The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker is like any other Legend of Zelda game, an 'instant classic', but in its own unique way.
The Legend of Zelda series has been one of gaming's most respected series since the first release of the original Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The game was an instant classic and the same can be said now for the Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, as can be said for practically every other Legend of Zelda game. Every Zelda game has something unique about it that makes it stand out from the other Zelda and action/adventure games. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker has this too and is unique in its own way too. Here are reasons for that:
1. The brilliant sea travel will be loved by almost every gamer. Just sailing your time away at sea, which had been a dream in gaming before, is now only a purchase and a number of button presses away. Also, the amount of depth and imagination given to every area and the names to places are just things that you'll learn to appreciate when playing. Discovering islands and places that you can't visit yet, but know you will get to are things that make you keep on playing in order to get to them.
2. The graphics are fantastic. A bit like a Nordic art style, you'll fall in love when you first see Link who looks so cute with the graphical style. And detail has of course been given by Nintendo brilliantly. Everything that can be interacted with has been given such detail it's going to be very hard to find problems in the game at a graphical standpoint. Even just seeing islands in the horizon are things that give you that feeling that you really are on a great sea voyage and seeing the sunset and sunrise is absolutely fantastic. Just be sure to watch out at night, and for those who have played the game, they know what I mean. A great yet risky move made by Nintendo which paid off big time. I absolutely fell in love with the graphics and the GameCube's great processing power only makes it better.
3. The story, though like almost any other Legend of Zelda game's story, is good especially since some surprises are added and a few tweaks to the normal type of story have been made. Not going to spill anything in case there are people that are still going to play this game. But don't expect a completely normal Legend of Zelda story here because there are a little differences here.
4. Treasure hunting. Come on, who doesn't love treasure hunting. I know I do and I absolutely adored it in this game. It was just plain awesome. You'll be wanting to fill out that Sea Chart and get some bait so that those fish guys would fill it out for you. At least I know I did. And finding islands that have secrets hidden inside them or on top of them is just another brilliant way to kill time and search for those Treasure Charts that lead you to treasure. And freestyle treasure hunting is the best, meaning that you just use a Grappling Hook and collect treasure from the bottom of the ocean at any moment without the guiance of a Treasure Chart. Trust me, you'll be doing this a lot when you play this game. I remember just spending 4 hours of my time at a go just for finding treasure.
5. Apart from the Treasure Chart and the main Sea Chart that shows you where you're going and where you are and where you should be going there are also other charts but some I won't say because of certain reasons. I just dont want to ruin some great surprises for people that haven't played this game yet and want to play it some day. The Beedle Chart is a very useful chart, which shows you at which certain parts of the sea Beedle is at. He's at various locations, don't ask me how, and he can sell you things that can aid you in your journey and he can buy things from you. So I'll give you a tip, make sure to collect almost anything dropped by enemies, not just because of Beedle, but various other reasons. Trust me. There are other Charts like the Big Octo Chart and Islands Heart Chart but I'll leave some unmentioned cause they have things to do with the story.
6. Great cast of characters. Legend of Zelda games always have wonderful and memorable characters and this one is no exception. I'll start with the King of Red Lions who is like your guide throughout your journey. You get to sail with him at sea and he gives you hints and instructions to do and reminds you of what to do if you happen to forget. Other characters like your Grandma, your sister, Tetra the pirate and her crew of so-called miscreants, Zelda of course who is revealed later in the game, people of Outset Island which is Link's home island, Ganon, The Deku Tree, Fairies and so on. So many people in the game that are all a delight and joy to meet. A great cast by Nintendo who all look great with the excellent art style.
7. The music is wonderful in this game. I personally loved the Dragon Roost Island theme and Makar's theme. The music, whether you're at sea, on land, in another world completely or composing music on your Wind Waker, the music always keeps you going and delighted and you'll be humming those tunes long after you've finished the game. Koji Kondo, Toru Minegishi, Kenta Nagata and Hajime Wakai all deserve a standing ovation in my opinion for the great work they did with this game's soundtrack.
8. The gameplay is brilliant in this game. One-on-one combat is a blast and when fighting a group of enemies the fighting can really get intense and exciting and also quite hard. You can pick of enemy weapons and use them to your advantage and find out different ways and tactics and strategies on how to kill your enemies. Boss battles are big and fun and will surely keep you on the edge of your seat. The gameplay just keeps on getting better in every new installment of Legend of Zelda. Absolutely loved this games gameplay. The GC controller really is a joy to play with.
9. Great arsenal of weapons and tools. From your basic sword and shield to bombs, bow and arrows, camera or I think it was a pictograph in this game, Grappling Hook, Hookshot, telescope, every explorer needs one, a sail which is very important cause you can't really get anywhere without it, a boomerang which is a traditional Legend of Zelda item, there's even an item that you can even use to get help from a friend in the game although connection with a GameBoy Advance (GBA) is required. The Wind Waker which is used to conduct music in this game is the highlight of all the tools. The usage of this item is simple. You use the C stick to conduct music. You point it to the direction you're meant to inorder to fully compose the theme. There are three different composing levels; first is a 3 note based theme level, second is a 4 note based theme level and third is a 6 note based theme level. Learning to use the Wind Waker is very simple and composing different themes is great but sometimes it can get frustrating, although it's not a big problem. There are 6 different themes that are possible to compose in this game. Yeah, not so many but still all great and memorable. The arsenal of weapons and tools are all useful and you'll be using all of them at least once in your journey.
10. Lastly, the puzzles. Man, some are just plain simple and will be dealt with in seconds, others, I promise you'll be scratching your heard and wondering what the freaking heck you're meant to do only to find that the answer/solution to the puzzle was so simple. Patience is the key here like in any other game that is heavily puzzle and dungeon based. Dungeons, although not so many in this game, are all great and puzzles that have been inserted into them have all been well thought of. I remember spending around 30 minutes on one puzzle and then saw that the answer to the puzzle was literally staring at me in the face. You just have to be attentive and make sure to try to use everything that is in your arsenal or anything that is in the room and can be put to good use. Although great and brain tasking, the puzzles are overshadowed by the great sea travel but when at their best, you'll surely think back after completing a puzzle and thinking how brilliantly they've been executed. So the puzzles, just like in any other Legend of Zelda game, are fantastic.
Now those were the Pros. There may still be some other great things but these are the main things I've decided to point out.
Even though this game is awesome, it has very few minor issues.
I'll present them in the Cons section. Here they are:
1. The Wind Waker themes, though great, there are a bit few in my opinion. All 6 themes are great, but I think 2-4 themes more could have been great. Also, performing themes on the WInd Waker can get a bit frustrating at times but it's not that much of a problem like I said earlier. For example, you'll get tired of performing the same song around 10 times in the space of 5 minutes inorder to warp somewhere else that you'll just forget about playing it and you'd just rather sail there. This happened to me sometimes but this is just a minor issue, but even a minor issue can affect the experience sometimes.
2. I found it a bit weird that in the beginning of boss battles, the boss' name wasn't given. In other 3D Legend of Zelda games, if I remember correctly, the name is given but in thi one it wasn't it. Yes, I know it is a stupid thing to point out, but I decided to point this out. It's not really a big issue but it would have been nice if it would have been added to the beginning of every boss battle.
And that's that with the Cons. Not that many and not really problems that hurt the gameplay and experience but still bring the score down only a little.
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker is one of those classic gems that you'll come back and play again just to experience the adventure again. And I do suggest you play it again after finishing it, because there are some nice little extras added on the second playthrough. I won't say what so as not to spoil anything but I advice this game be at least played once more after the first playthrough. This game is a magnificent game that excels in every way possible and if you haven't played this game, I really recommend it cause this is a timeless classic. I'm really glad I got to experience the awesomeness of this game and for those of you who haven't played this yet, you deserve to too.
To conclude this review, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker is like any other Legend of Zelda game, an 'instant classic', but in its own unique way.