Game Review

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Martin Watts

Putting the wind back into the sails of The Legend of Zelda

From the moment Nintendo first announced The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD for Wii U, it has consistently reminded us that the project is about more than just bringing HD graphics to a classic game. In fact, this remake arguably serves a much greater purpose than any Legend of Zelda game since The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time made the successful jump to full 3D gameplay. That’s because Eiji Aonuma and his team at Nintendo are aware that The Legend of Zelda series runs the risk of becoming stale and predictable if it continues as it is and, therefore, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD represents a testing ground of sorts ahead of the next instalment. It has given the development team the opportunity to revisit one of its classic works and transform it into a more refined experience — one quite possibly more in keeping with future games. The question is, has it succeeded in doing just that?

There are two very obvious reasons why The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was the ideal choice for Nintendo’s first (and possibly only) HD remake. Firstly, the original title was a visual masterpiece when it hit the GameCube back in 2003 and its unusual art style most certainly stands the test of time; giving it a HD makeover was only ever going to make it look even more impressive. Secondly – and perhaps more importantly – it’s a Legend of Zelda title which, despite its critically acclaimed status, has its fair share of flaws, the majority of which had a negative effect on the overall pace of the game. Nintendo, it seems, realises this more than anyone else and, as a result, has combed through the entire game, making a number of worthwhile gameplay improvements in the process. The end result is a classic title that has been beautifully remastered for modern sensibilities, and one which makes us feel very hopeful for the future of the franchise.

The first thing you notice when you start playing The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD is just how much at home its colourful world looks on Wii U, and that none of its charm has been lost during its transition. In fact, with the exception of the odd basic animation here and there, it doesn’t look out of place at all when compared alongside modern efforts on Wii U and other HD systems. Distant objects are no longer subject to blurring and the improved lighting results in a brighter, much more vibrant look and feel. If there's one minor gripe that can be levelled at the game it's the fact that the frame rate still drops now and again when things get a little hectic. It's not damaging to the gameplay in any way, but it's just a shame that such slowdown is present despite Wind Waker being on a much more advanced system.

The move to HD is only partly responsible for the game's lush graphics — the main reason why the visuals excel is all down to the original art direction taken by Nintendo; it has a timeless quality and the fact that a simple resolution boost and improved lighting can make it look as good as it does now just goes to show far how ahead of its time the GameCube version truly was. Moreover, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD’s game world is brimming with emotion and character, making it the perfect story to be retold in high definition.

Link’s journey across the Great Sea to save his sister – and later the world – sees him visiting a wealth of exciting locations and interacting with all kinds of people and creatures. It’s one of the few games in the franchise where each character physically portrays what they’re thinking and how they’re feeling – even Link shows off his emotional side through a range of fun, cartoony expressions. The ability to take amusing 'selfies' of the green-garbed hero while he’s on his travels just goes to show that Nintendo clearly wanted the player to experience the playful and whimsical mood evoked by the setting and presentation. This is further complemented by the rich soundtrack, which superbly captures the sense of exploration, discovery and danger you encounter along the way.

However, there’s so much more to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD than just its pretty makeover. An extensive number of tweaks have been made to the core gameplay, nearly all of which have helped to drastically improve the overall pacing. The core content and structure remain mostly unchanged and this is just as well; the dungeon design and puzzle-solving elements were never in need of an overhaul and still hold up very well today. The most substantial difference in this regard is found within the notorious Triforce Quest segment. For the uninitiated, it is essentially a glorified fetch quest where you locate eight shards of the Triforce of Courage. It was clearly inserted in the original as a means to artificially lengthen it, and not only did this completely kill the relatively smooth pace of the game up until that point, but it also highlighted how few dungeons there were to explore.

Unfortunately, Nintendo hasn’t opted to insert new dungeons in its place, but it has at least streamlined the entire process of collecting Triforce shards. Previously you had to find a sea chart for each shard, get it deciphered for an absurd amount of Rupees and then use it to locate the shard. Now you can simply find most shards straight away, although you’ll need to complete a simple puzzle or beat a bad guy or two beforehand. It’s definitely a lot better in terms of pacing, but many of the shard mini-quests fail to match the inventiveness of the core dungeons. It’s important to note that there still are some map translating/navigating and minor puzzle-solving challenges during this part of the game – which makes sense as it retains an element of exploration – but it’s just nowhere near as fun as working your way through a large themed dungeon. Without spoiling it, other assets are also re-used to pad out the final stages; a clear sign that Nintendo had a demanding schedule to meet in 2003, but also – and more worryingly – that it doesn’t see any problem with this part 10 years later. As a result, the second half pales in comparison to the first, with the exception of the epic confrontation that takes place at the end.

Nevertheless, exploration remains a key aspect of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. While it'll often prod you in the right direction, it’s not always a straightforward affair, and in most instances you’ll need to explore the overworld, updating your sea chart and knowledge of each island you find along the way. This is where it truly comes into its own, providing a sense of adventure and discovery that’s rarely found in most modern titles. Moreover, it’s vastly improved thanks to a number of minor — yet notable — refinements.

For example, Link now has access to a new and improved sail, which allows him to travel the seas at a greater speed than was previously possible. The best thing about this, however, is that you never have to change the direction of the wind when using it, thus reducing the frequency on which you have to depend on the Wind Waker. Your success in the main quest is wholly dependent on your knowledge of the open seas – a time-consuming affair in itself – but one which is much more enjoyable thanks to these improvements. Exploration is undoubtedly one of the title's strongest and most sacred elements and it’s remarkable just how well it stands out against today’s drudgery of linear, set-piece borefests, despite being a decade old.

A key area of consternation that previously existed in the original version involves the use of the Wind Waker. It’s an item that plays an important role throughout the entirety of your quest and you have to use it on very regular basis. What made it so bothersome before was that you had to switch it out with other items in order to use, not to mention that every time you did you had to sit through a full mini-cutscene for each song conducted. Thankfully, this is no longer case in both instances; the Wind Waker is permanently assigned to the D-Pad and the animations are only shown the first time you conduct a song (although it seems to do this every time you boot up the game).

While it’s certainly a considerable improvement, Nintendo could have taken this focus much further. In later dungeons you rely on the Command Melody to take control of another character, who you also have to guide through the hazardous environments along with Link. You must conduct the song each time in order to do this, which — despite the improved speed — still brings things to a brief halt. Could the developers not have made it so that after you’ve played the song once, you simply just press a button to take control again? Given that only one direction on the D-Pad is ever used when on foot – and for the Wind Waker no less – it’s certainly something that could have quite easily been implemented.

Thankfully, the unique features of the Wii U GamePad make up for this small oversight by streamlining other areas of your item management. It worth noting that it is possible to play the game with the Wii U Pro Controller, but if you do you’re missing out on a great deal of convenience. That’s because managing items via the GamePad’s touch screen no longer requires you to pause the game — unless you are using the off-TV play mode. Within mere seconds, you can effortlessly shift things around, making it especially useful for the surprisingly varied dungeons.

Items must still be assigned to specific buttons, which makes sense given how most of them work, but it’s disappointing that you can’t assign anything to the D-Pad when on foot. What makes this omission even more baffling is that you are able to use the D-Pad to access your cannon and crane whilst sailing in the King of Red Lions. That’s not to say that this still isn’t a nice improvement over the original; you can, after all, access your inventory whilst on the move and it’s definitely quicker. It’s more the fact that Nintendo could have quite easily done more in this area.

The maps are also accessed via the GamePad and provide detailed information in real-time, which is especially useful when traversing the high seas. Annoyingly, you can’t do this when playing in off-TV mode and, to make matters worse, you don’t even have the option to display a mini-map in the bottom-left corner of the screen as per the GameCube version. Still, in normal play mode, it’s a godsend and one which makes navigating both fun and effortless. Otherwise, the GamePad is used to provide motion controls. Purists may see it as a shoehorned attempt by Nintendo to make The Legend of Zelda more accessible to casual players, but the reality is that it’s just far more intuitive. Aiming with the bow or the boomerang in both normal and off-TV play feels natural and responsive – it’s especially useful when it comes to the game’s more hectic moments.

From a value perspective, it’s hard not to add up all these features and compare them against the full retail price that Nintendo is asking. Do the changes justify the relatively high mark-up? If you’ve never experienced The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker before then it’s a very simple choice: the Wii U version is without a doubt the definitive experience and there’s very little reason not to choose this over its older counterpart. For veterans, however, it really boils down to how you view the original; while Nintendo has made a number of useful improvements, it’s essentially the same game in terms of content, albeit with a lick of new, high-quality paint. With that said, the tweaks do have quite a considerable impact on the overall flow of the game, and if you really struggled through the original as a result of its issues, then this remastering will likely provide that sense of enjoyment that was previously missing in key areas.


Nintendo has done a valiant job of breathing new life into what was already an exceptional Legend of Zelda title. It has taken the game’s timeless art style and given it a glorious new sheen thanks to HD technology, while also making an extensive amount of worthwhile improvements to previously flawed aspects of the gameplay. Sailing across the Great Sea, discovering new islands and exploring exciting dungeons — the designs of which still shine even today – has simply never been as much fun as it is on Wii U. Even so, it’s fair to say that Nintendo could have done more in certain areas and there really isn’t anything substantial in the way of new content.

Therefore, to some this might not seem like a great enough effort to warrant a full-priced release. However, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was never in need of a drastic overhaul; the fact that it still offers more gameplay and entertainment value than most modern titles on the market speaks volumes about its undeniable quality. This refined experience will appeal to newcomers and veterans alike, and we can only hope that the small, yet significant steps that Nintendo has taken with this wonderful remake are a promising sign of things to come with its upcoming, all-new entry in The Legend of Zelda series.

From the web

Game Trailer

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Rory shows you what's inside the new Collector's Edition of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD for Wii U. May contain awful punnery. Enter at your own risk

User Comments (187)



Spoony_Tech said:

Zelda is my favorite series and this could be the best game ever for me. This or Shadow of the Colossus.



Sanquine said:

I am more hyped for this than GTA... Hopefully soon a majora's mask remake but nonetheless this game will be played for many hours. Now playing Ni no kuni and wonderfull 101. Gaming never been so good to me!



Spagem said:

I want this game so bad, but I already pre-ordered my physical copy, so I have to wait until October.



TromboneGamer said:

"timeless quality" which is exactly why this was not the perfect title to be converted to HD.



TourianTourist said:

I was hoping that the review would tell us something that we didn't know already.

What do the new treasure charts offer? They made some changes to item locations, how does that feel? What happened to the Tingle Statues, Swingle and other Tingle Tuner extras? Are they still in the game?

Hero Mode also doesn't get mentioned...



BrightBeing said:

I never got to play this on Gamecube, so I'm excited to get it. I think the only thing I was disappointed in (maybe unfairly) is that they didn't orchestrate the soundtrack. They kept the MIDI.



Expa0 said:

Wind Waker is okay, but not worth a second purchase imho. Unlike Majora's Mask when they eventually remake it.



ricklongo said:

It's gonna be hard to resist the urge to download this day one... but I must. The box art looks too damn pretty and needs to be in my shelf.



NintyMan said:

Since I've never played the original and this HD remake sounds better in every way, it would make little sense for me not to go for the newer version. The visuals look beautiful and I'm sure the game plays great too.



ljb88 said:

can you use the map to make notes on in the way you could on phantom hourglass?



Darel18 said:

No words on hard mode

Good review, maybe I'll buy it when I get my WII U Mario Kart/Smash bundle D



AdanVC said:

Great review! This just makes me EVEN more excited to play it again! The last time I play it was in 2004! I was wondering how the items would work this time on the Gamepad and I'm glad it works wonders! I'm not planning on play it off-tv since I want to admire every single detail of the graphics while I sail across the sea, I always had goosebumps when I was sailing in the GC version, I can't imagine how beautiful it would be to navigate in this version. Unfortunately, I'm still have to wait 2 more weeks since I pre-ordered the Ganon figure edition. It would be so hard to resist the temptation of getting it this friday digitally!



unrandomsam said:

@DestinyMan Depends - The original collectors edition is the only way to get the Master Quest version of Ocarina of Time. (And for PAL regions the only 60hz none portable version of the original Ocarina of Time). That is the only reason I still have it.

I think the 3DS version is not very good (At least on my 3DS XL it looks bad).



WiiUExposed said:

I wish that the models and textures were updated. The only major new graphical update was the lighting (which "major" is an understatement) (and high res isn't major). Looking at screenshots, I can tell that the models and textures are Gamecube quality. I wish they gave it the Ocarina of Time 3D graphical rehaul treatement rather than just lighting. Still picking it up though, probably Christmas.



123akis said:

will read this review tomorrow as it's getting late now... how comes there are so many websites suddenly posting a review for this game in the past hour?



Bakajin said:

This is the game that finally got me to purchase a Wii, just wish I didn't have to wait until Friday to pick it up. Is it bad that even though I pre-ordered the bundle, I still want to pre-order the physical game so I can nab that nifty Ganondorf figurine?



WiiLovePeace said:

Okay review. I was suprised there was no mention of the "First person" mode that you can supposedly move around in thus playing the whole game in first person? Or was that all a hoax? Also no mention of the harder "Hero" difficulty that's unlocked from the start or tingle bottles, though I presume they will be added in an update or something? Did they provide an error when you tried to use them?

Personally I greatly enjoyed sailing around for the triforce pieces back in the day & was suprised to find out how much people supposedly hated it. It's too bad they seemed to remove even the option to sail around for all 8 pieces & instead just give you most of them which is kinda lame. Oh well, that's only a small issue anyway & I'll still enjoy the game all the same when I pick it up



ThomasBW84 said:

Hero mode is hard, like in Skyward Sword, but is available from the start, unlike Skyward Sword. That probably covers it!



Dark-Luigi said:

@ThomasBW84 Ah nice to hear.

It's too bad you didn't review this game. You are one heck of a review on here, honestly!

@MegaWatts Great review! I can't wait to get a Wii U for this amazing game!



Ryno said:

I missed out on the Gamecube entirely so I am definitely looking forward to this and the snazzy figurine!

@Bakajin: If you are in the States, good luck finding the Ganondorf figure, I think Gamestop is sold out.



bizcuthammer said:

I almost never buy remakes. I will be buying this one, though, because the original is one of my top 10 favorite games ever, and this is the definitive version. Aside from Pokemon X/Y, i'm probably more amped to play WWHD than anything else this year!



ThomasBW84 said:

@Dark-Luigi Martin, I think anyway, captured the key points that I wanted to know, it wasn't a 'checklist' review, which I liked He also knows the original well (I believe) and that gave some really nice context. I'm psyched to play this as I've never played it on GC. To me it's a new Zelda, which is marginally better than heaven.



SDDMN said:

Man, October 4th can't come soon enough, I want the game so much right now! I'd get the download version, but I want the Ganondorf figurine. >.<



ThreadShadow said:

I can hardly wait to play this game again!

That being said, I've never shared the popular complaints with the original. My complaints were mostly that it was too short, and there wasn't enough to do. Not enough islands, not enough exploration, not enough happening in the ocean. Goes to show they made a great game, because I just wanted more!

That being said, I'm sad that the Tingle Tuner is out-what a perfect use for the Gamepad, and great for a friend, or parent to multiplay on this game together. And I'm sad that Tetra's Trackers wasn't included. Missed opportunities in my book.



fluggy said:

meh ... actually couldn't see much of a difference from hd vids ... FULL PRICE !!!.... um.. il pass! still got it on GC and it still looks/ plays great!! .. the ONE Zelda game that DIDN'T need an overhaul!



ueI said:

Allow me to analyze some of the more interesting statements in this review.
"Aiming with the bow or the boomerang in both normal and off-TV play feels natural and responsive." Good. It certainly did not feel natural and responsive on the Gamecube.
"Now you can simply find most shards straight away." Unless they changed the locations of the shards, this means they removed the part I liked and kept the part I didn't like.



PorridgeParlour said:

Well I give the GameCube version a 10/10, and this is a superior version in many ways... So I give this an 11/10.

There is my review. And I didn't even play the game yet!



CanisWolfred said:

I was actually surprised that it didn't get a 10 out of 10 at first, but you made a fair argument. I'll still be looking forward to getting this next year, though (can't get it this year, there's too many games coming out soonish and I'm already planning to pick up A Link Between Two Worlds).



Rezalack said:

I can't wait until friday.. I'll be at best buy to pick up my preorder when it opens.



Giygas_95 said:

I hardly have much time to play games what with college so I'll pass on this since I've already played the original. All the time I get to play video games will have to go to ones I've not played before...I sure am looking forward to A Link Between Worlds though!



Blast said:

I'm getting a Wii U for Christmas and this is the first game I plan on getting for my Wii U.



Nintenjoe64 said:

Will get this, the original was very good.

Kind of want Nintendo to do a bit more than have islands on an ocean or sky for Zelda Wii U. I want sailing and flying but I want a huge land mass with more dungeons and side quests than ever. Skyward sword was the opposite so hopefully Zelda U will be another massive one, like TP, MM and WW combined but bigger and better.



Pachterkid said:

What a knit-picky review. The game was perfect back in 2003, now Nintendo is making slight improvements and you're still finding stuff to complain about. Jeez.

I'll be dusting off my Wii U day one for this. And I'll be playing with the Pro Controller thank you very much. Having to pause the game to access your menu 10 years ago was perfectly fine, and it still is. That Game Pad is a clunky piece of trash that does not improve any game that I have ever played with it. Wind Waker came from an era when Nintendo actually made games with a normal controller in mind, and the game should be experienced with the Pro Controller.



Spartacus3765 said:

Off-screen play alone makes the gamepad definitely an awesome device. But that's just my opinion. Honestly, the pro controllers will have a bigger impact down the road with Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D World, and the like. As far as Nintendo games go so far, they haven't really showcased a game yet where that controller is completely necessary (only multiplayer on Pikmin 3 comes to mind).



strongest_link said:

"From a value perspective, it’s hard not to add up all these features and compare them against the full retail price that Nintendo is asking."

Is it different in the UK than it is in the US, because in the States, the Wind Waker's price is $49.99 and a full retail Wii U game is usually $59.99. Rayman Legends, for example, costs $59.99.



MeWario said:

So excited!!! Fair review! Game deserves a 10 but effort on Nintendos part deserves an 8. Shame they didn't add those missing dungeons in but heck, still a classic game!



gamr4life said:

If I don't get a wii u by tomorrow and get this game, I think I'm gonna die. I have never played the original, but this looks so awesome! I must get this game!!



snoox said:

I LOVE Nintendo Life, I really really do. I actually feel blessed that I found this site, truly. But, but, in my opinion, I feel this review is sorely lacking in quality. Eurogamer has a pretty good review of Wind Waker, & I'm not just talking about EG's score of 10.



Znerd said:

Never played the orginal so of course iam getting this game. Good to see that this game isn't like the Sonic HD remakes were they just paint HD on it



ozgood said:

I worked and played through the original on Gamecube. I was disappointed in the art design then but the story surprises were nice. This version does look very nice but it is difficult for me to get hyped up about this game. I understand the desire to pickup some ideas for Zelda U but I would have liked to see something like this come out after there was a solid library of original Wii U titles. If not for the Indie titles and the fact at my house the Wii U is used for TV, it would probably sit and collect dust. I bought SMBU and Lego City Undercover and I am disappointed with the Q4 lineup, aside from the multi-plats. DKC was amazing... the first time I played it on SNES. It was even a nice piece of nostalgia on the Wii. It takes much rationalizing for me to think that the new DK is necessary and thus to excited about it. It really seems like Nintendo is rehashing or reusing what they know to buy time while they work on new HD titles. It just seems a little baffling because they seem to have been prepared in the previous console generations. I am moderately excited about SMK8 but that is still pretty far away. I suspect PS4 will have its own troubles, but they currently have so many titles in development and secured 3rd parties actively advertising for their system, not to mention a horde (so it seems) of indie support.. I am just disappointed with all of the talk and hype promoted about Wii U and the reality of a lack of support by 3rd party and Nintendo itself. I feel pretty burned by the entire experience. I grew up pro-Nintendo (in the 1980's), argued fanboyishly against Sega, Sony and MS but it is pretty tough to defend the console after the past year.



rjejr said:

@Spartacus3765 - " they haven't really showcased a game yet where that controller is completely necessary (only multiplayer on Pikmin 3 comes to mind)."

We played Pikmin 3 just fine w/ 2 wiimotes and nunchucks.

I bought my kid a classic pro rather than a U Pro b/c not only does the classic seem to do almost everything a U Pro does but also a lot more - Wii games and Wiiware games. And it was 1/2 the price. So I ask you, am I missing something? I went 6 years of Wii ownership w/o a classic or pro, and month after buying a U I need one, but I dont see much need for the pro. Maybe after MK8 and SSB but Im hopeing for the best.

Is that Buster Posey? Im a Met fan, my eyes cant see that well.



Ralizah said:

I don't know. The Gamecube original still looks great. I think something like Majora's Mask might have benefited more from a remake.



allav866 said:

Sorry, Martin, but all I hear when I read your review is "Nintendo could have..." The review doesn't point out some of the important changes, like Hero Mode, or Miiverse integration, or the new control options for aiming. These are the things I--the reader--need to know. What I don't need to know is what you think Nintendo could have done. YOU could have proofread this better, but here I am reading spelling and grammar errors!
I may be nitpicking this review, but you're nitpicking at a remastering of one of the greatest Zelda games in existence!



gamecubefan said:

Nice to see so many people recognize this is the best Zelda game of all time

Gamecube controller was easily the best controller taboot



3Daniel said:

Definately picking this up even tho i still own original tho i will point out that again AB trio had no mention of price tho the games were released only a short time ago for far cheaper then the wii u retail disc but here we have price mentioned, i live in us so 49.99, so we arent going for standards in reviews?



meltendo said:

Looking forward to getting 100% in the camera/action figure side quest. There are some bosses you can only photograph one time. I remember restarting my game when I found out that I missed getting a photo of a boss.



Vee_Flames said:

Good review. Although... I kinda wish it got 10. By the by, it seemed there were a lot of probs... 'Ninty could have done this/that....'



Spartacus3765 said:

As of now, the pro controller is out there to have the "feel" of similar controllers this generation has to offer. I've got one, but I honestly haven't given it much use. The classic pro controller I've used more as well for Wii ware and virtual console. The pro controllers will be necessary for smash I'm sure though.

And yes, that is indeed MVPosey



bezerker99 said:

I am picking up my preorder on Friday the 4th but won't be able to play until Sunday the 6th cuz I am going camping that weekend!! Raaawrr!!



james_squared said:

Downloading on Friday. Should be great. Never played the original. I really enjoyed Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword.



Zodiak13 said:

I was in my too cool for Mario and Zelda title when the Gamecube was out. I picked up Windwaker well into the Wii life cycle and barely played it. Look forward to actually putting some real play time into this version. I have not been this excited to play a Zelda title in a while, but something about this rerelease has me stoked.



DerpSandwich said:

I didn't think I was going to get this, as I didn't want to pay $50 for it...

But then I realized that I could offset the cost by selling my Gamecube copy! Getting the poop out of this.



Nico07 said:

Good review, glad I was able to grab up a GameStop preorder with figurine. I never got around to buying this on the GameCube, so now is as good a time as any I suppose. A used copy still sells for upwards $40 on most sites so $50 and $55 isn't absurd for a more refined release. I'm excited for this to release here in the States, October 4th can't come soon enough.



Nico07 said:

@Ralizah Nintendo commented on testing a few other Zelda titles for remakes on the Wii U and settled on Windwaker. Yes, Majora's Mask would have been amazing on Wii U, but I'm still holding out for a 3DS release to complement my Ocarina of Time 3D.



Pahvi said:

Sounds like my concerns were not realized. Still gonna pass this, at least until I have at least tried Skyward Sword.

The review didn't say if it was now easier to walk across the bridge over water in the starting village with the new controls, though? (I tend to end up running off the bridge.)



Nico07 said:

@CrabGats Yes, Nintendo had officially announced the price of Wind Waker HD as $49.99 and the limited edition with figure as $54.99.



GamerJunkie said:

This game is just an HD remake of a zelda game that is not even a classic in the series..... 9/10.. yea ok hahahahha.

This is why Nintendo makes no games and just keeps selling NES games at $15...... the people buy them, it's so dumb.

The Wii U needs new, next gen games, new stuff, not all this re-made crap.



odd69 said:

I wasnt going to double dip, but im going to! I cant miss out on this.It is a classic for me i do still love the game, the tweaked mechanics and fresh paint of coat is enough reason for me to buy a copy



lex0plex said:

Am I the only one who thinks there was absolutely nothing wrong with Windwaker on the Gamecube?



Spartacus3765 said:

How bout try 1/3 of that price for NES games. Here, I'll do the math for you - $5. That's how much it costs for NES games on virtual console. In fact, some games were 0.30 during the famicom anniversary. So get your facts straight. Coming from someone who has the NES controller on their avatar, you'd think they'd know that.

And Wind Waker IS a classic. I'd be surprised if you even played it saying trash like that. And you're on here disrespecting it? Really?



SanderEvers said:

Game of the year. And YES, I know that it's a remake.

@lex0plex You're not. But try playing it on an HDTV, and you'll see what is missing. The Windwaker is one of the best Zelda games ever. And instead of just improving the screen resolution to 1080p (what they could've done) they actually improved on the game.

The GameCube was my first non-handheld Nintendo console. And I bought it with The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. For me this the classic Zelda game. Sure, I've played - emulated or virtual versions of - the earlier games as well. But none of them were as good as the Wind Waker. And I've played every Zelda game after it, and only Skyward Sword comes close to the fun I had with The Wind Waker.



FJOJR said:

In a way I would have liked to have played this with Skyward Swords motion controls. Would have been a cool option that would have had me on board. Excellent game in the series though overall.



SanderEvers said:

@FJOJR And I was hoping to play Skyward Sword with the classic controller when it was released.

So I'm really happy that they didn't change that.



Samus06 said:

I can't pass this up. One of my favorite Zelda games. I'm actually really glad the pro controller is supported. As convenient as it would be to have quick access to your inventory and maps on the gamepad screen, I prefer a smaller more traditional controller when I'm playing lengthy games. I can't wait to play this game again and in HD!



SanderEvers said:

If you read this and don't have a Wii U yet, then SHAME on you. Really, I can't even look at you right now. GET A WII U!

No hard feelings whatsoever.



Senario said:

My favorite zelda game and since zelda is my favorite game series this would easily be a 10/10 for me. But 9/10 is fair , I can't wait to get this since I have the ganondorf figure included hardcopy preordered.



19Robb92 said:

Cool, I have the Limited Edition pre-ordered. Hopefully the store where I ordered it will get enough copies for me to get one (since they seem to be very limited).

No matter the case, I'm really looking forward to this. Seems like a great HD update.



Damo said:

@snoox Opinions are like belly buttons - everybody has one.

Martin's review is fantastic - not exactly sure what your quality standards are.



Hunter-D said:

In 16 days time I will once again be reunited with my beloved... but this time, she'll be in HD.



wasf said:

hero mode from the start, get things more dramatic!
wellcome back link!



tripunktoj said:

The only info that was a let down for me (and a BIG one) was that the Tingle Tuner is replaced with some Miiverse gimmick (just include it via home menu, as most games do, it works just fine) instead of the natural upgrade with a wireless touch 3D Tingle Tuner on 3DS, or at least fuse it with P1 controller on the gamepad.



zool said:

I make that. Score a 7. Minus one because it does not have the anticipation of playing a new game. Minus one because of the price or value and minus one because there is no new content.



andreoni79 said:

The Wind Waker is the ideal HD port because, thanks to its wonderful art style, they didn't have to do much work on textures. A port of Twilight Princess would ask a lot of work. I'll play this again on my Gamecube but I am happy for the youngers who play this for the first time.



nik1470 said:

Nice review! I have the special edition on pre-order thanks to an amazing offer can't wait.



Ras said:

The mention of slowdown is worrying. I don't think I've played a Wii U game that hasn't had it, though if it was in NSMBWU, it was the least noticeable. It really marred Pikmin 3 for me. I'm starting to think this system is fundamentally flawed.



Great_Gonzalez said:

Super excited! I played the original to death and i was close to getting my cube out and going through it again but then the hd announcement came and it's been a long wait!

My only concern was that they were changing the triforce shard quest which i loved! But judging on what this review says it's only a matter of replacing some triforce charts with shards instead so that all the mini dungeons which i call them are still there which is good news!



cornishlee said:

Two questions:
1) I loved Ocarina but loathed the childishness of Skyward Sword. Those are the only two Zelda games I've played. How would I feel about this?
2) What the hell is a 'selfy'?



Laxeybobby said:

Good review, but why would any Nintendo owner buy this if they already have the original? I certainly wont be shelling out £40 for something already sat on my game shelf just because its now in HD!
This is one of the reasons why the Wii U isn't selling because at the moment bar a rare number of titles, the only software that is being released on the WiiU are re-releases of titles already available on other systems (for far cheaper) or HD upgrade for full price cost of games already sat on any self respecting Nintendo users game shelf!
I'm getting fed up with waiting - if it wasn't for the great indie developers, and the retro titles from the 90's arcades on e-shop my Wii U would be boxed and on e-bay.
Come on Nintendo get something out that will increase the install base and encourage Nintendo Wii users to upgrade, and then the 3rd party big hitters may well follow if its not too late!
*****Rant Over******



PinkSpider said:

The 3ds started life with ports star fox, legend of Zelda and now it's the best selling console at the moment. Plus this isn't just a straight copy and paste like metal gear, devil may cry, ico, hitman etc

The game has had a massive graphical overhaul and tedious gameplay elements improved and incorporated gamepad controls

I'm buying this as it's the definitive version



GraveLordXD said:

@zool yeah that makes complete sense good thing you're not a professional reviewer
@Laxeybobby your talking about self respecting Nintendo fans then speak about selling your Wii u on eBay well I ask what kind of fan are you if any? I wouldn't ever count on 3rd party to ever be to great on a Nintendo system its been like this from the n64 on, most Nintendo fans know this, they also know that great games for the system are on the way some which are already available like pikman 3 and wonderful 101 so maybe instead of waiting you should just box up that Wii u and get what you can for it
PS there's plenty of folks that haven't had a chance to play this game or don't own the original anymore like myself as you can tell from the comments



Mahe said:

@Geonjaha Of course I haven't played this version, but even this review lines up enough of the faults to see that this is pretty much the same game. It would be idiotic to buy this version just to prove that I don't like it.

@b23cdq I would have been more critical of the port's purpose, toned down the adoration for the "classic" (it isn't) and questioned the usefulness of the Gamepad, among others. Nintendo should have been called out on trying to cash in on the game with minor changes at a rip-off price.

My estimate: despite the unfounded praise by critics, Wind Waker HD will flop at retail and will fail to help the Wii U or make any lasting impact. It's a has-been game that shouldn't have been dug out from its grave.



Lunapplebloom said:

Lovely review. This is the kind of score I figured it would get. I'm stoked to play this again.

I'm going to take a chance on grabing the limited Ganondorth figure bundle. I should have put a preorder in straight away, but there still is a chance my gamestop may have an extra. here's hoping...



elstif said:

That´s it!!!
I was expecting them to do add some kind of master quest, keeping the integrity of the original game and then give someting new to the old fans

If you never played it by all means go for it, it is a great game but a lot of people like me played it (several times) and still own a copy for gamecube. I dont see the value for me on this at full price.

BTW: Here´s somethign that you should know. The Wii U architecture is based on the wii that was previously based on the gamecube. The Wii U is capable of running gamecube games very well they are just not allowing it



MAB said:

Now only if GTAV could be more like this then I could probably call it a decent game



ducktrapper said:

Honestly, if I had the money I'd buy a WiiU. Zelda games, in my humble opinion, are the only games that by themselves justify the purchase of a console. I adore this game, and would love to revisit it, and yes it is probably worth buying a WiiU for this even if there are a shortage of other games.



rjejr said:

@Spartacus3765 - Thanks for the feedback. Seems like I made the right choice for now as all my Wiiware was just sitting there unplayable and we just got Starfox 64 from Club Nintnedo - I've never played it, don't like having to start things over from scratch when I die.

Looking forward to Posey putting the Yankees out of their misery.



Moshugan said:

NO MINIMAP in off-tv mode???
What the glob is this goob? D:<
This is something they'll have to do on the first update darn it!!



Moshugan said:

@Ras I never had slow-down when playing NintendoLand or N.SMB.U.
And I don't remember in Zombi U either... Batman had plenty though.
But yeah, it's a shame if this has any of it, even if it was only in a very specific few instances.



Shambo said:

Preordered the limited edition directly when preorders opened here. Even in doubt of getting the system, but I dislike retail game downloads... Wish I knew more people who own a Wii U, to sell the download code for the game. I also wouldn't need a download of Hyrule Historia, since I have the book.

I noticed a weird sentence though, I think. "just goes to show far how ahead of its time the GameCube version truly was."



zool said:

@LDXD thanks for the comment, I am open to offers as a reviewer.
Having suggested a score of 7, I may still buy the game if I don't buy the new Rayman.



Kirk said:

I'd really love to play this new version of the game but alas I still don't own a Wii U and I'm not sure Nintendo is going to be able to do enough to ever convince me to get one.

The Wii U might end up being the first Nintendo home console I haven't owned.



datamonkey said:

I really want to get excited about this game but just can't. No matter how hard I try it's still just a remake of WW which I have played many times.

The graphical overhaul is not enough to convince me to jump in I don't think, especially for full price...

Well worth a buy though if you've never played it...



ajcismo said:

48 hours till I download this. Then the phone gets turned off, the shades pulled, the door locked, and I give the wife $100 to go shopping for the day.



triforcepower73 said:

Great review, Martin! I just have two weeks until I can pick this up. I have it preordered and I don't download full retail games. Ever.

Oh and what is the price of this game? I'm still confused as to whether it's $50 or $60.



Laxeybobby said:

What kind of Nintendo fan am I you ask - Im one entitled to an opinion that I thought these forums were for
One who has had every Nintendo Console since the SNES and still owns them accept the N64 that stopped working.
I don't own any nor have I ever owned other brand of console (apart from those pre-SNES) and I am fully aware of the age old struggle of each console and third party support - however none have been as bad as the WiiU.
As I said in my initial post there are a rare number of new titles - Pikmin3 and Wonderful 101 are two both of which I have, Rayman and ZombiU being others.
My rant this morning was just out of frustration that I feel WiiU users are being fed the majority of recycled expensive software from other consoles that are cheaper on those other consoles - Assasins Creed and Darksiders are two for example. Unlike me, some gamers have multiple consoles so why would they purchase a WiiU when all they see for it is what they already have or can get cheaper and that damages the WiiU & Nintendo's rep. You only have to read some of the recent articles on this site.
Yes I agree with you that this may change by Christmas, I'm aware of some great titles on their way if they make it, Watchdogs and Bayonetta being the ones I am waiting for and that's why the WiiU is still out of its box
Lastly I agree that their are probably a lot more people that haven't got Wind Walker compared to those that have. I would guess not everyone around the time of the original still plays console games or if they do still has the original so you make a valid point. Its a great game and well deserves it review score.



Shiryu said:

Still own the original and completed it back in 2004 when I bought the Game Cube, it was truly bliss compared to anything I had previously played on my PS2, reinforcing my conviction that I could live by with Nintendo games alone. Looking forward to replay this on Wii U.



Mommar said:

It's too bad they didn't add any new dungeons. The first title was severely lacking in that department and streamlining the Triforce fetch quest does not make up for that.



GraveLordXD said:

@Laxeybobby yeah I hope I didn't come off as a jerk I wasn't really trying to be
Most of the let downs though were mainly 3rd party especially Mass Effect 3 being $60 compared to ps3 and 360 getting the entire trilogy for the same price in fact I'm so fed up with most games nowadays I game on PC and ps3 also and so far Nintendo's software is the only one I have never had a problem with ever, im sick and tired of playing these broken donkey games. Looking at the upcoming games coming to the system its going to get much better but I wouldn't expect it to sell anywhere near what the Wii did in its life but does that make it a bad system? I've always bought Nintendo systems for Nintendo games and 2nd party games as well they will never be where SNES used to be I think everyone should probably just except that by now, people need to quit worring About Nintendo being doomed because they aren't going to do anything to bankrupt themselves



Dooggggg said:

So excited for this game! Getting it for Christmas, a true classic remastered in HD! ))



GraveLordXD said:

@GamerJunkie classic in series its arguably the best in series, every time you comment on this site its usually either something negative or doesn't make sense what so ever,don't you have all those fantastic skyrim quality phone games to play? Or did you already grow tired of them ?
As you can tell lots of people want this game some haven't had a chance to play it yet or don't have the original anymore.
Why are you so worried about what people do with their money anyway?
And its blatantly obvious your mathematical skills are terrible what nes game on the eshop costs $15 ? I'm also to this day still baffled at how you think you have to buy a motion+ controller to play Wii u games
You should also think about changing your user name to gamerdonkey because that's what you've been acting like, a total jackass



bonesy91 said:

While being a big zelda fan I am going to pass on this.

The story was great but with the tedious quests and the lack of anything new added (besides hero mode and first person play) I'm gonna pass on this.



DarkKirby said:

You know it's strange, when Wind Waker HD was announced, I was very excited to have SOMETHING for the Wii U, now, I'm thinking, there are a lot of games I haven't played yet I'd rather play than play Wind Waker again, which by the way, I've played like 3x already.





SanderEvers said:

This game is like a good book, you know everything you need to know about it after reading it 4 times. But you still want to read it again.

And again.

Well, that's how I feel.



HappyHappyist said:

frame drops... it seems EVERY SINGLE WIIU GAME HAS THIS... seriously, this is a first party title, couldn't they have dealt with this?

also, one of my problems with the original was, during sailing, the boat clips with the ocean, and though it seems like a minor gripe at first, it's a BIG deal to me because sailing is a big part of the game, and the longer i have to stare at the boat clipping with the ocean, the more it grinds on me. and it looks like it's even worse in the HD version, because it clips even MORE. ugh, i thought about getting this, but now i feel sick. i can't buy this anymore.



HappyHappyist said:

... they're two totally different types of games...
yeah, that's how i feel. the game doesn't look beautiful to me, the only real noticeable difference to me is the lighting, which is NO reason to pick this up.



Marioman64 said:

phew, you have the release date set for october 4th but it actually comes out earlier on the eShop september 20th. I was freaking out for a second because I thought that it got pushed 2 weeks, but all is still well with the world



SageWaterDragon said:

This is possibly one of the worst reviews I have ever read from this website. It is shallow, the score does not reflect the text, and it skims over the actual important improvements.



SageWaterDragon said:

1) If you thought Skyward Sword was child-like compared to Ocarina of Time, you have some really odd opinions. I mean, I can't even tell what you would think about this game. I assume you would just call it far too childish as well.
2) The bane of the universe.



SageWaterDragon said:

@elstif You... don't seem to understand how consoles work. Just because something is based off of a similar architecture DOES NOT mean that they are software-compatible by nature.



GamerJunkie said:

@LDXD Keep buying 20 year old games for $5-15 hahahaha. Also buy these re-makes..... $50 for old crap because they can't make games for the new console.... "new and improved my butt.... its the same old crap with tiny improvement"

When you buy a new console, you want NEXT GEN TITLES!!! Not old, tired games that they already released on Wii, handhelds and every other machine in the last 20 years.

If the Wii U had actual good Wii U games that we want, then this would be fine. But they are trying to feed hungry gamers this trash because they know you are dying to have anything to play on the dust collector that Wii U is.....



Scollurio said:

Im glad nintendofans finally got some well deserved triple-a treatment, even though if its just a remake! Kudos!



Haywired said:

I see (like in the Pikmin 3 review) you're overselling the whole "revolutionizing the pause menu!" thing.

"It's worth noting that it is possible to play the game with the Wii U Pro Controller, but if you do you’re missing out on a great deal of convenience"

Really... A great deal?

"Within mere seconds, you can effortlessly shift things around"

Ah yes, because I remember in the original these things took hours... Actually no, it was... mere seconds!

Sorry, I know I have a tendency to go on about this, and if split-second differences in item management excites you then fair enough (though I don't believe you), but the hyperbole (from Nintendo fans in general on this) sounds a bit delusional.



MegaWatts said:

@Haywired I don't view it as revolutionary or especially exciting; it's simply just better than what was previously there. You're right that pausing the game didn't take hours by comparison, but the fact is that you still had to pause the game! You couldn't switch out items mid-gameplay and pausing disrupted the flow of said gameplay, even if it was in a fairly small way. For example, travelling by boat was long enough to begin with; pausing halfway through your journey only made things seem even longer.

There is no hyperbole because what I've said is accurate - it is effortless (because it's right in front of you), it is quick (because it's right in front of you) and if you use a Wii U Pro controller it isn't as convenient, because you have to pause to access it.

It's by no means a game-selling mechanic in its own right, but it's a improvement and probably one that people want to know about.

You'll also note that I criticise the feature for not being in-depth enough - if the three spare D-Pad directions had also been used so that objects could be assigned to them, you'd end up using the touchscreen/pause menu even less!

Again, there's nothing exciting or revolutionary about it (and I don't say that), rather it's simply better this way than it was previously.



GraveLordXD said:

@GamerJunkie dude once again numbers seem to send you in to some sort of weird delusional state of mind I haven't seen one 20 year old game for over $5 most the time they are 30¢- $5
Most people buy them so they can have these classics I would buy the competitions 20 year old games if I could but that's impossible because they haven't been around long enough
Try a little harder



Moshugan said:

Can confirm that the price is 59,99€ on the European eShop.
Just do a search and you'll find it listed with a price tag.
Bummers is all I can say. I would've definitely gotten it for 30-40€. Now I'll have to pass for the time being.



stocko said:

Getting the Zelda Wii U bundle can't wait, only two weeks!!! Zelda, Wonderful 101, then Sonic! Great year to buy a Wii U!



kokirii said:

I never played the original. Looking forward to playing this on the special edition console!!



NintendoCat14 said:

My opinion was different in the beginning of the year, but there's no way I'm paying $60... the most I'll pay is $40 and even that is a bit much. Don't get me wrong, Wind Waker is a fantastic game and I'd love to play it in HD, but I'm not paying THAT much.



NightmareXIV said:

I've played this game like 15 times all the way through, and still get a constant craving to play it again.



Bass_X0 said:


They are coming but they take a long time to produce. We can either get a new Zelda game in a year or two and nothing else, or a new Zelda in a year or two and Wind Waker HD. Wind Waker HD being produced doesn't delay a new Zelda game's development nor would its absence make a new Zelda game come more quickly.

if split-second differences in item management excites you then fair enough

Doing it the slower way is fine the first few times. But having to repeatedly do it throughout the game can be annoying so any improvements to make the process quicker is welcome.



greyzi said:

"Nintendo has done a valiant job of breathing new life into what was already an exceptional Legend of Zelda title." I agree! This is also one cool app — EmoSpark is that indefinable, indescribable energy that will make the digital world truly alive, more than mere machines or avatars"



Vee_Flames said:

@Kirk Why? Cuz of low sales? Or because of no games(it already has, so if it's the latter you may want to scratch that)?
Or... I know! Ninty should put features of other systems like trophies and achievements, plus a unified system account(High chance this is coming, so you may have to prepare to scratch it out) before you buy it? Fine, suit yourself.



Kirk said:


For quite a few reasons actually:

  • Lacks any kind of CD/DVD/avi/mp4 video playback.
  • Is too expensive right now.
  • Lacks so many important third party games.
  • Doesn't have that many great first party games yet either.
  • The VC games are all too expensive for what they are.
  • Lacks a unified eShop.
  • The GamePad battery life is too short.
  • The in-built memory is far too low.
  • Very few games have demos so I can't try before I buy.

Right now it's just not a machine I'd want to buy despite there being one or two games I'd really love to play.



Vee_Flames said:

1. Ninty makes games machines first and foremost...
2. Price has officially dropped. Plus there are a lot of retailers out there that reduce the price of the U.
3. Rather have high quality 3rd party games and less gimped games. Ninty gives 3rd parties a chance, but somehow still they find excuses... Anyway, shame some decent 3rd parties aren't coming...
3. It's drought is over. NSMBU, NLand, LCU, W101, Pikmin 3, WWHD... plus more coming on the way.
5&6. Cannot comment on those.
7. High chance it may come soon.
8. Leave it on the charger. If it runs low on juice eg like Off-TV play, charge it. I take it you have a 3DS. I suggest you can play it while charging.
9. The company gives you options to upgrade. Can't remember details, though.
10. I'm not sure that's enough of a reason anyway...

Don't get me wrong, I see some of your points, but that doesn't mean the Wii U is the worst(IT ISN'T AT ALL.). In fact, it's far from it. It's actually one of the coolest consoles Ninty has made. Knowing the company, I'm very sure it will!



Mayleene said:

Got my bundle yesterday!!!! Can't wait till the maintenance is done so I can set 'er up an' started on yet another fine Zelda saga!



xiera said:

Did not complete this back on the CUBE and when I saw the release dates I knew that I would be buying a U just for this. Picked up a Wii U Zelda edition yesterday - 2 hours later was up and playing. Love the Zelda Game Pad - the Gold lettering really sets it off and was must buy for me.



Shawnmue said:

Don't HESITATE getting a Wii U! This is only the start of what the Nintendo has in store for the Wii U. The WIi U is not a failure --- launches take time! Game IP library's take time! ALSO Realize ----- that the Wii U HAS SOLD MORE in the amount of its opening launch, compared to the PS3 and the 360's time frame of launch. The Wii U is outstanding and a very unique incredible piece of hardware. Pick one up today. The games are getting better and Nintendo big plans for what they are going to do with it! ZELDA WIND WAKER is a must own! GET a Wii U!



SonicTheBluBlur said:

@MadAussieBloke That and Mortal Kombat are the 2 franchises that NEEDD TO BE ON THE NINTENDO 3DS IN FULL 3D! Just think: carjacking and organized crime for GTA in 3D and blood-spewing and spinal cord ripping in 3D for Mortal Kombat. Seriously, WHY HAVEN'T THESE GAMES BEEN ANNOUNCED FOR THE 3DS YET? I NEED MORE ACTION AND FIGHTING GAMES ON MY 3DS!

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