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This week, Zero Punctuation reviews The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker HD.

TranscriptEdit

I suppose the biggest release of the week would've been Pokémon X and Y, and while I'd've loved to use the phrase "I opted for Pokémon Y because that was the question I kept asking myself", I think we've pretty much covered all this with Pokémon White. Pokémon is like anti-psychotic medication: designed for use by mad people and for some reason it just doesn't work on me. And while it might be momentarily amusing, seeking my opinion on Pokémon is, at this point, like seeking the opinion of Charlton Heston at the end of Planet of the Apes: "'God damn us all to hell,' you say? That's exactly the kind of outside-the-box perspective we need on this planning committee!"

Fortunately, Nintendo always have something for everyone, as long as they're under the age of 9, and also recently put out an HD remake of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker for Wii U, which just so happens to be one of my favourite Zeldas so fuck it; it's been a while since I did the retro-review thing, and the only mon I'm willing to poke is the mons pubis, if you see what I mean.

Wind Waker was, of course, originally for the GameCube, the last console Nintendo made for normal people, albeit with a controller envisioned by someone looking through a kaleidoscope. Wind Waker pioneered a cartoony cel-shaded aesthetic that, at the time, garnered a mixed response from the neophobic cretins of the world, who have all since cracked their skulls open on their vintage tin lunchboxes to the delight of a grateful nation. While most attempts at realistic graphics from the GameCube era now look like SkyNet's ill-fated attempts at Play-Doh-based Terminators, Wind Waker's exaggerated characters and flat colours looked fine and still looks fine. It's still pretty much the only Zelda game in which Link has the ability to actually convey any emotion, besides "doped up by  tranquilizer dart" or "momentarily surprised from being hit by a tranquilizer dart."

I can only imagine the panic at Nintendo's HD remake department when they were given this job:

"It still looks fine!! What can HD possibly add? Make the GUI smaller so that we can fill even more of the screen with featureless blue ocean?"
"Calm down! We'll do what we usually do: keep adding bloom 'til it looks like your glasses need cleaning."

What I like about Wind Waker over, say, Twilight Princess, is that it doesn't take itself so fucking seriously! Link is dripping with visual personality entirely distinct from the player's actions; he's profoundly thick, almost to the edge of the special school spectrum, but earnest and endearing with it. He doesn't put on the green uniform because he was destined to by the will of the Force or whatever it is, but because his nan was forcing him to take part in Ocarina of Time cosplay. And you can wear lobster-patterned jim-jams instead after the formality of the first playthrough. I couldn't picture Twilight Princess Link rocking the lobster-patterned jim-jams, unless they'd been soaked overnight in a grimy pond.

The point is, Wind Waker Link doesn't march about with self-righteousness jammed up his arse like a frozen tentpole 'cause he's naturally destined to be oh-so-bloody-great at everything; he's a character, with flaws and goals: rescue sister, drink soup, take photos of everything for some reason; that's engaging! A cardboard mute predetermined by fate to absentmindedly bumble his way to success is not! Admittedly, that sort of thing does start seeping its way into Wind Waker later on when Princess Zelda shows up and starts blandly puppy-dogging her way through every scene, but by then I'm invested!

I can see why the sailing turns people off Wind Waker, which is like saying "I can see why internal hemorrhaging turns people off having sex with Godzilla;" sailing's a pretty major fucking part of it. You have to make lengthy journeys across open sea to get absolutely anywhere, occasionally being harassed by what look like juggalo helicopters; every time you want to make a turn, you have to stop and do 2/3 of the YMCA dance to make the wind change direction; and, if you want to map the ocean, you have to find the one fish in every single sector who will update your map if you feed him crumbs, and let him talk your ear off for five minutes like a mother you never call, Link having gone out of his way to bring a shield he barely uses, but didn't think to pack a fucking biro.

But I like it, because the huge ocean unbroken by loading screens lends the game that eternally-misused adjective, "epic", and all kinds of adventures could ambush you on the way from A to B: maybe a giant squid will attack; maybe you'll stumble upon the island of topless cucumber farmers. And, from a certain point onwards, you can just warp around if you're the kind of person who fast-forwards through the titty shots in Shannon Tweed films; but in the remake, there's a faster sail you can find that automatically changes the wind for you, which is like fast-forwarding through everything but the titty shots, so well done there, but no sign of an unlockable ball gag for the fucking fish!

The remake is weirdly selective about improvements: previously, for example, towards the end of the game you needed to find seven charts marking the locations of the Triforce shards, at a point when the sailing back-and-forth is finally wearing thinner than a cheap dress shirt crossing an event horizon. But now there's only three charts, and the other four shards are just where the charts used to be. I'd've said to go whole-hog or not-at-all; Mr. Fun should push Mr. Boring out the window and start a meringue-fucking party, not strain to meet him halfway. Does the remake fix Link's tendency to target everything but what you actually want him to target, which mires an otherwise-perfectly-fine combat system like an angry duck in a bubble bath? Does it BOLLOCKS! Instead, you have a new ability to take selfies and put them in a bottle for other players to find, like the oceanic equivalent of Instagram. Moving with the times I suppose; moving into a roadside ditch full of self-satisfied cum.

And one last unfixed thing worth noting is that Wind Waker's economy is fucked. You get thirty bombs and thirty arrows right off the bat, and every other enemy drops item-refill piñatas, so you never run low on anything. And then there's potions! If you bring a bunch of snot dribbles harvested from dead slimes to the potion man, you can get a potion that restores health, or magic, or health and magic if you hunt the very rare blue slimes because you're mad. OR... you could go to your nan, who will give you two potions that will restore your health and magic, and double your damage, for free, and you needn't so much as exchange nods with the slime forest. "Naaan, your hearty soup is flooding the potion market! Fuck Ganondorf, we need to save you from getting your kneecaps broke by the fucking potion teamsters union!"

OR-OR... fuck potions, and get by on heart pickups that constantly rain from the enemies like the organ donor van exploded! So that's not fixed, but then I suppose there's a limit to what the remake can fix before it stops feeling like Wind Waker. And for what it's worth, this is Wind Waker; same game, same recessive potion industry, same repetitive fucking music, and it's good! 'Cause it's Wind Waker and Wind Waker was good. That's about the final word. Except for this one: "MINGEGURGLE".

AddendaEdit

  • Getting his sea legs: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
  • People complained about the cartoonish anatomy but then island communities are known for being rampantly incestuous
  • Would the consequences be so grave if maybe we didn't catch 'em all

ScreenshotsEdit

Wind Waker HD 1

Keep adding bloom 'til it looks like your glasses need cleaning.

Wind Waker HD 2

Every time you want to make a turn, you have to stop and do two thirds of the YMCA dance to make the wind change direction.

Wind Waker HD 3

That's about the final word. Expect for this one: "MINGEGURGLE".

Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017 · Strafe
Q3 Get Even · Hollow Knight / Dead Cells · Fifth Console Generation · The End is Nigh, and Yonder: Cloud Catcher Chronicles · Pyre · Splatoon 2 · Hellblade · Agents of Mayhem · Sonic Mania · Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle · Destiny 2 · Metroid: Samus Returns
Q4 Knack 2 and SteamWorld Dig 2 · Cuphead · Hob and A Hat in Time · Middle-earth: Shadow of War · The Evil Within 2 · Super Mario Odyssey · Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus · Assassin's Creed Origins

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