Legend of Zelda, The: The Wind Waker
|Date: May 14, 2023
|When someone says "The Legend of Zelda", what do you immediately think of? For some, the original Legend of Zelda is what they think of. For many others, Breath of the Wild and Ocarina of Time comes to mind. Some say Majora's Mask. The point is that everyone has a favorite, the one that starts them off and leads to hours of pleasure and hundreds of pleasant memories. For me, that game is Wind Waker. Sure, I may believe that Majora's Mask is the best game in the series, but Wind Waker appears before it for one simple reason: it was my first game. Not my first Zelda game, my first game in general. (Talk about a good and strong introduction to gaming.)
Wind Waker was unique for a Zelda game during its release, as the previous games had dealt with more desaturated tones of colors, and future games would continue this trend up until the release of Skyward Sword, which would bring back the general vibrance of colors that would continue to this very point in time (as the most recent game in the series as of writing is Tears of the Kingdom). The point is that this game stood out in terms of artistic vision. However, the vibrant colors and charming art style still managed to deliver that could (and frequently did) fall into darker subject matters (such as the presence of the ReDead, creatures usually associated with periods of immense suffering including Ganondorf conquering Hyrule and the entire chain of events within Majora's Mask). Overall, the art style and graphics at the time were excellent, and it still holds up as a solid-looking game today.
As far as Zelda games go, Wind Waker's music stands out as being generally calmer and more upbeat than the other games. Don't get me wrong, the game still can deliver moments of musical intensity, but overall, the musical tone is more relaxed than, say, the orchestral music of Majora's Mask. This musical tone is aided by the general ambiance of the game, which helps delivers an overall pleasant auditory experience. As for the sounds produced from any action, they too remain satisfying. Overall, the sound design in Wind Waker stands out among the other games of the series.
Need I say much about the gameplay? It is enjoyable in nigh every aspect. Whether you are sailing the high seas, exploring the islands around you, or fighting another Bokoblin that you will surely slaughter, every action you take in this game is highly rewarding. The combat system is quite intuitive, with a counter system that allows for swift and pleasant combat encounters. The overall game is somewhat easy, with the only substantial difficulty spike being the final boss gauntlet at the end of the game. Overall, the gameplay is what sells the game for me, and it basically turns your mind into a constant dopamine factory.
I am willing to admit that I am biased toward the game (after all, it was my first one). However, I do genuinely believe that Wind Waker is an incredible game overall. Sure, I still believe Majora's Mask is the best game in the series, nothing's going to change that belief. However, I don't think I should compare Wind Waker to Majora's Mask, nor vice versa. Both games are their own respective games, and both have merit to spare.
In conclusion, I think Wind Waker is a masterpiece of a game, and if you have the chance to try it out, do so immediately. You won't regret it.