For episode 5 of my quest to finish every Zelda game in chronological order up to Link’s Awakening, I played The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. This version is the 2013 Wii U remaster of the original game from 2002 for the GameCube.
The Wind Waker is my all-time favorite game in the series. Everything from the adorable cel-shaded art style to the quirky characters and fantastic music (Seriously, The Wind Waker has the best music in the franchise.) just hits home for me. Then the HD remaster took everything that I loved about the game and vastly improved upon it. The colors are more vibrant, the mechanics are refined, and almost all the problems present in the original release were solved.
Besides the definite graphical upgrade and several bug fixes, The Wind Waker HD introduced numerous additional changes. However, for the sake of brevity, I’ll just discuss the changes and additions that stand out the most to me: the Swift Sail and the changing of Triforce Charts into actual shards of the Triforce.
The most welcome changes in The Wind Waker HD
The addition of the Swift Sail in The Wind Waker HD is the most critical addition to the game. It allows Link and the King of Red Lions (your oddly creepy talking boat companion) to traverse the Great Sea at double speed. The sail also forces the wind to automatically follow at your back at all times while in use. Both of these features of the Swift Sail significantly reduce the amount of time it takes the player to travel between islands. Honestly, could you imagine a more helpful item in one of the most travel-intensive Zelda titles in existence? No? Me neither.
The second most welcome change in The Wind Waker HD has to do with collecting the Triforce Shards. In the GameCube version, there are eight Triforce Charts that lead to the locations of each of the shards of the Triforce that have been hidden throughout the Great Sea. Players had to find the charts, decipher them, and then hunt for the shards one by one. As you can probably tell, this used to be quite a long-winded portion of the game. Many players (me included) found it to be a borderline game killer. Thankfully, in the remastered version, five of the eight Triforce Charts were replaced with actual Triforce Shards. That small change considerably reduces the time to get through the most arduous portion of the quest — and the game is far better because of it.
Waking the winds in 2019
My playthrough of The Wind Waker HD took me around 30 incredibly joy-filled and happy hours. I played the game on Hero Mode (enemies do double damage, and no recovery hearts drop) and skipped a few of the lengthier sidequests to save on time.
So far The Wind Waker has been the most enjoyable replay in my quest. Like I said, it has been my favorite Zelda game since it came out. So, if you haven’t ever played either version or if it’s just been a while since you have, I highly recommend giving it a go.
Next up in my quest, I’ll get back to ruining the touchscreen on my 3DS by playing The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass! As usual, I’ll write about my experiences with that atrocity here when I’m done. See you then!