Tech News on G4
Wind Waker remake will blow you away
Oct 9, 2013
By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada
Nintendo has actually gone a little overboard with its high definition remake of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker for Wii U. It's been polished to a bright sheen, and while it still holds up as one of the greatest Zelda adventures ever made, there are still a few issues that hold this game back from perfection.
This is still essentially the same superb game that was first released for the GameCube back in 2002. It follows the story of a young boy who sets out to save his kidnapped sister, only to be thrust into a much darker and more dangerous quest along the way.
The Wind Waker is and will likely always be a polarizing title, but Nintendo has updated a few aspects of the game to make it a little more user-friendly.
Many people were turned off by the sailing that makes up much of the game. It's essential to getting around, but it can be a little cumbersome, as you're required to play a tune on the wind waker of the game's title every time you needed to change the direction of the wind.
Nintendo has fixed this by allowing players to purchase an item called the Swift Sail, which not only increases the speed at which your boat moves, but also puts the wind perpetually at your back when the sail is activated. Although acquiring the Swift Sail isn't as easy as saving up some rupees and visiting a shop, once you do manage to get it, it does admittedly make things move a look quicker - literally and figuratively.
Nintendo faced the wrath of many a "mature" gamer that couldn't stand the cartoon-like look of The Wind Waker. The HD remake clearly won't change the mind of those people, but as far as I'm concerned, it's an absolutely gorgeous game. It may not be ultra-realistic - it's the exact opposite, in fact - but characters are still able to emote more with their eyes than many other games that use mo-cap, CGI cut scenes, and high-priced actors to provide voiceovers.
Of course, the Wii U Gamepad offers all sorts of menu possibilities in any game, and sure enough, Nintendo has moved the Wind Waker's menu and map to the Gamepad, and equipping items is now as easy as dragging and dropping with your finger.
Players are given the option to aim with certain items using the Gamepad's gyroscope, which is a handy addition as well. That said, you'll need to map an item like the bow to the R-button, otherwise there's no way you'll be able to simultaneously hold down the X- or Y-button and aim with the right analog stick.
With the added online abilities of the Wii U, Nintendo has added a new Tingle Bottle function, which allows players to send pictures and messages out to the Miiverse. These messages appear randomly in other players' games in the form of bottles. It's a neat idea, although they appear so often that after a few hours, they've lost a lot of their novelty. I also found that a lot of the messages were nothing more than selfies of Link.
Beyond these things, this is still The Wind Waker through and through - the story is still magical, the music is some of the best to ever grace a video game, and the world, while relatively small when compared to a game like Grand Theft Auto V or Skyrim, is still brimming with side quests to keep you plenty busy when you're not focused on the main storyline.
That said, some small issues haven't been addressed, such as an abundance of overly-long fetch quests - a staple of many 3D Zelda games - and a camera that tends to go a little wacky at the most inopportune times. Then there are the cutscenes - such as when Link uses the Wind Waker or opens treasure chests found in the water - that can't be skipped, and quickly become tedious.
It's also nigh-unforgiveable in 2013 to not offer an inverted camera. You can invert the X-axis (left-right), as well as the Y-axis (up-down) in first person view, but there is no option to invert the Y-axis in third person view, which is how you play the majority of the game. The lock-on and auto-centering helps this to a certain extent, but the lack of full inverting in third person is a huge oversight.
Still, it's tough to stay angry at a game like The Wind Waker HD. It will test the patience of many a player - especially those who have never experienced the non-HD version - but the good far outweighs the bad.
And on that note, it's important to mention that this game is absolutely worth revisiting, especially if you haven't played it since the original was released over a decade ago. And if you are a seasoned veteran who has played through the GameCube version numerous times, a more difficult "Hero" mode is available in the HD remake.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD may not be the new killer software title to help the Wii U take on the upcoming next-gen systems from Microsoft and Sony, but for Wii U owners, it's undoubtedly a worthy addition to the system's library.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
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