If you played the Ocarina of Time remake on the 3DS, you already know what to expect from Nintendo’s latest Zelda remake.
The 3DS version of Ocarina of Time is a great game, but I’m still not quite sure if it’s a great remake. The game was still a lot of fun to play through because Ocarina of Time is still a fantastically designed game, but the upgrades added to the remake were pretty minor; the new graphics and the ability to manage Link’s inventory on the touchscreen were nice, but I still kind of wish that Nintendo would’ve added some new content (new dungeons, enemies — anything.) Of course, some people would argue that Ocarina of Time was perfect as is and didn’t need any additional content, which isn’t an opinion that I would argue with either — OoT is the highest rated game of all time for a reason, after all. Wind Waker is arguably just as good, so Nintendo is taking a similar stance with its remake: like Ocarina of Time 3D, Wind Waker HD is simply a graphical upgrade with some minor tweaks and no new major additions in terms of content.
Ever since it was revealed, fanboys have been arguing on the internet about whether Wind Waker HD’s graphics are really an upgrade over the original, and personally, I think Wind Waker HD looks great. Nintendo displayed the remake side-by-side against the old Gamecube version, and while the old GC title has aged much better than a lot of other games from the era, Wind Waker HD managed to make a beautiful game even prettier. A lot of the changes are stylistic in addition to being just at technical upgrade (i.e. the HD resolution, the smoother lighting and shadows,) but I think the new look works. Let’s put it this way: if the original Gamecube Wind Waker was designed to look like a Saturday morning cartoon, then Wind Waker HD looks like a Pixar movie — there’s realistic lighting and more detail in the scenery, but it’s still definitely stylized, colorful, and filled with personality.
The actual gameplay changes are minor, but welcome: as with the Ocarina of Time remake, you can now manage Link’s gear on the touchscreen, so you can switch up your equipment without having to pause the game. Also like the OoT remake, you can now aim ranged weapons using the Wii U gamepad’s motion controls, though you can still use traditional analog aiming if you want. The most welcome new addition is a new sail for Link’s boat that will allow it to move faster than it originally could on the Gamecube. I actually enjoyed sailing quite a bit in the original version, but impatient gamers who simply want to get to their destination as quickly as possible will probably find Link’s new supercharged boat to be a godsend. Players will also be able to share messages, drawings, and screenshots with other Wind Waker HD players online by dropping them into a bottle and tossing them into the ocean — basically, it’s a Wind Waker-themed version of Miiverse integration. Like the other new features added to this remake, it’s nothing major but it’s a nice bonus.
Wind Waker is the shortest of the 3D Zelda’s, so it’s disappointing that Nintendo isn’t adding any new content to this remake. Still, just like Ocarina of Time before it, Wind Waker’s gameplay is timeless, so this remake will still probably be worth playing through, despite the lack of any new dungeons or areas to explore. The Ocarina of Time remake convinced a lot of people to go out and buy 3DS’s, so obviously Nintendo is hoping that the Wind Waker remake will do the same for the Wii U.
The Lgend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD will be released for the Wii U this October.