Now, thereís a fair argument in that this bolsters the treasure hunting aspect of the game. Thatís true, but why are some of the best ďsidequestsĒ used in the plot? The aforementioned 50-level dungeon is a great example. Itís fifty levels of tedium thanks to the boring combat (which, to be fair, is the best Iíve experienced in a 3D Zelda so far, but thatís not saying much) which COULD have been made a little more daunting had I stumbled upon it a few hours into the game, but being a major part of the plot progression, Iím forced to wait until Iím already badass enough to wreck it easily. Whatís worse is that you get the Triforce chart after only 30 levels, but exiting the dungeon starts you at the beginning again, so the gameís mild attempt to make part of this sidequest optional is instantly tossed aside when the player realizes they pretty much have to do the extra part right then if they want to do it at all.
Anyway, Iím going to stop ranting quite so much and just sum up my feelings: I like Wind Waker. I had fun with it. The art direction and music are great. It takes the good qualities of Ocarina of Time and Majoraís Mask and attempts to make them into a unique new adventure. However, I think the majority of the plot is forgettable and the game itself is unsatisfyingly easy, with any leftover enjoyment in treasure hunting and sidequesting destroyed by the insistence that you do these things to beat the game.
Iím playing Phantom Hourglass now and itís fun. It has that 2D Zelda feel that I generally prefer to the 3D games with the world of Wind Waker which I really like. I just hope it doesnít ruin itself like Wind Waker eventually did.