Reviews// The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD

Posted 18 Oct 2013 13:00 by
I?ll admit that at first I was surprised Nintendo chose to remake The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker in HD at all. Not just because its focus on artistic style over sheer graphical power makes it a slightly odd choice for a visual revamp, but mostly because I didn?t even think it was that old.

I mean come on, we all remember it like it was yesterday right? The initial outcry against its family-friendly design style, the ?Celda? jeers, the eventual quiet acceptance once even the most immature of fans realised Nintendo had knocked it out of the park? Now you?re telling me it?s actually been ten years and an entire console generation has passed since I last set sail across the Great Ocean.

It?s no secret that Wii Us have hardly been flying off the shelves since their launch nearly a year ago, and many have pointed the finger at a lack of a standout first-party offering, a role which Zelda games have often filled in the past. And seeing as how Wind Waker was one of the best reasons to own a GameCube, you can?t fault Nintendo for falling back on it again. That?s called recycling, and unless I?ve got my analogies mixed up it?s good for the environment.

So to get the most obvious subject out of the way early, Wind Waker HD looks absolutely stunning. Of course it does. The original Wind Waker was already one of the best-looking games of its time, and if they rerelease it again in another ten years it?ll still look brilliant. That?s not to say the enhanced resolution and lighting doesn?t make a difference however, it all adds more depth and vibrancy to things than before.

There?s not much difference in the game itself, but there are enough little features added in to make it at least worthwhile as a remake. There are the usual benefits from using the Wii U gamepad - being able to check your map and inventory on the touchscreen, or using the pad itself to play the game while the TV?s occupied. Nice enough little options but nothing too exciting.

The only really substantial changes seem to have been wisely made to address the issues people had with the game in the first place ? that sailing back and forth across the massive expanse of sea searching for random treasure was too slow and damaged the pacing of the game. Early on in Wind Waker HD you?ll pick up a fancy new sail that streamlines the entire sailing process quite a bit, handling all of that wind manipulation malarkey for you and zipping you to your next adventure at full speed. I never really had a problem with any of this in the original game, but I?m definitely not going to complain about them fixing things for the people who did.

I?m not sure how controversial it would be to proclaim Wind Waker as the best Zelda game of all time. Ocarina of Time?s generally viewed as the golden child of the series, and old-school fans would probably opt for A Link to the Past. But for my money Wind Waker is the crown jewel and I had a blast playing it again. The core gameplay hasn?t changed much throughout the series, but Wind Waker pulls it off with more charm. Even Link, generally a bland mute protagonist, comes off much better in this game thanks to his big ol? expressive eyes and occasional bursts of rampant overacting. Wind Waker takes the series? tested formula, dusts it off and makes it look and feel more fun. It?s a shame that the following entries went back in the opposite direction. Hopefully when we do eventually see a brand new Zelda game on the Wii U it will take a lot of the pages out of Wind Waker?s book.

If I?ve come off as overly critical of Nintendo at any point during this review then I?m sorry, it?s just my cynicism towards this modern age of endless sequels and remakes coming through. I will begrudgingly admit that introducing a potentially brand-new generation of gamers to what is, in my opinion, the very best the Legend of Zelda series has to offer can only be a good thing. Wind Waker is as fantastic as ever and well worth a spot in anyone?s Wii U collection.

If repackaging one of the best games in their library isn?t enough to give their somewhat ailing console a little shot in the arm then I?m not sure what else Nintendo can do. Try making some new games maybe.

+ Brilliant game to start with.
+ Graphical updates do look great.

- Little new content.

SPOnG score: 5/5

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