Best of ND 2013: Round Table: The Wind Waker, or A Link Between Worlds?

The staff weighs in on the legendary debate!

By Nintendojo Staff. Posted 12/28/2013 12:00 1 Comment     ShareThis

This story was selected as one of our best from 2013. It was originally published on September 26, during Issue 172.

Earlier this week, we asked you which of the two upcoming Legend of Zelda games you were more excited about: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD for Wii U, or The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds for 3DS. Now it’s our turn to answer that question. A few members of the Dojo staff (plus our special guest, Nathanial Rumphol-Janc from Zelda Informer) are throwing their two Rupees into the discussion. Which title came out ahead? Read on to find out!

Kyle England

It’s 2011 all over again with another holiday filled with Zelda goodness! I’m looking forward to playing both of the Zelda games this year, but I’ve got to say that A Link Between Worlds has me a lot more excited.

Sure, The Wind Waker is one of the greatest games of all time, but I’ve beaten it about four times now. I know the Great Sea like the back of my hand, so I’m not exactly rushing out to pick up the HD remake at the moment. Wind Waker HD looks truly gorgeous indeed, and I’ve no doubt I will be diving into it again in 2014 after the holiday rush of this year dies down. I’m also very happy with the great reviews the game is getting, so hopefully many players will be able to experience Wind Waker for the first time. (And it didn’t take me ten years to love the art style! I liked it from the beginning!)

But still, Wind Waker HD is just a trip down memory lane, a satisfying exercise in nostalgia. What I crave is a brand new Zelda game, and that’s what we’re getting on 3DS. A Link Between Worlds is the perfect new entry into the series. We haven’t gotten a new traditional top-down Zelda since 2005’s The Minish Cap developed by Capcom (I count the DS entries as something in between the 3D and 2D games).

A Link to the Past remains as one of the greatest Zelda games, and I’m very interested in returning to its world; it’s not often we get a chance to do this in the asynchronous Zelda universe. What’s become of the SNES iteration of Hyrule in the intervening years? What sorts of new dungeons and items will we find? Will Chris Houlihan still have his room? The game’s graphics also look marvelous, a return to the cartoony Link from before Ocarina. And I can only imagine some of the brain-bending puzzles we may encounter with the interesting mechanic of Link as a drawing.

So, while both Wii U and 3DS will be getting some Zelda love this year, I’ll be adventuring into A Link Between Worlds first. I hope it will be a refreshing new 2D entry of the franchise after nearly a decade of 3D and touchscreen games. I’m always obsessed with older games, but right now I want something new.

Robert Marrujo

I have to give it up to A Link Between Worlds for a couple of reasons. I think it’s important that Nintendo is diversifying the Zelda line a little bit by shifting back to the franchise’s original 2D perspective. It keeps the series fresh (not that it has ever been stagnant) and demonstrates an understanding on Nintendo’s part that Zelda’s original play control and visual style are as appealing now as they ever were. I’m keeping my fingers crossed hoping that if ALBW is successful, it could spawn a New Super Mario Bros.-like offshoot for the Zelda series. I think having an offshoot Zelda series would allow Nintendo to satiate players’ desires for more frequent trips to Hyrule while allowing it to polish and refine the 3D iterations with less pressure. Plus, I’m just incredibly curious to see if ALBW will have a significant story connection to A Link to the Past. Skyward Sword is home to one of the best narratives Nintendo has ever put out, so I’m hoping for a passing of the torch to ALBW. It doesn’t hurt that Aonuma has stated there are going to be cinema scenes in the game.

Wind Waker HD is barely second for me, by the way. It’s easily one of my favorite Zelda games, ranking right up there with Ocarina and Skyward. The advances in storytelling, combat, and exploration that Wind Waker brought to the series really cement it in my own personal standings. I do wonder if the visuals of this version will feel as timeless a few years down the road, but there’s no denying how beautiful they look. I can’t wait to see every scene again and I’m sure new players are going to be totally blown away. I’d just like to point out the irony of Zelda’s most controversial visual style now being lavished with an intensive graphical overhaul! This re-release on the Wii U also has the potential to open some floodgates of its own, namely in the form of possible Twilight Princess and Skyward HD remakes! I’d probably spontaneously explode if Nintendo announced either, so for the sake of my own personal safety, I’m putting all my chips on ALBW.

Andrew Hsieh

I’m fairly biased about this, because I’ve just gotten a Wii U with The Wind Waker pre-installed, but even though A Link Between Worlds is totally new material, I still have to say The Wind Waker is exciting. “But why?” you might ask, bemoaning my lack of creativity and possible intense boredom (both of which are true accusations). Well, I just happen to really like The Wind Waker. The writing, even more than other Zelda games, is so on-point that even the tiniest of interactions are valuable experiences. Majora’s Mask might be my favorite Zelda game ever, but The Wind Waker brings an incredible sense of goodness that I’m hard-pressed to find anywhere else.

I do mean goodness in its actual sense– as in heart. The Wind Waker pretty much has no pretensions about it. Miyamoto et al probably knew that they had nothing to lose anymore after the controversial cel shading was revealed on that fateful debut, so they went for broke. You’ve got sailing. You’ve got pictographs. It’s just not a try-hard game (I see you, Twilight Princess) and I’ve got to hand it to Nintendo for that. To show it to a new audience is something that I fully support.

Besides, I always sucked at overhead Zelda games.

Nathanial Rumphol-Janc
Editor-in-Chief, Zelda Informer

I feel I have a unique view on this debate because I happen to stem from a rather popular corner of the online Zelda fandom. We actually asked a very similar question recently of our fan base and it’s interesting seeing the various reasons. Still, the fact remains that A Link Between Worlds is a brand new Zelda game. I have absolutely no idea what to expect from it. More importantly, I have no idea what the story holds for us Zelda fans. I also really like the concept of going back to that 2D top down style, even if there is a 3D element to it with the wall painting mechanic and obviously the stereoscopic 3D effect.

On the other side of the coin, I really like The Wind Waker. Having ran Zelda fansites for 14 years, I am actually ashamed to admit I have never beaten The Wind Waker. I simply couldn’t get past the tedium of the Triforce Quest when I was in high school. Life was moving a million miles an hour back in 2003 for me and the Triforce Quest just seemed like it bogged me down to the point where yes, the game just wasn’t fun. Thankfully, Nintendo has rectified that. Like Andrew I too already have the The Wind Waker HD Wii U Bundle, which I chiefly got for the slick limited edition GamePad, but I definitely can’t say I regret the ability to play The Wind Waker in full HD. Who knew back in 2003 that The Wind Waker would be the first true HD Zelda experience a decade later?

I do understand why some will be more excited for The Wind Waker HD over a brand new experience in A Link Between Worlds. Outside of the fact that console Zelda’s are more popular, there are many Zelda fans who never got the chance to play the game the first time around, and unlike every other Zelda game out there… The Wind Waker is the one game that never truly got a re-release. Add on arguably the best sound track in the series along with some of the most varied button mashing combat to date– there is simply a lot to like about the game even if sailing isn’t really your cup of tea.

Still, A Link Between Worlds is an all new experience. I have no idea what to expect and it has the ability to surprise me in ways a remastered Zelda game can’t. I already know how The Wind Waker ends. I know how it plays. I know all the key plot points and I’ve seen every dungeon and boss. Nothing beats a brand new experience with so many unknown factors.

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One Response to “Best of ND 2013: Round Table: The Wind Waker, or A Link Between Worlds?”

  • 1244 points
    lukas85 says...

    yeah it’s hard to choose, but as cool as the new zelda is i don’t think it reaches the level of awesomeness of the wind waker hd, granted, i haven’t beaten a link between worlds yet, so my opinion ay change, , i’ll be back to this post once i finished both games.

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