So, I recently beat Wind Waker and I decided it would be fun to do a review of it. So here goes!
Overall, the gameplay is pretty fun, with decent controls and puzzles. The biggest issues are combat and sailing.
The combat tends to be kind of annoying, most of the time all you really have to do is hold down L to target the enemy, and spam B. The most irritating thing about it, though, is that you will often knock an enemy down, and then have to wait 2-3 seconds for it to get up again, so that you can do more damage. Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess had decent system for this, if you knocked down a Bokoblin, for example you could use a Fatal Blow and instantly kill the enemy. However, Wind Waker came before those two games, and doesn’t implement a system like this.
The sailing is also a big pain for a decent chunk of the game. A. it takes a while, and B. you can literally set a direction, and just put the controller down while you wait for Link to finish sailing to his destination. There is a warping mechanism that you can obtain later in the game, but for the first half or so, you have to do things the slow way. The fact that you have to constantly change the direction of the wind is also a bit of a pain, especially during the portion of the game when you are obtaining the Triforce Shards. If you accidentally sail past the area where you need to fish, you will have to either cruise (which takes forever) or change the direction of the wind.
The dungeons aren’t anything particularly special, but the puzzles can be fun at times. Overall, the bosses tended to be underwhelming and somewhat annoying. Camera angle tended to be a pain in the neck when trying to avoid a boss’s attack but still keep your eye on the boss. The final boss in particular was somewhat disappointing; it was a fun fight, but it didn’t take very long at all. The previous boss took three times as long to beat. Gohdan was probably the most fun boss, mostly because of the better camera angle.
Main Story: 9/10
The main story is the best thing this game has going for it. As usual, Link starts out as an ordinary village boy, but circumstances result in him traveling far away from home to defeat a great evil. The specifics in this story are that a giant bird carries off Link’s younger sister, Aryll, so Link teams up with a crew of pirates. Link and the pirates, led by Tetra, journey North to Ganondorf’s Forsaken Fortress, where Aryll is being held. Upon arrival, Link infiltrates the fortress to save his sister. However, things don’t go exactly as planned, and Link ends up sailing the seas with a talking boat known as the King of Red Lions. With the King of Red Lions’ guidance, Link travels around and collects special items and weapons that are key to defeating Ganondorf. Along the way he meets important allies that help him multiple times on his adventure, such as the Rito and the Koroks. When Link finally reaches Ganondorf, the villain first monologues before Link has a chance to attack. This may seem stereotypical, but Ganondorf actually presents a relatively convincing argument as to the reasons for his actions. However, in the end he is defeated by Link once again. I’m not going to spoil the denouement which takes place after the final battle, but I can assure you that it is immensely satisfying.
I would definitely recommend this game. If you have never really played a 3D Zelda game before, I suggest that you start with a different one, such as Ocarina of Time or Skyward Sword. However, if you have played a Zelda game previously, absolutely give Wind Waker a (hook)shot. Sailing and combat are a grind, but they’re primarily outweighed by a compelling story which is definitely worth your gaming time.