E3 2013: Hands-On: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

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E3 2013 Nintendo Direct The Legend of Zelda - The Wind Waker HD 2013-06-11 07_20_20

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is a fan favorite, hailed by many as one of the greatest Zelda games ever created. That’s why when Nintendo announced an HD remaster, some leaped for joy, and others thought “Why change the original? It ages just fine.” Regardless of the camp you’re in as a Zelda fan, I’m here to report on my experiences with The Wind Waker HD.

Ocarina of Time Young Zelda Link

Think Ocarina of Time 3D. If you’re a die-hard Zelda fan like me, you probably ran to the store like a giddy school girl and purchased the remastered Ocarina of Time on 3DS on day one. I don’t think I need to convince you all to buy the remastered Wind Waker if you’re interested. I’m here to talk to those on the fence.

It’s the same game you remember, but prettier. There’s no other bottom-line than that, ladies and gentlemen. I played both the “boss mode” of the demo that featured Link running up a spiral staircase trying to avoid a giant bird (sound familiar?), and the “island stroll” portion that featured the beginning of the game (Link gets telescope, Link sees Tetra, etc). It’s the same thing as before. But it’s gorgeous. Neither my words nor the still images do these graphics justice, folks. It’s one of those things you’re just going to have to see for yourself. If you’re not convinced (just based on appearances)… you will be. Promise.

wind waker HD 6 E3 2013 Nintendo Direct The Legend of Zelda - The Wind Waker HD 2013-06-11 07_21_59

It’s a little different than you remember. So, remember having to go into various menus to equip items? That’s all done via the Wii U Gamepad now. Similar to the way inventory was handled in Ocarina of Time 3D, all your items, equipment and various “hub” aspects are all littered across the Gamepad in an organized fashion. I don’t suppose there’s much more to it than that. I just really want you all to conceptualize the Wind Waker you remember, but with a graphical overhaul, and various subtle, but utterly convenient, improvements made along the way.

If you’re on the fence about The Wind Waker HD, you’ll probably stay that way until Nintendo reveals every single detail they possibly can. But…for everyone else: it’s a faithful remaster that maintains the superiority of the original in every way (except the cumbersome parts).

You can pre-order the game from Amazon, GameStop, and Walmart.




  • Pyrotek85

    Good question, I remember hearing they had cut some amount of content from the original release.

  • I have a big BIG question. Did they took out the battle effects? I noticed that on the trailer and I’m hoping they did cause I always found them annoying

  • Marcus J. Hopkins

    I guess what I’d rather have seen was a remastered/rerecorded soundtrack. Orchestration would be nice.

  • Clinton Nix

    This looks nice. I like the sort of ‘blurry lighting’ effect Nintendo is using for this game and Mario Kart 8.

    I played Wind Waker back in the day; didn’t beat it, as at the time it didn’t seem to hold my interest for too long. However, I’m willing to give it another go as my tastes have matured since then. One thing I liked a lot was sailing in the open seas; the game simply felt massive.

    My only complaint with the upgraded visuals is that the character models still look really blocky. I wish Nintendo would add a bit more detail and make them smoother. But that’s just a nitpick, the game looks great.

  • Ninty

    I’d like it if the HUD could be reduced like in Skyward Sword.

    • aelic7

      It looks pretty small as it is, compared to Skyward Sword’s “oh-here’s-a-giant-Wiimote-on-the-screen-in-case-you-forgot-what-it-looks-like” HUD.

    • Ninty

      Yeah.. but I’d be a nice option if it’s not too much trouble for them. I mean, it’ll still show on the gamepad, right?

  • Adam Wykle

    I’ll only get it if sailing from island to island is faster and not monotonouse like before.

    • Eric Taylor

      I think they mentioned that they just flat-out doubled the speed the boat sails at.

  • James Best

    I’m just waiting for them to announce the inclusion of the cut dungeons.