Friday, October 11, 2013

Review: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
Wii U
I love the Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker! When I heard a HD remake was coming out on Wii U, I was both excited... an sceptical. Luckily, the HD version doesn't disappoint. There are a few tweaks to this game and none of them are unwelcome... unless you're using the original Prima strategy guide with the giant see chart that I have.

The story of the Wind Waker is a little different from other Zelda titles. It's Link's birthday! You celebrate you birthday by visiting your nan, getting your sister's telescope for the day and rescuing her from a giant bird. The first half is the quest to save your sister from Ganon and the second half is the quest to power up the Master Sword and quest to find the Triforce of Courage.

The game is mostly unchanged from the Gamecube original.Touchscreen menus are nice and you can switch items without pausing the game(though you can if you'd like) and being able to have the map on the gamepad is also great to have and is probably the best use of the gamepad in my opinion. The addition of a Swift Sail speeds up travel time for those who don't enjoy sailing on the Great Sea for long periods of time. The Triforce piece quest has been condensed to 3 charts to find and 5 pieces you can find where their original sea charts were located. There are some mechanical tweaks too to speed up things and none of the changes detract from the original experience.

The biggest change however are the Tingle Bottles. Gone is the Tingle Tuner that was used to find Tingle Statues and hidden treasures and replaced with the ability to pollute the Great Sea with messages from other players. Pretty much, the Tingle Bottle allows you to put messages and Picto Box images into bottles that are thrown into the ether and wind up randomly in the middle of the Great Sea or near the coast of the islands in other players games. Be prepared for thousands of selfies with dumb messages... even from me. I kinda miss the Tingle Tuner and wish both were in the game but I guess Nintendo wanted to experiment for future games here.

Gameplay is the same as the Gamecube version, but the gyroscope in the gamepad can be used for aiming projectile weapons like the hookshot and bow. Along with that the touchscreen can be used for the Wind Waker if the right analog stick doesn't work well enough for you. You can use a Pro Controller if you want for a more classic feel... but it's kinda pointless and I'd have used one if it was designed like a Gamecube controller. Pretty much, it play like any 3D Zelda and newcomers get given enough tutorials in the gameplay to not get overwhelmed all at once.

The HD visual upgrade has improved the lighting and clarity of the visuals but you can still see the sharp edges in the 3D models. If you are a graphics snob this may bug you, but it is less noticeable if you play on the SD gamepad screen if you'd prefer. The sound has also been updated with new samples that are clearer then the originals but still use the original arrangements. Hearing better quality music in a game that already had great music may will bring a tear to your eye...unlike what Square-Enix has done with Final Fantasy X|X-2 Remaster when they butchered the original music without caring what the original composer or the fans think.

The game can be short or long, depending on how you attack it. There are only 5 major dungeons in the game, but there's so much extra you can do to extend the time. If you play like I do, you can extend the time by leaps and bound to over 50 hours. There are sidequests, treasure charts and heart pieces to go hunting if you wish and can help survive later points in the game much easier. If you want to maximize play time, go to every island after getting each new item and play without a playguide if you love exploration like I do.

The world in Wind Waker is huge if you take the sea into consideration so travel time takes a while, even with the Swift Sail. Thing is, the islands are pretty small. When you think about it, it's no different to the fields of other Zelda games. There are tons of secret caverns throughout the world, so exploring the world is well worth the travel... or you can just use the Song of Gales like we used to abuse in the Gamecube original.

Anyway, this is still my favourite Legend of Zelda game and the changes make it slightly better then the original.Well worth buying a Wii U for and regardless of you already owning a Gamecube copy or new to Zelda games, it's a must have. It's a fun game with a cartoon like design that gives the characters more personality then any other Zelda made. I can honestly say that playing this game again, made me cry tears of joy.
Score 5/5

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