Every gamer has a secret shame. For this writer it’s having never completed a 3D Zelda. And this is not due to a lack of trying as he’s tried them all repeatedly. Something about them just didn’t feel right in 3D due in part to the controls.
In the 2D masterpiece, A Link to the Past, Link controlled perfectly. The world was rich and full of adventure with the puzzles challenging, but not impossible. In Ocarina and the subsequent others, it felt like the controls were fighting the player especially with jumping. Teetering off the edge of a platform only to jump and miss was frustrating. One could chalk this up to the design, but the controllers themselves are at fault as well. Seriously, that N64 behemoth was terrible.
That’s why after purchasing a Wii U, this guy decided the time was finally right to not just play, but finish a 3D Zelda game. Wind Waker was always the title that looked the best. The new environment, cel-shading, and Link himself are what sold it. Of course the list of positives lengthened after finishing it.
The combat along with the aforementioned visuals, crisper now in HD, gadgets, dungeons, endless ocean, and the design itself was awe inspiring. Now that’s not to say those 3D gripes were completely solved. The controls were better, but not perfect especially with, again, jumping. And until the warp feature is introduced, sailing is a chore, one mesmerizing at first, but repetitive after countless hours. The last pre-final dungeon mission is kind of like a big middle finger and evidence that the game was probably rushed, originally. Not expanding on that in the remake was a bizarre choice.
So where does that leave Wind Waker in this narrator’s eyes? Despite its flaws, it was an awesome experience. Perhaps this writer will go back and attempt other 3D Zeldas now. Whatever the case may be, if there are other 3D Zelda haters out there, please, do this guy a solid and try this game out. It’ll be hard to put down after that.
Score: 4/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on January 22, 2015 via my Examiner account before the website shut down. Check out the supporting video review on the accompanying YouTube Channel, ReActionExaminer.