One of my all-time favourite game franchises is, without a doubt, The Legend of Zelda. Every new title has provided hours upon hours of digital adventure, and the Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD is no different. Nintendo’s Wii U  is a perfect fit for this title, and an excellent example of why the Wii U is my favourite current-gen console. Aside from the huge improvements in game graphics, audio and mechanics, there are a few subtle differences between this updated version over the original GameCube version, but that in no way detracts from the enjoyment I got in playing the HD version.
System: Wii U 
Release Date: October 4 2013
Category: Action, Adventure
ESRB Rating: E10 for Everyone 10+ with Content Descriptors: Animated Blood, Fantasy Violence
Nintendo released a special gold-foil cover for this title (shown on the right) – a nice shiny cover for a very shiny game. There is also a Limited Edition Wii U bundle for $299.99 CAD, which includes:
- Black Wii U Console (32GB)
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD Wii U GamePad
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD full game digital download
- The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia digital download
- Wii U AC Adapter
- Wii U GamePad AC Adapter
- Sensor Bar
- Wii U Gamepad Cradle
- Wii U GamePad Stand
- Wii U Console Stand 
The HD graphics in this game continue the shine once Wind Waker loads, opening up a brilliantly vibrant environment just waiting to be explored. I’m not sure how many hours I’ve logged in this game, but I’m sure it’s well over 72. There are so many places to visit, secrets to find and treasure to claim, I had no urge to speed through the main quest to get to the endgame; in truth, I have not yet completed the final battle because I don’t want the story to be “over”. Wind Waker HD embraces everything I enjoy in a game – from the storyline and plot to figuring out the many puzzles and defeating enemies, this formula is something that Nintendo consistently does right – and is one of the main reasons as to why Nintendo’s games often dominate the list of games I enjoy. Although Wind Waker HD does not take advantage of all that the Wii U has to offer, it shows that Nintendo is moving in the right direction, and that the Zelda franchise truly does not get old.
Like many of the new Wii U titles, gamers can enjoy playing Wind Waker HD solely on the game pad. Granted, it does slow down game play a little bit because the items menu isn’t as readily available as it is when playing the game on the TV, but I can still get my Zelda fix when Scott is watching something on TV. There is no difference in the quality of the graphics between playing on the game pad or playing on the TV – and this is just one more feature that puts the Wii U higher on my list than the other new consoles, which we won’t be buying any time soon. Wind Waker HD is also compatible with the Pro Controller, giving another method of play for those who have that controller.
Wind Waker HD offers the same progressive storyline as the original version, with very few alterations. A new addition is the message in a bottle function, where players can leave messages all over the game’s open world for other players to pick up and read – with many of them showing that gamers around the world have an excellent sense of humour. It is worth noting that you must have access to the internet and Miiverse – and you need to acquire the Tingle Bottle in order to enable the ability to send messages. Another expanded feature is the ability to take more photos with the pictobox and also post them to the Miiverse to share with other players.
The only part of the game that can be seen as even remotely tedious is sailing across the map, but as with the original version, you can become master of the gales and fast-travel. You can also acquire the Swift Sail, which can make for some pretty quick trips as it speeds up the Red Lion and does not require changing the wind’s direction. To that end, Nintendo has sped up some of the fetch quests, in particular the one which involves searching out the TriForce shards. This quest has become a bit easier and more enjoyable, especially as it uses one of the few maps that checks off the shards you have. This leads to perhaps one of the only map-related features that irked me a little – not all of the maps let you know when you’ve acquired an item or visited a locale, so it’s possible that you may revisit a submarine, guard tower or cave because the map does not acknowledge their completion. 
Some of the puzzles can be quite challenging, as can some of the boss battles. There are definitely some bosses that I in no way enjoy fighting, but this is just encouragement to defeat them as quickly as possible and move forward in the game; of course having all of the right gear for the job makes all the difference in the world. For those who want even more challenge, Hero Mode can be invoked at the beginning of the game – there is no requirement to play through once in order to unlock the more difficult game play features such as the double damage dealt by enemies and your limited healing abilities. Hero Mode can also be turned off if players are finding it to be too difficult.
Whether you pick up Wind Waker HD for nostalgic reasons or to share with your own next-gen gamers, I think you will find the game’s new iteration to be a most pleasing experience and well worth the investment. There are many moments of homage to the franchise as you play through the game – some more subtle than others, but they do add a certain depth to the story, which in itself has twists and turns and moments of surprise and appreciation for a tale well-told. My over-all rating for The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD is 4.75 Tingle Bottles out of 5.
Image Source: Nintendo.com