Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Wind Waker HD @E3 2013

As I already said before, this remake exists for one and one reason only: it could be cheaply made. The Cel Shading visuals allow simple interpolation and can be upscaled without looking bad. Play the original GameCube version on the Dolphin emulator. It already looks amazing there:

Nintendo just added some polygons here and some nice bloom lighting there, and the remake was done! Note how Aonuma solely talks about the lighting in the Developer Direct. Because that's all they done with the graphics!

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. The cinematic HD remake fans wanted for Majora's Mask would have costed tons of money and effort. Money and effort better spent on the new Wii U Zelda title. The Wind Waker HD can be made without getting in the way of a new Zelda game. It's an enhanced port of the original game. Simple, but effective. And that's fine with me. I also like how smooth and fluid it all looks.

And we finally learned some new features of the port:

Tinge Bottles

I originally expected that they would do something crazy with the Wii U GamePad for the Tingle Tuner. So, I was positively surprised that they scrapped the Tingle Tuner alltogether and replaced it with a very charming way of using Miiverse. Messages in a bottle. At first I thought it was stupid, but it has a certain appeal to it. It's also a nice way of integrating Miiverse without forcing it. I'm not a fan of all the social network spamming, but I love how you receive the messages in a bottle that gets washed ashore.

But it leaves a question: what about all the Tingle Tuner exclusive elements? Originally there were five golden Tingle Statues that you could collect from dungeons. They were placed on Tingle's Island. Also, one of the Tingle Siblings, Knuckle, only appears if you looked for him on Outset using the Tingle Tuner. I hope both the Tingle Statues and Knuckle will somehow remain in the game.

Besides this I'm happy that the Tingle Tuner is gone. It was an aweful feature, terribly implemented. Good riddance.

Speed Sail and Picto-Goodness

Ohhh, yes, baby, yes! Probably the best addition they could make to the game. In the original game you could go faster by constantly removing and setting the sail. Basically you would press A and the button for the sail periodically. It was just a small speed boost, but it was something. I guess Nintendo noticed that and adopted it into a new sail item that makes you go faster with A. I like that you have to earn it. But it shouldn't appear too late in the game. After Forest Haven at the latest. And the 2nd Quest should have it right from the start, like the Picto-Box DX.

Talking about the Picto-Box, it now lets you save 12 pictures instead of three! Oh, this is gonna make the Minintendo figurine collecting so much more comfortable and enjoyable. I love it. When I play the remake (and I certainly will at some point, probably not this year, but some time) I'm going to try to complete the figurine collection on the first playthrough like I did in 2011 on the GameCube (that way you can start a 2nd Quest with an already completed figurine collection, see this post). And the new improved Picto-Box is going to make this a lot more fun.

Those are small improvements, but they really count. Sadly there seems to be no way of changing the wind in a quicker fashion. You can control the Wind Waker with the Stylus, but that doesn't really help. You still have to play the song before changing wind directions. It seems like they don't repeat the song afterwards, so it saves a little time, but it's still bothersome. And they still show you the annoying Grappling Hook cutscenes, though it seems to run quicker now... But hey, they really tried to improve the slow gameplay of the original, that's good.

Also, I can only laugh about Aonuma's comment how the sailing would have been too fast for the GameCube. I've played the GameCube version a lot and it's not like it's constantly trying to load new areas. You can always hear the disc move when you get near the border of an area and I'm pretty certain that a faster boat wouldn't have fallen off the ocean. But let him make excuses...

Improving the Triforce Quest

Aonuma wasn't really specific about this, so this leaves me both worried and excited. I know that they are many people, who simply hated that part. But I'm one of the few, who enjoyed it. I generally like these scavenger hunts, for example I enjoyed the similar artifact / key / energy cell quests in the Metroid Prime Trilogy. It's vastly non-linear and makes you re-explore every nookie of the game world.

So, I'm worried that parts get removed or that they dumb it down alltogether. But... the way it sounded was more like they wanted to expend it. And that could work great. The main complaint about the Wind Waker was the low number of dungeons. And this is the part where they can easily add some new dungeons. For example the Island of Steel. In the original version you just enter it and get the Triforce Chart. They could have added an entire dungeon here with a steel theme. There are many possibilities here and I will explore those in a later post.

No infos about the 2nd Quest. I can't stress this enough. The 2nd Quest is the key for this port (I'm not gonna say "remake", because it really isn't). They need to make it harder. Like a lot harder. Like Darknuts crawling Dragon Roost Cavern hard. Make it an awesome Master Quest. If they won't, then the port will be right next to Ocarina of Time 3D on the throne of missed opportunities.


K2L said...

I hope those who paly it enjoy it. I'm positive I won't get this or any other remake. I'm interested in all-new games.

Frédéric said...

Very interesting remarks, thank you for this article

Booker, Salts! said...

I really hope that they don't too much to dumb down the Triforce quest. While it's a little annoying and tedious, I'm planning on showing this game to one of my closest friends for the first time after it comes out and I want them to have the same experience that I did, frustration and all.