I'm really feeling it!

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD; An Individual Review

Ahoy there! I be the-.. wait… Oh, c'mon, I didn't even get to talk pirate that long the last time! *sigh* Fiiine, we'll do it without the pirate-speak. (ahem)… Hello! I have recently played a decent amount of the game mentioned in this article's title. Do you wish hear my thoughts and opinions about it? (better now?) –_Ә


So, hey, a little primer before we get this started:

  • I've never played the original, so I don't have that as a reference point.
  • This is.. the second Zelda game I've played to a conclusion. (Twinkly Princess(?) being the first)
  • I got this free with that whole jumble involving the Wii U Deluxe and the promotion with Mario Kart 8, or.. something. (it's hazy) So.. thanks Nintendo!

Good now? Fantastic. Time to weigh anchor on this boatload of commentary!

What is this, anyways?

This game has you controlling Link (or whatever you choose to name this fellow), a young lad/ natural swordsperson who's time will often be spent plying the sea and combing islands in a variety of activities, one of the more important ones being the rescue of your younger sister, who was kidnapped on your birthday. (the nerve of some people!) Besides your handy sharpened metal rod, you will have many tools, consumables, and other hurty bits at your disposal during your journeys. Rapscallious fauna, fiends of malicious intent, and puzzles hewn from stones-ancient will impede your progress, but never fear! Besides your keen eye and stunning intellect (you brought those, right?), there are plenty of folks around who should be able to help you on your quests, or at least be willing to shoot the breeze with you and calm your loneliness. (though for some, they'll only help as long as you have enough Rupees, MMM)


What was Great!

▪ Crisp Graphics

While I can't vouch for improvement over its non-HD counterpart, I don't think I need to look back to summarize this thing has a fine aesthetic going. Like studying an ancient Egyptian mural in the light of a roaring manga fire, Wind Waker's art style is both stylish and functional, conveying plenty of things while not being overwhelming to the point where certain elements start to get ignored. While I wouldn't call it a jab at "brown & grey modern games", I can certainly appreciate when I'm able to clearly comprehend where objects are in a space.


▪ Barrels of Enjoyable Characters

Considering that they might as well be castaways on all these little islands, the people inhabiting Wind Waker's waters are a wonderful smorgasbord of folks, ranging from pointy-eared curmudgeons, feathered postal workers, and the odd person-faced fish.. Like your favorite friends from the comic strips inside the sports section of the newspaper, the fine (or fiendish) residents of this ocean world are here for your enjoyment, quips, quirks, and all!


▪ A Great Use of the Game Pad

While I'm aware of the riffs that there haven't been a lot of games that showcase the full potential of the Wii U's unique controller, Wind Waker was (hopefully only the first) to show me that even with little things, a second display can at least make said-things a whole lot less complicated. While I'd assume there are some that prefer the total pause of activity while switching up their inventory or studying a map (which I did while using Off-TV play, but that feature's usually available across plenty of Wii U games), I think it's great convenience and time-saver to keep the action going while I switch tools with my finger, and it's fantastic that I don't need to obscure my vision of the horizon when I'm lost at sea. (this is an annoyance I've had with Minecraft and its in-game map) (btw please to be bringing Nintendo Minecraft on Wii U!!!)


▪ Welcome to the Miiverse

You there! Yes, you, the one with skin and thinking organs and such! Have you participated in any sort of social networking platform? Yes? No? Either way, Miiverse may have something of interest to you! *ahem* Forgoing the mannerisms of a salesperson, The Wind Waker ties itself to Miiverse activities in a manner which is both nonessential and ignorable, but also entertaining and helpful. Throughout the game, you have the option to encounter short messages, scribbles, or in-game pictographs left by other players on their own travels with their own Links. (if you get the reference, think of the Demons/Dark Souls messaging system, except that it isn't tied to virtual geography and probably has less of a chance of leading you to a cruel fate) In a fit of functionality, you can even compose, view, and Yeah! (aka "Like") messages without having to jump to the Miiverse application itself, which can save you a good deal of time if you do that sort've thing often.


What was OK


▪ Sailing's not a chore

But it's more like a hobby. While I found that movement around the over(?)world was decent enough if you simply want to get from point A to B (although it becomes greatly simplified with the acquisition of two things in particular), there isn't alot to do between locations other than advancing time (literally) and activities to gain a bit more coin. (er, gem, I suppose) Most things out on the sea are largely static; you won't be seeing dynamic foes that roam all across the map.


▪ The story.. tells its story

It's kinda like a children's folk tale, in a sense. Ready to engage during the flashy/important parts, but simple enough to digest so it doesn't keep a kid up at night calculating political ramifications. (although one part at the end might give a few people some shudders, not just kiddos) (I had heard about it before, but I guess it was a "you had to be there" situation)


▪ At least it's not a Rubik's Cube

The puzzles scattered around the world contributed their part, I suppose. But it didn't always seem like it was entirely consistent or scaling with difficulty. While I did actually complete a majority of them without external assistance (whether that includes Miiverse help is up to you), there were times where either it was quite a banal exercise, or that I had no clue where I was supposed to even begin in the first place.


In a sense, I could say the same sort've things for the combat: They impeded me like good enemies should do, but it sometimes my approach fluctuated from being too easy to utterly obtuse.


What was.. Ugh.


▪ Sea-Land transitions (and vice-versa) ARE a chore

Y'know, with the last game I reviewed like this, I had an issue that was quite similar to this one! (gee, I hope this isn't a common issue in games..) Anyways, unless you've committed how to exactly line your boat up to muscle-memory, you are going to have to swim when exiting your craft to reach land, and have maybe 2/3s the chance of still getting wet while boarding your boat again. (those jumps can be tricky to aim with the controls) While admittedly, this is a very small part of the game, it is also something that you will do repeatedly, for the entirety of your playthrough. It didn't stop me from enjoying the game or anything, but I wish this was more streamlined, since there isn't really that much to swim to anyways, not counting specific dungeons. A docking button-prompt with an unexplained retractable plank? It if saves me a few seconds, sure, I'd be down with that. (and given the other things your dingy can pull out've its, er, poopdeck, I wouldn't even be that surprised)


▪ Purse Limits

Look, I get that upgrades are cool and all. But when my held-currency only goes up to a certain point, and I'm already kinda flush from not spending much because I can usually find what I need from mowing lawns anyways, I'm gonna hit that limit quickly, and those 'upgrades' will look mighty-small! And when I do fill the coffers? I'm not gonna want to open any chests, or do certain quests, or things like that, because firstly, I know it won't gain me anything, and secondly, if I don't do them, the moola still exists, instead of poofing off into nowhere. I.. really do not like this sort've thing, where I can only earn so much, or money gets increasingly arbitrary over time, etc. It rustles my jimmies, is what I'm saying. At least give me a bank, or some expensive late-game sinkholes, or something. (no, I'm not counting the money-shield or whatever; that is a simple waste of resources if you have at least an ounce of combat skills)


Misc. thoughts?

▪ ..There was music?

I mean, I guess I heard some music. But outside of some little bits in the cutscenes, nothing really seemed that memorable. I mean, where was the Song Of Storms? I liked the version in Brawl alot, so why didn't I notice it here?

(pre-EDIT: ..Ooohhh, I didn't realize it wasn't from/in this game… (ups) :S )

My verdict:


From what I can remember looking back, it seems like The Wind Waker was a decisive game, to say the least. But it was mostly because of the visuals, right? Because as far as I can tell, it's still Zelda mechanically, at least as far as I would know a Zelda. Judging from that, my guess is that this game would appeal most to either those who've played most-everything else in the series up to this point and would feel refreshed by the new coat of paint (and seawater, I guess), or new-arrivals on the Zelda train looking for something that can ease them into the experience. (because, to be honest, it's not the hardest of things)

Also, I must note that at this point, I don't think I'm done with this game quite yet. I've yet to see certain, spoilery things that I've glanced upon the Miiverse, and I have a gut-feeling the new game-save created after the credits rolled could be more than just "again, but harder". (or is it just that "Hero Mode"?) While I don't think the majority of my opinions will really change after checking out those things, I figured that should be something I disclosed.


So! Was that enjoyable to read? I hope it was, since I had a pretty good time typing it out myself. (although sometimes I wondered if I actually remembered everything correctly, heheh) If you're that kind of person, you could also check out Kotaku's view of this game, along with.. this one review by a certain Detective La-Z Boy. (seriously TAY, nobody did a full review of this?) And as for yourself? If you're not feeling up to writing an entire article on the matter, why not sound off your opinions below-deck? A ship is nothing without its crew, and that's pretty-much the same concerning an article with no comments.

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