the Hylian Shield quite this early in the game, so we’ll be forced to use weaker shields in the meantime.
If your shield gets destroyed, can you block attacks with your sword like you would do in a real sword fight?
Yes, your sword can still connect with enemy blows, although obviously it’s a lot harder to ensure you’ll block things properly with your sword versus your shield.
So when you use the bow and arrow in this game, are the controls for it the same as the archery game in Wii Sports Resort? Also, Skyward Sword is only being released for the Wii only, and not also the Wii-U right?
Yes, the bow and arrow controls are based directly on the controls in Wii Sports Resort. You press B quickly to engage your bow, then hold down the C button and draw the Nunchuk back like a bowstring to nock an arrow. The longer you keep the arrow in place, the stronger your shot will be and the farther it will travel. Let go of C to release.
As for your second question: Aonuma has stated that since Skyward Sword is built exclusively for the Wii Motion Plus controller, there’s no way it’s going to be moved over to Wii U, since it wouldn’t be able make use of the Wii U controller.
King of the Red Eagles:
Who do you think the ‘messenger of the goddess’ is, as described by Lord Ghirahim?
I’d say it’s most likely Phi given her role and connection to the Skyward/Master Sword – A Link to the Past talks of a divine messenger who came and prompted the forging of the Master Sword, and she seems to fit that bill pretty well.
In your opinion, what is the best part of the demos, whether it be gameplay-related, story, etc.?
Definitely the extreme amount of freedom the game seems to give you. While you obviously have to get to a set point to complete the dungeons, you’re pretty much free to explore them as you like. Optional upgrades are scattered throughout, similarly to how you could find hidden stuff in the dungeons in the original game. This also applies to boss battles – there are “easy” strategies for taking down Ghirahim, but you can also try to fight him the old-fashioned way without using any of the tricks and you’ll still be able to beat him if you’re skilled enough. Of course, having full control of your sword is nice, too.
It’s hard to narrow it down to one specific element out of these, but I think it’s just that general feeling of open-endedness that stands out most. It seems like an innovation, but it’s really a return to the series non-linear roots, and one I’ve been clamoring for since last E3. If the attention to the old sense of freedom and the neat way they’re trying to combine some of the cooler new features from more recent games is really present throughout the entire game, we could be looking at the best Zelda game of all time.
Keep the questions coming guys! I’ll be posting an “Everything We Know About Skyward Sword – Post E3 2011” article as well as a demo walkthrough for our Skyward Sword walkthrough page soon!