When I heard that Wind Waker would be receiving a HD upgrade for the Wii U I had already been thinking about replaying the original Gamecube version. Wind Waker isn’t my favorite Zelda game but it is so different from the other games in the series that it does stand out. My play-through of Wind Waker HD is actually the third time I have beaten the game and it probably won’t be the last.
I won’t say too much about the game, since there isn’t a whole lot new to talk about. The graphics are sharper and look fantastic but I thought the game looked fantastic before. The art style has held up a lot better over time than the more realistic art style of Twilight Princess or even Skyward Sword. While the game looks better the face lift doesn’t make it any more (or less) enjoyable.
What does make the game more enjoyable is that all of the biggest irritations have been eliminated. The ‘Quick Sail’ item eliminates the need to constantly be switching wind direction on the open sea (that feature alone was worth the price of the new version). The other most irritating part of the old game was the optional side-quest of photographing every character and having statues made of them for the ‘Nintendo Gallery’. The new camera holds twelve photos now instead of only three which makes this side-quest plausible for people without OCD. You can also put photos in glass bottles and toss them into the ocean for other players to find via the Miiverse. Lots of players have helpfully tossed rare or hard-to-get photos into the ocean.
That’s about it for the game itself. More interesting to me is the impact the game had on my two boys. I was a little hesitant to let them watch but since the game isn’t graphically violent ( bad guys puff away in a cloud of purple smoke ) and I really wanted to play it I went ahead and allowed them to watch. MAN DID THEY LOVE IT. This game has a lot going for it that would appeal to kids. In addition to the cartoon like cel-shading the game features pirates, dragons, a talking boat, magic swords and a princess in disguise. It’s like the game is Nintendo’s interpretation on the greatest dream a pre-school boy could ever have.
Both boys have been drawing pictures of Link, Gannon and Zelda. My four year-old insisted on wearing green for a little while until he found out that there are FOUR different colors of Link in ‘The Four Swords’ games. In fact, he now has me playing through ‘Four Sword Adventures’ on the old Gamecube because he prefers the red Link. Both boys keep asking me when the next Zelda game would be coming out and I keep telling them that if Daddy is really good maybe I’ll get ‘A Link Between Worlds’ for Christmas.
The final boss battle stood out in my memory as unusually violent compared to the rest of the game. I wasn’t sure if I was going to let my boys watch the ending or not but I knew how disappointed they’d be. I ended up allowing it and making up some bogus story to explain the whole thing. They seemed to accept my BS story and immediately forget the whole thing, so that worked out well.
Playing Zelda was a lot of fun for the whole family and we can’t wait for ‘A Link Between Worlds’!
- HD remake of Wind Waker
- Improvements to gameplay such as the Quick Sail, Miiverse Integration and Pictograph enhancements.
Genre: Action / Adventure