There's a GameCube version?
Twilight Princess has been shrouded in controversy ever since Nintendo announced that there would be a Wii version. I have been fortunate enough to play each of the major incarnations of the game; the GCN version (at PAX 05), the Wii version with button based sword control (at E3 06), and the latest Wii version with gesture based sword control (at the Wii press event in September, 06). The latest version may just be the best version yet.
Playing it was special, though. Instead of experiencing it in the standard, crowded environment of a convention center, I got to sit on a couch for over an hour, playing through the dungeon demo three full times. The first thing I did was experiment with the sword controls by smacking the first scarecrow around. In the E3 version a button was used to swing the sword, much like a traditional Zelda. If you tapped the button Link would initiate a combo of swipes back and forth with the occasional jab. In this new version Nintendo has split the single button into two distinct gestures. Making a tight left to right motion with the controller translated to a swipe. Direction wasn't necessarily consistent. If I swiped left to right, Link may swipe right to left. If you continue swiping the controller, Link will continue the combo of swipes on screen (up to three total swipes in the demo). The second gesture is a jab towards the screen that translates into a very similar jab motion by Link. The combination of these two movements creates very fluid fighting that is surprisingly precise. At first I had a hard time initiating combat, but once I got used to the motion, I had no problems. I was looking forward to actually attacking a moving target.
Fear not, classic Zelda fans: Z-targeting is still an integral part of fights. When locked on to a target, two more attack options are added. Firstly, you can shield attack by motioning the nunchuck forward. This adds quite a bit of realism and fun to the fight. You can also do the classic Link lunge attack by pressing the A button. This is especially interesting if your foe is laying on the ground, as Link performs a rather vicious down thrust to the abdomen.
Overall, the fighting was perfect. If you follow the forums at all, you will know that I was very worried when I heard Nintendo changed what was at E3, as I was one of the few who liked what was done there. The change was definitely for the best and, in case you were wondering, my arm wasn't tired at all after an hour of play.
Arrow firing was another hot topic at E3. Many people claimed it was overly sensitive and frustrating. Some slight changes have been made there as well. At E3 there was a circle around the screen when in targeting mode. This helped point out where you needed to put the pointer to trigger the edge sensitive scrolling. That is gone now. Instead you use the analog stick while in first person mode to move your view around while aiming with the pointer. This works quite a bit better once you figure it out. The pointer is still just as sensitive as ever. It is important that you understand how the game is played. I actually corrected a couple people who were having some problems. They weren't drawing their arrow before aiming. That is done by holding down the B button. You then want to aim while holding the button, releasing when the red dot is on your target. If you aim first, the action of pushing the button in will probably knock the remote just enough to throw your aim off.
When I left E3, Metroid Prime 3 was my favorite Wii title. When I left the press event it became a distant second. I'm sure everyone has read several very pointed opinions about the Twilight Princess situation. Here is another one for you. You might as well forget that the GameCube version even exists.