Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD journal - entry two

Perhaps my initial judgments toward Wind Waker HD were premature. Now that I’m getting deeper into the story, I’m finding there are plenty of little updates that go a long way. I am a tad surprised that there does not appear to be any use of the stylus for scribbling notes on the sea chart ala Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks (or at least, there is no such functionality that I have yet come across). However, including the little tidbits of information the fish-men provide Link with their respective island chartings is a convenient addition for anyone who is new to the Wind Waker experience, or who is taking on this adventure many years after they originally tackled it on the Gamecube. After all, many of these hints or pieces of advice pertain to quests later in the game, like the Ghost Ship, the items required to enter the Earth and Wind Temples, and the Triforce Charts.

I’ve recently acquired the Swift Sail, which is far and away my favorite new item in this updated Zelda adventure. Not only does it make travelling to nearby islands a super-speedy process, but it easily cuts the time spent filling in the sea chart in half. The Tingle Bottles have proven entertaining, and I applaud those who have utilized them for more practical uses like aiding younger players who are stuck at a certain point in the game. That said, I’ve also found some of the messages within these Tingle Bottles quite amusing, whether the author of the related posts meant for their work to be humorous or not.

While I still feel that this HD version is not the visual spectacle other HD updates in recent years have shown themselves to be, there is something to be said about the finer details of this Wii U update of Wind Waker. I’ve come across a number of textures that I never noticed in the original Gamecube version, such as the small Triforce shape inside the barrier beam emitters within the Tower of the Gods, and the shapes of the Hylian people praising the Master Sword within the chamber below Hyrule Castle. As I mentioned in my previous post, the single biggest visual improvement seems to have come in the form of the game’s lighting, and as I have recently witnessed, this is not simply from the sun or the torch fires – the pearls required to summon the Tower of the Gods from the watery abyss look absolutely gorgeous, as does the room wherein Link faces the dungeon’s boss Gohdan. Even the Beamos eyes look far less blurry than they did back in 2003.

Wind Waker HD may end up being one of my earliest reviews posted in 2015. I’ve spent the past couple of days dealing with some post-Christmas crud, and as much as I’ve enjoyed what I’ve played of Persona Q thus far, playing through Wind Waker is a much easier task, especially since it is a game that I’ve beaten at least five times over now. My expectations of Wind Waker HD ranking among the greatest of all the games I play in 2015 are basically zero, but the aforementioned improvements that I have recently discovered have certainly earned it a few extra points toward its (eventual) overall review rating.

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