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Windwaker HD – A game that was great, but could have been a whole lot better

So I just finished playing through Wind Waker HD on the Wii U. Overall, I think it's an almost-perfect middle ground for what a Zelda game should be. BotW was the kind of game where it was really cool that it was open world, but the world itself sometimes felt a little lacking. Other Zelda entries, like Twilight Princess, tend to box you in and push you in a single direction. Wind Waker walks that thin line of providing enough exploration and interesting stuff without overwhelming the player and also not forcing you to always go a specific way. The world gradually opens up as you get new items, and the events that happen on the high seas in between islands are fun and engaging without being so in-your-face that you don't want to explore.

I think my biggest criticism of this game is how some of the game feels unfinished compared to other entries. The ice/fire mountains should have been dungeons with their own bosses, and the ghost ship had so much wasted potential. Adding those in as fleshed out dungeons would have added that extra flare to the game and made it more fun. It would have been nice to have more challenge when going around collecting the triforce pieces as well. A lot of the time during that part of the game consisted of warping to a tile, taking out an enemy or two on the ocean, and picking up the triforce piece. Ganon's tower was also a bit underwhelming, but still fun to play through. Ganon's reason for trying to steal the triforce in this game also seemed a little rushed, as he explains right before the last battle that he just wanted to have a nice place to live instead of being trapped in the desert. This could have been fleshed out a little better and revealed/shown as the player progressed.

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That being said, I think that Wind Waker ranks pretty high among the Zelda canon. All the little details in the NPC's make it feel alive, and it's really exciting to arrive at an island with people on it. The side quests aren't too puzzling (although I did have to look up the town decoration project stuff) and the game doesn't take itself too seriously at any point. Of the dungeons that are fully fleshed out, none of them are too difficult, and the bosses are challenging but not difficult. Except for the third form of puppet Ganon. Seriously, fuck that thing. Not to mention the soundtrack was absolutely gorgeous, which makes sailing the seas that much more fun.

Personally, I think it would be really neat to see a Wind Waker 2, perhaps exploring the draining of the ocean to reveal Hyrule beneath. As I neared the end of the game and heard Ganon's reasoning for his actions, I felt sort of bad for fighting him. Exploring his motivations for his actions would be a neat angle to take for a sequel.

What are your thoughts on Wind Waker? Would you want to see a sequel?


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