Zelda SkyWard Sword: Precise, Fluid, Intuitive

The Legend of Zelda

Scrimmaging with Sony for the hearts of precision-perfect motion-control wonks, Nintendo unveiled The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for the Wii with true 1-to-1 sword control at its E3 press conference today.

Nintendo glossed over the game's story to focus instead on a brand new control scheme that capitalizes on the MotionPlus Wiimote add-on's precision-enhancing attributes.

Where Twilight Princess had players wiggle the Wiimote to indirectly trigger sword slashes, thrusts, and spin-arounds, Skyward Sword gives you realistic, precision-mapped control over the sword itself.

I had a chance to fiddle with a single area demo of the game after Nintendo's press show, and thank goodness, because the jittery, imprecise wireless demo helmed by Nintendo design legend Shigeru Miyamoto during the show itself was at times painful, at others disturbing to watch.

Hefting a MotionPlus-tapped Wiiremote in one hand, the Nunchuk in the other, I took a few seconds to test the 1-to-1 tracking, expecting a stuttering mess. Instead, the pointer tracked my every move perfectly and fluidly. If you watched the conference live and wondered about the jitter, rest assured, it was entirely absent in my demo unit.

To put things in finer perspective, imagine Link facing away from you, brandishing his sword and shield, just as he does in Twilight Princess. While holding the Wiimote out like a hilt, you can move it in any direction and Link's sword arm will track to follow. Move left and the sword slides left; right and it moves right. Slash horizontally or vertically the sword slashes in the direction indicated fluidly, not--as in Twilight Princess--like a move you've conjured from a library of animations.

The crazy part? There's no discernible lag or delay. In fact after spending time with Sony's Move wands performing similar actions (more on that later) I'm comfortable saying the sword tracking in Skyward Sword is easily on par in terms of gestural fidelity.

But what about the shield...

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