Maybe it's because the 25th anniversary concert is only a week away, but the first thing I notice is the music. The swooning classical score is augmented by real orchestration and the effect is as epic and stirring as it proved in Super Mario Galaxy.
For a series light on narrative relative to the scale of its adventures, Nintendo has learned to engage players' emotions by other means: most potently through a shamelessly sweet blend of nostalgia and novelty.
As longterm fans well know, the more things change in Zelda, the more they stay the same. And far from signifying a failure of imagination, the series' consoling familiarity provides a brilliantly successful blueprint that Nintendo endlessly toys with to deliver that "surprise" Miyamoto always cites as his creative goal.
The headline change in Skyward Sword is mechanical. It's Nintendo's first big release - outside of mini-game compendia - built exclusively around MotionPlus, that two-year old Wiimote enhancement largely ignored by game makers.
Turns out it wasn't even supposed to be in the new Zelda game. But it is, and its effects are felt as soon as Link wields his first training sword.
Wave the controller around and Link's right arm (and bad luck, lefties) mirrors your movements with considerable precision.
This precision profoundly impacts combat in the game: no longer simply a case of timing, the direction of your blows matters hugely. Early foes can only be dispatched by slashing around their defences: an enemy shielding to the left must be struck from the right; a plant's vertically-hinged 'jaw' must be swiped along not against; and some only reveal weakspots when flipped over, with an upward swipe.
Link can also unleash a special attack by pointing the sword towards the sky, He-Man-like, which sucks up light energy, while the essential spin attack is performed by flicking both Wiimote and nunchuk to the left.
It requires a level of physical engagement that might annoy the laziest of sofa slouchers, but it makes every encounter feel fresh and exciting.
Traditionally, Zelda games are divided between an overworld and underground dungeons. In Skyward Sword the world is split three ways: the sky, with its floating islands; the surface of the world beneath the clouds; and, of course, the dungeons.
The sky functions like the ocean in Wind Waker, a sprawling map to voyage across, with new lands to discover as you go. Link travels around this realm on the back of his guardian bird, controlled by holding the Wiimote like a dart, swooping, pulling up and tilting from side-to-side.
Link's home - and the starting point for the adventure - is Skyloft, a small island floating above the clouds, packed with a typically eccentric cast of characters and its fair share of mysteries and secrets.
Skyward Sword is not a game in any kind of hurry. Beginning with all the urgency of an afternoon nap, the prologue unfolds gently, neatly familiarising the player with the basics while sweetly exploring the relationship between Link and Zelda.
What Wii lacks in graphical grunt, Nintendo's artists make up for with an adorable, emotive cuteness to the characters, and it would take a hard heart not to raise a smile at the way the shyness and embarrassment of young love is captured in early scenes.
Suffice it to say, the peace is soon shattered and the adventure proper begins beneath the clouds. At first this all looks like familiar Zelda overworld territory, only the structure is far tighter.
This explains a comment Miyamoto made earlier this year on the game's design: "It's not about game density, but about the density of play". The principle of "density of play" is found in the new combat mechanics described above. But it's also been applied structurally.
Nintendo felt, in hindsight, that Twilight Princess was too heavy on aimless wandering between point-to-point. In Skyward Sword, while all signs point to plenty of "game density" in its massive world, "density of play" has become the guiding design principle.
Areas outside dungeons have, therefore, been carefully constructed as large, puzzle-filled, multi-route locales to be carefully worked through, as opposed to just legging it from one end of a field to the other.
There's also the promise depth to the weaponry. All that weird paraphernalia like skulls and whatnot you accumulate during Zelda adventures can, in Skyward Sword, be used to upgrade weapons at the blacksmith's store on Skyloft.
In the early portions of the game you'll be able to soup-up the rubbish wooden shield to a more robust version, for instance. The slingshot, meanwhile, can be enhanced to fire multiple shots.
Elswhere, Link has a few new tricks up his green sleeves. A is now the run button, giving a considerable burst of speed until the stamina meter has depleted. Certain objects can also only be climbed up when ran at. When stamina is exhausted, so too is Link, slowing down to a wheezing stumble for a few seconds until the meter refills.
Little blue orbs littered around the place can be collected to boost stamina. To keep Link rattling along in one early sequence, I had to zigzag around collecting these orbs, which was more annoying that fun. Hopefully the designers have rustled up more inventive uses for this system later on in the game, otherwise it's hard to see the real value of its inclusion as a feature.
The Wiimote can also be used as a dowsing rod, which functions as navigation aid. Select what you're searching for, look around in first-person view, and the controller will vibrate when you're pointing in the right direction. You can also set light beacons on the map screen, which can be seen in the sky once you're back in the game.
And, as expectations demand, it seems safe to say there'll be a hell of a lot of game to explore. In the three hours I had with it, I didn't even make it to the first dungeon. Hours which, in contrast to the oft-criticised opening section of Twilight Princess, were packed with interesting, fun things to see and do. Density of play, remember?
Zelda, then, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. But each new title in the series is always a celebration of what has gone before, bringing with it enough novelty to enchant and amaze. On three hours' evidence, there are pleasingly few reasons to doubt Skyward Sword will do that all over again.