Review: The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD
By Sean Booker
September 30, 2013 - 23:34
Rating: E10 (Everyone 10 and Up)
Genre: Action Adventure
Platform: Nintendo WiiU
It’s pretty safe to say that The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker easily holds up in its HD re-release. The wonderful artstyle that we saw on the GameCube combined with a nice overhaul to the graphics allows the game to remain looking great. There have also been updates to some of the more annoying aspects of the original version for people wanting to return. If you’re looking to play one of the best Zelda games out there, Wind Waker HD is a great decision.
Nintendo has always been great when it comes to the look and artstyle found in their games. The original Wind Waker looked great and with this re-release we get an overhaul that brings out that aesthetic as well as updates it to a sharper and better version. The game looks great on the WiiU but do keep in mind that this is an HD update and not a full remake; it looks good but not as good as something made from the ground up on this new hardware. The flat texture maps on low poly-count areas will definitely help show the age of Wind Waker HD despite having such a nice and clean look.
The game remains as fun as fans would remember, and for newcomers this a great place to check out a wonderful entry in the franchise. Like usual in a Zelda game, you’ll play as Link as he has to set out on a quest, collecting new abilities in order to save the world. The game plays pretty much identically to what we saw on the GameCube with a few minor additions. Keep in mind that this originally came from a time before wayward arrows were the norm. There is no way to ask the game to point you in the right direction, so keep a close eye on everything the characters are talking about!
A couple of new features include streamlining some of the more tedious moments in the original game. One very welcomed change is to the Triforce hunt. Normally, for each of the eight pieces, you had to track down a map and then bring it somewhere to be translated before you could actually read it and find where to go for the piece. Doing this over and over was terrible. In Wind Waker HD this has been changed so that for most of the pieces you don’t need to find a map or get it translated before knowing where the piece itself is. The game has also included different sails for your boat to allow you to move faster through the water. This is also a great feature but, oddly enough, the game never really mentions this. It’s incredibly useful if you know about it but it’s also very easy to miss completely. There are some nice changes to Wind Waker HD that do make an overall improvement, it’s just odd that one isn’t featured that well.
Being on the WiiU the game also allows you to use the handheld screen to play the game on instead of the TV. When not utilizing this feature the gamepad has a number of interesting and useful options on it. The first is an open inventory for you to access. This allows you to equip items very quickly and without having the pause the game (you also can pause the game to do this if you’re needing some time to plan things out). The second use is a map system for any of the dungeons you’re in as well as a complete overworld of the ocean you’re sailing on. Being able to see the entire world map on this screen is really nice.
The third use case the gamepad has is Tingle’s Bottles which is brand new for the HD release. Throughout the game you can collect floating bottles as you sail or find washed up on shore. These bottles are messages that other players (or just your friends) have sent out and also act as a connection to the MiiVerse. The in-game camera can also attach photos to these bottles for other people to find and look at. It’s a nice feature getting to see where people are stuck or just making jokes in the game. The downside to the photos though is that in order to see them larger than just a thumbnail you need to pause your game and enter the MiiVerse application of the system. This is quite a bummer since looking through your collected bottles while sailing around would have been a great time killer.
The original Wind Waker is one of my personal favorite Zelda games and I feel that the HD re-release shows just how well the game holds up. The artstyle remains wonderful and the increased resolution only helps underline that. There were a few tedious concepts to Wind Waker that this version addresses in useful ways, despite being a little hidden. The fun gameplay fans remember is pushed even further with the utilizations that the WiiU’s gamepad supplies. Wind Waker HD is a lot of fun and seeing a Zelda game in HD gets me really excited for what is next to come in this franchise.
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