I got extensive hands-on time with The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword during a Nintendo booth tour today, and I was absolutely stunned with the performance of the title.
Obviously what stands out first are the visuals, as Skyward Sword appears somewhere between the graphical styles of Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. I was told that they were attempting a water color style, and I'd say overall they succeeded. That said, it's clearly still a pretty early build of the game. Rupees didn't really shine like you'd expect and environments were a bit barren, but I was assured this was a property of the demo build rather than the final game.
I began the demo in the same place Mr. Miyamoto did in his press conference, approaching some dekuba plants which required precise cuts to destroy. I easily disposed of my first two foes, slicing the sword down and across in perfect 1:1 motions. I then tested the sword itself, making slow circles and turns in the air to see if it really matched my every move, and was not disappointed to discover it did. The sword didn't just render 4 or 8 pre-set slicing directions, but actually allowed me to slice at very precise angles.
As I advanced I began deploying some of my other items. I rolled bombs like a bowling ball, which was easy as well. I then drew the bow by pulling back with the nunchuk, and found the aiming flawless and easy. The slingshot was similarly responsive, and not dependant on the IR at all. The insect is launched and controlled like the Fluzzard levels in Super Mario Galaxy 2. The Wiimote is tilted left and right and up and down to direct flight. I was able to use it to attack enemies, pick up items, and kill the bats flying in the air.
The demo area was pretty limited, and felt a lot like a sandbox to examine the features of the new game rather than a chunk of the new game itself. As shown in the conference, eventually the player runs into a door which can only be opened by spinning your sword and making the eye which adorns it dizzy. Continuing on I disocovered even more enemies, including some shielded foes who once again forced me to use my sword with precision.
The shield may be what surprised me the most. I was expecting the Wii Motion Plus to yeild responsive sword controls, but traditionally the nunchuk's motion sensors haven't been up to par. Jerking the nunchuk quickly forward brings out Link's shield, which he will continue to hold out for simple blocks. Reflecting enemy attacks can be done by thrusting the shield again. Once again I was amazed with how responsive it was, and kudos to the teams at Nintendo for making such a variety of effective motion controls.
Nearing the end of the demo I made my way into a cave to face a Gohma-ish scorpion boss, whose pincers hid his eyes. It took precise slashing to damage the boss, and again I discovered how well the controls work. The pincirs took on all sorts of crazy angles to guard against Link's blows, and I found that slashing wildly was completely useless. In addition, getting too close to the boss caused the hilt of Link's sword to strike it, which again rendered my blows ineffective. I finally defeated the boss after cutting the eyes out of its pinsirs I thrust my sword between the armor and pierced its final eye, defeating it.
Thus ended my extremely satisfying demo. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was a cavalcade of varrying motion controls of all types on the Wii, and a truly impressive demonstration of its capabilities. While clearly the visuals are still being polished, you couldn't ask for smoother gameplay. If this is the future of motion controlled action games, count me in, and if you really want a 1:1 sword control adventure, look no further. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is shaping into an incredible experience.