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The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

Nintendo’s GameCube was just like the Wii U in so many ways. It too experienced a difficult launch and likewise failed to truly penetrate the mass market. This costly combination of factors quickly led to the abandonment of the console by third-party developers.

Of course, like the Wii U, the GameCube did benefit from a steady stream of golden tickets provided by Nintendo and its support studios. Pikmin and Luigi’s Mansion were introduced, Mario Kart: Double Dash and the first-ever first-person Metroid appeared – and then there was the cel–shaded delight that was The Wind Waker.

Legend of Zelda: Wind Walker

Hello, sailor

Skip forward 11 years and here we are again, game character Link being part of a small rearguard action fighting to stave off the premature demise of the new Nintendo console.

The Wind Waker HD is beautiful. It actually makes the majority of HD makeovers look like shoddy jobs at best. Those big bold cartoony visuals – impressive in the days of the GameCube – are simply stunning in HD.

Link’s every wink, nudge, grimace, smile and wry glance is lent a new dose of character and humour. Watching the sunset as he cruises across the sea is a joy to behold. The visuals catapult us right into his ocean-covered world of forsaken castles, tropical islands and pirate-infested waters.

Legend of Zelda: Wind Walker

Eye ’toons

It seems somehow pointless to carp on about The Wind Waker’s quality. It’s a dungeon-hopping, equipment-grabbing, boss-hacking, high sea-sailing adventure that oozes virtue. That it sits at the top table of any comparative list of Zelda titles is surely praise enough.

What’s perhaps more pertinent is to ask whether it's a game worth exploring again? To that the answer is a firm "yes", albeit with the qualifier that I assume you're a fan of RPGs or in the market for something more than yet another shooter. Oh, and you're a Wii U owner, of course.

That latter point is the only concern I have. For good though The Wind Waker is, I can’t see a remake being enough to convince many Xbox or PS3 gamers to pull a wad of cash from their pocket. Especially with the One and the PS4 almost upon us.

Legend of Zelda: Wind Walker

Bug hunt

Even a remake this sumptuous, which introduces GamePad-inspired shortcuts to map viewing and item equipping, and which fixes numerous issues too, will be hard pushed to encourage buyers to buy another new console right now.

Still, here's hoping Wind Walker shifts as many copies as Nintendo need to make this first HD remake into a series. For who wouldn’t want to see remastered versions of Nintendo's GameCube and Wii classics appearing at regular intervals – particularly if prepared to such a high standard as Wind Walker.

Game Score 4.5
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