The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Return of the swing.

The Legend of Zelda games may traditionally focus on the heroic adventures of mild-mannered elves and shy princesses, but the roar that met the E3 announcement of the latest instalment was anything but gentle.

As Epona rode out of the mist once more and Nintendo shuffled through a handful of the series' most iconic incarnations, it was as if a trans-dimensional rift had opened up inside the Nokia Theatre - sorry, Theater - in downtown LA, and millions of sweaty, Cheetos-eating fanboys were screaming for their lives on the other side.

Zelda ignites passions, then, and no aspect of it is quite as volatile as the question of whether or not the series is in need of a touch of revolution - of whether its cherished mechanics and structures have started to creak, or if those endlessly repeated rituals are still the key to the game's evergreen charm.

Nintendo, however, seems to have made its own mind up and decided that some manner of overhauling is on the cards - at least in terms of control. In a brief yet daringly cheesy presentation, Miyamoto suggested that the new game, titled Skyward Sword, will be seen as "a key turning point in Zelda's long history". A hands-on session with Nintendo afterward offered us a chance to see what he means.

The Skyward Sword E3 trailer.

The current demo build is a chewy 10 minutes of combat, culminating in a boss, and while there's no hope of getting any hints of what might be in store when it comes to the plotting and structure, a familiar blast through some of the series' more recognisable enemies is a perfect opportunity to try out the new control system.

As a Wii MotionPlus exclusive, swordplay is handled with the remote, allowing the nunchuk to act as your shield - as well as providing the analogue stick for you to get around. Thrusting the nunchuk forward sees Link bringing up the shield for deflection and sudden knockback attacks, while the sword can be swung freely or charged, by holding it still, to send out familiar little waves of power.

Trigger-targeting returns, as does the spin attack, which is unleashed by thrusting both controls to the left or right, and is available in a new vertical flavour, too, that sees Link pulling off a neat full body flip as he slashes downwards.

The MotionPlus allows for pretty good one-to-one mirroring when it comes to the sword positioning, and there are plenty of opportunities for the developers to revel in the added fidelity it offers, throwing up obstacles like doors fitted with inquisitive motion-tracking eyeballs that can only be defeated if you first render them dizzy by spinning your blade around quickly.

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