The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword features RPG-like upgrade system
July 23, 2011

After the release of Twilight Princess in 2006, famed videogame designer and Pope of Nintendo – Shigeru Miyamoto – famously said that it would be the last Zelda of its kind. At a time when people were unsure of the seemingly ‘new’ direction Nintendo were heading in, and of the consequent audiences they were attracting, many took the quote as a doomsday declaration for the series, speculating that Hyrule would be forever consigned to the history books, or to crappy spin-offs and peripheral pack-ins like Link’s Crossbow Training.

Other, more level-headed and less melodramatic fans took it to mean something altogether more positive in that Miyamoto was recognising something that Zelda fans had recognised years ago – Zelda needed to change. Wind Waker was, visually, a pleasant change from the usual greens and browns of Hyrule, but structurally it remained virtually identical to its predecessors. Skyward Sword  has promised to offer a somewhat different approach to overworld exploration and progression, with a central hub-world, somewhat akin to its DS brethren – Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks.

Those games were certainly a departure from traditional Zelda fare, but the design choices inherent in these pocket-sized outings were likely made in the name of file size conservation and, primarily, tailoring the titles to the handheld experience. With Skyward Sword already offering a teen drama storyline, an orchestrated soundtrack and a brand new villain, what else does a console Zelda have to do to shake things up? Voice acting? Blood and gore? Multiplayer?

Nope, nuh-uh and not a chance; what Zelda has apparently been missing these past couple of years is an RPG-esque equipment upgrading system. In a recent hands-on demo with Gamespot, Bill Trinen of Nintendo of America let slip a few details about a leveling-up system that the game features.

They’ve built an entire upgrade system into the game. So for example, right now you can see that Link has his traditional shield, but he actually will get a lot of different shields in the game.

He will start off with a very basic one, and then as you fight enemies, you will recover kind of these treasures or artifacts that you can then use as resources to upgrade your items. And you can do that with your shield, you can do that with the beetle, and some of the other items that you have where you’re able to kind of combine your collection of rupees and your collection of resources and improve the items that you have.

Whether or not one of those ‘other items’ is Link’s sword is both unknown and doubtful. Additionally, whether this will be a somewhat pointless pursuit or an integral point of the game remains to be seen, but this, coupled with all the other innovations that Skyward Sword is bringing to the table keeps it at the tippety-top of gamers’ most anticipated releases of 2011.

– Rory

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Play on Wii- Nintendo’s new line
November 2, 2008

Pikmin- Play it on Wii
Pikmin- Play it on Wii

Earlier this year Nintendo announced plans to re-release GameCube games for the Wii console. Titles such as Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat, Pikmin, Chibi-Robo!, Mario Power Tennis and Metroid Prime are all planned for release in Japan. And the programme is also set for Europe and North America so the new ‘casual’ Wii owners can pick up some of the NGC Classics under the Play on Wii name.

Jungle Beat and Pikmin are the first games set for release on December 11th and 25th respectively, whilst others are set for a 2009 release. No games are confirmed for Europe yet, but the scheme has been announced.

So why bother? It is expected that these games will allow for Wii Remote use. For example, Pikmin could become an easier experience with an addition of point-and-click controls whilst Mario Power Tennis should allow motion controls similar to those found in Wii Sports Tennis. We’ll finally see Metroid Prime get the aiming system it deserved; the original had somewhat clunky and slow controls. The Wii remake hopes to rectify this by including a control scheme similar to that of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption’s.

Other titles suggested for release are critically acclaimed Eternal Darkness, Luigi’s Mansion and F-Zero GX, in which Wii motion control could become an inconvenience for the speedy racer. You can also expect The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker to be a fan favourite whilst a need for SSBM looks less than likely after the earlier release of Brawl.

–Billy–