Review by ABXInferno
"Among the very best remakes I've every played"
To be completely honest with you, I've never played the GameCube's The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Even though I've heard great things about it and I don't mind the cel-shaded graphics, I've never been tempted to try the game because of the game's biggest problem: pacing. The game has been criticized by fans and critics alike due to its poor pacing with the tedious sailing required and the infamous Triforce Quest and I know more than a few people who've never played it either. 10 years later, Nintendo is out to change that with The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD and set the record straight for the generations to come - beyond its issues The Wind Waker is a great Zelda game and now that I've played its sequel, I can confirm just that.
The Wind Waker HD isn't just there to introduce TWW to a new generation. It's here to set the record straight and change how people think about The Wind Waker. I'm not here to talk about what's in the game, I'm here to talk about what's changed and what's new in this game so let's get to it.
The first big change is obviously the graphics. There's a new lighting engine and coupled together with the HD upgrade, TWW HD is the best looking Wii U game I've played. Nintendo made absolutely sure that everything was up to snuff and nothing was left like OoT 3D, as in that game the architecture still looked dated and flat stair stuck out as lazy. TWW HD has no such qualms - everything in the game screams eighth generation and it looks gorgeous. If you loved TWW, you're going to adore TWW HD. But if you hated Cel-da, the graphics scream cartoon even more and I can't make the same assurance - you might even hate it more.
The next big change addresses TWW's biggest problem. As I mentioned, the game was poorly paced, with the changing of wind directions and c*** like that, the game felt tedious and just outright annoying. Wind Waker HD does several things to change this and largely succeeds. The developers have added in a Swift Sail that increases your sailing speed, by 80% no less. The Swift Sail also changes the wind direction automatically, so that's addressing two of the original's biggest problems. (You need to look for the Swift Sail though, it's hidden and it's probably best to look up an online guide)
But even 80% faster, sailing still takes time and I wish there was a real way to quickly travel between islands. The Ballad of Gales is a plausible option, but for that you can only travel between set locations, not just to ANY grid square.
Then, the developers have thrown in an upgrade to the game's Triforce Quest. This time, you only have to decrypt 3 of the charts while the remaining 5 are actual shards. That's as much as I can tell you without spoiling it for new fans, but obviously those who know what I'm talking about are sighing a huge sigh of relief.
Those are TWW HD's biggest changes and the result is fantastic. TWW HD changed what I thought about this fantastic Zelda adventure and unveiled to me a grand quest filled with some of the most likeable video game characters I've ever met, fantastic dungeons and a great game to enjoy beyond lackluster pacing. Nintendo has succeeded and they have to be commended - the several small changes join to make a big change - The Wind Waker HD is an artful remastering and anyone who enjoys Zelda and has a Wii U should buy this - it's the definitive version of an amazing quest at sea.
FINAL SCORE - 8.70/10
+ Amazing cel-shaded visuals.
+ Fantastic level design and environments.
+ Likeable characters with interesting personalities.
+ A great remastering by any standard.
- Sailing still takes some time.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/04/13
Game Release: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (US, 10/04/13)
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