Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker will always be one of the most controversial games in the publisher’s history, sitting alongside Super Mario Bros. 2 and Metroid Prime as unique titles that strayed from the norm. Controversy stemmed from the game’s cartoon-style graphics that didn’t resemble the more realistic environments and characters from Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. Despite protest, millions of players fell in love with cell shaded Link and sailing the ocean, and Nintendo plans to reward fans with a beautiful HD remake set to launch this October for Wii U.
By and large, the plot and dungeons remain intact, with Link hopping into his talking red boat and exploring the high seas in search of fortune and glory. Calling Wind Waker HD a port, though, does Nintendo a huge disservice, as the developers gave this critically acclaimed title a much-needed facelift for the HD generation. As such, Link’s journey overflows with detail that may not seem like much at first, but surpasses the original in every respect once you see both versions side-by-side. Gone are the jagged edges from the first Wind Waker that we didn’t notice at the time, replaced with much brighter and detailed visuals that put the Wii U’s power on display.
What’s more, Nintendo tweaked the game to make things flow smoother. Players will manage Link’s inventory and study maps using the Wii U GamePad. Perhaps the coolest change of all, though, is the ability to travel faster with the help of a new sail.
On a subtler note, Nintendo integrated Miiverse into Wind Waker HD as a means of replacing the Tingle Tuner connectivity between the GameCube and Game Boy Advance. This time around, players will be able to take in-game photos and/or write notes that’ll wash up inside glass bottles on shores for random gamers to discover. They’ll also snap pictures to post on Miiverse directly. None of this impacts the plot, but the chance of connecting with players from around the world excites us.
In typical Wii U fashion, you can opt for off-TV play via the Gamepad screen and you can control Link’s baton with the stylus. That about wraps up the new features for Wind Waker HD, and from what we’ve seen, this remake will definitely do the game justice when it debuts in the Fall. While not the brand-new Zelda in hiding at Nintendo HQ, racking up more nautical miles with Link should make for fun times indeed.