It’s coming. In a mere week, the biggest Gamecube game yet hits stores in America. It won’t be long before you will guide Link on a new quest through a new world of water and wind. Here are my thoughts on the impending release of The Wind Waker.
First, as an aside, let me tell you one of the consequences of the game’s release. What can you can expect from my end in the upcoming weeks? Naturally, my articles will now have to do almost entirely with The Wind Waker for a little while. When I’m playing that game, I don’t want to write articles about earlier games any more than you want to read them. Judging by my Inbox, the articles about romance were the most popular. Some of you wrote in with concern that I would not continue to examine the issue. All I can say for now is, “Don’t worry; more articles on that topic are planned.” The article on Malon is actually not the conclusion, even if it looked like it was. No, far from it. Just don’t expect me to come back to the issue for a little while. After all, we’ll have a whole new game to think about!
From a Horse to a Boat
Before I tell you why I’m excited about The Wind Waker, I should mention that there are indeed a few things I’m not looking forward to. I’m not looking forward to the fact that Epona, the beloved horse, has been replaced by a talking boat. I’m also disappointed that the fairy has been replaced with a talking rock. I hope this trend doesn’t extend too deep. Both Epona and Navi and Tatl were living creatures. They were personal, creating a sort of bond with the player simply because they were alive. But now these have been replaced with inanimate objects, even if the ship at least is endowed with a kind of sentience. Was that truly a smart move on Nintendo’s part? I tend to think not. But in the end, these are minor gripes.
Adventure is in the Wind
I’m anxious to see how the game uses the theme of “wind.” Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask had “time” as an obvious major theme. The most recent Zelda game, Four Swords, has wind at the centerpiece. The four Links must battle Vaati, the wind mage. That game even uses the look of The Wind Waker Link. The game couldn’t be said to have much story at all, but The Wind Waker will. In fact, we are told that it has even more story and more conversations than any other Zelda game before it. I am curious to see how “wind” will be brought into the theme just as “time” was brought into the theme of the N64 games. Of course, at first glance, the idea of “wind” is not as heavily laden with human concerns, sorrows, and joys as much as “time.” But wind is a powerful force of nature, and so perhaps the game could set up a classic “hero vs. nature” theme by pondering the questions surrounding the control of nature and the consequences of that control over nature.
A New Epic
But “themes” and so on are certainly not what ultimately attracts me to the game. Above all, I simply can’t wait to play the classic Zelda goodness:
I can’t wait to wander the villages and talk to people. One reason I absolutely loved Majora’s Mask was that I could go certain places at certain times and watch people go about their business, and have a myriad of conversations in a myriad of situations. Apparently, The Wind Waker has even more text than any other Zelda game before it. That certainly piques my interest!
I can’t wait to explore the vast worlds around me. Apparently Hyrule is much, much bigger this time around. Reviews and impressions keep emphasizing what a vast world there is and how many secrets and mysteries are found in that world. And the environments are absolutely beautiful.
I can’t wait to fight hordes of monsters. The new cel-shading style gives it almost the feel of a 3-D version of a Greek vase to me, with all its hideous yet beautifully stylized monsters. Of course, I’m even more excited about fighting new enemies that could make Z-targeting fun and exciting all over again. And having cannon battles on the high seas is a thrill I particularly can’t wait for.
I can’t wait to encounter difficult puzzles. Puzzles that operate on gameworld mechanics, like “Light the torches in the room to make a chest appear,” are easy and fun enough. But I really love the ones that are based (or somewhat based) on real world mechanics. Why? Because you don’t expect them in a game, and so it stretches the mind and makes you think about it more as reality than you would otherwise.
In short, I can’t wait to experience Hyrule all over again. In many ways, this game is turning out to look like a much different experience than its predecessors. So in one sense, I’m excited about it as if it isn’t a Zelda game at all, but rather something new and different. That’s actually a good thing, because the first time through anything is the best time through anything. In another sense, it remains a classic Zelda game, seeming even truer to Miyamoto’s vision of a little boy entering a dark, scary cave. The Legend continues.
Are you just as excited about the game as I am? As always, feel free to direct questions and comments on any of my articles to me, Trahald, at [email protected]