The Wind Waker HD is a Better Remake Than Ocarina of Time 3D

Ocarina of Time is my top game ever, and its 3DS remake, which introduced graphical overhauls, a touch-based menu and inventory selection system, and added gyroscope controls for aiming, is my preferred version. Technically that makes Ocarina of Time 3D my favorite game of all time.

And yet, having seen and played what the Zelda team has to offer The Wind Waker with The Wind Waker HD, I’m convinced so far that it’s actually going to turn out the better remake. Read on to find out why.

All the Big Improvements from Ocarina 3D, Plus More

The Wind Waker HD carries over all the meaningful features introduced in Ocarina of Time 3D: it’s got improved HD graphics, including extended draw distance, better lighting and environmental effects, and higher-resolution characters and maps; it’s got a touch screen inventory and maps; it’s got added gyroscope control for aiming; it’s even got an added aid for conducting the game’s melodies with the titular Wind Waker.

However, it does all this… and goes many steps further.

13_06_12_ww02Players complained about sailing taking too long: now they’ve added an item that lets you move even faster if you wish. And they’ve apparently even found a way to introduce it as a real item in the game’s story, too, so it isn’t just an odd nonsense ability designed to cater to fans’ wishes.

You can also now move around while aiming in first-person using dual-analog control, or a combination of analog and the game’s gyroscope aiming. This feature was already introduced to the series in phases beginning with Twilight Princess‘s Wii version and advanced further in Link’s Crossbow Training and Skyward Sword, but this is the first time we’ve been able to do it in a more traditionally-controlled Zelda. We imagine it’ll be carried ahead to the original Zelda Wii U as well.

The inventory has been improved as well. You no longer have to take up meaningful slots to assign the Wind Waker, the Grappling Hook crane, or the bomb cannon to your ship – they’re assigned to D-pad buttons automatically. The sail is also triggered by pressing the A button once you enter your ship. It makes inventory management during the transition from sea to land just that much smoother. I know when I played, I always had the Wind Waker in my inventory, even when I was exploring, but now I’ll have an extra slot to assign an action item.

WiiU_ZeldaWW_imageP01_E3If you want to emulate the feeling of “conducting” with the Wind Waker, you have the option of using touch to control not only Link’s baton movements but to adjust the direction of the wind. It’s not necessarily ideal for everyone, but it definitely feels nicer than Ocarina 3D‘s virtual buttons, which were small and not as intuitive as just using the normal face buttons.

Miiverse has also been directly integrated into the game in the form of Tingle Bottles, which contain messages left by other players. It’s a great way to share experiences, to give pointers to less seasoned players, and to leave surprises for your friends hidden all over the game world – and all the while, it doesn’t introduce too much into the main game experience. You can also store more pictures via the in-game Pictograph Box to share later with your friends via the social service. This should make completing the Nintendo Gallery much easier as well.

Add all this on top of Off-TV Play on the Wii U GamePad and currently undefined refinements to the dreaded Triforce Quest, and you’ve got a more robust improvement to the original than Ocarina of Time 3D ever was.

A More Faithful Remaster

Ocarina of Time 3D updated the original’s graphics with better models, animation, and textures, much of which was modeled to look more like the character artwork. Additional objects and 3D maps were also added to places that seemed sparse or that were pre-rendered in the original game. The result was an up-to-date Ocarina of Time, but in the process, many found it to be unrecognizable in places.

The Wind Waker HD is a much more faithful recreation of the original. Most of its visual improvements involve graphical effects like draw distance on the Great Sea and the widescreen aspect ratio, not changes to any of the models or textures. In fact, if you compare the two games closely, you can see that most of the textures are drawn literally identically to the original game – they’re just rendered at a higher resolution.

Purists will love it, and because the visual style holds up so well anyway, people don’t have to worry about the changes impacting their memories of the game too much.

One significant difference that I’ve noticed is that the color palette is much brighter. Just compare these two shots:

WiiU_ZeldaWW_scrn01_E3 wind-waker-original-colors

That’s a pretty noticeable change.

All told, though, The Wind Waker HD does a great job of capturing the original’s graphics in an almost pristine remaster; Ocarina of Time 3D had to go in and completely revise some things to impress.

Do I think Ocarina of Time 3D is a bad game? Obviously not. It’s my preferred version of the best game of all time. And truth be told, it does have a couple things on The Wind Waker HD: the inclusion of a tougher redesigned Master Quest and the addition of a Boss Challenges mode. All told, however, I think The Wind Waker HD does a better job of updating its original for a new platform with new features and improvements.

What do you think?

More on The Wind Waker HD:

  • Eoin Hanan

    I feel that the inclusion of master quest has not been bested by any of the little tweaks which Wind Waker HD has to offer, the only reason i am not going to get it is its lack of a second difficulty level, cause id put Wind Waker as the easiest Zelda to date, which is my main criticism of the game, not the lack of dungeons (defo number 2 problem), the slow sailing or the fetch quest

    • ashfire

      you could already get masterquest separately before ocarina 3d. they just decided to include both the original and the masterquest in the remake.
      windwaker doesn’t have a master quest.
      the reason ocarina even has a master quest is because miyamoto wanted to release 2 zelda games in 2 years. (we ended up getting majora’s mask instead, but master quest was released later)

      • Eoin Hanan

        i know all of that just i never had a chance to pick up master quest, and believe that many are in the same position as me, and its not that i expect a wind waker master quest (i would love that but i know it would take to much time) its that i want a higher difficulty level in the same way that skyward sword offered a higher difficulty, albeit you had to complete the game first, which i hoped nintendo would ditch

    • Igos Du Ikana

      Skyward Sword was definitely just as easy if not worse in that department than Wind Waker. It is like the same or less difficulty except you are crammed in a linear corridor with only one obvious path and a bunch of “puzzles” that are more like padding than actual challenges. And the same recycled combat from the first hour of the game that never becomes anything more than it was to start with and thus wastes all of the awesome potential that the motion controls could have had.

      • Eoin Hanan

        you are clearly in a very negative minority. While i agree to a certain extent that the linear nature of the game proved to be a hindrance to the game but lets face it the puzzles in wind waker were no more of a challenge either, I would argue the sword combat did get progressively harder, even if you dont agree with this it was clearly the same case with all zelda combat if you reduce it down, the saving grace of skyward sword was the higher difficulty level after you complete the game.

      • Zeta

        skyward sword was more difficult than wind waker, puzzles were more challenging and the combat was more engaging. In wind waker nearly everything dealt 1/4 of a heart damage or 1/2, and the fancy swordplay was just button mashing. Wind waker was padded to oblivion as well

        • chris

          Wind Waker was so easy that i skipped the heart collecting and beat the game with three hearts. awesome game, way too easy. hope we get a hard mode =

          • Zeta

            same here man, I really liked the game but it was way too easy, SS at least compensated for its flaws with hero mode. WW left me wanting more of a challenge

            • chris

              That head stab at the end was the single greatest gaming experience I’ve had in a lifetime of gaming. I literally jumped out of my seat and punched the air while screaming. I probably would have jumped up and punched through the ceiling if the difficulty was challenging and I actually felt a sense of accomplishment, but all i got was an awesome cut scene. =/
              Wonder if we can get some modders to up the challenge if Anouma decides to keep it at the same level.

              Nothing has topped that moment so far, or even came close.

      • Agumon_Ql_Sabio [Lvl 13]

        You are, simply, wrong. Skyward Sword was way harder than WW, and if we are looking for easy zelda games, look at TP. I played SS and TP the same year, and played Skyward Sword first, it took me like three months, while TP took me just one. The puzzles in SS where difficult, the bosses where challenging and the combat was awesome.

  • Alex Plant

    One point I forgot to address in the article:
    You have things like streamlined boots-switching in Ocarina of Time 3D, too, which serves to make the experience comparably better much like the streamlined sailing does in TWWHD. However, sailing takes up a much bigger part of the game in TWWHD than boots do in OoT3D. So the streamlined sailing is going to have a bigger impact on improving the game.

    That’s more or less the general tone of the article. OoT3D has comparably fewer adjustments (outside of graphics), but that’s because it didn’t need as many. TWWHD looks more similar graphically, because it doesn’t need to be significantly upgraded in that department, but the added features actually wind up benefiting the game more because it NEEDS them.

    • Nevan Lowe

      It also NEEDS a higher difficulty. OoT3D had one. WWHD doesn’t. :(

      • Alex Plant

        We know they’re “tuning up” the game. We don’t know what that means yet. To be honest, Ocarina of Time is pretty easy, too. And it was mostly just an added difficulty adjustment on top of an already-created Master Quest.

        • Nevan Lowe

          Sounds like they are making it easier. Zelda games have gotten easier and easier and easier over the years. The last hard one was MM.

          • Brad Dodds

            I have a pretty big feeling that A Link Between Worlds is going to be pretty difficult too. Maybe not as difficult as A Link to the Past, but it will be challenging. Most top-down Zelda games are.

            • Nevan Lowe

              Yeah. The Top-Down ones are usually hard. The 3D ones are usually pretty easy (Majora’s Mask is an exception), but hopefully ALBW will be hard.

              • Brad Dodds

                It’s funny you say MM is the hardest 3D game, it’s the first Zelda game I ever beat! I even had OoT before it, but I managed to beat MM first. The most difficult game I have ever played is actually tied between ALttP and AoL.

                • Igos Du Ikana

                  I agree except the first one falls between Aol and Alttp. I think the thing to understand here is that OoT and MM are not insultingly difficult like TP and WW and SS were.

                • Link Hendrix

                  I beat MM first too! I didn’t think it was that hard…(well except the ice dungeon) my real problem with the game was that for the dungeons 2-4 it took me more than the 3 days to figure out the dungeons so I had to start over (the horror…) I recently finished OoT And I thought the puzzles were more…clever? (this might be because the puzzles didn’t make me feel like I was smart unlike MM). rift now Im playing ALttP (you remember how the mouth enemies take 3 hearts. That the same as ganondorf takes in WW! But while I’m playing it I’m having the most fun out of any zelda game I have ever played. Oh and when first played WW I was 7 or so…so I thought it was pretty dam hard.

    • Ghabulous Ghoti

      The boots change allowed me to enjoy what is one of the most well designed dungeons ever.

      The Wind Waker was a perfect game the way it was. It really doesn’t need much work on it. Speeding up sailing is pretty useful, but I really didn’t mind it.


    can’t wait for this

  • Ghabulous Ghoti

    First off, in the comparison images, the one on the right looks miles better, even if it’s lower res, and OoT 3D is tied with Mario 64 DS for best remake ever. 64DS did add way more, but the map that was added defeated the whole purpose of Mario 64.

    Also, how can we judge how good TWWHD is until we’ve played through the entire game?

  • RockyAlboa

    I prefer the visual makeover of OOT 3D than WWHD’s more vibrant lighting and shading. OOT 3D still felt faithful to the original, but at the same time fresh with all the new models, textures and graphics. WW HD isn’t really giving me the same vibe in terms of visuals anyway because it looks similar to the original.

    • Igos Du Ikana

      my opinion is the complete reverse of yours, that said it is all in the eyes of whoever it is that wishes to play the game. I personally found OoT to be very unfaithful to the original in atmosphere where as WW HD looks to be much more indicative of the original so to each his own.

  • Igos Du Ikana

    I really do not see the similarities between OoT’s original artwork and oot 3ds. All of the characters in OoT 3d look younger and it looks like they took the slight build that they had given link in the original IE how he had broad shoulders not ridiculously broad, but more of a lean build. Also there was a significant difference between Link and Zelda’s builds as she was about half of his body mass, and I have played the debug rom and compared them in very close proximity to each other also Sheik and Zelda’s character models are exactly the same size in the original if you want an idea of the size difference. In oot 3d not only does link look a lot younger in the face but he also seems to be very skinny. Also the overly saturated colors do not help and the extra lighting in the darker areas that were meant to be atmospheric IE the final battle was completely uncalled for. Also a lot of the female characters had their bust sizes made much smaller, not that I am perverted or anything but it irks me that they felt it necessary to change something like that as if it was some how inappropriate in the first place. All in all I feel like OoT 3d seems a lot less serious in art direction than the original so it alienated me right away especially with the rolling and jumping animations

  • K2L

    A better remake than another, for me, still means that neither appeal to me. I want all-new games. =/

    • CChaplin

      I don’t see why people complain about remakes since they don’t hold up production of new games… In fact they enhance them, since they give the developers a chance to experiment with new technologies and ideas on a title that people already know without risking a feature on a new title.

  • Cybrus

    I am a HUGE Zelda fan. I have been a devoted fan of the series since I first played OOT and MM on N64 as a teenager. Sadly, I have never played Wind Waker. Due to schooling and a declined interest in gaming at the time, I completely missed the entire GameCube generation. I got a Wii a few years ago and have tried to catch up as much as I could on what I missed, but Gamecube games were more of a challenge. I tried buying 2 versions of Wind Waker from gamestop but neither worked. I also didn’t have a GC controller or memory card. I knew the Wii U was coming out shortly after I bought my Wii, so I decided to wait and see if GameCube games would be released on the Virtual console.

    When I heard Wind Waker was being remade for the Wii U, I was ecstatic. It is one of the only Zelda titles I have not played. I don’t currently own a Wii U, but that’s simply because there are no games I currently want to play. My rule is that there has to be at least 5 games I want to play before I’ll buy a system. I have the money. That’s a non-factor. It’s the games that prevents me from buying a Wii U just yet.

    Wind Waker HD is definitely tempting me to buy a Wii U. I told myself that I’d probably wait until the new Zelda Wii U game came out before I bought a Wii U. But the fact that I have tried twice in the past to play this game…kind of makes me want to grab it up as soon as possible. Guess I’ll find out in October when it’s released if I’ll continue to wait or just put down the $400 for a Wii U deluxe and Wind Waker HD. LOL

    The fact that I’ve read so many positive reviews of Wind Waker HD is only making my urge to play it grow. They have made several changes here, so it won’t be exactly the same as playing the original Wind Waker. But all the changes seem to be improvements. I’ve not read anything where the author thinks a change makes the games worse than the original. It would be very interesting to play both versions, though.

    As someone who has never actually played the game. As a guy that has knowledge from the game just from watching “Lets Play” videos on Youtube or portions of zeldathons. As someone who has zero in-game experience and has only looked at the game from an outsider’s perspective….. Looking at the various screenshots and few videos of the new Wind Waker HD, I actually think the GameCube version looks better visually. I think the new brighter colors of the WWHD looks less appealing visually than the GameCube version. I am still excited to play and will definitely be picking it up when I buy a Wii U..but so far I don’t agree with the general idea that the new one looks better than the old one. My opinion may change when I get hands on experience..and in all likelihood will change with hands on experience…but that’s my first impressions of the game.

  • Zeta

    I find wind waker HD to be the most pointless remake I have ever seen. The graphics don’t look any better than the gamecube version and they’re not fixing many problems that the game had. Ocarina of Time had an amazing graphical uplift and a lot of gameplay elements were improved that it became a new experience on its own. I hardly see any reason to get WW HD if you’ve played the original already

  • DWraySweZ

    god ur all so pretentious!!!

    • Michael Philliber

      thats how all “fans” are. of movies, shows, and video games. they all think they know better how the series should take better than anyone. i get a little sick seeing how fast the people who call them selves “fans” are to attack.

  • Tom-Olav Hundstad

    Wind Waker HD may very well be the better attempt at a remake, but I don’t think it’s the more impressive one, or the better game. Ocarina of Time 3D made far greater steps towards bringing back an old classic and making it a better experience. By comparison, the Wind Waker HD remake seems modest.

  • XTC

    The HD remake is going to be my first hands-on experience with Wind Waker… Needless to say, I am stoked to think that it is going to be amazing!

  • Insert-end

    Original LoZ was the hardest, just sayin.

  • Anthony Stark

    The wireframes/models were definitely revised, they look more “rounded” than the GCN version (which aleady looked rounded anyways). also, Link’s head projects a shadow on his own body.

    Light effects were definitely improved upon.

  • Jorge Yokiro

    Zelda Wind Waker isn’t a very good remake, and Ocarina of Time 3Ds is better by far.