Author Topic: An oldie review I did on Wind Waker  (Read 1773 times)

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Offline GoldenPhoenix

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An oldie review I did on Wind Waker
« on: August 18, 2006, 12:12:18 AM »
Have you ever been depressed or hurt by an event in your life, but when conversing with a good friend your spirits were lifted? I hope you have. Even if some may find the idea laughable, to a lot of us, playing a great game can be like a best friend at times. It can alleviate your worst days and bring joy to your heart like a pot of gold does for a Leprechaun. Even in some ways in which books and movies never could achieve, for we are that character; we are part of their being, controlling their every move.

If you are a gamer and also have some close friends that are not made out of designed programming phrases and modified circuit boards, you are a very lucky individual indeed. You have the best of two worlds, the abstract and the physical. I just met a new friend who happens to be part of the cybernetic bloodline of a famous series of games. This game that raised my spirits to joyful heights is known as Zelda: Wind Waker, from Nintendo. It truly is a taste of gaming bliss that comes around only once in a great while.

There isn't much elaboration needed in explaining the history of this game. All an individual needs to know is that when the next Zelda was changed from a realistic ''grown-up'' to a toon-shaded adventure, there was an uproar of angry fan boys of the N64 Zelda. Not even the Greek god, Zeus, could silence their woes. There was whining and crying like never before in history (well maybe that is a stretch but not far from it); boohooing was heard from all over the world. Fans would scream like Banshees. Phrases like ''Zelda is meant to be realistic looking'' were shouted, forgetting the roots of the series that was strongly based on a cartoon world. Never before had I seen so many people second-guess the creator of a series as they did with Zelda WW, but luckily, the creator was right, and these particular gamers were wrong. That concludes the history of this ridiculed game. Those that can keep an open mind will find a charming and eloquently designed game in their paws.

Never before has so much character development been integrated into a Zelda game. By the time you have completed your adventure, you will be so attached to the characters that you may actually feel for some, and that includes the villain of the game. Kidnappings, amazing revelations, villainy, love, sadness, laughter, etc., is all here in this enthralling and interesting plot. You will be sucked into the game farther and farther as you dig into the depths of this huge world, which is hampered by only one section of the game.

When you begin your adventure to uncover the above-mentioned events, you will be shocked into silence by the amazing visuals and just how vast the world seems. No Zelda game has had a world this humongous to explore. Even though it is largely oceanic, you will find islands littering the waters like greasy popcorn left by sloppy moviegoers within a theatre. Unlike the popcorn, though, you won't be afraid to touch and feel these islands by exploring them to your heart's content. This is what makes the game so amazing; you can go anywhere and do almost anything as you progress through the game. To be able to complete the game, you will need to explore this great ocean, unless you use a strategy guide, but we all know you wouldn't do that. In addition to being an integral part of the quest, these islands provide distractions that will reward you with heart pieces, rupees, and other items, if you take the time to look around. In case you are concerned, though, you really don't need the latter to finish the game. Just like any side quest, they are just there for your amusement.

To journey to these lands, you need to travel the seas with your ship. Along the way, you will encounter various enemies and hidden items. Some examples include Jaws-esque sharks that send such a shock through your boat from a collision that Link falls out. There are also some very big foes that are waiting for you to accidentally fall into their grasp. In addition to the enemies, there are also treasure chests hidden throughout, which you need to dredge up from the bottom of the sea with an item you receive early on in the game. Now this all may not sound too exciting, and yes, it does get tedious at times, but the sense of what is in the distance will keep you going. In case you are a far cry from Christopher Columbus though and don't like spending hours sailing and exploring the lands, you can be assured that you will be able to warp to sections of the ocean later on in the game.

Traversing these seas would be a tedious job, since you need enthralling gameplay mechanics and extras to keep things interesting. Here is where the game shines like the morning star pushing through the darkness from its blanketing blackness. You will have over six dungeons to explore, and though this small number may seem ridiculous to fans of Ocarina of Time, you can still suck more time out of this game than any other Zelda. The dungeons and related areas are rigged with puzzles that even the Riddler would cringe with frustration at, even though the answer may be so simple, yet still be so far away. When you finally solve one of these challenging puzzles, you will get an aurora of enthusiasm over your body, bringing a smile to your face. No puzzle is too hard, and they all fit into the Zelda universe perfectly.

The dungeons range from a forest that even Tarzan couldn't survive in that is filled with carnivorous plants and multicolored snot balls that your little brother would be proud of. In another dungeon, you'll run into a fiery pit full of devilish creations from burning bats to agitated centipedes that need a good smack in the mouth to calm their nerves.

In these dungeons, you'll encounter some familiar foes and many new ones, from stalfoes whose bony structures would make even Jack Sprat proud of his meals, to the floor masters who are willing to shake your hand, ripping you into oblivion as you're sent back to the beginning of the level. Every character has its weakness, though, and it is up to you to figure this flaw out; even the hardest of characters become easy when you know what to do. This also applies to the boss fights; some are frightening in size, but can be defeated with the help of a weapon or item you found in a particular dungeon. The various strategies vary from pulling a rock down onto a monstrosity's head or chopping off its tentacles like a weed whacker that's out of control.

But none of this would bring excitement to you if your character controlled like Barney after a few duff beers were consumed. Luckily, you are not left wanting great controls. In fact, the first time you face the first enemy, your heart pounds with excitement as if you're a child who's attending his first baseball game. When you pull off a flurry of devastating attacks on your not-so-helpless victim and he blows up in a puff of black smoke, you will get such an adrenaline rush that you will feel like you beat the game. Let's thank Miyamoto for not letting the first enemy be the end of the game, because you'll have many more moments like these. These flurries of attacks range from the spin attacks, to jab moves, to even a timed attack that's never been done before in a Zelda game. They are so responsive and they're assisted by the targeting system that you'll be able to use with ease, along with your player movements. You'll only have yourself to blame if your character turns out to be your enemy's next stuffed Thanksgiving turkey.

With some great gameplay and responsive controls, what could be wrong with this game? Well, a few things, even if they are minor, could've been better. For starters, The Wind Waker that you use to play songs to control various events is so boring that even those who want to be conductors in an orchestra may change their dreams in a heartbeat. After having to play the same song over and over again, you tend to get tired of it, especially if you have to play it over and over again. For example, the Song of Winds has to be repeated in order to change the winds whenever you want to go against the breeze. Another complaint is that the camera will leave you more disoriented than a punch-drunk boxer running into a light post on the local street corner. Though you can be moved freely with the C-stick, you still will be looking at the wall at times while a few foes are ravishing your body.

My final complaint deals with a quest you must undertake about 3/4th of the way through the game. You will experience a downhill slide just like Sisyphus from Greek Mythology. Who had to push a great boulder up a hill and was forced to retrieve it from the bottom, repeating throughout eternity. In comparison you will be experiencing a downhill slide from the previous steady and fun climb moving to the game’s final climax. It is nothing more than a long, drawn out scavenger quest. Just when you think you've completed your first mission, thinking the climb has started again, the fun factor plummets steeply. Thankfully, at the end of this tedious quest, your uphill advance continues until the very end where your boulder slides down gracefully with an answer filled ending to an amazing adventure. That helps alleviate the flaws in this wonderful game.

People may say graphics don't matter, but in the way of this game, they do help to make this a well-designed game. They help achieve the brilliant portrayals from emotional expressions, and just the artistic view this game has taken. Towards the end, you will even be feeling sorry for the villain. You'll feel even more closeness to Link than you ever thought possible. They just seem so alive with the toon-shaded visuals that you may even be able to fool people into thinking you are watching a cartoon from a quick glance. The enemies and the bosses, from the scenery to the dungeons, are just beautiful sites to behold. If there were a complaint to be had, it would be that some of the characters you interact with within towns are very blocky looking. Fortunately, there is so much variety to these citizens' features that you can forgive this flaw. Bigfoot walking around in the local mall wouldn't seem quite as out of place as one of these citizens, who is almost a replica of a famous person that once sung ''Jail House Rock''. In addition to the above, you will be in awe of the visual effects. From reflective lighting, to heat waves, to the explosions enemies create either by their bodies exploding or projectiles thrown at you, you'll think to yourself, ''wow''. Bosses, as I mentioned before, are gorgeous to behold. Many of them will make your jaw drop to your feet; they're so well detailed that you'll wonder how Nintendo did it.

The game runs at a beautiful silky smooth frame rate of 30 frames per second, which seldom drops. Even at that, it in no way interferes with the gameplay. But, to get this, Nintendo had to make some sacrifices. This may not be one, but the dungeons don't seem much larger than the ones in Zelda: Ocarina of Time. In addition to that, while sailing the high seas, you will experience the ''pop up'' effect where stuff just pops out of nowhere, and you can barely see the waves in front of you. All this is forgivable once you get used to it. Considering how much work they must have put into the game's graphics, you will truly learn to appreciate this graphical beauty when you get halfway through the game.

In contrast to the graphics, the sound just doesn't seem up to par with the previous Zelda soundtracks. Nothing is as memorable as it was in the previous games of the series, though in no way does that mean they are horrible. They're just adequate, nothing more, nothing less. Characters have no voices, but they make sometimes-humorous sound effects while speaking. Even those, for the most part, are nothing to scream or laugh about. The only real redeeming factor is the combat sounds; they really do add a sense of excitement to the game. When you first have a battle with an armed foe, your heart will almost skip a beat when you start hacking at it with your clanging attacks having no effect. That is, until you figure out how to slay it.

Some games that people call 'great' or 'good', sink into the annals of time, never to be brought up again. Wind Waker will not be one of those for me. With the brilliant gameplay and amazing visuals, I just can't imagine time being unfriendly to this title, just like it hasn't tarnished the legacies of most of the Zeldas before it. Some may say it is short, but it took me about 25 hours to complete it. In fact, I completed Ocarina of Time in less than twenty hours. Granted, this may just be a freaky thing, but really, I don't see how, because there is so much to do in this game. From side quests, to even gathering figurines and pictures of characters, you'll never run out of things to do. Some may call this game childish too, but I found it to be the most emotionally packed Zelda ever. Just look at the great character development and at some of the really foreboding and heart pounding scenes. Some parts will even make sadness pass through your heart. This, in my opinion, is what Zelda is truly about. It features a wide range of emotions in fantastic worlds where slapstick humor is still welcome. This is easier to convey in a graphical style such as this, along with another great game in the series called A Link to the Past. So don't miss out. You will get hours of gameplay, and hopefully you'll experience the most emotionally responsive Zelda game in the series. It will definitely be on my list of best games of all time, so let the wind whisk you to Zelda: Wind Waker as fast as possible. Get carried away in the breeze of gaming bliss.

Gameplay - 10 - Amazingly addictive and even with a tedious quest toward the end. The Wind Waker doesn't discount how brilliant this game is. Fun boss battles, great controls, adequate difficulty, and huge lands to explore all add up to make this game one of kind.

Graphics - 9.5 - Almost a perfect 10, but it's hampered down a bit by some blocky graphics and pop up. But don't get me wrong; it's a brilliant looking game nonetheless. It's definitely something I've never witnessed before.

Sound - 6 - Dissapointing, yet it's still adequate for the game. There are not really any memorable tunes; even if you do hum to some, they don't stick in your head.

Overall - 10 - The fun factor wins out here in flying colors!
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Offline Dasmos

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RE:An oldie review I did on Wind Waker
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2006, 04:50:31 AM »

Originally posted by: VGrevolution
Even if some may find the idea laughable, to a lot of us, playing a great game can be like a best friend at times.

Otherwise a solid review.
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Offline couchmonkey

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RE: An oldie review I did on Wind Waker
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2006, 08:36:41 AM »
Mmmmm...greasy popcorn!  Nice work.
That's my opinion, not yours.
Now Playing: The Adventures of Link, Super Street Fighter 4, Dragon Quest IX