Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wind Waker non-Review

Wind Waker was good and enjoyable. Also, when compared to all the Zelda games that preceded it, it was very different. Boasting a new art style and open-sea exploration, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker launched in North America in March of 2003. It was met with a very mixed reaction from fans who found this adventure to be quite different.

Art Style
The art style is cartoonish. Statements from Miyamoto claim that it was an attempt to reach out to a broader (and younger) audience. I certainly don't doubt that. I wonder, though, how much of it was due to wanting to avoid the uncanny valley. The GameCube had only been out in North America for roughly a year and a half at the time of Wind Waker's release. Nintendo certainly didn't have the amount of graphical experience and GameCube development knowledge that they did when they released Twilight Princess.

In the GameCube Zelda tech demo from Spaceworld 2000, Link and Ganondorf do look a little awkward. And that was a non-interactive tech demo, it just shows off polygon counts, animation, and lightning. The console doesn't have to store or track game data, controller inputs, or anything else. I just think that maybe they were working on a 'normal-looking' Zelda title, and weren't happy with the look of it. Then, come Twilight Princess, they had the ability to deal with it and do it right.

The Ocean
There is tons of sailing in the game. Too much, I believe. The map is broken into a 6x6 grid, with each grid location have one island in it. While the new art style definitely accommodates newer players, does the sailing gameplay?

I believe this may have had to do with dealing with difficult issues regarding loading. Load times in a Zelda game would be unacceptable. The island structure allows the game plenty of time to load areas into memory.

The gameplay is great, mostly. Having a boomerang, grappling hook, and hookshot seems quite redundant. And playing the Wind Waker so often gets really repetitive, especially when you have to constantly use the Song of Command  in the last two dungeons.

Anyway, with Wind Waker behind me, now I just have to beat Spirit Tracks, Majora's Mask, and The Legend of Zelda and I'll be done with that series.