Nintendo is notorious for relaunching previous titles on new platforms. This process has been hit or miss depending on the title, but Zelda Wind Waker was the perfect game to revisit to create excitement for the Wii U. With improvements on the new HD version, Wind Waker brings back a crowd with new and exciting way to play this classic, while introducing the Zelda franchise to the Wii U. Although they may be relaunching the title, Wind Waker leads by example for what other titles should aspire to become on the Wii U, because the type of experience that Wind Waker produces is one that will always stay with a person and displays what the Wii U is truly capable of.
Graphics and soundtrack are two elements that develop the overall experience the gamer will have and impact their lasting impressions. This is where Wind Waker capitalized by how the developers remastered the soundtrack away from synthesizers to an actual orchestra recording. Even though synthesizers are apparent in this HD version, they act in the background of the orchestra’s lead throughout the game. The mix of the two is incredible, because it reflects how the Wind Waker title captures the beauty that the classics created. It’s akin to Majora’s Mask, which is a classic entry to the Zelda franchise, but also produces a unique flair through animation, design, and gameplay.
With graphics, the focus on creating a more clear and vivid picture may have seemed like a gamble for many people enjoyed the grainy picture that Wind Waker developed, but needless to say, the reward exceeded the risk. The moment when Link opens a secret chest, the light that projects from it creates the sense of wonder of what’s to come (even though we know, if you played it on the GameCube). The grainy picture is not lost in transition to a more crisp image either, but instead brought more to life for the player. Wind Waker’s animation allows this title to stand out from the rest of Zelda titles, and with HD vividness, the image pops out and forces the player to indulge themselves into this title.
Player interaction is what the Miiverse has focused on with the Wii U, letting groups present and discuss current Nintendo topics. Wind Waker takes full advantage of this with the use of the Tingle Bottle, which is an item in the game that enables a player to share different parts of the story with others in the Miiverse, and replaces the Tingle Tuner from the original game. This system is impressive by how players can continue to communicate with one another on their experiences in the game with certain elements they feel like sharing. The player casts their screenshot or message in the bottle out to sea for another random player to discover it. Integrating the players together through this random drawing, people are able to develop connections from a common thread: Wind Waker.
Wind Waker was criticized originally for having tedious quests that seemed to be a bore for some, and the developers from Nintendo were all ears. Wind Waker HD introduced Hero Mode in the options menu when you start the game, which was genius and other Wii U titles should take note. This categorizes the boys from the men, in a sense, by enabling an older audience to experience one of their favorite adventures through a more challenging lens, whereas the normal setting is more kid friendly. In hero mode, the foes are more aggressive in dealing damage and a player cannot gain health unless through a potion.
The developers utilized the Wii U pad in incredible ways with the new take on Wind Waker. The choice to drag-and-drop items to buttons off-screen with the gamepad, the new control scheme presents a superior way to manage the abilities the controller features while not overwhelming the player. This is where some Wii U titles have gone wrong because they want to expose every element the pad has, where Wind Waker only enables certain aspects that improved the overall quality of the game, instead of throwing all these different elements of the Wii U gamepad and screaming, “look at what it can do!”
The gameplay for the remake is nearly identical to its predecessor, but Wind Waker HD doesn’t take its time. For example, the developers sped up the process of sailing significantly. It may be fun to cruise around for a little while, but at the end of the day, most people want to slay some chuchus. The Wii U pad also helps to speed up the process by having all of the maps and special items at your fingertips at all times, instead of crowding the screen with them. Although it may not seem crucial to focus time on tedious things like this, it develops a smoother experience that can create plenty of fun whether someone plays it for a half-hour or three hours.
With the 30+ hours that are required to beat this game, it may seem like the combat would get tiresome after, say, the first ten hours; needless to say, the crafty combat never allows Wind Waker to fall into the category of the typical hack-and-slash game. The different techniques, weapons, and parry system is what keeps the combat as sensational as it was in the beginning of the game. It seems like a simple task, but most titles generally fail when it comes to maintaining momentum, as far as combat is concerned; but Wind Waker HD continues to reveal certain combat elements at the perfect times, to grab the players attention time and time again.
Nintendo managed to fine tune some elements that were lackluster in the original version, allowing this remake to astonish players. The Wii U was the perfect platform for this remake, by how both the game and the system are staying true to the classics, but in their own fashion. This is game that will be hard to put down at times, but you’re bound to have an amazing experience, whether you play a couple hours a week or never leave the couch. Wind Waker HD is the game that will set examples for on-coming titles by presenting how to refine classic characters into engaging, new experiences.