If proof was ever needed that you shouldn’t give a flying monkey’s what your audience thinks, then the Wind Waker debacle of the early 00s is it. Remember the hassle when it came out, with people devastated and furious at Nintendo that it wasn’t realistic? I bet they feel silly now.
Ironic too, as out of the big three (Wind Waker, Ocarina and Twilight Princess) it’s the one that’s art style holds up the most successfully. Even more so, now that it’s got an HD sheen. It still looks unique, whilst Twilight Princess looks like some Final Fantasy/ Lord of the Rings bastardisation.
Gameplay wise though it’s… well it’s Zelda isn’t it? You’re a green clad boy, tasked with saving the world from an evil ginger magician, thus giving you a chance to explore a vast world and raid tricksy labyrinthine dungeons filled with puzzles and cool boss fights. Up until Skyward Sword, which had more of a Metroid Prime approach to its design, every 3D Zelda played out in this manner. Not that there’s anything wrong with that - it’s a fine template to work from - and Wind Waker's sea-faring adventure is as good as it ever was.
This isn't 2004 anymore, however, and refinements have been made. The touchpad helps a lot, obviously. The constant faffing about through your item inventory is all but dispelled, as a quick flick of your Wii U Gamepad sees you equip something else in a flash.
There have been changes to sections of the game too. You can equip a faster sail (via a subquest) should the constant sea-faring start to drag. The Sisyphean Triforce shard hunt has been scaled back as well, with less scouring of the seven seas, although, honestly, I remember that being a fairly relaxing time-sink. Oh well.
Apart from that, it’s the same largely brilliant game from 2003 with a new lick of paint and intelligent mechanical upgrades.
Played for 15 hours.
9 / 10
- Looks gorgeous in HD
- Typically excellent puzzles, dungeon design
- Noticeable slow-down during cannon fights.
- Cut dungeons still give it a slightly unfinished feel