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The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD review
Exceptional
by AutoDMC

I played this on the GameCube when it first came out, and it was the first Zelda game I ever beat.  I'd played many others, but tended to get bored before finishing them.  With Windwaker, I was engaged right to the end.

Windwaker HD repairs some of the less-fun aspects of the original game, such as replacing some "Triumph Fork" maps with the related pieces to reduce sailing time.  It also gives you a fast sail that optimizes travel over the ocean, reducing the sometimes frustrating sail/change wind direction/sail cycles from the original game.

And gives the entire game a good High Definition polish.

This is perhaps my favorite Gannondorf, an introspective bad guy with a wistful monologue that makes him more than just a generic evil bad guy to defeat. His speech at the end of the game is a great example of making a relatable, but still evil, bad guy.

Sailing over the oceans, to me, was always a fun aspect of the game.  A relaxing breather between islands and a clever way to hide disk data loading time;  I'm glad the game found a way to clean up and optimize this aspect without ditching it too completely.
«Time-tested»
«Liked before it became a hit»
«Beaten more than once»

Other reviews3

When I was a teenager and the original Wind Waker came out, it blew my mind, I loved the art style and the sense of adventure, everything seemed perfect except for some minor issues, now replaying it, I see why I loved it (I still do) however, its flaws are more noticeable.

As far as remasters go, this HD revisión pretty nails it, the cel-shaded effect is not exactly the same but it looks good, there are not a lot of modifications which make your experience more or less the same as the original, one welcomed addition is the introduction of a faster boat veil which is not tied to the direction of the wind, this veil comes at 2/3 of the game, so is more like an endgame item and doesn't affect your playthrough as intended. Another addition is to change items with your Wii U Pad, you don't need to pause the game in order to access your items, however, the game was not intended for this active system, so at least when you're fighting, expect to pause the game and change your item or be prepared for some annoying moments otherwise. There is also a message system (that was replaced with the GBA compatibility of the original) which sounds a lot like the message system of Dark Souls but it was part of the Miiverse ecosystem that has long gone, so I couldn't try it at all.

As for a Zelda game is a solid entry, although it has pretty noticeable flaws, the most important to me is its linearity, from the start and till completing 1/3 of the game, you can't sail to wherever you like, your boat, in a Fi fashion (from Skyward Sword) will tell you that he doesn't recommend you to go to "X" way and reallocates you to the right way, this is pretty upsetting since the sea is there for you to conquer it but you can't. Another thing is the difficulty, you can play it in Hero mode from the start which is nice but is still pretty easy, the enemies with a few exceptions have pretty noticeable attack patterns, so you will be exploiting them a lot, also the dungeons are OK with the last one being pretty bad and annoying, the boss fights are fun but also incredibly easy and formulaic.

For the good aspects, I loved the story, it has some nice twists and turns and also thanks to the art style it also tells it in an expressive fashion like no other Zelda before, to me there is no better iteration of Ganondorf, it feels like a human and he gives one of the most memorable fights and moments at the end of the game, it makes worth your time just to see what I'm talking about. Once you break the linearity barrier, Wind Waker offers a nice freedom of exploration, for budget reasons, there are not a lot of islands like towns (there are like 3 only) but in every island or "corner" of the sea is a treasure or a secret waiting for you, so it gives a nice sense of exploration, merge it with an outstanding score (which was also rearranged but is still true to the original) and you will have an amazing time onwards. As for the art style which was heavily criticized back in the day, it has aged like wine, maybe it was developed that way because of budget reasons but it turned out great, Link and every character has a lot of soul, mainly because it's easy to see their expressions through their eyes or animation.

Maybe in some aspects, WW has not aged that well, but in anothers it broke the pass of time, is not a hardcore Zelda by any means but it has a lot of charm and pleasure to be had nonetheless, I think this is a nice introduction to the Zelda universe to a newcomer or someone that is not that "hardcore" with videogames.
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«Just one more turn»
«Time-tested»
Simply one of the best Zelda games ever made.
«Blew my mind»
«Sit back and relax»