The Legend Of Zelda: Wind Waker HD is a remake of 2003 Gamecube title, The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker. It debuted September 20th, 2013 digitally via the Nintendo Store and October 4th, 2013 via Wii U Optical Disc. It essentially is the same game as the original but expands on it with redone visuals and music, new lighting and shading and some subtle changes such as the addition of the Swift Sail to speed up sailing for casual gamers and Hero Mode, a game mode that tweaks the difficulty, doubling damage taken and removing the ability to regain hearts except from potions and fairies, a mode added for the long-time players. It allows the player to play utilizing either the Gamepad or Pro Controller.
Gameplay: Those who had previously played Wind Waker for Gamecube are familiar with how the game is played. Not much has been changed from the original formula of Wind Waker but where this game flourishes in its changes is how it is controlled. On the Gamepad, you can play Off-Screen play or use it as your map and inventory screen which allows for seamless play with little to no interruption. Whereas, with the Wii U Pro Controller, the game feels authentic to the original game’s control scheme with the sacrifice of the seamless play of the Gamepad. Nintendo has added two features to Wind Waker HD that make interesting changes. The option of the Swift Sail, which can be bought at the auction house prior to completion of the first dungeon skips the wind replication for sailing and speeds the sailing process, which speeds up the game with the sacrifice of the experience. Also, the option of either the normal game and Hero Mode allows for a classic adventure or the difficult option.
In the original game, of course you were limited to the Gamecube controller, still one of my favorite-designed controllers and Nintendo’s choice to offer the Pro Controller functionality and the more difficult Hero Mode adds draw to classic players to return to the world of Wind Waker ten years later. The addition as well of the Swift Sail can draw casual players to Wind Waker, a game that some complained in 2003 was slow due to the Great Sea’s expanse, so the Swift Sail speeding up travel attends to that complaint.
Graphics: Wind Waker HD’s largest change is its graphics (whoa, really?). Not only did Nintendo redesign the Gamecube classic’s cel-shaded graphics into 1080P, they changed the shadows and shading associated with the art, which really makes the game pop. The ten years in between Wind Waker and its HD counterpart can be really seen today. Wind Waker, as one of my personal favorite titles in the series as well as for the Gamecube was beautiful when it was released and looking at it now, Nintendo has perfected what I thought was already perfected.
A comparison video of the title screen (seen below) shows the huge differences and how it pushes the Wii U graphically.
Online Capabilities: Wind Waker HD uses Miiverse with something called the Tingle Bottle. In Wind Waker HD, after rescuing Tingle, you are given the Tingle Bottle, which allows the user to upload pictographs (including selfies :P) or text posts to Miiverse which are then broadcasted to someone else’s Great Sea to be collected like a message in a bottle.
Tingle’s purpose outside the story in the original however was with the Tingle Tuner, which connected the Gameboy Advance (second screen technology way before this gen, kudos to Nintendo) which allowed players to aid themselves with hints and bombs from the use of the Gameboy Advance.
Personally, I was hoping more for a Tingle Tuner-esque ability to be utilized in Wind Waker HD but the MiiVerse adds a fun diversion and the selfie function is very entertaining.
Replay Value: Nintendo made some very intelligent changes which I brought on in my Gameplay section. The addition of Hero Mode is especially important to note as something important to replay value. I completed my first run of Wind Waker HD and took it upon myself to do a Hero Mode run the second time along, which is currently in progress.
Like previous Zeldas, there is also the draw of collection such as all the treasures from the treasure maps present from the original as well as new ones, all the heart containers, the merchant trading side-quests for all the city block customization and the Deku Tree side-quest of speeding across the ocean with the expiring water.
Final Verdict: Anticipating this game’s release from announce gave me high expectations due to the nostalgia the original gave me. This remake did NOT disappoint. The addition of Hero Mode, the redone visuals and music, the ability to play authentically with a controller or take the Gamepad, the Gamepad’s way of making play seamless, it all makes Wind Waker HD that much better. This is what a remake should be. Developers everywhere trying to make some money off your old titles? Call Nintendo for some lessons.
And Nintendo? This is the type of encore I wanted for Wind Waker.
Overall Score: 9.8/10
RGN Rating: Platinum Game
Developers: Nintendo EAD3, Hexadrive, Digitalscape
Available On: Wii U (Digital or Physical)
Review Copy Info- This game was purchased by RealGamerNewz for the purpose of this review.
(Bonus: Matt’s Score Breakdown)
- Gameplay- 30/30
- Graphics- 5/5
- Online Capabilities – 4/5
- Replay Value- 10/10
- Overall- 49/50, an 98%.