LTTP: The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD

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The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker was my first Zelda game. It’s also my favorite of the franchise thus far and one I did not hesitate to return to with the HD re-release. Is my favorite Legend of Zelda game heavily influenced by the fact that it was my first? Very likely but I’ve seen the praise from long time fans telling me that my adoration for this game isn’t misplaced. The game isn’t without its faults but with re-releases like this, Nintendo have righted numerous annoyances from the original game. Couple those changes with the prettification of the visuals, it’s the Wind Waker of my mind’s eye.

“It’s like playing a cartoon.” It was a divisive description of Wind Waker that was uttered many times when the game debuted in 2003. I recall the hoopla surrounding it and I wasn’t following video game news like I do today. I didn’t even own a GameCube at the time and since I never played a Zelda game before, I couldn’t comprehend why the game was so divisive. I had to experience it for myself and got my chance when I finally purchased a GameCube a couple of years later. I recall the visuals being immaculate and the game running silky smooth at the time. Wind Waker HD was a visual manifestation of those memories and then some.

There were numerous changes made in Wind Waker HD. Chief among them was the sailing. Wind Waker HD gives us a taste of the slow methodical pace of the original release but thankfully Nintendo introduced opportunities to acquire a faster means of travel rather rather quickly. Unfortunately, the keyword is “opportunities” because it is very possible for new comers to miss those cues and go on playing with that excruciatingly slow sailing. I’m not saying that they should outright give you the faster mode of travel but Nintendo could have made those opportunities to acquire faster travel a little more prominent. I don’t blame people for giving up on Wind Waker because of the sailing. I usually played Wind Waker HD towards the end of the night and there were more than a handful of times when I actually nodded off while sailing in the early stages.

I was also a big fan of using the Wii U Gamepad for inventory management, map manipulation and displaying other pertinent information. I liked it so much, I had the Wii U Gamepad beside me for the entire time despite the fact that I was playing with Pro Controller.

Overall, I thought Nintendo modernized Wind Waker well but there were a handful of notable issues.

I appreciated the bump to 60 FPS despite the handful of notable dips in framerate when there were too many pirate ships on the screen. I cringed when I ran into those moments but they didn’t dramatically affect the gameplay.

There were also two key gameplay issues that they didn’t address; both related to Hero bow. The first were the cumbersome first person arrow controls. It was unusually finicky in a game where everything else is elegant. And the second issue was with the final boss encounter where the boss’ weak point was mysteriously immune to lock on. Keep in mind that I just went through all the game’s bosses again Megaman style where a sand creature’s tongue was targetable. I spent 20 minutes pondering what I was missing before I reluctantly shot at his tail with the Hero Bow in the first person. That set off a boss battle that was wrought with cumbersome first person arrow shooting.

But in the end, I got to stab Ganon in the face with the Master Sword, so I guess it was worth it.

I left Hero Mode for the eventual future replay of Wind Waker HD. I also left a handful of heart pieces untouched and gave up completing all those damn slide puzzles. (Seriously, who thought it was a good idea to put that backlight?) I wanted to leave it with pleasant memories and I did. Despite the faults, Wind Waker HD was a wonderful remastering effort. Nintendo showed an attention to detail and enough restraint to keep the original’s vision intact while smoothing over old annoyances. It’s efforts like this that make these kinds of releases more than a quick cash grab.

Highly Recommended

Ratings Guide

For more information on The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, visit the official website.

Bayonetta 2 Review

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Bayonetta 2 Logo

I wish every sequel came bundled with an enhanced version of its predecessor. It’s not economically viable for the creators but it offers players such a fantastic opportunity to catch up, refresh or compare and contrast. How does the predecessor at its best fare against the hot new sequel? Well, I can answer that without having to dig into memories with rose tinted glasses.

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LTTP: Mario Kart 8

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Mario Kart 8 Logo

I’ve only seen Mario Kart for the SNES in action. I’ve played a fair share of Mario Kart 64 huddled around a CRT TV. And the last instalment, Mario Kart Wii left me wondering why anyone would want to play this with other arcade racers available.

I didn’t plan on picking up Mario Kart 8 but when I saw footage of it in action running at 720p60, I was intrigued. The more footage I saw, the more I was interested. I finally bit the bullet and purchased it after a $10 discount and Nintendo’s free game promotion was drawing to a close. (I chose to Pikmin 3)

I started the game at the 150cc and immediately understood the hatred for the Blue Shell. It was tough to defend because it required a very specific and uncommon weapon pickup. It’s almost better to be in second or third place and then storm to first in the final lap than to lead the entire race.

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Checkpoint: Back to Square One Edition

Checkpoint - Back to Square One Edition

I try not to get into my personal life on this site. Past experiences have taught me to keep that kind of drivel to myself. Nobody really wants to read about it and if they do, they’ll just come out and ask me. So I’ll try to keep this brief.

I’m single again and while it caused a bit of heartache I’ve found solace in my hobby and know life will move on. My time on this Earth has taught me that time heals all wounds and I’ll get over this little slump in due time.

I have the next week off and while that may seem like a recipe for self loathing or decadence, I am making the most of it to stay the course and work on projects around the house and catch up with some games, movies and shows that I’ve been neglecting. I was going to use this time as time for myself already but now I might be spending the foreseeable future doing just that.

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time with the Wii U. At first it was an effort to discover party or “girlfriend” friendly games; I chose Game & Wario as my Club Nintendo title for that sole purpose. I’ll continue down that path just to familiarize myself with Nintendo’s library but at the same time, I am finding enjoyment in titles like Game & Wario and Mario Kart 8. I even want to grab Mario Party 10 on the cheap just so I can play it with family and friends.

I wrapped up Peace Walker and found it disappointing. I don’t know what my next game will be. I might just stay rotating through Wii U titles until I’m inspired to start something more involved.

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