I’ve never beaten a Zelda game, and I still haven’t, but I finally have the drive to do so. I’ve played the original Zelda for about an hour before quitting because of its old-school feel and I never finished Ocarina of Time because I lost interest halfway through. Those are the only other two Zelda games I’ve ever played, and I played them both on my 3DS. So Wind Waker was my first console Zelda experience, and I loved it because every time I played it, it was so relaxing.
Playing Wind Waker was like a mini vacation. Sitting in a quiet room with my Wii U gamepad was a weekly escape into paradise. The calming music, smooth art-style and not too stressful gameplay.
Some games don’t click with me on a handheld system, because depending on how, when and where you play can affect your experience. Ocarina of Time was enjoyable, but playing it on the go wasn’t an ideal experience. That’s why I’m mixed about trying Majora’s Mask on the 3DS and would have greatly preferred to play it on my Wii U.
Regardless, I don’t hate the other Zelda games, but because I played Wind Waker on a console, it is my favorite Zelda game so far. I’ll have to borrow a Gamecube to play Majora’s Mask and Ocarina of Time for that experience on console to give those games a fair chance.
But lets talk about the Wind Waker, the game that finally made me understand why this is arguably Nintendo’s most beloved franchise. The diverse locations, unmatched quality and charm is what made this game connect with me. I’ve played a ton of bad games with glitches and bugs this year, so it was so damn refreshing to sail the open waters without a single problem.
Every island, dungeon, person, boss and item I interacted with was a grandiose treat layered with detail and magic. Using the hookshot and arrow, unlocking the Master Sword, beating Gohama, Helmaroc King, and Molgera, it is all just a really polished experience that is unrivaled by most.
But Wind Waker is my favorite Zelda game so far simply because of the crisp visuals. The shaded cartoon art work makes the game look like a moving painting, uncaring that it’s actually a video game.
Dragon Roost island was easily my favorite location. That catchy tune was implanted in my head for weeks, and I even started listening to the theme while doing normal chores around the house. Dragon Roost also had my favorite dungeon layout, and discovering how to tackle every room was a treat that I never tasted before in any video game. It was like solving a giant Minecraft created puzzle. You can’t help but appreciate every small and big deal in every nook and cranny in the game.
The reason why I haven’t beaten Wind Waker and won’t beat it anytime soon is because of the freaking Triforce shards. You have to find the eight charts to find the eight shards, and that just seems to be needlessly time-consuming. This is fixed in the HD remake for the Wii U, but it is still a bit daunting to find a few charts, get them deciphered and then find the shards. I was assuming that the adventure was nearly completed once I brought power back to the Master Sword, but that thought was quickly dashed when I found out there was still more video game to this video game. I know it is a petty thing to complain about, but I have a problem with games that waste player’s time with seemingly meaningless fetch quests.
My vacation was interrupted by that task, so for the moment, I’m going to walk away from The Wind Waker. Eventually I’ll go back to it, but not for a while.
Nevertheless, I absolutely love this game and it finally showed me why people are so loyal to the Zelda franchise. It still isn’t one of my favorite video games ever, but at least I can join in on the “What’s your favorite Zelda” discussion I’ve been left out of for years. I’ll be the oddball that chooses Wind Waker over Ocarina of Time or Majora’s Mask, but that’s perfectly fine with me.