The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker - Review

Sailing And...More Sailing
By: Roku

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 4
   Interaction 4
   Originality 3
   Story 2
   Music & Sound 3
   Visuals 5
   Challenge Easy
   Completion Time 15-30 hours  

Lots of time spent doing this...
Lots of time spent doing this...
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker features Link's first Gamecube game. Wind Waker abandons the realistic style for cartoonish cell shading and once again abandons the main game for sidequests as in Majora's Mask. This time around the world is flooded and Link needs to sail to all of his destinations. Once again his enemy is Ganon who is trying to control the world yet again.

Battles are similar to those found in Orcania of Time. They are fought in real time any rely heavily upon Link's sword, shield, and evasive abilities. He can once again use a variety of tools such as bombs to aid him in battle, but there are a few new things Link can do. He can now crawl on the ground to sneak up on enemies, counter attack, and use enemy weapons. Counter attacking requires good timing and generally results in evading an enemy attack by rolling or jumping and countering automatically. Enemy weapons can be picked up and carried for a short period of time. They are often more powerful than Link's normal weapon and can be thrown as well. Another new addition to Wind Waker is ship-based combat. Cannons fire bombs at enemies though it is still necessary to steer carefully to evade enemy shots. The battle system is very solid overall and quite enjoyable.

Wind Waker is yet another easy Zelda game. As most of the heart pieces are scattered, the game's difficulty seems to be set based on a low number of hearts. Few enemies or bosses can inflict much damage at all. Even bosses are easily defeated once their weakness has been found. It's very easy to get powerful healing potions which fully restore both HP and magic too.

Play control is very tight. The only noticeable problem is the camera which, although better than previous 3D Zeldas, still manages to move around when the player doesn't want it to. All of the menu interface is excellent too. Wind Waker features little dialog, but it's all translated well without noticeable errors.

Even though the world is flooded and a boat is needed to get around, Wind Waker is very similar to other Zelda games. There are few new enemies and puzzles to be found. Bosses are all new, but there are few of them. It still manages to have a fair amount of new concepts for such a late game in a series, but it's still fairly average as far as originality is concerned.

Wind Waker features one of the slightly more developed Zelda stories. There are a number of important characters that have their personalities, backstories, etc. revealed as time passes and a relatively solid storyline. Nevertheless, it can do very little to compete with the many other RPGs that came out at the same time. Even the flow of the story is often ruined due to hours of sailing, collecting money, and sailing some more. It also starts off very slowly by forcing the player to complete an escape level before non-veteran Zelda players even have to chance to become familiar with the game.

...then change the wind direction and sail some more
...then change the wind direction and sail some more
Due to many hours of sailing, it takes quite a while to finish Wind Waker. Sailing alone can add several hours alone so, despite have a small amount of levels, Wind Waker can take at least fifteen hours to complete. To help make up for the lack of main levels, Wind Waker features a number of sidequests which, though they are few in number compared to Majora's Mask, can add quite a bit of playtime due to sailing between islands searching for them. They can bring the total playtime to thirty hours easily.

Wind Waker features both new and remixed music which are quite good. Most of the music tends to not become as repetitive as in previous Zelda either, especially the dungeon tracks which are a big improvement. While it's still far from amazing, it's a nice touch. Sound effects remain about the same as they were before, but thankfully there's no annoying fairly shouting in Link's ear every give seconds this time around.

Though the new cartoonish visuals may take a while to get used to, they are very well done. Everything in the game is incredibly detailed and beautifully animated. Though there isn't a lot of enemy variety, each of them has a tremendous amount of detail and appears to almost come to life in some cases. Fire and explosions are the only things that look a little strange, but they hardly detract from an otherwise beautiful game.

Wind Waker is yet another Zelda game with few main levels and a large number of sidequests. It is full of hours of empty playtime to make up for its lack of actual content as players are forced to sail for hours even after gaining the ability to warp and spend hours collecting thousands of rupees to pay the ridiculous map fees. While it is still a decent game and does have plenty of great moments, Wind Waker is very similar to previous Zelda games and I only recommend it to those who are willing to put up with hours of sailing to enjoy an otherwise short, but good, game.

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