GAME NAME: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
PLATFORM(S): Wii U
GENRE(S): Action Adventure
RELEASE DATE(S): 25 October 2013
“A Zelda title that uses cell shading? That will never work, how could it?” Rewind to 2003 and this was the outcry that plagued The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker before its launch on the Gamecube. And boy oh boy was this justification wrong, as even today the game holds a legendary status for… well… its visuals.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD now runs at 1080p widescreen capacity and has never looked better. Even the colour pallet has somewhat altered making The Wind Waker HD feel like a entirely new experience from the word go. It’s changes such as these that let you feel that Nintendo haven’t simply re-rendered an old title but have taken the time and effort to almost reinvent the wheel. There are numerous changes to the gameplay as well which are not apparent at first, but after spending some time with the game, the rupee drops and you can’t help but think, “How did we play this in any other way?” The grappling is drastically improved, optional gyroscope aiming has been included and even the text speed is quicker. The Swift Sail enhancement, found early on in the auction house, noticeably boosts your sailing speed and reacts to the wind making sure that the wind is always coming from behind. It’s the small things that matter and Nintendo have gone to great lengths to improve the entire game rather than only its visuals.
The modifications aren’t without fault though. More specifically, the Tingle Quests are still around, and they’re still just an array of tedious pricy side quests which cause far too much frustration. The quests have been simplified to only three triforce maps but this isn’t enough to make these quests worthwhile. In a way this just re-enforces a well known fact in the Zelda franchise, stay away from Tingle.
At times Wind Waker HD does seem a little too simplistic when comparing some of its puzzles and boss fights to the more recent Zelda titles such as Skyward Sword. This is not a fault directed to Wind Waker HD rather than a natural evolution and a progression of the series. Over time you expect the bar to be raised, especially in the dungeon levels. To counteract this, a “Hero Mode” has been introduced to Wind Waker HD, similar to that found in Skyward Sword. Enemies now dish out double the damage and Link’s health recovery is limited to potions and fairies. In fact, all items in general are a lot more difficult to come by. This new mode will challenge even the most seasoned Zelda fanatics and that’s great.
The Tingle Tuner from the Gamecube version is back and, disappointingly, there isn’t the same hand type integration found between the GCN and the Game Boy Advance. However, even though there is no 3DS compatibility, there is now a Tingle Bottle which integrates with the Miiverse and randomly sends messages to others player’s islands. Moreover, The Picto Box has been upgraded to 12 photographs and can be submitted multiple times.
It can be argued that The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is the best game of the Zelda franchise, but the reason for its cult following and status has never been more apparent than in the HD remake. The visuals are far improved compared to any other Zelda game and the sense of adventure in the open seas is unparalleled to anything else in the series. Not only is the game beautiful, but with some minor improvements, Wind Waker HD is now more accessible to a new generation of gamers as well as fans alike. Either way, Wind Waker HD feels like an exciting new experience rather than a rehash of an old classic.