On The High Seas! - blaze6106 Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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On The High Seas!

It's easy to see that the Legend of Zelda is a source for inspiration for many video game series. Darksiders borrows many elements of the combat and puzzle solving. Many action games borrowed the lock on mechanics that Zelda helped originate. Hundreds of games have used expansive open worlds filled with unique characters and side quests similar to those in Zelda games. Therefore, it was no surprise when Ubisoft claimed that a big inspiration for Assassin's Creed IV was one of Legend of Zelda's most controversial games, The Wind Waker.

Assassin's creed's entire gameplay, setting, and even idea can be traced back to Zelda. The idea of exploring a vast world filled with characters to interact with and fighting enemies with swords as well as other various tools is certainly not a new idea. Zelda was one of the first series to make this a staple in video games. Assassin's Creed IV takes one more key element from Zelda... Water.

Water has a troubled history for both of these franchises. In the first Assassin's Creed you could not swim at all. The second Altair hit the water he would drown and you would need to restart. The games afterwards had little to do with water, but handling boats in Assassin's Creed II through Revelations was fairly boring. Assassin's Creed III had sailing and ship combat for the first time, but it felt sluggish and really boring to me. The Legend of Zelda has never gotten a water dungeon right before Wind Waker. The water temple in Ocarina of Time was troublesome at best; more like downright infuriating. The Great Bay Temple is just as bad, if not worst. There is constant changing of water levels and currents. Assassin's Creed and Wind Waker have a lot in common if we look at these respective series.

These games are the games that finally nailed the element of Water. I received both of these games for the first time at Christmas. I have been diving into the worlds of both of these games on Wii U and Xbox 360, and the comparison is quite obvious.

Wind Waker was really one of the first games to really base its entire world on water. The entire world is littered with small islands that you can sail to and explore. There are treasures, secrets and interesting characters on all. Merchant ships circle the islands, pirates roam the sea attacking you, and sword play takes precedence over all other weapons and items. There is a grand sense of adventure and scale to this world. It's bigger than any Zelda game before and there is so much to find.

If you haven't noticed yet, almost every single element of Wind Waker is located in Assassin's Creed IV. This is the first Assassin's Creed game to fully utilize water in any way. The entire game takes place in the vast Caribbean Sea, which is populated with many locations, both important and not so important. There are interesting characters that inhabit these islands, most of which you will interact with throughout the game. There are merchant ships, enemies, pirates, and numerous distractions throughout the game. Sword play is much more of a focus since you can now dual wield blades. If you can't tell where I'm going yet... These games are remarkably similar.

The question is, which do I like better? More to the point, which game uses the element of the ocean and the sea  best? That's where this gets complicated. I much prefer the charm and gameplay of Wind Waker. Assassin's Creed is a game that is certainly mature and has a dark tone to it. There are mature situations and violent kills. Wind Waker, while having some dark moments and eerie things, it is certainly a lot more cheery. The music, the atmosphere makes you feel like you're on the ocean. The dungeon design is clever and the use of items is fantastic. The story is simple, yet very heartfelt. It is a truly fantastic game, but the sea is not as much of a focus as Assassin's Creed.

Wind Waker is all about saving Zelda from Ganondorf, much like nearly every Zelda game before it. The Sea, while a great tool for traveling and exploring takes a back seat to the overall story of the game. It also isn't a huge focus in gameplay. The dungeons and land areas make up a majority of the gameplay. Assassin's Creed makes great use of the sea, in both gameplay and story. Edward Kenway is a pirate. He is a rough, tough, sea loving person. Throughout most of the opening hours you are on your ship. Your sailing the seas, hunting creatures on islands, taking down the British, and doing many other things. Much of the early story revolves around learning how to pilot your own ship.

It is certainly clear that Assassin's Creed's development team admired Wind Waker and all of the ambitious ideas that game brought forth. Playing both of these games at the same time, I can definitely see the inspiration, and Assassin's Creed IV arguably does the ocean thing better than Wind Waker. Piloting your ship, fighting enemy ships, exploring and hunting on these islands and exploring the ocean is all a little bit more polished and advanced. Wind Waker is not entirely devoted to the ocean though; it has so much more going for it. This is why, ultimately, I enjoy Wind Waker more than Assassin's  Creed. Still, there is a common thread here. The use of the ocean in a game, the ability to explore the high seas and embark on a grand adventure, can create one of the greatest gaming experiences of all time.

- blaze6106

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