Wind Waker HD

Everyone’s waiting for that shiny, photo-realistic Legend of Zelda Nintendo teased at E3 2011. Too bad that was a mere tech demo. During their January Nintendo Direct, the company admitted that their next entry in the series is a voyage long away. However, they are working on a treat to keep you occupied in the interim — The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD.

This isn’t just an HD gloss over a Gamecube classic. Nintendo’s promised to not only update the visuals, but also implement gamepad functions and Miiverse integration. They’ve also mentioned that they’ll be “tuning” the gameplay, most likely to bring the controls up to snuff with contemporary action games. I’m hoping they’ll also be adding content cut from the original. Maybe new islands, new sidequests or even new rooms in dungeons. To have orchestrated music this time around would be wonderful. When it comes to the music in Zelda games, Wind Waker has the most variety in its soundtrack, going from Celtic tunes on one island to Inca instrumentals on another. A decade has been long enough for this classic’s rebirth, hopefully adding plenty of content for veterans, while retaining its original charm and majesty for newcomers. However, this task is often difficult to execute, but I have confidence in Nintendo. They seem to handle their remakes tastefully.

Windfall Island in all its fresh, high definition glory.

It’s clear the graphics are being completely reworked. With a new lighting engine and HD textures, Nintendo is turning a pretty game, gorgeous. But I do have my concerns about these revamped visuals. Part of what makes Wind Waker‘s look so unique, is the hard transitions between colours. Strong shading and abrupt changes in colour helped define the scenery and characters, making it look more like a cartoon than a videogame. This seems to be somewhat absent in the remake, as the vibrance of the colours and how they contrast against one another, removes those sharp turns in shade.

Don’t get me wrong, I think this game looks beautiful. It’s just that there’s a distinct art direction with the original Wind Waker that this remake seems to be deviating from. But then again, only a few screenshots were shown. It could be that this game still holds the beauty of the classic, we just have to watch it sail.

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