Okay, I’ll admit it. When I first heard about the newest game in the Zelda series, and actually saw screenshots, I was pretty skeptical. I mean, Zelda, one of the core games I grew up playing, looked to me, incredibly?silly. The cartoony graphics, the way Link looked, it just didn’t seem right. As the release date got closer and closer, and more screenshots and info was revealed, most of my skepticism faded, and after playing it at a local game store, it went away entirely. This *is* a Zelda game, through and through, and I’m happy that I gave it a chance.
The graphics of the game are just extraordinary. Screenshots can’t do this game justice. Everything looks bright and beautiful, and very well done. The seas, the storms, the grass, the islands all look superb. For some it may take some time to get used to, others will fall in love with it within the first scene. All in all, very well done.
The controls are spelled out pretty easily, and are basically the same controls from the N64 game, with a few extras. There are still your main attacks, spin attacks, rolls and so on, but there also some pretty cool new attacks. If you have your weapon out while locked on an enemy, and press a button accordingly, you can jump over the enemy, knocking off its helmet, or rolling under a monster’s attack to attack it from behind. All in all it makes combat a bit more fun to do and to look at. Also, after knocking down an enemy, you can pick up its weapon to use to throw or swing.
Not too much to say here, besides that the sound effects in this game are pretty good, with yelps of surprise and attack from the hero, to the grunts and chattering of the enemy. Some classic Zelda songs return, some remixed just a bit while others remain totally unchanged. While sailing around the isles, an epic tune pops up occasionally, which really gets you in the mood for exploration. Also, there’s no real spoken dialog because according to the developers, everyone has their own voice for Link, and to give him a voice could potentially ruin Link for some people, and I’m inclined to agree.
The story takes place on a remote island properly titled Outset Island, on a young boy’s birthday, as he becomes the same age as the “Hero of Time”, which just so happens to be Link, from the Ocarina of Time game. After learning your way around a bit, a giant bird arrives, followed closely behind by a pirate ship firing at the giant bird. The bird steals away your sister, Aryll, and so the story begins.
The story progresses much like any other Zelda game. Go to dungeon, get new item, use new item to defeat boss, rinse, and repeat. But the fun part is getting there. Throughout the game there always seems to be a sense of vastness, with so much to explore and do. There are multiple islands strewn across the map, with plenty to do. You can take your talking ship, The King of Red Dragons, to hunt for treasure under the sea, go fight pirates, giant squid, sharks and other such monsters, go find treasure maps and items all over the map. The amount of things to do is almost overwhelming at times, but almost always enjoyable. Traveling can get a bit tedious at times, though this is remedied at a later point in the game. Multiple songs can be learned much like in the Ocarina of Time, with a magical baton that conducts songs which vary from changing the direction of the wind, (very important), to changing the time of day and other such effects.
I thoroughly enjoyed playing through the wind waker, and plan on doing it yet again. If you can see past the graphics, there’s definitely a worthwhile game underneath.