The Legend of Zelda : Wind Waker HD Review
Cart: The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD
Cab: Wii U
Coin: Nintendo EAD
What is it about Zelda games that makes them so special? They stick in the mind more than any other game series does, with titles like Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker and Majora’s Mask remembered as events in gamer’s lives, going beyond simply being good games to play.
Perhaps it is the immense worlds, which are crafted down to the pixel with a purpose, unlike the current trend of ‘bigger is better’ open worlds. Maybe it is the beautifully crafted gameplay, refined and chiseled to perfection in every release, or even the sheer sense of being on a real adventure, with always the right balance of linearity and freedom. It could be the music, which is ever memorable and always stunning, even spawning an international orchestral tour or two.
Perhaps it is those special moments, those small touches of humanity that only Zelda games seem able to produce, like the way Link can say goodbye to his childhood, his innocence and love of Saria with a simple, boyish reaction and all without a word.
The truth is a mix of all of the above and much, much more.
The quest is still just as epic
Wind Waker has its own fair share of magic moments, none more so than when you are sailing through a storm, the waves rolling high and thunder and lightning booming and flashing across the ocean, then when the storm recedes, the sun appears through the clouds and the music can be heard, starting quietly, but soon triumphantly pushing you on.
Thankfully, Wind Waker has lost none of this magnificence in its transition to HD. The game has been completely redrawn, with a new textured look that moves away slightly from the cell shaded appearance of the GameCube original, and most of the game looks far better than it ever did. The only small drawback is that the characters sport of more rounded, fuller look, which loses some of the uniqueness of the non-HD version It is a small complaint, however, and something that fans will soon get used to.
The initial quest it to board a pirate ship and set off in search of your sister, kidnapped by a giant bird in an incredible cut scene. This quest quickly gets expanded, of course, and you are soon sailing the huge expanse of the Great Sea, discovering islands and secrets and changing the direction of the breeze with the Wind Waker baton. This update includes a new item that lets you change direction without the need for a spell, which will no doubt help the vast majority of gamers that got fed up with the old way. Personally, I never had a problem with needing to use the Wind Waker to change course, so Nintendo have got it spot on and made it optional.
The characters are incredibly expressive
The other thing that many found annoying with the original was the Triforce quest, which has been slightly streamlined, but not to the point of it being over simplified. The other enhancements include Off-TV play, the ability to aim with the GamePad’s motion sensors, as well as Miiverse integration that replaces the multiplayer Tingle Tuner option.
It is an intelligent and thoughtful update that just makes one of the greatest games of all time more accessible and enjoyable to first time players.While I would have rather had a proper, new Zelda game, this will tide over fans for another year, and hopefully win the series some new players.
Wind Waker is extraordinary, from the wonderful facial animations, straight from a Disney movie, to the massive sea to explore and the brilliantly designed dungeons, this is about as good as it gets. Much more than just a visual update, this is a stellar reworking of a stand out classic from the GameCube’s library and one that can be breathtaking in its majesty.
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Editor and founder of VoxelArcade and The Smartphone App Review. Favourite games: Uridium 2, Frontier: Elite II, Sensible World of Soccer, Far Cry 3, Zelda: Ocarina, Metroid Prime, Solar Quest, F-Zero GX, Monkey Island 2 and Tetris.