The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker is a divisive game for some fans of the Zelda franchise. Some hail it as the literal second coming of Christ, others despise it for its gorgeous, “cartoonish” cel-shaded graphics and “boring” sailing. The truth is most people don’t really care about rating every Zelda game every single day, and that most people enjoyed Wind Waker and recognise that it’s a real nice, solidly put together game, and one of the best games on the Nintendo GameCube (alongside Super Mario Sunshine, Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes and Bratz: Rock Angelz). Have you been living in a cave since 2000? Or did you simply contract amnesia? Here are some of the delights in store for you from Wind Waker Wii U, and some of the “tun[ing] up the overall gaming experience” we might see.
1. Exploring the Great Sea
One of the most noticeable things about Wind Waker is the water. It’s all over the place. That great expanse – The Great Sea – is the Hyrule Field of Wind Waker, so expect to be seeing a lot of it. The Great Sea is much larger than Hyrule Field, though, consisting of 49 sections in a 7×7 grid, most of which contain an island of their own, all of which contain at least one oddity of some sort. A lot of the islands are completely optional and don’t even have to be explored, which makes it all the more rewarding and exciting to do so. You can control the wind to make sailing faster, and eventually unlock fast travel, so most of the time the sailing isn’t even a drag. Some people found using the Wind Waker in the middle of sailing a little bit time-consuming and irritating, but it’s possible that the Wii U controllers will allow this to be much more seamless as part of the “tune up”. Will this mean that people who hated the sailing in Wind Waker the first time will suddenly find it enjoyable? Probably not. But it may be that the people who loved it the first time will find it even more enjoyable. At the very least the people that enjoyed it the first time will find the same amount of enjoyment from it again, and that’s all you can really ask for in a remake. Prepare to set sail.
2. The Best Collectables
If there is one thing people love in Zelda games it’s collectables. Optional items, hidden rupee caches, pieces of heart – you all know the drill. If you excitedly confront a Zelda fan and tell them you’ve just beaten a Zelda game but have not collected all of the heart pieces they will likely scoff in your face. Wind Waker had arguably some of the hardest, but most fun collectables. On Windfall island you can obtain a pictobox – a camera – and after a slightly convoluted (though normal by Zelda standards) side-quest you can obtain an upgrade that allows you to take colour photographs. Take these to the sculptor on Forest Haven (accessed by mind-controlling a seagull into hitting a switch) and he will make you a sculpture of the subject of the photograph (if it’s good enough). There are 134 of these detailed, great-to-look-at models to collect. And they require a playthrough on New Game + to unlock too, so you can get pre-pictograph ones (mainly a few boss monsters). They are great to look at in the Gamecube version, but imagine how they will look in glorious 1080p. Very 1080p-ish, probably. Who wants to bet that there will be an option to use the gamepad as the pictobox too? That would be kind of neat.
3. Tingle (Tuner)
If there’s one thing better than an enjoying a finely crafted Zelda experience it’s enjoying a finely crafted Zelda experience with a pal. However, there are just some times when sitting on the couch and occasionally swapping the control back and forth while one of you eats pizza or uses the bathroom isn’t enough. That’s where the tingle tuner comes in. What’s that? You didn’t know Wind Waker had a co-op mode? Well I’ve got news for you: it does. As all six people who owned a GameCube/Game Boy Advance link cable will tell you, you can plug your GBA into a controller port and by using the tingle tuner a second player can control Tingle. Tingle is more of a supporting role, having access to a map on the GBA screen, and has the ability to help the player by locating treasure of even dropping bombs into the fray. Gee, sounds an awful lot like some of the asymmetric multiplayer that utlises the Wii U’s Gamepad – I wonder what Nintendo will do with this re-release.
4. Atmosphere, and the Rest of the Game
Because it’s just a really great game, packed with the classic and fun dungeoning you love, pirates, and a haunting tale about the repercussions of a post-Ocarina of Time world without their Hero of Time. Just as equally as you have the iconic Windfall Island with its happy music and cast of quirky characters with numerous delightful side-quests, you also have unnerving and unsettling elements – terrifying tornadoes, ghost ships, giant octorocks. Just like the sea the game is based around, Wind Waker was a game both beautiful and slightly unsettling. The remake looks like it will make the game even more beautiful, and will hopefully accentuate the unique atmosphere that Wind Waker carried so well. While Nintendo haven’t gone into specifics about what “tun[ing] up the overall gaming experience” actually means, it’s clear there’s a lot of sweet things they could coerce from the already solid frame – most of which involve using the GamePad to increase the flow of the game. Only time will tell for sure, but there’s a lot of reasons you should love Wind Waker, so it only stands to reason you should love all of those things again in Wind Waker Wii U.