GameSpite Quarterly 2, #46: The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

46. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
A quick little mini-article about what just might be the most criminally underappreciated Zelda game ever. While this issue is oddly dense with Zelda games — apparently you guys like them, or something — I was still happy to see Wind Waker make the cut. It’s so… charming! And also heavy on the exploration. Which is awesome. Too bad people were such babies about the graphics….

22 thoughts on “GameSpite Quarterly 2, #46: The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

  1. I like the graphics, but every time I’ve tried replaying the game I end up stalling out on the forced stealth sections. Usually I’m a pretty patient person, but those drive me insane.

  2. Hah! Great article and great timing… recently I’ve been jonesing for a new Zelda adventure for whatever reason (I hope Brutal Legend will fill some of that void) and I found myself watching online videos of Wind Waker. My instant reaction was “Awww… it’s so pretty!” It’s amazing to me how well it holds up.

    I remember when it came out the most common reaction was that it was a terrible letdown. As a fan of cel-shading since Jet Set Radio I never agreed with that so it’s good to see that history has been kind to it.

    I still have my issues with the sailing though.

  3. If nostalgia over Link’s Awakening wasn’t getting in the way, I’d say Celda was the best Zelda game ever.

  4. You know, when Nintendo first showed off Wind Waker, my impression was that the art design seemed inspired by the Slave Labor Graphics house style (if there is such a thing, and without the gore, naturally), which struck me as terribly edgy and “with it”. My opinion on this is not exactly authoritative because I don’t play that many videogames, and I don’t play games that involve, like, crimes or covert operating or decapitatin’ things in general, but Wind Waker is to me the most completely and beautifully realized game world that ever was. It has wonders, mysteries, peculiar people, whimsy, nonsense — it’s alive as any imagined place could be, alive in that way that only great works of imagination are. Phantom Hourglass is more or less the same game in the same world, but more compact. It doesn’t have the same feeling of endless discovery, but it’s more carefully directed and an overall better game, full of ingenious invention thanks to the DS’s weird and flexible interface, with an intimate adventure story — and it’s so fun.

  5. The Wind Waker style reminds me a lot of Samurai Jack, especially the episodes that show Jack as a child, in the face he looks like a black-haired Link. I still need to go back and finish the game, the last minute fetch quest came at an especially busy time in my life.

  6. Yes. This is my favorite Zelda of all-time for the exact reasons described. It wasn’t perfect, but man did I love the world. I’ve played most of the Zelda games more than once, but this is the only one I played twice back-to-back. As in, I finished, pressed start, started a new game, and did it all over again right there, haha.

    Suto, you really gotta finish it. The fetch quest is what got most people off it (I didn’t mind it as much), but the pay off is one of the greatest (if not THE greatest) Zelda game final battles of all time.

  7. This game was the reason I bought a Gamecube. I loved it. I think I got stuck on one of the dungeon puzzles and never finished it though… the fact that it came with the Zelda Collector’s disc didn’t hurt either! :)

  8. I adored this game both for its beauty and the exploration it invited me to do. I also found this Link endearing in ways the Twilight Princess Link was never able to pull off. He’s such a scrappy little guy!

  9. Honestly, I never had any problems with Wind Waker’s cel-shaded visual style, even before the game was out. I know many people were upset because it was a vastly different style from that Link vs. Ganondorf tech video they all drooled over, but I didn’t see the big deal myself. My issues with the game had more to do with item management while sailing (I still don’t see why the friggin’ sail should take up a valuable item spot), but aside from that nitpick the game’s aged very well.

  10. I like that you said people were being babies about the graphics when clearly the graphics are FOR babies. Wind Waker wasn’t serious enough!

    (Great article, Ben.)

  11. I enjoyed Wind Waker very much – great graphics, interesting characters, excellent dungeons (as ever in Zelda games), and then…

    (spoiler alert)

    … Link steps into that greyscale castle scattered with frozen enemies and I loved it. One of those gaming moments I’ll never forget, just beautiful.

  12. How did I mess this up so bad, the comment I didn’t sign isn’t displaying, oh well, here it is, sorry.

    I don’t really think WW remains the least appreciated Zelda game, at least in the eyes of the internet. As far as I’ve seen, people seem to have collectively decided it was the best Zelda (at least, the best 3D one) and that TP was some sort of hate crime against the series’ fans. It’s quite possible that I’m just letting my disappointment with the game (unrelated to the graphics, which I loved) color my perception of the general reaction.

  13. The whole deal with Wind Waker and Twilight Princess has shown me that Zelda fans (and perhaps Nintendo fans in general) don’t really know what they want.

    Nintendo’s original reason for making Wind Waker Cel Shaded was because they didn’t just want to make another Ocarina with better graphics. Fans cried for a “more realistic” Zelda, they got Twilight Princess which a lot of them were disappointed with for being another Ocarina with better graphics.

    First of all, I don’t think Zelda has ever been “realistic.” If you look at the art of the old 2D games, it’s always been a cartoon series. A lot of people must have jumped onto the series at Ocarina which had quasi-realistic graphics which are really an anomaly in the greater scheme of Zelda. To me Wind Waker actually looks more like classic Zelda and even holds up better visually than Twilight Princess.

    Anyway, I think both TP and WW are incredible games. TP was just a super-polished classic adventure and was my favorite game that year.

    Wind Waker is definitely one of my top Zelda games. It has what are actually some of my favorite dungeons in the series. My only problem with the game was how they weren’t able to “finish” it and had to replace the last two planned dungeon with that Tingle quest.

    Most importantly, I LOVED the sailing. Even if you weren’t doing much, just the feeling of it was one of the main things that grabbed me with Wind Waker.

  14. I’ve never played Wind Waker, but I can easily believe it’s a better game than Twilight Princess. I’d hardly call that game “super-polished”; the 90 minutes before the first dungeon is probably the worst 90 minutes in video game history.

  15. Really? A series of casual tutorials in a slow-paced rustic village is the worst thing anyone’s ever done with a game? Really?

  16. I just started replaying this recently and petered out on the TriForce fetch quest. That really had no buisness being as big a pain in the arse as it is.

  17. Considering the high expectations, yes. It should have been far better. If it had been a Hannah Montana game, no one would have cared. When people are putting you up as the best Zelda ever, it doesn’t fly.

    It’s similar to Joe Posnanski’s Movie Plus/Minus Formula ( When you expect nothing and get nothing, you’re not disappointed. When you expect greatness and get boring fetch quests and multiple pointless required sidequests, that’s as bad as it gets.

  18. I cannot stand Wind Waker. That sailing system was just atrocious. No enemies, nothing interesting, just a slow crawl to go anywhere. It’s like watching paint dry, only missing the satisfaction that paint gives knowing that, eventually, there will be an end to it.

  19. The graphics? I think most people’s complaints are on completely different things. To put it shortly, Wind Waker feels like a half-hearted, half-finished Zelda game, masked behind those stylish graphics.

  20. I adore the WW engine and I think it’s a damn shame that they reverted to ‘realism’ link for TP. On the other hand, I also believe that the game had some planned dungeons cut from it and I’m not a fan of the sailing. In keeping with Parish likening 3D Dot Heroes to the original Zelda, I love to see a game using the Celda engine that channels LTTP.

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