HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Just in time for the 2013 holiday season, Nintendo releases a remastered classic. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD is a remake of the 2002 Gamecube classic. Nintendo decided to remake the game in High Definition for the Wii U. I can definitely say the remake is a success in every way.
For those who haven’t played the original, I will quickly recap the story line. The game is unlike any other Zelda game. It’s set on a various group of islands in a vast ocean. You play as Link, the traditional protagonist of a Zelda game, as he battles against the forces of Ganondorf for control of the Triforce. Link is also determined to rescue his sister with the help of Tetra, a pirate captain.
One of the main selling points of a remake is usually the graphical update. This version of Wind Waker does not disappoint in this department. The original was a beautiful game that departed from the traditional Zelda look. It’s a cel-shaded cartoon look that holds up today. In HD it’s even better. The game shines graphically. I was extremely impressed.
The next improvement is in the game’s sailing. I mentioned the game is set on a vast ocean. Link must travel between various islands (that act as dungeons) on a boat that calls itself the King of Red Lions. The boat talks with Link throughout his journey. One downside to the original game was the time it took to sail from island to island. Part of the reason behind the slow sailing was due to the Gamecube’s inability to load more than a small portion of the ocean. In the remake the player can acquire The Swift Sail that allows for faster sailing. It speeds up the ocean travel in a big way. I really like how the developer decided to do more than just put a fresh coat of paint on the game.
In addition to the sailing, one of the most frustrating quests has been shortened. If you’ve played through the Triforce Shard Quest you will understand why making it shorter and simpler is a big deal. Players can also send messages in bottles to other players using the Tingle Bottle. The Tingle Bottle replaces the original’s Tingle Tuner. The game also sports a new mode. Once the player beats the single player game they can then playthrough Hero Mode. Recovery Hearts do not appear in Hero Mode. This limits Link to recovery potions to regain health. The difficulty is greatly increased as a result. Enemies also do double the damage in the harder mode.
For those wondering about how the game plays on the Wii U Gamepad, I think it’s great. The game sports Gamepad-only play allowing the player to play the entire game on the Gamepad screen. This feature never ceases to amaze me. It’s as close to a full blown portable 3D Zelda as you can get (within range of course). You can also use a Pro Controller. The Gamepad then acts as a map.
I have played through many Zelda titles. This one is near and dear to my heart. I really came in hoping for a standout remake and I was not disappointed. The HD graphics coupled with a smoother sailing feature make it an absolute must play for Wii U owners. Both fans of the original Wind Waker and new-comers to the Zelda series will enjoy the title as a fresh new experience thanks to many of the changes made by Nintendo. I highly recommend it for players of all ages. If you haven’t played Wind Waker before than grab it now. Plus, the last boss fight is one of the most epic you will ever encounter. Don’t miss it.