Like everyone else in the world, I saw the demo of the ''New Zelda Look'' on the Internet, and my first thought was, ''Surely, this is a joke. A funny joke, but a joke. He doesn't really intend to make a GAME like this! But as time went on, my hopes began to vanish as I heard that Shigeru Miyamoto, president of Nintendo, was continuing work on the Cellda game. My heart screamed out from within my chest. It could not be. Link had always been my hero! He had always been the one tough guy, other than Son Goku, that you could always count on when the chips were down. How could his own creator belittle him with an art style that made him look like a powerpuff girl? The idea of him being a cartoon didn't repulse me as much. After all, some of my earliest Zelda memories come from watching the cartoon on the Super Mario Brothers Super Show, but that version of Link was a teenager, not a freakish mutant. Still, appreciation for the game would all boil down to the game itself, and I would not allow myself to lose hope based solely on first impressions. Then, the game came out, and it got good reviews, so I played it, and beat it within a week and a half. Now, here's my review for...
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Here's how it ranked...
Sound: 4 out of 10
Truly poor. The 4 comes from the sound effects, and the remixes of classic Zelda tunes, but every one of the original music tracks created for this game was dull, bland, and gave you no feel for the world. I felt that unlike the music from Ocarina of Time, the music in this game focused more on being ''catchy'' and less on helping you get into the spirit of the game. This alone was not such a foolish thing that it should deserve three numbers down, but this game STILL had no voices! Sure, every now and then, there would be a tiny sound byte of ''Thank You!'' or ''Ho! Ho! Ho!'' But you have to do a whole lot of reading in between. Virtually all speech occurs in text, and that's awfully mundane, especially considering it's the gamecube we're talking about. This system is supposed to be capable of anything. Yet, full voice talkies were used in adventure games as many as 15 years ago. Why doesn't this game have one?
Graphics: 3 out of 10
As I said during the introduction, the graphic style is not very likable if, like me, you've been playing Zelda because Link is a tough guy. Since each person and object only appears in two shades of a color, you'll find yourself squinting to determine where one object ends and the next begins as you said across endless seas of opaque water. Your eyes will hurt after about half an hour of gameplay. To their credit, Nintendo has done a good job with wind effects, and making clothes and hats blow in the wind depending on it's direction, but it's not enough to make up for the fact that Link, Zelda, and almost everyone else simply looks too unrealistic. Not one character is dark or cool, except Ganon. Ganon is the only one sufficiently dark, and none of the characters are taken seriously, including the monsters! The 3 comes almost entirely from the backgrounds, which would have gotten a 4, except that they were too bright and cheery. A few scenes near the end of the game were dark enough, but not enough to win this grade any more points. Still, if the characters were given noses, and maybe shaded about 10 times as much, and darkened considerably, it would be sufficient graphics for the next Earthbound game, though only since Earthbound graphics were already somewhat like that. Anyway, much more Earthbound in this game than Zelda in regards to graphics.
Gameplay: 5 out of 10
The gameplay gets the halfway grade, because the gameplay was halfway good. After so many years, one would think they would have had time to improve on the gameplay engine they used in Ocarina of Time, and Majora's Mask, but this engine is very similar, and to some degree, repetitive. It's different in some ways, but the differences are so slight that it's rather like hiding a buffalo under a grain of sand. What differences there were seemed to be there to limit Link's range of motion. Gone is the endless galloping across fields, the fishing, the hunting and the races we all love. Got is the option of breathing underwater, or even going underwater at all! After all, it's opaque. Going underwater might be dangerous to your eyesight. Virtually all the items used were recycled items and powers from previous games, except for one that was basically just a toned-down hookshot. All-in-all, the gameplay was charming and fun to play in it's own right, but limited in that it lacked either the volume of ''A Link to the Past'' or the innovation of ''Ocarina of Time.'' The only other thing that really limits the gameplay is that the game is simply too easy. Finding items loses all of its mystery, thanks to the multiple maps of everything the game offers you. There are some reasonably-tough puzzles, but no true mind-benders, and the battles are so ridiculously easy, you'll probably come out of them without a scratch! Most of the enemies that can do any damage to you drop more than enough hearts to compensate, which I consider repugnant. Zelda should be a game of adventure through dangerous lands. It should not be that easy, and once you realize that the battles are basically impossible to lose, and the puzzles are designed more to eat up your time thinking than truly challenge you, and of course that 60% of the game is spent sailing across endless seas, you have to realize that this game is not meant to be a challenge, and therefore, all that is left is a feeling as though your time has been wasted.
Play Time: 5 out of 10
The play time is ridiculous, primarily because you have to sail across endless oceans for most of it. It took me a week and a half to figure the whole thing out, however most of that time was spent either sailing, or fighting battles I could not possibly lose if I tried. I admired the difficulty of Majora's Mask, but this game, though reasonably long, fills that length with virtually nothing, making it feel as though the experience is being dragged out. I think that was rather poor.
Replayability: 3 out of 10
The replay value exists only because you have to play the game twice to get all the items. No joke! All I know is that when I finished the game, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth, and if the story isn't going to change the next time I play it, I have no intention of playing it again. Granted, with single ending RPGS, the beating of a game usually means it's death, but this game took that to a whole new level.
Story Concept: 2 out of 10
A very confusing and overall poor concept. The first sequel in Zelda history, and as we all know, sequels are rarely better than the preceding media. As the story starts out, Ganon escaped from his prison and then Hyrule disappeared. We find Link waking on an island as a cutesy little child. He has a sweet little sister with seagulls that follow her around, and a grandmother who makes him soup. If you're not retching yet, get ready for even more torture. It seems as though Ganon somehow got out of Hyrule and escaped to this new world that Link is in. This world basically consists of several miles of water with about 49 tiny islands scattered through it. In essence, it's a water world. Now, I'm a bigger fan of water and sea life than most people, but the abundance of water in this game depressed even me, especially since the graphics made it look more like milk, you never got to see any non-monster sea life, and you couldn't go underwater at all, which was my favorite part of Ocarina of Time. Ganon still has the Triforce of Power, though, so in order to protect himself, Link must assemble the Triforce of Courage and find the Master Sword to fight Ganon with. That's all good, but Link is not fighting to save Hyrule anymore. He is fighting Ganon to keep him out of... wherever this drenched and dismal place is. Even the ending is depressing. Link will never see Hyrule again and the sea is all that's left. What a depression pill. At the end, you get the option to play again with some differences, but I'm not going through that stupid story again.
Story Presentation: 3 out of 10
Remember that one scene in Ocarina of Time, just after you beat the first dungeon, where you meet Saria on the bridge? Saria talks to you about your future, and she gives you her ocarina to remember her by. Well, its close, but I think there might have been a little more emotion in that scene than there was in this entire game. No happiness was ever felt, no sadness ever appreciated, and no anger truly feared. In fact, the only time I felt anything at all was when Ganon made the scene, since he was the only character who seemed to have real feelings, and therefore, the only one I wound up caring about. All the other characters were so hopelessly mired in cartoony silliness, you couldn't tell what, or even if they were feeling. This didn't make you sad in itself, but since the whole point of the game was to kill the only individual who seemed to have a human soul, I found it the most difficult thing I've ever done.
I usually include an acting grade here as well, but as I said earlier, this game had no voices to speak of.
All-in-all: I'm being generous, and giving this game an overall 3 out of 10.
If my little brother wasn't still playing the game, I'd throw it in the garbage. The items are basically just rehashes of previous Zelda items and powers, requiring no creativity at all, and the game, in it's mundane lack of soul, simply seems to drag on and on with no end in sight. When you finally do beat the game, and find out Link and Zelda's fate, you will feel even worse, because we all love Hyrule so much, and I personally found this world dull. However, near the end of the game, the former king of Hyrule said something that seemed to come right from the mouth of Miyamoto himself. ''This is the only world your ancestors were able to leave you. Please forgive us.'' Perhaps, some day, I will find it in my heart to forgive you, Miyamoto, but not while Nintendo's presence frightens all reviewers into declaring this feast of mediocrity to be the best thing they've ever seen. Not while you show no signs of resurrecting the wonderful hero we all loved as kids and teenagers, and not while you seem so utterly aware of the travesty you have created. Let's all just thank God we have Metroid Prime, and appreciate it while we can, before someone turns Samus into a child too!
Way. too. hysterical.