Two weeks ago, I wrote a blog discussing my issues with the Legend of Zelda series. I said that while I really liked A Link Between Worlds, I found Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and even Ocarina of Time (which I completed and enjoyed) to ultimately be devoid of interesting things to do. I got a lot of comments telling me that I was being too harsh on these games, specifically The Wind Waker. So I decided to give it another try. Wind Waker was the game I focused on the most in my argument and I wasn’t sure how I would feel about coming back to it for what would be the fourth or fifth time.
Playing through it again, a lot of my complaints were realized. A lot of the things out in the open sea were not interesting and it still took too long to sail anywhere. At one point, I set sail for my destination, put the gamepad down, got up, got something to drink, looked at the kitchen sink, washed a plate left there from before, dried my hands and came back to the game only to find that I was only half way there. However, I know that my completionist tendencies have sometimes prevented me in finishing games in the past. So I did something I thought I shouldn’t do in a Zelda game: I stopped exploring.
I stopped sailing to every square on the map and stayed on the main path. Only when I grew tired of the main story or saw something interesting on my way to my next destination would I engage with the optional content in Wind Waker. For example, I checked out the auctions and got the swift sail, I got a few heart containers, and I fed bait to every fish I ran into to fill out the section of the map I was in. Playing this way, I found that I was enjoying the game a lot more. I was able to see the strengths of the game rather than the weaknesses.
The combat in Wind Waker is really good. There’s a lot of dodging and moves to do in different combinations. The four hit combo can play out in a lot of different ways. The story actually ended up pulling me in despite the obvious components (Ganon’s the main bad guy, Zelda gets kidnapped) being present. A lot of the dungeons are fun to play through. I grew to like having the items and map on the touch screen ready at any time. Finally, I really liked the ending and the ambiguity yet hopefulness it brings. Yes, I actually finished the game finally!
I did have some new complaints. Ganon is basically bad because he kidnapped your sister by accident and everyone said so. I wish there were more temples as it feels like parts of the game were originally intended to be dungeons rather than one off sections. Also, fuck the Earth Temple. That temple was just annoying and Medli was more irritating to use than helpful. However, I really because enraptured by this little dude in green going out to save the land.
I pretty much when crazy with Zelda after that. I started researching Zelda online all the time, watching videos about the lore of Zelda on YouTube and when I got some money, I bought myself a new wallet with the Zelda emblem on it and several Zelda games. I got the original Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventures of Link, and The Minish Cap on the Wii U, Link’s Awakening DX on the 3DS, and Twilight Princess on the Wii. Am I a Zelda superfan now? It depends on how much I like these games but I’ve enjoyed Minish Cap so far and Twilight Princess has me intrigued.
I have come to the realization that the 3D Zelda games excel more in giving an experience rather than giving a world to explore. While I do enjoy the exploration of the 2D games more, I now enjoy the scope of the 3D games. I was approaching the 3D Zelda games the same way I would a 2D one and I don’t think that’s not understandable. However, Zelda has changed over the years and the focus is different from before. It’s not like I didn’t want to like the Zelda series but I now know I needed to see that they’re great in a different way. I said I would give Zelda another try and I’m glad I did.