ZeldaBlog

E3 Impressions of Zelda Wii

May 14th, 2006 at 10:19 pm by thabto

Given that this is my first article here at ZeldaBlog as an actual contributor I thought it’d only be fitting that I make my first post something of some significance. So when I got the opportunity to go to this years Electronics Entertainment Expo my first thoughts were to write up my impressions here at ZB about the one and only reason I wanted to go to E3 in the first place: The Legend of Zelda - Twilight Princess and just how well it plays on the new Wii-mote.

Before I begin though, an introduction is in store. I am Thabto. I don’t ask much. All I do ask is that you refer to me as either Thabto or as Captain, my Captain. The choice is yours.

Now onto the good stuff.

As you may or may not know by now, the wait outside the Nintendo Booth just to even touch the Wii (stop it) was anything but short. Thankfully, with iPod and DS in hand, I was able to ignore most of the pain my legs endured. And let me tell you, nothing is more rewarding than seeing the Nintendo Booth’s entrance after waiting three hours in line for it (I’m not exagerrating. I seriously waited three hours. I counted and everything).

Upon entering spectators were treated to a rather fascinating demonstration of the Wii-mote by several musicians using the forthcoming Wii Music Party Game. Wii Music is destined to be one of those great party games like “Taboo” or “Twister” where you set up the console, turn on the TV and just let people play and have a good time. I got to see two music demo’s. One was the Wii Orchestra that Miyamoto came in playing at the Nintendo Press conference. The other was a basic drum set in which you use two Wii-motes as drum sticks. Wii orchestra is fun in that you get to control a simulated orchestra playing (what else?) the Legend of Zelda theme. As the conductor you can control every aspect of the orchestra’s performance from the speed and tempo in which they play to their sound. Yes, you can control their sound too.

How exactly?

As demo’d in the Wii drum performance (I forgot to take a picture, too fascinating!), the musicians explained that not only can the Wii-mote sense motion in a 3-D space, it can also sense velocity as well. For example, if you want to make a loud crash on a drum symbol simply press and hold the required button/s and smash down hard mimicking the playing of a drum. If you want to make a soft tattering on the symbol then simply move your hand up and down in a gentle manner to get the desired effect. The same goes for Wii Orchestra. If you want them to play softly then just move the Wii-mote/baton in small, gentle strokes. Want a grander Zelda theme? Then wider movements with the Wii-mote/baton are required. See? Fascinating! So, having had my appetite suitably whetted I proceeded into the gaming room and on to my final desination.

The first room is a gamer’s paradise. Seven large widescreen HD television sets lined the wall with large, comfortable leather couches as your gaming throne allowing you to play anything from Red Steel to Metroid Prime: Corruption and, of course, Zelda. These couch sessions were special as they allowed you to play the Zelda demo all the way to it’s boss ending as opposed to the regular gaming room where you have a smaller TV, no couch and they kick you off once you get to the boss chamber. Wanting desperately to sit down on one of the couches and play Zelda (or, perhaps just sit down) I waited for about twenty minutes to see if I could play on the couches. When I saw the long list of people who would have been ahead of me I decided it was best not to even bother and moved on to the second gaming room which held a more standard demo showing. I did, however, get to sit in on one of the boss fights over in the first room (more on this later).

The lines for the Zelda and Mario demos were easily the longest in the showroom with Metroid and Red Steel coming in second. After waiting aNOTHER hour just to play Zelda I finally got my hands on the Wii-mote and its nunchuck peripheral. Both are smaller than I had originally anticipated fitting snugly into the palm of my hand (I guess the camera DOES add ten pounds). Having viewed the same demo over and over again while waiting in line I managed to solve the few puzzles in the game with relative ease as opposed to most people (Seriously, how hard IS it to throw the boomerang in a Z pattern?)

Taking up the reigns I was surprised at how intuitive the controls were. Only the odd few in line seemed to have any problem pointing and firing an arrow or the boomerang. Swinging the sword is relegated to the B trigger button on the bottom of the Wii-mote (a bit awkward at first given its position but I easily adapted). The A button on top is your standard action button allowing you to open doors and pick up crates. It does NOT, however, throw those crates. That’s what the nunchuck is for. With a slight flick of the wrist the crate will go flying at your intended destination. Also, if you make a quick rotation of the nunchuck with your hand it will cause Link to do his famous spin attack. I like this funtion better than the way it’s been handled in the past by rotating the analog stick 360 degrees (I never could do that properly). The Z button located on the nunchuck performs the exact same function we’re all accustomed to, locking onto enemies.

The Wii-mote also has a few interesting things to it besides just pointing. You can flick the Wii-mote when fighting an enemy to parry their attack. It also has a built in speaker which I was terribly excited about and looking forward to experiencing. Unfortunately, the showroom was far too loud for me to be able to hear it. Link’s secondary weapons are programmed to the left, right and bottom of the cross hair buttons. These took me a bit longer to get down because they were each handled differently. The grappling hook and the bow, for instance, don’t require one to hold down the button. Simply press the button you have configured, point, aim and press again to fire. Hitting A or B will cancel you out of that mode. The boomerang, on the other hand, does require you to press and hold the button, aim then release.

Speaking about aiming, the games manual aim function is incredibly precise. In fact, it’s a bit TOO precise. I never did get used to how sensitive aiming an arrow at an enemy was. Thankfully, the game doesn’t require you to be a crack shot with the aiming. As long as you’re within the cross hairs you should be able to hit whatever it is that’s attacking you.

The demo offered two stages to choose: a dungeon stage and a fishing stage. Having chosen the dungeon stage I can only give you impressions on what I saw in the fishing one, not what I played. First, there are two types of fishing: lure fishing and boomer fishing. Boomer fishing is done on the dock while lure fishing is done in a boat out in the middle of the lake you have to paddle to. Paddling is a simple exercise. Rotate the analog stick counter clockwise to paddle on the left side of the boat and clockwise to paddle on the right. Why they don’t employ the use of the Wii-mote or nunchucks motion sensing is beyond me. The actual fishing, though, is much more sophisticated. Just press the B button to start and then make a flinging gesture with the Wii-mote mimicking a fishing rod. If you want to attract the attention of surrounding fish just jiggle the Wii-mote a bit to shake the line. If you get a bite hit the A button and pull back on the Wii-mote to reel it in. All pretty simple.

Going back to the dungeon demo for a moment I want to mention a few interesting things I noticed while playing and watching others play. (Note: given that this was only a demo and not an actual portion of the game these next few paragraphs may or may not include spoilers. If you don’t want to read this then skip ahead to the last paragraph. I should also mention that any speculations I make for the next few paragraphs are just that, speculation, and are not to be taken as fact. You have been forewarned.) When in boomerang mode, you can lock onto just about any surface in the game whether it’s needed or not. This opens up the possibilty of searching for hidden rooms or items. If you see a far off wall that looks suspicious just lock onto it with your boomerang, throw it and see if you find anything interesting.

Midna is also mapable to one of the cross hair buttons (the top one in the demo) and will offer assistance if needed. Whether she is permanently mapped there or if you can remove her I cannot say. It’s possible she’s there only for the purposes of the demo and helping the player through the area. However, if that’s true then why have her appear in a ghostly form? Was it merely so gamers don’t get confused and think she can appear in the real world as well or can she communicate with Link through the twilight realm? Only time will tell.

Also, when Link is not in bow and arrow or boomerang mode, there is a little fairy flying around the screen. It took me a few minutes to realize that this was a visual representation of the Wii-mote’s cursor. The fairy did not interact with Link though which makes me wonder if the fairy is going to be part of the story at all or just a reminder of where your Wii-mote is pointing. It’s not distracting though which is a good thing. I also noticed that you can still move the fairy during cutscenes leading me to hope that some of those scene are interactive.

I mentioned earlier that I got to sit in on the boss fight at the end of the demo and it was quite intriguing to say the least. Firstly, the boss is the same fire demon we saw in the trailer swinging its chains angrily. When we first enter the room it’s dark. Link is looking around adjusting his eyes to the darkness. And then he spots it. A huge, hulking beast. Its arms and legs have been chained to the pillars surrounding it. It’s asleep but won’t be for long. Soon it is awake, wild with anger as it thrashes and pulls at the chains that bind him. He pulls the chains free and lets out a loud, primal roar as he bursts into flames. The whole scene strikes me as remarkably similar to the stand off between Gandalf and the Balrog in “Lord of the Rings.” Regardless, the enemy is intimidating and dangerous. Any attempt to get close will likely burn you or cause him to fling his chains at you. But, like all bosses, he is not without his weak points. A small bright spot at the top of its forehead just begs to be hit with an arrow. Doing so will blind him allowing you creep up from behind and grab one of the chains braced to his ankle. Garnishing the iron boots you then have to pull back with the analog stick until the enemies legs are pulled right out from under him. He falls knocking himself unconscious and dousing the flames around his body. You can then get to work hacking at him with your sword.

I can’t tell you how it ends because no one I saw was able to beat him. I blame this more on the learning curve of the controls for some people and not the boss. Still, it was an impressive boss fight even for a demo.

*Spoilers end*

All in all, I went in to the Nintendo Booth wanting to have my hopes realized that the Wii-mote and it’s new console would be an amazing experience. I left with all my hopes fulfilled. The Wii remote works. It really, really works. Whether you’re into playing adventures like Zelda or first-person shooters like Red Steel, it works. And if you’re anything like me when I was playing it, you’ll forget you’re even holding a different style controller at all in just a matter of minutes. The future looks incredibly bright for Nintendo and their new console. I just hope that future is not stifled by those who would cling to traditional methods simply because it’s safer. I say, defy safety. Embrace risk. Playing here truly is believing.

Filed under Twilight Princess, News, Editorials, Nintendo, E3 2006

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25 Messages from the Gossip Stones about “E3 Impressions of Zelda Wii”

    Comments

    At first, when I looked at the Wii-mote, I thought it would be awkward, difficult and just plain annoying to handle. Now after all of these articles, I am looking forward to trying the Wii-mote out.

    Great first article, Thabto!

    :)

    Oh man, that sounds really sweet!

    This was a very reassuring article, thabto, so thanks. If it works as well on most of its games as it did on Zelda, the controller sounds like this will be one risk worth taking.

    Thanks for the comments guys! I’m glad I was able to help you all come around. Anyway, I thought I’d post the link to the rest of the pictures I took while at E3, including a picture of Satoru Iwata and the EGM magazine he signed for me!! XD

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

    I’ve been as excited as the next Zelda fan for this Wii-mote, and this artile just reaffirmed my excitement! Can’t wait! Great article “Captain, my captain!” lol.

    The Wii-mote sounds really good, i think i will have to get zelda on the Wii, better start saving the pennies!

    Hi Captain and welcome to the collective of Zelda Blog Web Masters (dont let TML push you around, lol) anyway I have to say that I am “EXTREMELY” jealous that you got to go to E3 but i guess ill let it pass, lol.

    I just have one question Captain, which Wii game impressed you the most?

    BTW wouldnt it be cool to play Wind Waker with the Wii-mote, you could use it to play the Wind Waker by actually doing the motions yourself, seems like a cool idea to me and Nintendo should do a re-release along the lines of the special edition Master Quest Ocarina of Time game.

    Welcome to ZB, thabto, and congrats on an excellent first article. It was nice to read about the Wii Music game, as very little has been written on that, so getting a first hand impression was great.

    Robert,

    Unfortunately, because the convention ended at 4 PM and I spent a total of four to four and a half hours waiting in lines within the nintendo booth I only got to play two games >.< Zelda and Project H.A.M.M.E.R. PH is interesting in that you play a cyborg armed with a giant hammer you use to destroy invading robots. Making specific motions with the Wii-mote you can swing the hammer and destroy your enemies. It’s an interesting idea but not as responsive as it could have been. So, to answer your question, I thought Zelda was the best game I played at nintendo’s booth! :D

    Nice article,

    did you get the captain my captain from the movie from that movie about these kids in collage?

    • 10. . says:

    Yeah, the Wii will rock. Wii will Wii will Rock You! Stomp Stomp clap stomp stomp clap. But like I said about red steel I also say about PH its still in development. And also, you should be able to calibrate the Wii-mote to your liking, like sensitivity, left or right hand compensation, other such things. I mean you really cant have a motion sensative controller with out adjusting the sensativity. (horrid spelling, I know)
    Also, good article Cappy, you lucky dog.

    • 11. . says:

    Sorry, that last one was mine. I got something messed up in the account.

    Still messed up, sorry. I think its fixed.

    That is a really great description of the Wii-mote, Capitan. I can actually picture playing with it now. At first I thought it would be awkward and claustrophobic-ish, and I was doubting my ability to play with it. Now I can clearly see that I can use it. Awesome job, especially for your first article!

    Loved your article.

    Who exactly are you? Do you have a website?

    links_uncle said:

    Nice article,

    did you get the captain my captain from the movie from that movie about these kids in collage?

    You mean Dead Poet’s Society? That movie was pretty awesome.

    “CARPE.. CARPE. CARPE DIEM. SEIZE THE DAY, BOYS. SEIZE THE DAY.”

    ..

    Anyway, I seriously can’t wait for the new Zelda to come out. But what else is new, right?

    Captain, my Captain! That was a good article.

    Wow. My desision is made, I am buying a Wii for Zelda. Oh yes, on the controller, are the lower X/Y buttons on the bottom of the controller easy to press with you thumb? They look like a pain and that you’d really have to streach your thumb to reach them. ;)

    I heard that the controler is smaller than you think when you see the pics. Its not the size of a tv remote. Its slightly smaller.

    Light Link 007 said:

    I heard that the controler is smaller than you think when you see the pics. Its not the size of a tv remote. Its slightly smaller.

    I heard something similar like that aswell. Well whatever the size the wii-mote will rock!

    I gotta buy the Wii w=if I ever want to face off Robert in SSBB.The Wii is coming out this year, I’ll wait until its affordable for me, and I’ll wait to get SSBB too.I’m getting both at the same time, so it’ll be a while.I expect the Wii will be good, since its more about the games than the console’s improvement, unlike the PS3.I do own a PS2 and a few games, I’m solely Nintendo, and the improvement for the PS3 is so great, its a modem with controllers sticking out of it (and you guys wonder why its so *NAVI* expensive) so, happy gaming.

    Hyrulian Hero said:
    and the improvement for the PS3 is so great, its a modem with controllers sticking out of it (and you guys wonder why its so *NAVI* expensive) so, happy gaming.

    Sony is a company of Rip-off artists. Thay take every ones good Idea’s and make then mainstream and expensive. And now that they have to do it last minute they’re only doing half-jobs *cough* tilt *hack* sensetive *wheeze* controller *cough* They didnt come up with the whole wireless thing, but they strut it like they did and like its a great improvment. BUT EVERYTHING IS WIRELESS. Nintendo took wireless the farthest, or rather is taking, with free wi-fi. As far as I know you actually have to hook up the PS3 to your internet source directly.

    Wow! I didn’t know there was more then one kind of remote!! Thanks for those exelent photos!!!

    Apparently the guys at Microsoft and Sony reckon that people will either buy a PS3 and a Wii or an X-Box 360 and a Wii, sounds like they are impressed by the Wii, lol.

    3 hours I thought it would be like 5 :)

    Light Link 007 said:

    Sony is a company of Rip-off artists. Thay take every ones good Idea’s and make then mainstream and expensive. And now that they have to do it last minute they’re only doing half-jobs *cough* tilt *hack* sensetive *wheeze* controller *cough* They didnt come up with the whole wireless thing, but they strut it like they did and like its a great improvment. BUT EVERYTHING IS WIRELESS. Nintendo took wireless the farthest, or rather is taking, with free wi-fi. As far as I know you actually have to hook up the PS3 to your internet source directly.

    Yeah, PS3 controller is motion sensitive *grrr*… but it also does not have rumble, which the Wii controller does have.

    Sony is a big buisness corporation and as such does not care about original ideas or the quality of its games or merchandise, my last PS2 failed on me and some of the cables broke, plus these cash in cheaply made platformer games based on current popular movies or games that look flashy but have no real content is starting to kill the industry and that is why so many non-gamers bought the DS over the PSP because it gave them something they werent getting anywhere else, excitement and imagination.

    BTW I cant stand the games company ELECTRONIC ARTS, anyone who has played an E.A. game will understand what I mean, grrrrrrrrrr damn EA.