Ah, the early 2000s. The dawn of a new century, of a new millennium. Interesting stuff was taking place for Nintendo fans back then, the most relevant of which to this article was the rage being aimed at one game. It was a Legend of Zelda game that dared to explore a cel-shaded, cartoony style that no one had expected and that, in the worst cases, led to accusations of Nintendo leading the series astray.
That was then, and the game, The Wind Waker, has long since silenced the early haters and the negative "Celda" remarks with an adventure that was undoubtedly Zelda and easily one of the greatest the series has ever offered.
This fall, the cel-shaded seas will call once more. Nintendo will enter a region of gaming that it has never before set foot in: the HD remake. The game that will lead the Big N into this new world is The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. Thanks to the high-definition capabilities of the Wii U, fans old and new will be able to experience the tale of the cat-eyed Link and pirate princess Tetra like never before. At least, on a visual level they will.
You can probably tell from the screenshots of the HD-ed Windfall Island, but The Wind Waker's distinct graphics have been given quite the boost. The enhanced light and shading effects on the environment and the character models are quite the sight. It's just a shame that more hasn't been shown yet, but hopefully that will be rectified soon. I'm curious to see how cool sailing the blue seas will look when you have the shadows of the clouds above racing alongside you.
In addition to the graphics, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD will take advantage of plenty of the Wii U's other features. Although Nintendo has yet to specify how it will be used, we know that the re-release will come with Miiverse functionality. Most likely, this will be used to allow gamers to share hints and such with one another. Along with that, the game will support off-TV play on the GamePad's screen.
The enhanced graphics, Miiverse and off-TV support are all of what has been revealed so far in the way of features for The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. However, Nintendo has made it clear that it intends to "tune up" the "overall game experience." Though this tells us nothing about the ways the game will be tuned up for the Wii U, the possibilities are very intriguing.
One of the easiest ways in which the Wind Waker experience can be bumped up is through a rethinking of the game's most unique element: sailing. While sailing gave a thrilling sense of vastness, many have complained of the tedious wind controls that hampered the fun for them. This could be easily fixed in a number of ways, such as reworking the ability to change wind direction via the titular Wind Waker, or by having the wind always at players' backs while sailing, just to name a few.
There's also the GamePad. It's no hard thing to imagine that the GamePad will come to be used for equipping items, managing inventory, and navigating the many maps and sea charts available, but the most interesting possible use of the GamePad could come in the form of the Tingle Turner, an item that, in 2003, allowed a second player with a Game Boy Advance to assist the player playing Link by dropping bombs on enemies and uncovering secrets. While not prominently taken advantage of back in the day (not everyone had a GameCube and a GBA, after all), the accessibility of the GamePad could give players who missed out on that neat co-op feature a chance to do so later this year.
Nintendo could also do more, like bring back the missing dungeons that were cut from the original release, or modify the infamous Triforce fetch-quest near the end of the game. But will they? That is the question, and since fall is still a ways off, it may be a while before we hear what the Big N has in mind for The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. In spite of this, Zelda fans everywhere, regardless of whether they played the game back in the days of the GameCube or not, should be excited. Very excited.
A writer, journalist, and aspiring storyteller, Peter Grimm has been gaming since the days of the Nintendo 64, and reporting on the goings-on in the World of Gaming since late 2011. His base of writing operations is located within the void between Here and There, or so he would have you think.
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