The demo of The Wind Waker HD at E3 2013 showcased the old GameCube version and the new Wii U version side-by-side, which made the graphical update easier to grasp. For example in the HD version, Princess Zelda, Link, and Ganondorf appear less cel-shaded and more cartoonish. Fans will notice the dark outlines taken out of the HD version. Traditionalists will argue that they prefer the original Ocarina of Time version of Link over the new cartoonish version. However, the environments in Wind Waker HD are impressive. The graphics were particularly noticeable when sailing across the open ocean. The colors are amazingly vibrant and the sea appears vast.
The game play is reminiscent of the original on GameCube. For the most part, the controls have been improved. The Wii U hardware allows for a smooth and lag free experience, all in glorious 1080p and running at 60 frames per second. The story is unchanged and the screen on the GamePad helps the player map their course. Another improvement on the Wii U is that the player can look at the screen on their controller for inventory without having to pause the game to check inventory and the map. In a Zelda game that helps to improve game flow tremendously. The boat is noticeably faster and travel between the islands is achieved with greater ease, something they added for the player’s convenience in The Wind Waker HD.
Nintendo has been slow on releasing new games on the Wii U and a new Zelda game will take a while to be released. However, this release acts as a satisfying appetizer for Zelda fans until Nintendo releases more games on the system, including the new Wii U Zelda. Eiji Aonuma, the director of the GameCube version and the Wind Waker HD, as well as a guiding hand for all modern Zelda games for Nintendo, mentioned that small changes were made to the questing and they did not add anything new dungeon-wise. No new missions, nothing altered, just streamlining quests and improving them.
There is a rumor that Nintendo is considering releasing the original version of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker as downloadable content so that players can chose between the original version of the game and The Wind Waker HD remake on the Wii U. Overall, it is a definite improvement from the original, especially the HD graphics and smoothed out gameplay. Wii U owners will be delighted to get this game, whether they are a Zelda fan or a first time player, they will definitely want to put this in their collection.