Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker Review

I stated in my review of Ocarina of time that it was not my favourite Zelda game. This will probably shock you but my favourite Zelda game, if I had to choose, would be Windwaker *Raises flame shield* Now, I don’t expect everyone to feel this way but what I don’t understand is the amount of hate Windwaker does tend to get (at least for a Zelda game.) Is it the cartoony graphics? The fact that it doesn’t take place in Hyrule? Maybe they didn’t care for the sailing, I don’t know. None of it bothered me.

This game starts out with much more back story than the other Zelda games. It takes place roughly hundreds of years after Link sealed Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time. Let’s take another look at how Ocarina ended before we continue. If you think about it, this game had two endings. One ending, after Zelda sends Link back in Time with the Ocarina and the other where he goes back to being a child (Leading into Majora’s mask.) This game takes place after the former. The kingdom of Hyrule no longer exists to anyone’s knowledge and is considered little more than a Legend. It explains that after Link defeated Ganon, he disappeared. (Was erased from history.) Unfortunately Ganon came back but Link didn’t return to stop him. No one knew what became of the Kingdom, or its people.

wwpic - legend of zelda: wind waker review

Cut to hundreds of years later. Link is living on Outset island, one of many islands in the great sea. On outset, boys are given a green tunic and hat to wear once they come to a certain age (presumably the age Link was in Ocarina of Time when he started his adventure.) The game starts with Link being woken up by his younger sister, Aryll. It seems like a normal day for Link, until a giant bird carrying a pirate flies over the island, while being pursued by a pirate ship, firing at it.
Bird with tetra

The bird gets hit, and drops the girl in the woods. Link, after getting a sword from an old swordsman named Orca, goes into the woods to help her. After finding the the pirate (named Tetra and getting her out of the woods, the bird comes back, only instead of taking Tetra, it grabs Aryll instead, to Link’s horror.
bird takes Aryll

After talking to a Rito postman about the matter (a bird-human race that delivers mail across the islands) Link and the pirates learn that other girls have been kidnapped as well. All of them long-eared. (Hylian, presumably) Since the only reason Aryll was taken was because she was mistaken for Tetra, The pirates are pressured into letting Link sail with them to Forsaken fortress, where the bird lives.
rito postman

linkandtetra - legend of zelda: wind waker review

forsaken fortress

Link sneaks into the fortress ( Is actually stuffed in a barrel and catapulted in.) He explores the fortress and eventually gets to Aryll’s cell...then the bird shows up, grabs Link and flies him up to his master...Ganondorf, probably the earliest reveal for him of all time. On Ganondorf's orders, the bird throws Link out of the fortress and across the ocean.

Helmaroc King Ganon

Luckily Link is found by a talking boat, named the King of Red Lions. The King had been following him since he started his quest. After he landed in the water, the King brought him to Windfall island. He explains who Ganon is, and how he was previously sealed away, not knowing how that seal could have broken. He tells Link that if he wants to save his sister, he needs to collect 3 pearls and face some trails before he can face Ganon again. After getting a sail, Link’s adventure across the ocean begins!

Wind Waker King of Red Lions 468x

Now, the first thing you’ll notice about this game is the art style. Some people like the interactive cartoon look, and some hate it. I have nothing against it, I thought that the bright, colourful style looks, has plenty of detail good and it suits the tone of the game. This was also one of the first Nintendo games to use cell shaded graphics as well, so I can’t really hold the experimentation against them. I feel like this is why Windwaker got the critique that it did. It seems rather shallow to me, because regardless of how it looks, it plays like any good Zelda game.

The game play is mostly unchanged from the last games. You still have your standard targeting slashing and blocking system. One change however is being able to use a special counter-attack with the A button. Usually just before an enemy attacks you, the controller will rumble and the A button will flash, then you can preform one of two moves, either jumping helm-splitting slash, or a rolling back-slice. Most weapons like the hookshot and bow are back, as well as fire, ice and light arrows. The boomerang returns as well, but it’s much more useful, able to hit up to 7 targets at once. Then there’s new items like the grappling hook, and the Deku leaf. (which lets you glide, at the cost of MP)

Wind dekuleaf

Bombs can even be fired out of a canon on the boat to fight enemies while sailing, but you can use most of your items like arrows or boomerangs as well. You can also use the grappling hook to find treasure from the ocean floor. You can also find treasure charts during your adventure, when you open them, the area with treasure lights up so you can find it.

windtreasure - legend of zelda: wind waker review

Another addition to the game is monster spoils. Plenty of monsters drop special items in these games, such as skull necklaces, Knight’s crests, joy pendants, etc. These items can be traded or sold to certain characters for some decent rewards so you’ll want to stock up. As an example, red chu-chus drop red jelly, which can be given to a potion maker to make red potion.

spoilsbag - legend of zelda: wind waker review

Another key item is the windwaker, it allows you to conduct melodies, the most important being the wind’s requiem, which allows you to determine the direction of the wind. It can also let you warp, change night to day, and access certain temples.

Using the Wind Waker

Another common complain that people have with the game is the sailing. I never had a problem with it. Really, was it any worse than walking across Hyrule and Termina fields? I also like having a talking boat for a guide much more than an annoying fairy. He’s doing something useful, not constantly yelling “HEY!” “LISTEN!” just to tell you things you already know. But like I mentioned before, you gain the ability to warp later in the game, which will seriously cut your travel time. You should also keep a stock of animal bait on you, because there’s a fish who will draw islands on your sea chart in exchange for bait. Every time you enter an unexplored square on your chart you should make a habit of feeding that fish. This will make navigating much easier.

15dragonroostaftermath10 - legend of zelda: wind waker review

Exploring any islands you run into on the way can be interesting as well, and you need to do this for the extra rupees and heart pieces. Rupees are VERY important in the game, and luckily your wallet is far larger in Windwaker (the biggest wallet holds 5000 rupees.) Even then, it’s not like there aren’t enemies to kill along the way, it’s hardly a boring trip regardless.
windwaker2 - legend of zelda: wind waker review

Remember when I mentioned what a dick Tingle in my Majora’s mask review? This game is where he becomes a huge douchebag. You break him out of a prison cell on windfall island. Now later in the game, you acquire sea charts to locate pieces of the Triforce. Tingle mails you a special charts to find the charts (Yo dawg, I heard you like Sea Charts!) The postage for this item...is a fuckton of rupees. Then, you need tingle to translate these charts for you...for 385 rupees each. YOU UNGRATEFUL TWAT! I bust your sorry, man-child ass out of jail and you have the audacity to CHARGE me for those translations? FUCK YOU. To be fair though, Rupees are easily found, in fact in almost every Triforce chart location there’s a healthy amount of rupees near by.

tinglewind - legend of zelda: wind waker review

Luckily, the other NPC’s don’t piss me off anywhere near as much. Most of the races from Ocarina return...sort of. After all of this time, the Zora’s evolved into the Rito tribe. (I guess that ocean wasn’t a good place for Zoras to thrive? I dunno, maybe they can only live in fresh water.) They live on Dragon roost island, where they’re watched over by a Dragon named Valoo.
rito tribe

The Kokiri’s appearance is completely altered as well (They’re now called Koroks, look much more like plants and they live with the Deku Tree in an island called forest haven.)

koroks - legend of zelda: wind waker review

There are a few Goron merchants scattered across the islands. They must not have settled anywhere on the great sea, or maybe they went into decline because they can’t swim.

While there aren’t as many dungeons in this game as in Ocarina, they have roughly the same challenge. The cell shaded look also works decently for the enemies so they look detailed, if not a little cartoony. The boss fights still have the same epic feel to them that they had in other games. Though the later parts of this game focus more on treasure hunting and exploring, I don’t see it as a negative. It’s like I said in my Majora’s mask review. It’s not a bad thing when one game has more of a certain aspect than the others. With Ocarina it’s dungeons, Majora has the sidequests, Windwaker has the exploration/treasure hunting. That’s not to say you don’t find some decent battles along the way though. The Triforce charts are heavily guarded most of the time.

zelda wind waker boss feu

All in all, I’d say that Windwaker is probably the most balanced Zelda game, between dungeons, sidequests and exploration. This balance of all the elements that make these games great, is probably why I’d pick this one as my favourite if I had to. If you’re a Zelda fan, but you don’t like Windwaker, I have to assume you’re pretty shallow.


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  • 2

    I think its because they brought in older enemies, but remodeled them (Redeads I mean seriously)

    But don't all Zelda games do that? Gibdos and Like-likes have been around since the first game. Same with Moblins and Darknuts. Makes sense to me that these monsters would survive/change over the years in the Zelda universe.
    - CrazyJay November 27, 2011, 6:29 pm
    I know, but I think it was most of the changes that happend too quickly. Look at the Redeads in OOT and MM and compare them to the ones in WW
    - SuperPost November 27, 2011, 8:03 pm
    To be fair, they look quite different in WW. You should also keep in mind that this isn't a new phenomenon with any game franchises. Halo grunts, Elites, brutes, drones., Koopas and goombas in Mario, Token bird pokemon, Balverines, bandits and Hollow men in fable, Russians in every COD game. EVERY franchise does this. Space pirates in Metriod, Eggman robots in Sonic. I could go on.
    - CrazyJay November 28, 2011, 8:26 am
    Yeah, I know, it probally just shocked most of the fans that played WW.

    I also think that there was the whole 'If you go near seagulls a Giant squid will appear and kick your ass' or the 'Pirate ships will hunt you down' thing. It probally seemed like a drastic change in a Zelda Game.
    - SuperPost November 28, 2011, 4:06 pm
    See, I didn't see it as a huge change. You ran into giant squids and pirate ships just like fighting enemies in the fields. Also it's not like Those squids and pirates were tough if you burn through enough bombs and arrows. You can carry up to 99 of each for a reason.
    - CrazyJay November 29, 2011, 7:41 am
  • 1

    I haven't played Wind Waker, but I really want to. Might pick it up used after I finish Skyward Sword.

    • Ertrov
    • November 27, 2011, 1:00 pm
    Definitely worth the money. How far are you in Skyward sword? I'm at Nayru's trail and the game has started kicking my ass. XD
    - CrazyJay November 27, 2011, 1:01 pm
    Yeah it's one of those games I've always wanted to play but never got around to it. Like Ultimate Spider-man or Bioshock 2.
    - Ertrov November 27, 2011, 1:02 pm
    Funny, I haven't tried either of those games. Even though I really liked bioshock.
    - CrazyJay November 27, 2011, 1:03 pm
    My emulator keeps crashing at Farore's trial. It's tough to go further because it won't load a save state and I can't get to a bird statue in time. :(
    - Disco November 27, 2011, 5:18 pm
  • 1

    Hurry up and get to Twilight Princess already. Lolz. x3
    Also, I'm assuming you're going to review Link's Awakening and Oracle of Ages and Seasons?

    Chill the fuck out, I'm getting to it. XD
    - CrazyJay November 27, 2011, 4:51 pm
    Lol I know. Twilight Princess is my favourite Zelda game so far, so I'm eager to see what you have to say about it. :P
    - XxDaminalsxX November 27, 2011, 4:54 pm
    In a nutshell, it feels as epic and enjoyable as any Zelda game, but it's a little too easy. More details to come of course. Also, I'm not doing ages and seasons, because I only have seasons. Superpost is going to do them I think.
    - CrazyJay November 27, 2011, 6:21 pm
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