So, I’ve been playing The Wind Waker a lot in the last week and a thought came to mind: Let’s create interesting discussion on games previously released. In fact, maybe we’ll even make a series out of it! The Wind Waker is one of the most controversial Zelda games ever created. Just as the game was starting to grow on people over the years, releases of handheld games such as Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks really riled up the hate wagon for The Wind Waker. I understand, a lot of people prefer the more realistic graphical style used in 3 of the 4 3D releases. Still, does this mean The Wind Waker is an inferior product and not a masterful work of art?
As I played my way through the game, I was quickly reminded how much I really wanted Zelda to be this type of game. Often times I will sing praises for Majora’s Mask, or even go out of my way to defend Twilight Princess. Really though, The Wind Waker found just the right blend. Maybe it was simply the highly unique music style. Maybe it was the charm of the characters or a the whole feeling of playing Majora’s Mask again on Windfall Island. It might have been the freedom of sailing that brought back a massive sense of exploration, something I haven’t felt since The Legend of Zelda released for the NES. Possibly, it was just the story in general, the main character having a family involved, and the fact that you could actually feel for and almost sympathize with Ganondorf’s reasoning. Hell, maybe it all boiled down to having an edgier Zelda in the form of Tetra or the ability to revisit old Hyrule castle in what felt like one of the most epic Hyrule Castle environment’s ever created.
Of course, it was really a combination of everything above that added to its overall charm. Throw on top of that an art style that was bold at the time and added some neat emotion to the game and it really felt like it came together just right. Not everyone agrees. My roommate felt that the sailing aspect was entirely boring and repetitive, the graphical style felt too much like you weren’t playing Zelda, and the story and dungeon design were too generic. The Wind Waker is simply a mixed bag and it always seems to be a love/hate relationship.
What did you think of The Wind Waker? Was it a great game? Was it a disappointment? Would you like to see another console release with the same style? Is the style overused thanks to the handhelds? If you really dislike the game, why? What about it made it so bad?