It’s the finale of the Second Month of Zelda and this is one I have memories for. You know how people are intensely nostalgic for Ocarina of Time, I can (kind of) understand why people will put that game high up because of their own childhood memories, and I do too, but with this Zelda title I’m reviewing today.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (ゼルダの伝説 風のタクト Zeruda no Densetsu: Kaze no Takuto), developed and published by Nintendo and was released in 2002 in Japan and 2003 in the US, Europe and Australia. But of course, like Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, I’m reviewing the remastered version, known as The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (ゼルダの伝説 風のタクト HD Zeruda no Densetsu: Kaze no Takuto HD), released in 2013 worldwide.
This is a game I deeply feel sorry for because after the release of Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, fans loved the graphics and such, so when the GameCube was announced, they looked forward to something just as good, if not better than those games and seeing one of the CGI footage from Space World 2000 got everyone hyped. And then The Wind Waker was announced. Whilst Japan loved the cel-shaded art style, the west…did not.
They thought it was far too cartoony and not realistic; they wanted something realistic for a fantasy game series HELLO? So whilst the game did well in Japan, it didn’t do well in the west, especially since the GameCube wasn’t a best-seller there anyway. But fans’ cries for a much more realistic looking game led to the development of Twilight Princess, which I also have memories of when I played it on the Wii, to which I thought the game was…eh! And that game I’ll cover next year, most preferably the Wii U port…if the value of the game doesn’t rise after the release of Nintendo Switch…which is next month.
And since Link is a child and this has nothing to do with the previous games in the series…I don’t know, I think it’s now time to talk a bit about the Zelda timeline, where if Link is successful in defeating Ganon in Ocarina of Time, Adult Link never happened I guess, but Ganon manages to get out of his predicament and thus enters the New World where a crisis emerges but Link didn’t come for them and now the world is that plot to Waterworld…and both of these properties didn’t do well in the west and now have a following…oh dear.
So we have a young Link, named Toon Link for merchandise stuff and Smash Bros., he lives in Outset Island, a small village in the sea, where he’s of coming of age where he’s now a man and has to wear a green tunic…as in wear what Link wore at one point, and this boy just happens to be Link. Anyway, his sister, Aryll, gives Link a telescope, then sees a giant bird carrying a young girl into a forest, so Link is off to find her and she happens to be a pirate named Tetra, but before they can return to the village, the same big bird kidnaps Aryll. From the information Link gathers, the bird takes girls with long ears…because priorities I guess. So Link, with the help of Tetra and her crew, go to Forsaken Fortress to rescue his sister…with no success as he gets caught and is thrown out into the air.
Link wakes up at Windfall Island, where he finds the thing that saved him, a red talking boat known as the King of Red Lions. As it turns out, the bird, known as the Helmaroc King, is a minion for Ganon, so it’s up to Link to stop Ganon again.
So it’s a Zelda game, and for Link, he controls well, the battle mechanics has been tweaked for some smooth combat, he can even do a counter attack, as an enemy tries to attack you, you press A and counter the attack. So far, the battle mechanics are fantastic.
But now on to the meat of the game, instead of walking around in a massive field or a town, we get to places by sailing on a boat and you’re going to be sailing everywhere in the Great Sea. But you have a map, where there are 49 gridded sections to sail on. Each section will have its own island, big and small, most sections you will need to go whilst some are optional for hidden goodies. Sailing in this game has received the mixed reception from people who play this, some people find it fun and exhilarating to sails the wide open sea and explore whatever you find, but others find it slow, annoying and boring. I really enjoy it because it’s probably the first game that allows me to sail on open water, along with the music that has for years engrained into my head. But there are some negatives about sailing I do have, but I’ll explain that later.
Hey guys, you missed the Ocarina? Well, here’s your alternative, the Wind Waker, a magical baton where you’ll be able to perform simple melodies that do different things. The first melody you get is the Wind’s Requiem, where you can change the direction of the wind. You’ll then get the Song of Passing, which let you change the time for day and night. Other melodies will mostly allow you to get into dungeons. I will say it’s quite a shame there isn’t more uses with the Wind Waker even if you will commonly use it during the journey, especially the Wind’s Requiem.
But here’s my main problem with the game. There isn’t enough dungeons and if you’re going for 100%, you’ll realise that there are more sidequests than dungeons and considering that you’ll be sailing to wherever you need to go for extra goodies, it will be a sluggish journey…though it’s less of a headache if you’re playing the Wii U version, as you can get the Swift Sail, where you won’t only sail much faster, the direction of the wind will change depending on where you turn when sailing, meaning that the repetitiveness of pulling out your Wind Waker is near gone and journeying is much faster and I can’t thank the developers enough for giving us the Swift Sail.
In terms of items, most items you used in Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask are here, but you have new items like the Deku Leaf, which allows you to glide off long-distances and blow wind by fanning it. The Grappling Hook, which will allow you to grapple onto stuff to swing to places, though you mostly use it in dungeons. Then there’s the Picto Box, which allows you to take pictures, and soon you’ll get the Deluxe Picto Box, where you can take coloured pictures. And yes, you’ll use it for sidequests to get some more goodies.
You also get different bags, like the Spoils Bag, where you can collect different jewellery and such, but this is kind of moot as you only need to collect a certain number of each to give to different people to get more goodies. Then you have the Bait Bag, which you can buy a Hyoi Pear, in which you will put on top of your head to control a seagull to get unreachable goodies, and the All-Purpose Bait, where you need to throw in the sea to get a fish to record each section you’re in, just to get your bearings, so get as much as you can.
So in a way, the game is a complete grind-fest to get as much items as you can and record everything on the map and collect special treasure from each of them by collecting maps, also needing to grind for them. AND THEN THERE’S THE BLOODY TRIFORCE QUEST MUCH LATER IN THE GAME! You need maps from Tingle to find them…or to find more maps to find more maps, and they aren’t free, meaning that even if you don’t want to grind for optional stuff, you still need to grind for the Triforce Shards, five in fact.
But at least it’s not the Japanese version, as you the grind takes MUCH longer with even more maps to collect, DAMN this is annoying and I remember back in the day playing the GameCube version and this was where I stopped, I remember this damn quest and it’s probably the worst part of the game and a possible stop point for those who play it. Which is also why I recommend the Wii U version as the quest is much shorter and you only need to collect three shards instead of five.
The graphics, which were controversial, are very nice, it’s makes for a very memorable game overall, the cartoon-like cel-shaded graphics make the game beautiful and vibrant. But it makes the game more recognisable and timeless, it was back at a time where graphics were more important than gameplay…nothing’s changed has it? But no matter which version you play, Wind Waker, graphic-wise, holds up. The music is fantastic, from the theme song to the sailing theme and much more.
Overall, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is a great Zelda game, back in the day, I thought this was the best Zelda game and I enjoyed a lot of it. But now, whilst I still think it’s good, I found a lot of issues that deem this not the best or my favourite anymore, but the quality is still top-notch nonetheless. I still deem Majora’s Mask to be the best Zelda title for being a game-changer and being great at it. And I’m not saying Wind Waker doesn’t do anything new, that would be stupid, the sailing mechanics are great but it could have been more…flexible in a way. But it’s one of the best GameCube games.
Before I go, I’ll talk about the Wii U version, the one I played for this review. The graphics…are the same to me, but in HD, it’s like they took the GameCube files and added a new lighting engine and native 1080p resolution…that means nothing to me, but when I first saw the game in action, I thought it was WAY too bright, but playing it on the Gamepad and the screen, it feels right.
The controls and camera has been improved to make it smoother and less annoying…not that it was that bad in the GameCube version, but the improvements make it a better game. You also get a Hero Mode, which is the Master Quest for this game, the Triforce Quest has changed as I said before, the GBA connectivity for the Tingle Tuner has been removed for a good reason and replaced for something else and you get extra treasure…as if the grind wasn’t repetitive enough.
You can get it for the Nintendo GameCube and Wii U.
And that’s it for the Second Month of Zelda, next year, there will be four more Zelda titles, and one of them will be Twilight Princess…and it will be a while before I take a look at Breath of the Wind…or not, I can break some of my rules, it’s my blog site after all.
Next time…we’re about to get SOLID!