The Gamecube classic Zelda title makes its way onto the Wii U with a new coat of paint and a few tweaks.
The original Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is rightly considered as one of the best games in the Zelda series, despite a lot of controversy when the game launched in 2003. It really was quite different to the previous Zelda titles, in both the cartoony look and the emphasis on telling a story and exploration over combat and dungeon exploring. But it didn’t take long for the gaming masses to fall in love with Wind Waker and now, with an HD remake for the Wii U, gamers both old and new can experience the adventure in its most polished form and fall for its charms.
Set some centuries after Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker’s world is a massive ocean strewn with little islands that are just ripe for exploring. The tale tells of a young boy, the hero of our game, setting off to rescue his kidnapped sister and, as is always the way, eventually saving the world. The cast of supporting characters are both memorable and varied, with many a side quest to be picked up, and there is a lot more story to unfold in Wind Waker as the player travels the world.
To travel between the numerous islands, our hero will take to his talking ship and use the titular Wind Waker Baton to control the wind and move them in the right direction. While both charming and fun in the early game, this method of travel can drag a little as the game progresses. However, here lies one of the new additions that Nintendo have thrown in for the HD remake, which I will cover soon.
Beside the sailing, players will find themselves on familiar territory to the Ocarina of Time in regards to the gameplay. The combat, on which there is less emphasis, will see the player using sword and shield for the most part, although new equipment becomes available as the player progresses. The combat feels quicker and more fluid, offering less challenge than Ocarina, but more enjoyment. Otherwise, it is all about exploring and solving the puzzles, which are far more numerous in Wind Waker.
There are impressively few changes for the HD remake, with Nintendo perhaps realising that Wind Waker was already a near perfect title. Obviously, the visuals have been given a HD makeover and look even more gorgeous than before. Wind Waker’s visual style is distinctive, with cel-shading and incredibly bright colours used, giving the game an overall cartoon look. The game looks simply stunning and easily fits in with more modern games.
When it comes to the actual game, there are a few changes that are designed to make Wind Waker even better. Perhaps one of the most notable changes is the inclusion of the Swift Sail, a new item that can be found part way through the game that basically speeds up the boat and controls the wind for the player, making the large amount of travel that is necessary much less time consuming in the later parts of the game. This small addition solves what was one of the main complaints with the original game.
Other tweaks include the removal of the Tingle Tuner, which allowed a Gameboy Advance to be connected to the GameCube for some form of co-op play. This has been replaced with Tingle Bottles, allowing players to send messages into other peoples games. It is a nice idea, but it doesn’t make a big impact on the game.
Another tweak comes in the Triforce quest towards the end of the game. It was thought that this quest was far too long and drawn out, so Nintendo have cut the quest down for the HD remake. While this may seem like Nintendo have cut down the content of the game, this change is actually quite welcome and reduces the onset of boredom towards the games conclusion.
Nintendo would be foolish to not make use of the Wii U’s GamePad for this HD remake, but would have to be cautious not to change the game too much. For the most part, they have achieved this by allowing the game to be played on the GamePad’s screen, and using the screen for a very handy map and to negotiate the menus. However, using the motion controls for various aiming actions in the game proves to be somewhat imprecise. Thankfully, these actions are not essential and regular controls can be employed instead. I am happy with the map being on the pad, which proves to be very useful and prevents the game from being broken up as the player checks their map on the main screen.
There is very little fault to find with The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD on the Wii U. It was a brilliant game to start with, and the remake for Nintendo’s latest console has just improved on the near perfect formula. Wind Waker is a game that deserves to be played by every gamer. While it may not be enough to suggest rushing out and buying a Wii U, if you already have one of Nintendo’s consoles, you really owe it to yourself to grab this game.