Wow. Twenty articles. It’s hard to believe that just in August I started writing for Retroware. I just want to say thank you to everybody who is a part of this wonderful site, and thank you to all of the readers.
The Legend Of Zelda series is my favorite video game franchise of all time. I’ve played several of the games all the way through many times, and they’re always a great trip. The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker, or Wind Waker for short, however, was my first. I first played the game in 2006, four years after it was released. I loved it when it came out, but does it hold up today?
Taking a bit of a detour from my usual order of aspects, we’re going to look at the graphics and music first, since they’re the most noticeable change from previous Zelda games. Instead of a realistic look, like all Zelda games before, Wind Waker has a very cartoonish look, with Cel Shaded graphics. This was very negatively received when the game first came out, since the game has a very childish look, but nowadays, the graphics are praised, since, they have aged very well. The Gamecube title looks a lot better than most Wii games, even. The cel shaded graphics help this, as history has shown that many cel shaded games look good today. The graphics are still a pleasure to look at. The music is also great, which is the standard for Zelda. The music gels well with the sailing theme, and the islands have great music as well. I remember a lot of the music from the game, and have nothing bad to say about it. The music is fantastic.
The gameplay of Wind Waker is your standard Zelda gameplay, but with a lot more added. In addition to targeting enemies, standard item use, and dungeon crawling, there is now sailing. The game takes place in the Great Sea, many generations after Hyrule has been flooded, and the game takes place on several islands. Link must sail to these islands and explore them. Several of these islands are optional to visit, and the overworld, taking place on the water, is huge. A lot of people have problems with the sailing, and I can see why. The boat that Link rides is very slow. It takes a long time to get from Island to Island, and changing the direction of the wind to sail is very tedious sometimes, as you have to use the wind waker and play a song to change the direction, which takes a bit of time. Even though the sailing has a few issues, I enjoy the feeling you get when you’re exploring the sea, discovering new things. There are also sunken chests that Link can salvage for numerous treasures. The sailing might be slow, but it’s very fun. The dungeons are pretty fun, just your standard Zelda dungeons, until the second act of the game. Link must restore the Master Sword, and these dungeons are trekked through with Link and a friend. This friend is essential to helping Link solve puzzles and get to the boss, which adds a new element of gameplay, but can be a bit annoying at times. I personally just like to get Link to the boss and not wait on a friend to help me with puzzles. I just want to get through. The dungeons without Link’s friends are very fun, though. There are also a few new items in Wind Waker. The Grappling Hook, which lets Link swing around, is very fun to use. The Picto Box, which was in Majora’s Mask as the Pictograph Box, is used to do one of the biggest sidequests in Zelda history, the Nintendo Gallery, which I’ll talk about in a bit. The Sidequests are one of the biggest parts of Wind Waker. Each island has something to do on it, whether it be just a single chest or an entire dungeon. I love this, as the entire game has essentially no lull, and until the game is completed there is always something to explore. The Nintendo Gallery is the biggest sidequest in the game. On the Forest Haven Islands, there is an area with several rooms that have pedestals. The owner of these Rooms asks you to bring him pictures, and he’ll make the people in the pictures into statues on the pedestals. There is a pedestal for every single Character and enemy you encounter in the entire game. Making this sidequest take several hours. Some of the characters, such as bosses, and story bound characters, can disappear after a certain point in the game, so you have to be careful and make sure you get them before it’s too late. If you can’t, the gallery is saved over into the second quest. This gallery gets you nothing is essentially bragging rights. The gameplay of Wind Waker is flawed, but overall solid.
The controls are standard for Zelda, but there have been a few things added. There are parry attacks, which Link can use when in danger to get around enemy defenses. You can move while aiming your bow, and the new items are simple button presses. The controls are very fluid, just like most other Zelda games. The targeting system is still very tanky, but other than that, the controls are fine.
I love this game. It was my first Zelda and I’ve always loved it. It definitely isn’t the best Zelda game, but it’s in my top five. The game has flaws, but most of them were fixed in the HD Remake! The HD Remake, released in 2013 for the Wii U fixed the wind issue and sailing, making the game much better. The remake is one of my all time favorite games. The original Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker has aged okay.