The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Review

So it's come to this.

What's going on, Nintendo? First, you give GameCube owners a "beach world" expansion pack to Mario 64. Then, you get an American developer to turn Metroid into the only type of game Americans know how to make, a first person shooter. Now, you screw-up a Zelda game!? Lots of people say you'd be better off as a software-only company, but after this debacle I'm not so sure about that.

I'm not even going to debate the "toon-shaded" graphics. I think they're beautiful, but some people hate this style. Personally, I'd be far more concerned about the massive flaws in the "gameplay" itself.

Sailing around in a boat is not fun! The whole world is covered in water, so you never know exactly where you are. This leads to pausing the game every twenty seconds to see if you're still on course. Furthermore, it takes forever to get from one island to another. On one particular voyage, I pointed the boat towards my destination, opened the sail, and then left the room to go make a sandwich. Upon returning to the game, I still hadn't reached my goal. Why couldn't we explore the lush green fields of Hyrule instead, Nintendo?

Of course, the real meat of any Zelda game is exploring and solving the dungeons. Wind Waker features the most pathetically simple puzzles of all the Zelda games to date. If you're smarter than a monkey, you won't get stuck once. Even the bosses are a joke. This was the first Zelda game I was able to complete without dying once. The short length and overall ease of this game is fuel for the fire to those that say Nintendo makes games for infants, which they obviously do.

Finally, I'd like to mention the "gameplay" element that offended me the most. Towards the end of the game, you need to find the pieces of an item. In order to do this, you must use your sea chart (map) to discover eight more sea charts. Then, you use these eight charts to locate where to dredge for the pieces in the ocean. But wait! You can't just read the eight sea charts! You need to take them to a character in the game who will translate them for a king's ransom in money.

Bam! It's just like running into a brick wall. Instead of including eight more dungeons in the game, Nintendo opted for rupee (money) collecting. Yes, Nintendo wanted me to spend a couple hours earning money in a video game, which is actually kind of funny since I paid them real American money for the opportunity to do this. If it weren't for my Action Replay (the wonderful cheat device from the fine folks at Datel), I know this is where my quest would have ended.

The fact that critics hail flawed games like Wind Waker as perfect is all the evidence anyone needs to see the state of the video game industry. While this new Zelda game isn't terrible, it doesn't deserve all the praise it's receiving. In any case, Nintendo will use the fumes of the previous and much better Zelda games to sell far too many copies of Wind Waker.

Action Replay
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