Link returns for remastered HD adventure in Wind Waker

George Treviranus, Graphic Designer

Link has taken many forms over the last few decades, some more “normal” than others. Link from Wind Waker has always been different, though. His cell shaded style was met with controversy in the gaming community, and with good reason. Make no mistake, however, that the game was fantastic in 2003 at its original release, and is even better now in glorious high-definition with a remastered soundtrack.

You play as a young 10-year-old boy, Link, who lives a peaceful life on Outset Island with his grandmother and little sister. On the day of his birthday, however, his sister is kidnapped by Ganon, a once all-powerful prince-of-darkness, where she is taken to the Forsaken Fortress. You’re equipped with a sword and shield and embark with some not-so-noble pirates in an attempt to rescue her. As the plot progresses, you acquire the master sword, an ancient sword with sacred energies, and accidently release Ganon of the shackles placed on his magic powers hundreds of years ago. No longer a plot about saving one kidnapped sister, you move forward to save all of Hyrule and its great seas.

What has always stood apart in Wind Waker isn’t its captivating story, the depth of the characters and their development (although they certainly play a role in the game’s great success), but you can be sure to find tons of small side-quests throughout this game. So many, in fact, that for a decade individuals referred to the title as the biggest open-ended adventure game in history. That may not be the case anymore with popular adventure games like The Elder’s Scroll V: Skyrim, but it still holds a candle even to today’s more modern franchises.

The combat in the game has stayed the same, for the most part. With the Wii U controller, it takes only a small amount of training to get fully accustomed. You can pull items from your bag onto either the X, Y or R1 buttons for use in battle. With all the items you’re given, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that you can easily pause the game to switch them out if you’re in a fight. It can get confusing at times, though, having a second screen that requires you to look down on. Overall, the combat remains one of the game’s most redeeming qualities.

The music, as well, is a great aspect of the game, and remains as such in the HD remake. The composers and sound design has changed to keep the game up-to-date.

Overall, the game hasn’t aged a day. It remains a challenger even among the most highly regarded games of this generation. You can easily fool someone into thinking this isn’t an HD remake. If you were one of the lucky ones to get the special edition Wii U bundle, give yourself a pat on the back for getting your hands on the game early.