The lights are on
Power Member - Level 10
Wind Waker HD releases on Wii U's eShop and will come
bundled with a special edition Wii U next Friday, and the game is getting quite
a bit of press. Timed to release alongside a fresh Wii U price cut, it is
expected to be a much-needed boon to the dismal sales of Nintendo's latest home
console. Even through all the hype, I can't help but acknowledge the few who
proclaim Wind Waker HD to be an unnecessary waste of the Zelda team's time. I
completely agree that the original's graphics hold up incredibly well against
modern consoles, but this remake goes far beyond graphics and convenient
touchscreen controls. Here are my reasons why Wind Waker HD is more than worth
1. A Fresh Audience
Nintendo has repeatedly iterated that Wind Waker HD isn't
just for nostalgic Zelda enthusiasts, but rather a revitalized experience fit
for gamers young and old. A whole new generation (or at least those who own a
Wii U) will set off on their high-seas adventures for the first time. Think
twice before you assert that Wind Waker is perfectly content remaining confined
to the GameCube.
Wind Waker's cel-shaded wonderfulness was caught in some
stormy waters at first: while many critics praised the bold new art direction,
a plethora of others scolded Nintendo for turning Zelda into a kiddy game. Over
the years, Toon Link and his vibrant world have been steadily embraced by fans
and critics alike as one of the most beautiful and gracefully aged visual
styles ever conceived. Now that Wind Waker gets another crack at attracting a
wider audience-with enhanced graphical splendor, I might add-skeptics may be
more willing to give it a go.
2. How it Was Meant to be Played
I believe this quote from Eiji Aonuma's Wii U Developer
Direct sums up my point nicely: "I feel like I'm now finally fully able to do
what I wanted to back then." For me, it's really intriguing to watch as famous
a designer as Aonuma revisiting his work and fine-tuning it to match the
original vision. As any writer can relate to, returning to previous pieces
often yields "What the heck was I thinking?" kind of moments, where needed
improvements become painfully obvious. That Aonuma didn't at first realize how
cumbersome the Triforce quest would be is surprising, but understandable. Sluggish
sailing being the fault of GameCube's hardware limitations is also an
interesting tidbit, providing further insight for one of Wind Waker's most
3. A New Challenge
Another prominent feature of Wind Waker HD is Hero Mode, where
enemies dole out twice the damage and never drop hearts when slain.
of a punishing difficulty level isn't going to be selling any Wind Waker HD Wii
U bundles, but it's a courteous inclusion for veterans all the same. I'm sure a
number of you will recall a hard-to-reach cave on Outset Island. You know, the
one with like a bazillion floors and a ton of the leanest, meanest monsters it
could possibly throw at you? After conquering that very cave at least three
times, I can practically do it with my hands tied behind my back. I look
forward to a newly daunting plunge into Outset Island's hidden attraction.
4. The Flaws
No, I'm not going to try and convince you that Wind Waker is
worth replaying so you can gawk at its few missteps. That wouldn't persuade
anyone. The gaming community is saturated with protest of Wind Waker's time-consuming
sailing, and I'm certainly not the first to gripe about the Triforce quest. In
case you've been living under a Goron, Wind Waker HD seeks to iron out the kinks
with a new swift sail item and its compressed Triforce hunt.
Personally, I can't wait to enjoy Wind Waker all over again,
but with a far more streamlined experience. Cartography and treasure hunting
were tough nuts to crack in the original. As you can imagine, slowly sailing
back and forth across an enormous map isn't the most appealing thing in the
world. I hope the swift sail can direct more attention toward this significant
piece of Wind Waker that too many of us opted to ignore.
I'll go ahead and say it: Wind Waker's Ganondorf is one of
the greatest, most relatable, and memorable of not only Nintendo's villains,
but villains of gaming as a whole. He serves as living proof that Nintendo
bad-guys can be more than just one-dimensional brutes with a fetish for royal
Toon Ganondorf's fatal flaw is, frighteningly,
sentimentality. What's frightening, you ask? You as the player are forced to
identify with him. The whole time I played Wind Waker, I couldn't stop
imagining how cool it would be to pull the plug on the Great Sea, restoring
Hyrule to its past glory. The hard truth, however, is that Ganondorf's ambition
is just that. He pines for a long-lost world that he once sought to destroy,
and now seeks to rule.
In what still remains
the defining moment of one of the most impressive video game endings of all
time, Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule makes the tough call, wishing upon the
Triforce-before Ganondorf can lay a finger on it-for the goddesses to seal his
beloved kingdom away for eternity. As the sea comes crashing down in a violent
torrent, Ganondorf flies into a desperate, murderous rage. He clearly has no
forgiveness following the loss of his homeland; you can feel it in his
relentless and unmerciful blows. And for a tragic death, Ganondorf's demise is
appropriately visceral (at least as visceral as a Nintendo game can get).
With Wind Waker HD, Ganondorf is returning in a significant
way. A GameStop-exclusive special edition includes a gorgeous 5" figurine of
Ganondorf. The best part? It's only $10 more than the standard edition!
Aside from this awesome special edition, I suppose my
reasoning with Ganondorf really just doubles back to the whole 'Fresh Audience'
thing; although, I do feel Ganondorf is important enough to Wind Waker's legacy
that he is a reason all his own to once again sail the Great Sea. Everybody
deserves to know this side of Ganondorf.
That about wraps it up for my opinion of the upcoming
remake, but I want to know what you think. Is Wind Waker HD a waste of Nintendo's
time and resources? Is Eiji Aonuma doing a wonderful thing by giving his
masterpiece a new coat of paint? Are you going to go off-topic and start
raging about how Wii U isn't a "next-gen" system? Sound-off in the comments!