Need A Reminder Of How Incredible Wind Waker Was? Look No Further.

Need A Reminder Of How Incredible Wind Waker Was? Look No Further.

I loved Wind Waker. If the game removed the Triforce fetch quest, and added the two extra dungeons (as was originally planned) I think it would absolutely be the best Zelda game ever made. This analysis, by Warby on Polycount, goes into detail and just how technically proficient the game was, and how ahead of its time it was in many respects. I think I need to play this video game again.

I’m not a developer, so some of these details are way, way over my head, but I’m thoroughly blown away by just how advanced Wind Waker really was for its time. The game always had an incredible aesthetic, and it’s aged incredibly — but I always just put that down to the art direction. Turns out there was a lot of hard yards behind the art as well. Great stuff.

For more, head here!


  • I always wanted to play this game but I haven’t bought a Nintendo console since the N64 🙁

    It is also showing the benefit of stylized graphics!

    • Probably one of the best games ever made on a system that only gained appreciation after its generation ended? This game was truly astonishing in everything it had. It’s the polar opposite of Twilight Princess, and I mean that in the best possible way. There was so much detail in everything. So much to do, so much to see. Twilight princess was a straight line with a few branches. Wind Waker was a straight line in side of a bubble, and that bubble was inside of another bubble. And to explore the bigger bubble, you had to cross through the line more and more. The dungeons were brilliant, and its Floormasters and Redeads were easily the scariest the series had to offer, and that was entirely due to how they behaved, not how they looked.

      All the enemies had such dynamic reactions to everything you could do to them, in Twilight Princess, all enemies reacted to only one or two items excluding the sword. So many truly unique sidequests, even the Triforce shard section was amazing if you had a sense of exploration and optimism through stalwart scepticism.

  • That HDR faking, is very very clever. I would love to play Wind Waker, I never had a Gamecube. Hell I never completed Ocarina of Time because I only played it on friend’s N64s.

  • I remember loving this game. I can’t believe someone would think Uncharted was the first game to have feet raised/lowered in uneven ground. Games were doing that on the previous generation of consoles.

    • Yeah but at that point I don’t think I ever would’ve finished that fetch quest without GameFAQs – just to know where the hell to go next!

      The author is right that had it included more dungeons it would’ve hit it out of the park!

  • Sold it years ago, re-purchased it to play on wii, and it was just as amazing all those years later, on a plasma this time. An amazing adventure

    • Similar experience, played it on a crappy old small crt back in the day, recently played again on a big new tv, WOW looks incredible!

  • I prefereed the realistic take of Twilight Princess, but Wind Wakers story was a huge leap for the Zelda fraanchise. It’s taken a step back since in my opinion.

    • Twilight Princess is awesome too! When I first saw the videos, looked like every other game. When you play it though, the depth to the world really shines. Best on Gamecube with an controller though.

  • Wind Waker was great for so many reasons. Whoever thought it was a good idea to include that fetch quest for triforce pieces was totally batshit crazy though (imo). Saying that though, I played through Skyward Sword not that long ago and with the amount of fetch quests in that game (like the underwater one, you know which one I mean), it’s like Nintendo just promoted the triforce guy to be project lead of Skyward Sword or something. There have to be better ways to fill out games than fetch quests! Until the triforce debacle, Wind Waker didn’t seem to have any fetch quests. Sigh, those were the days!

  • Personally was not a fan of Wind Waker. I have no issue with the graphics, and the dungeons were ok, but I despise the non-dungeon sections. Suikoden 4 suffered the same problem – the reason you shouldn’t make sea-based games is because the sea is huge, empty and boring. The whirlpool quick(er) travel thing was a step in the right direction, but only a very small step.

    Honestly preferred the N64 Zeldas by a fairly significant margin. But I wouldn’t call myself a “Zelda fan” anyway, only ever played LttP, OoT, MM and WW, so feel free to ignore my opinion if it makes you feel better.

    • I liked it but I think its far from the best. The sailing mechanism was the kicker. It lead to a largely dull over world to explore, something made worse by the fact it was so evenly broken up into a big grid. Having to turn the wind etc didn’t help to keep the flow going.

      That said, some of the other aspects were brilliant. Can’t remember if it was the temple of time, but that scene where you awaken the statues IMHO is one of the all time great moments in a Zelda title. It was fantastic.

      • On the other hand, I found the main world a heck of a lot more interesting than the sky realm in Skyward Sword. That takes the cake as the least compelling “map” in a Zelda title IMHO. The other areas were alright and it was a good game, but flying was more pointless than the sailing was. I was expected some great arial battles or something later in the game but they never really occurred save one boss fight which was mostly on foot anyway.

  • Wind Waker is amazing, and anyone who rubbished its visuals when it was released clearly never got around to killing an enemy. Those purple-black cloud things completely sold me on the game’s aesthetic, having entered the adventure and spent the first hour or so unconvinced that cel-shading was the way to go.
    Still one of the best looking games I’ve ever played – and the absolute argument for design over detail.
    Oh, and the gameplay’s not half bad either.

  • I _am_ replaying Wind Waker at the moment. Introducing Zelda to a young cousin of mine. We’re playing it in gaming sessions every Sunday evening. The animation is so much fun. A brilliant game, and still looks spectacular.

  • Uncharted definitely wasn’t the first to use IK to align feet to the ground, Shadow of the Colossus did that for the horse.

  • I bought Windwaker so I could finally own my own copy of Ocarina of Time.
    Then I beat Ocarina of Time AND Master Quest and my friend said “you should probably play Windwaker now” and I thought “yeah I guess” and I was actually quite surprised by how great Windwaker was. It has a great cast of NPCs, too. And locations, and that soundtrack. Dragon Roost has the best background music.

  • Thanks for posting this. I’m working on a project at uni at the moment which utilizes a similar visual style so this was an interesting read.

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