The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is one of my favourite games in The Legend of Zelda series. It has a lovely cel shaded graphic style and gives you a boat to sail freely across the ocean. I loved the freedom and really enjoyed exploring all of the islands that make up the Great Sea.
When The Wind Waker HD was released for the Wii U, it kind of seemed a bit pointless to me. The graphics in the original still look good, so bringing them up to HD seemed a bit of a waste of time. When I watched the trailers and saw the screenshots online, it didn’t even seem like it was necessarily better in HD, just different. After The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D had done such a good job of improving the original, this was a bit of a disappointment.
Since I’m quite a completionist, I did get this eventually. Even if it didn’t turn out to be much different, I thought to myself, it was still a good opportunity to play a good game once again in a slightly different way. As you can see, I didn’t go in expecting much, but I was very delighted by what I did get.
The game actually looks really beautiful – it isn’t really captured by screenshots and trailers, so you have to play it to truly understand. At times, I felt like the characters looked like plasticine models – I thought that was pretty great. It definitely looked better than the original.
It wasn’t just superficial changes to the game either. There were actually quite a few little things here and there which helped to improve the game. Something I really appreciated was that large enemies and explosions don’t knock Link out of the boat anymore, which really makes things flow more smoothly. You also gain access to a new sail for your boat which helps you to go much faster than you ever could before. I never felt like the boat went to slowly in the original, but after using the new, faster sail I could never go back.
The only real negative change is the loss of the Tingle Turner. In the original you could connect your Game Boy Advance to the GameCube and then have somebody use it to assist the character indirectly with Tingle (it’s a bit hard to explain.) This has been completely removed and replaced with a feature which connects to Miiverse and allows you to share messages in bottles with others, along with photos. There’s even a fun feature which allows you to take “selfies” as Link, it’s fun and it’s silly, but I like it.
Overall, I couldn’t call this better or worse than the original. In some respects it has been improved, but it has lost one nice little feature. Be sure to read my review of the original (linked above) before making a decision.
(Don’t miss today’s Finger Puppet Show!)