Electronic Theatre Preview: The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD

Few videogame franchises are cherished in quite the same way as The Legend of Zelda. Since the launch of the critically acclaimed The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time back in 1998 Nintendo have been incredibly careful to maintain a high standard of quality, rejected […]
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Few videogame franchises are cherished in quite the same way as The Legend of Zelda. Since the launch of the critically acclaimed The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time back in 1998 Nintendo have been incredibly careful to maintain a high standard of quality, rejected attempts to court vapid expansions and neglectful financial gain from outside sources. When the reckoning comes, The Legend of Zelda will stand as 3D videogaming’s thoroughbred testament to quality design.

That’s not to say everyone loves it, of course. With a franchise as bug as this there will always be detractors and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker is undoubtedly the cheapest shot in these arguments against it. The ridiculously high quality of the core gameplay is undermined by a few key flaws that many hang upon; cel-shaded graphics, monotonous sailing and the missing dungeon are cited as weaknesses far too often, when really the former is a strength and the latter two are a concession to one another. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker was a different kind of adventure to that which will have experienced before, and in order to differentiate it the pacing of the videogame had to change. Though this is far from the whole story it was key to The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker’s success a decade ago, but Nintendo are nothing if not a developer that listens to their audience.

Along with a dozen new features the forthcoming The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD for Wii U addresses many of the complaints that have been levelled at the original in the years since it’s launch, most notably the sailing. A brand new sail will be featured in The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD: a red sail that offers a 150% speed boost. Arriving reasonably late in the videogame, prior to the point at which many suggested sailing became a chore, players will erect the normal sail and then simply press the A button for a second time to erect the red sail.

Another brand new addition is the ability to send and receive messages to and from other players via the Miiverse. Essentially an evolution of the idea that debuted in Demon’s Souls and was evolved with Dark Souls, players are able to write messages and place them in a bottle. Other players will then receive these messages that can offer clues or tips on how to progress past the point at which they were collected. Exactly how Nintendo intend on ensuring that their content guidelines are adhered to here is not yet known, but would could predict that they already have a plan to keep the penis sketches and swearing to a minimum.

Of course there are other areas in which The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD capitalises on the unique features of the Wii U. The high-definition visuals look gorgeous, the new tilt controls for the bow, telescope and camera are designed with far more elegance than most motion control inputs and the entire videogame can be played on the GamePad. It’s hard to suggest that the Wii U version of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker isn’t a thoroughly modern rendition of a classic, and with that what’s not to love?

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