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E3 2013 | Wind Waker HD Not Just a Makeover

Posted on June 11, 2013 AT 06:24pm

I remember the unbridled joy the first time I was able to get my hands on The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker when it premiered back in 2003. The vibrant visuals and colorful cast of characters immediately sucked me into that world and refused to let me go. Little did I know that the game could look even more amazing than it already did when met with the power of an HD console.

Playing Wind Waker HD was like meeting an old friend again and realizing that in many ways they’ve stayed the same person, but have also changed quite a bit. On the surface, you’re looking at nearly the same game you played 10 years ago, but they’ve tweaked it here and there to accommodate the new technologies that have arisen since it first debuted on the Gamecube. Wielding your bow and arrows has become a lot easier with the inclusion of tilt-based aiming controls. This feature is also extended to the other items you might have controlled this way like the telescope and camera.

The interface, which is optionally available on your gamepad, has been improved as well. You can move items to the various buttons on the gamepad by dragging them around until they are on top of the chosen button on the gamepad screen. You can also switch to your map and view it on that screen so you can navigate the sea with it open. I you peruse the beach, you might see a message in a bottle waiting for you to grab. These are actually Miiverse posts that can contain Wind Waker-related messages and even screenshots. You can open these and look at them by navigating to the bottles menu on the gamepad screen.

For anyone who was not a fan of the sea-traversal in the game, there is now a “fast mode” which can be activated while sailing to speed up the process a bit. You still can’t sail unless the wind is facing in the proper direction, so make sure to use your wind waker to direct the breeze. I’m personally guilty of having set it up to sail and walking away to make a sandwich, so this is one feature I’m glad to see. It’s not so fast that it breaks the game, but it’s certainly enough to ease a little of time between the various islands.

The demo included a stroll around Outset Island and the Helmaroc King boss fight, both of which were great examples of the game’s smooth transition to the Wii U. The combat and traversal both feel natural to how the experience was back them, but at the same time completely new due to the enhanced graphics and new features. Look for this one when it hits on October 10th of this year on the Wii U.


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