The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD Impressions

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Oh, Zelda. We love thee so much, it’s hard to imagine a world without you in it. Luckily, Nintendo thought it would be smart to re-release one of the most loved Zelda games of all time, The Wind Waker, in full high-definition glory, on the Wii U later this year.

Smart move, Nintendo.

Not only does that give them a portable Zelda title this year, but also a console one, even if it isn’t an original game.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was a game that people spoofed for its art style right through its initial launch and beyond. But there was a shift along the way: as people played the game, they realized how beautiful and amazing it was. And it was.

The remake of The Wind Waker takes all the best bits of the original game and transposes them into 16×9, full 1080p resolution on the Wii U. Graphics are enhanced for the higher resolution, though that doesn’t mean the game is the best looking one on the console. Of course, it isn’t meant to look state of the art as much as it is to look beautiful in its own right. The Wind Waker, with its quasi-cel-shaded appearance and unique art style, looks better than ever on an HD display.

DSC_0163We couldn’t really test out the audio of the game, though we’re sure it’ll be up to the par that we expect from the Zelda series, and that’s a bar that’s set pretty high.

Gameplay has remained largely the same, though Mr. Eiji Aonuma, the series’ producer, managed to add in some extras that make for a better experience. The team has added Miiverse functionality via messages in a bottle that show up on your shores on Outset Island, and perhaps others in the game. This interaction will be totally random, and you’ll be able to send messages in bottles through Miiverse – uhh, the oceans – at anytime in the game.

Of course, it wouldn’t be The Wind Waker without travelling the open water, and thankfully, that travel has been made shorter thanks to the addition of a speed boost you can activate at anytime.

Luckily, everything else in the game seems to be preserved, including the feeling of the characters, the whimsy of the locations, and the veracity of the bosses. We got some hands-on time with both a boss level and one that let us travel around Outset Island a bit, and both took us right back into the original game.

The only thing we didn’t see in the game was a way to look back at the older graphics in the game, but unlike something like Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition which let you do that, this game is a full overhaul, not two game engines running simultaneously. It’s a tiny nitpick, and one that we forgot about right after we bolted through the menu screen.

This is Zelda in some of its finest moments, and we’ll make sure to have a full review of the game when it launches this October.