I have the greatest wife in the world. As proof, I offer exhibit Z: she got us the newest Legend of Zelda game, Skyward Sword, for Christmas. That's right, while everyone else is obsessing over this "Skyrim" stuff, I'm going old-school and working my way through yet another amazing Legend of Zelda experience. We've been taking turns playing it. I've only gotten through the first dungeon so far, but I humble offer up my first impressions of the game.
Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first.
Argh, why the hell isn't Link left-handed? Like every other Link? Ever! The motion-control wii-mote interface is pretty cool, really. Link swings his sword the way you swing your wii-mote. It works really well. The nunchuck accessory serves as your shield. However, Link in this game is right-handed, and there is no option to make him left-handed. As a lefty, who naturally holds the wii-mote in my left hand and the nunchuck in my right, this makes for a clumsy experience. The sword-swings just don't seem to work the way they ought to if I'm holding the devices in the wrong hands. So I have been forced to play right-handed, as weird as it feels. A couple thoughts on this. First of all, they really should have included some kind of option for playing the game using the Classic Controller. It could have been done if they really wanted to. And they should have given the player the option to be right or left handed. As every other lefty knows, we are part of a persecuted minority. Everything around us is designed for the majority of people in the world who are right-handed. Undoubtedly, one of the reasons I identified so much with Link in these games is that he, like me, is left-handed. Having a lefty Link is a big reason I prefer the Gamecube version of Twilight Princess over the Wii version (if you don't know, go here).
Now that I'm done bitching, on to the good stuff.
First of all, Nintendo stole my "Islands in the Sky" campaign setting. It's okay, Nintendo, I won't sue. Yet. Flying around on your giant bird is pretty fun, and the controls work really well. In fact, all the controls in the game work work pretty darn well (if you're right-handed). There are a lot of different places to explore, and a lot of areas to work through down on the "surface", where the dungeons are.
The sword-and-shield-play aspect of the game is particularly fun, and is a pretty big departure from previous Zelda titles in terms of gameplay. The direction in which you attack with your sword, and the timing of a shield-bash, are quite often key to defeating monsters. Monsters carrying swords will parry your blows. Other monsters have weak spots that must be attacked in a certain direction.
This game includes a companion for Link, this time in the form of Fi, the guardian spirit of the Goddess Sword, which Link pulls from a stone early in the game. Fi is very much a Data or Spock-like character, constantly deducing logical conclusions based on evidence as you uncover it in-game (although, really only the obvious things, she doesn't really help you with the puzzles, thank goodness).
So far, it's a very solid addition to the Legend of Zelda franchise. Like I said, I have yet to get very far, but I'll be slowly working my way through it over the next month or three.