Friday, 22 November 2013

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

When The Wind Waker HD first loaded up the main screen and the theme started I said, “The original came out 10 years ago. Shit, I'm getting old”. Then, once that momentary feeling of sadness passed, I was thrown back into a world I haven't experienced in a decade, a world that just reminded me that, in many ways, games used to be better back in the day.

Set a number of centuries after The Ocarina of Time (aka the best Zelda ever), The Wind Waker takes place on the Great Sea, a vast and endless ocean. There are a number of islands dotted around the map, but for the most part this world is just one giant ocean. The player navigates the world on a talking boat using the titular Wind Waker, an instrument that lets the player control the direction of the wind. Despite some reviewers noting that this form of navigation is one of the games' failing points, it's actually quite enjoyable, and gives the world a wonderful sense of scale, akin to the feeling when you first left the Kokiri Forest and saw Hyrule Field in The Ocarina of Time.

Every inch of the game is beautifully crafted. Combat is pretty much what you'd expect from any Zelda game; it’s slick, fun and easy to get into. It's one of those games that, despite having an incredibly basic combat mechanic, doesn't get boring or tiresome. There's an almost ballet flow to the addictive battles, and you'll find yourself seeking out foes just to hear Links “Hiyahh!” battle cry one more time. Again, much like what came before it, the player visits numerous dungeons that usually put a new weapon to the test, climatically ending with a boss battle. Like I said, it's the usual Zelda formula, but with a level of polish that is next to none.

Visually The Wind Waker HD is stunning. While it was a stunning game upon release, the HD treatment truly brings out a level of detail that has almost gone unappreciated for a decade. While some gamers may be a bit let down by the cel-shaded graphics, it gives the game a unique look that is crisp, striking and deliciously cartoony. Adding to this, the music that you'll hear along this adventure is just lovely, with each tune being something that you'll find yourself humming during gameplay.

I'm always a little dubious about HD remakes, I must admit. While I could be rather cynical about them, there's nothing quite like seeing an old title in full 1080p glory. However, whereas other companies would release a HD remake/collection for a discounted price, Nintendo on the other hand price it like any other retail game. That's a little outrageous, but well worth the money if A) you've never played it before, or B) you're a die-hard fan. It may not reach the perfection that The Ocarina of Time does, but The Wind Waker is well up there with the best.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD kicks up a stormy sea with an 8/10

Denis Murphy

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker at CeX

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