Sailing is fun especially with the swift sail
Incredible stylized graphics
Simple yet not too simple combat system
Exploring the entire ocean sounds daunting, but visiting each new island and finding secrets is extremely exciting!
Any real negatives I find about this game aren't even worth mentioning, it's very small things like, using the gamepad motion controls when aiming arrows being clunky.
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker is one of the most charming entries in the Zelda universe. It doesn’t have as many dark themes that Ocarina of Time or Twilight Princess had, but instead it has one of the most pleasant environments I’ve ever experienced in a game. Sailing is easily my favorite mode of transportation in any Zelda game, even more than flying in Skyward Sword. As an HD remake it improved the original Gamecube game significantly by adding improved graphics and streamlining the required exploration of the entire ocean. Everything about this game is so wonderful, it’s easily one of my favorite Zelda titles.
What you See and What you Hear
Wind Waker is stunning visually, not because it’s so realistic or it’s got the best graphics in the franchise, but because it’s unique. It’s a somewhat cartoony style of graphics, and the Link from Wind Waker is actually referred to as Toon Link outside of the game, but it’s not bad cartoony, it’s actually quite enjoyable. Enemies are still very intimidating and awesome to look at, the ocean you sail across is beautiful, and just everything you see is appealing to the eye. The music is equally fantastic, it fits every scene and environment marvelously, they even managed to make sailing, a process that really just involves a lot of waiting very fun by combining a beautiful ocean with lovely traveling music.
The way the story is presented is actually pretty good, right off the bat it’s addressed that you, (Toon) Link are not the hero of legend (Some other iteration of Link), you simply are a boy forced to dress in green to celebrate the hero of legend, and throughout the game you earn the title of Hero of Winds, it’s not a birthright, or that you’re the reincarnated hero, you become your own hero because you have to. This idea of just a normal kid becoming a hero is frankly awesome, lots of Zelda games just make Link the hero because he was born to, but Wind Waker Link does it because he wants to. As far as the story itself, it’s pretty standard, gather a bunch of things in groups of 3, get the master sword, upgrade the master sword, beat the game, but the overall story has more of a lore to it, it references the past heroes of past games, it feels like a more tied together world.
The majority of the game, no matter how you play, is going to be just sailing around, but it’s actually quite fun. The original Wind Waker felt very slow, and it dragged out the game by making you change the directions of the wind to go as fast as possible, but in this HD release, they give you the chance to get the Swift Sail, an item that you get very early in the game which automatically puts you at max speed without having to change the wind, this makes exploring the freaking ocean not only tolerable, but really enjoyable! I love seeing all these islands, exploring to see what each one offers, finding secrets, this is something the original Legend of Zelda had, but a lot of later games didn’t really fulfill, or at least not in a way that was as nearly fun to do.
Almost every Zelda game (if in fact every one) has some connection to music, and in Wind Waker, you’re given a conducting baton, which is aptly named, the Wind Waker, and honestly this is a really fun mechanic to play with in the game! Changing the direction of the wind creates some fun puzzles. It’s very similar to the Ocarina from Ocarina of time, but you have a plethora of other ways to use it other than warping around or changing the time of day. In a couple dungeons, you have to use it to control an ally, who can’t fight, but can fly, it’s very different from how Zelda dungeons usually operate.
Wind Waker is quite easily the most memorable Zelda game for me. As far as a game, it’s more or less the same as any major Zelda game, many dungeons, get an item in each dungeon and typically use that item to beat the final boss. But it’s not the journey people love Wind Waker for, it’s the world because it’s so unique from any other game. Any complaints I have about this game are very minor, and don’t reflect the game as a whole, they aren’t even worth mentioning. Every monotonous task from the original Wind Waker like having to pay for every single Tingle Chart to find every Triforce Shard has been streamlined to make Wind Waker and even better game than it already was.