Is the horizon of the endless sea on sunset evenings a sight that inspires a deep desire to see what's beyond it? Do the quiet spaces in a forest where the leaves form dappled shadows intrigue you? Do you ever wonder what it would be like to live on a volcanic isle with a dragon as your roommate?
If these questions resonate with you, The Wind Waker HD, Nintendo's Gamecube classic reborn in high definition resolution, is a game you should consider.
What awaits is a sprawling adventure in a whimsical, dangerous cartoon world amidst colorful windswept ocean breezes and the mysterious depths of unexplored islands. When young Link's sister Aryll is kidnapped by a giant bird, he sets in with a talking boat called The King of Red Lions to find her. He is embroiled in a conflict far bigger than the player imagines when his fate crosses that of a band of sea-faring pirates.
Link will make friends with leaves that play fiddles, fire cannons at monstrous sea creatures, climb a tower of light and encounter an island wrapped in a powerful gale. He can also choose to chase pigs, feed map-writing fish, confront a roving band of bratty bullies, take selfies and hunt for buried sea treasure. The adventure is diverse and vacillates between humor and pathos like a well-kept metronome.
This installment does not follow the classic Zelda formula of journeying around 10 dungeons on a sprawling land, like Ocarina of Time. The sea is mammoth, but no island is larger than a typical Zelda dungeon. Oddly, the amount of those traditional experiences is low. Instead, it subverts the franchise's expectations with bosses without dungeons and areas to explore that do not conform to the long-running franchise's expectations. The closer you are to a dreamer and an explorer at heart, the higher the chance you will be enchanted into its world.
For those who have played The Wind Waker before, the question remains: is the Wii U version worth it? Visually, any rough edges have been smoothed out, the images are bursting with renewed clarity and vibrancy in widescreen, and the journey is brighter for it. Some prefer the original look. It's like choosing between two wonderful landscapes in an art gallery -- make a choice by experiencing it beyond screenshots or movies.
Due to common and long-standing complaints, Nintendo has tweaked various elements like sailing, using the grappling hook, a certain hunting quest and the Nintendo gallery. Elsewhere, little additions like Miiverse messages that wash up in bottles upon the shore add to the dreamy escapism. A Hero mode is significantly more demanding.
Unfortunately, Nintendo says the missing dungeons were later used in Twilight Princess, but surely they could have designed entirely new ones. They've done it before with Link's Awakening, so that sounds a lot like an excuse. Even 10 years later, Wind Waker has areas that still feel unfinished.
Still, an unfinished masterpiece is still a masterpiece. Wind Waker HD awakens the dreamer.