Review: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

Platform: Wii U
Release: 2013

Nintendo presents a remastering of a GameCube classic. But does this 10 year old game show its age or is it worthy of a repurchase?

Released originally back in 2003 for the quirky but much loved GameCube, Nintendo took the world of Zelda into a much different realm. Replacing the edgy semi-realistic graphics of previous games with a cartoony cel shaded look. Although a controversial move at the time, the style fits in very well with the setting and story of The Wind Waker. The HD remaster adds even more to the art style by giving it a much cleaner refined look. It looks stunning in 1080p.

The gameplay follows the standard Zelda formula of conquering a dungeon in order to retrieve an item that allows the player to move onto the next dungeon. But just as in all games in the series there are special aspects unique to this game. For instance the overworld. The land of Hyrule has been flooded to keep the evil Ganondorf at bay and only the peaks of mountains are above surface. To traverse the world the player is given a boat and an instrument to manipulate the wind. I very much enjoyed discovering all the little islands and uncovering their secret and treasures.

The Legend of Zelda The Wind Waker HD 2

Another new addition is the parry system. While engaging in combat with an enemy a button prompt will pop up to give Link the chance of countering an attack. Usually attacking a weak point and dealing more damage. Pulling off these parries makes the player feel like a true swordsman and helps to spice up the battles.

In typical Zelda fashion progressing through the game gives the player new items to reach new sections or to defeat new enemies. Items from previous games make a return,  the hookshot and the bow for examples, but The Wind Waker also introduces some new ones to contribute to the overall wind theme present in the game. The Deku Leaf is a new item earnt early on in the game that allows Link to glide in the air and even blow away enemies. To gain a larger gliding distance with the Deku Leaf players need to change the direction the wind is blowing, this is where the Wind Waker comes into play.

Instruments have always played a large part in the series and in this title Link is given a baton called the Wind Waker. With it the wind is able to be manipulated to Link’s advantage, to catch the wind in the sail of his boat for one example. During the course of the adventure more songs are learnt for the Wind Waker increasing the different uses available from the instrument.

The plot in The Wind Waker is relatively simple and to the point. Ganondorf has once again escaped and it’s up to a chosen child to banish him from the world and save the day. There are some great moments in the story where plot twists take place (which I wont spoil here) and they all work perfectly. Even though the story is straightforward compared to many other adventure games it never feels too shallow or boring and the payoff at the end is very fulfilling.

I would recommend this game to anyone, even if you have played it back on its original system. The improved texturing and other additions make it a worthy purchase and essential for all Wii U owners.

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