Dear friends, it's time for me to write my entry for this month's prompt for Band of Bloggers. We've been asked by some handsome gentleman to write about a game we fell in love with over the course of a summer.
I never owned a Gamecube, sadly. When the Wii came out, I did buy a GC controller and a copy of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. I was very excited to play it. I had played Twilight Princess prior to this (which I loved), and I just wasn't sure what to expect from TWW gameplay-wise. But I was blown away. It was so fun. But I got stuck, and probably not where you're thinking. Around halfway or so through the game, you reach a point where you need to find two sages that play musical instruments in order to unlock the next 2 dungeons. I had absolutely no clue who these characters were. I was at a total loss. The game seemed to give me no hint as to what to do next. I was really bothered by this. It killed my momentum and I quit playing.
Fast forward to 2016. I graduated college and moved back into my parent's house for a bit while I looked for a job. I got on a major Zelda kick at this time. And I started with The Wind Waker. I was eager to give it another chance. I played it and managed to beat it this time! I have no shame in admitting that I used strategy guides, either. I wasn't gonna get stuck and quit. I'd like to just talk briefly about a few things I really liked.
When the art style was first revealed I was young and stupid. When i saw it in Electronic Gaming Monthly I thought it was ridiculous. As an adult, I've come to appreciate how beautiful it really is. The color just pops. The world feels so vibrant and full of life. It looks as good today as it ever did. As many people of said, Twilight Princess has not aged nearly as well. It just looks bizarre and uncanny these days. This isn't the case for TWW.
Sailing is great fun. I will say that, after I initially gave up on the game, I played Phantom Hourglass. I loved the system in that game where you'd plan out a route for the ship and then you basically get to enjoy the ride and shoot stuff as you go along. But it does lack tactile control. TWW's boat feels great to control (except when you overshoot a destination and have to change wind direction). I just really like sailing the seas and finding adventure. It really doesn't get old throughout the playthrough. I'll also mention that the King of Red Lions is the second best companion character, after Midna.
The character design in TWW is top-notch. Characters are so expressive! And I just love the look of the Rito. It's supremely silly, but I find it to be delightful. They look like cosplayers that somehow learned to fly.
I think TWW has excellent bosses on the whole. I will say that I despise Puppet Ganon. It is stupidly difficult and random. But the rest are just fun to fight. The final fight with Ganondorf is probably my favorite final boss of the series.
I love the ending. The King of Hyrule spent way too much time watching The Last Jedi and has decided it is truly time to kill the past. He let Hyrle fade away so that future generations can make a new life for themselves. They no longer need concern themselves with the endless cycle of destruction which they inherited. He wants his posterity to be free and to forge their own path. I will mention here that I haven't played Spirit Tracks. But I truly despise how it's based in "New Hyrule," completely negating this marvelous ending. If you buy into the concept of a Zelda Timeline, TWW should be the perfect ending point for the story. Everything else (except for Phantom Hourglass) should take place prior to it. Unless you want to do something creative in a new land with new stories, a la Majora's Mask.
The last thing I'll mention is combat. Swordplay is great. I think it's the most fun that Zelda ever achieved. And much of this credit actually goes to phenomenal enemy design. Each enemy functions differently. They all have specific strengths and weaknesses. None of them are necessarily hard, per se. But they're all fun. It behooves you to mix things up. You use other items besides your sword. You can even take weapons dropped by enemies and use those to your advantage.
Overall, The Wind Waker is my second-favorite 3D Zelda (behind Ocarina). It's great fun. It was a fantastic game to play while I was stuck at home waiting to hear back from job applications. I would like to play it again. Part of me hopes that Wind Waker HD gets a Switch port, but we'll have to wait and see on that.
Let me know your thoughts on Wind Waker down below, and don't forget to write your own blog about a summer game!