The Legend of Zelda franchise is highly regarded in gaming circles with the Ocarina of Time regularly featuring near the top of 'Best Ever Game' lists. As a result The Wind Waker had a lot to live up to on release, fortunately Nintendo have yet again delivered.
Taking place 100 years after the classic N64 title The Wind Waker is arguably the most epic in the series to date. The game starts on Link's birthday as he is given the famous green outfit that every boy receives upon reaching a certain age. Before the celebrations are over however his sister is kidnapped and thus begins his quest. Players will soon notice that Hyrule has changed greatly in the past 100 years and following a great flood everyone is forced to travel by boat. Despite this the play mechanics are similar to its N64 predecessors with the islands dotted around the world acting as the usual dungeons with puzzles to solve and enemies to defeat.
Some of these dungeons are perhaps a little similar but a number of minor tweaks and improvements help to differentiate the game from others in the series. Control of Link is now far more intuitive and every action can be executed with a level of precision that even most modern games cannot match with the Gamecubes C-Stick now allowing for manual control of the camera helping to alleviate any line of sight problems. Combat is also improved with enemies offering visual clues as to their next attack allowing the player to react with cinematic attacks if they time there moves correctly.
A sense of scale is maintained throughout the game with players being able to travel virtually anyway right from the get go with only few areas being inaccessible for plot reasons. Travelling across the seas in your boat is for the most part an enjoyable experience with random enemy encounters keeping you on your toes. Strangely it is the Wind Waker instrument itself that is the biggest annoyance. Playing it changes the direction of the wind allowing link to sail in the desired direction but an animation sequence, that cannot be skipped, means this takes far longer than necessary and can be particularly irritating when you need to change direction two or three times to reach your destination.
In it easy to forget any minor problems however when given over twenty hours of gameplay and the best graphics of any game on the console (or most other consoles for that matter). The Wind Waker is an underrated gem in the Zelda series and well worth picking up on the Gamecube or Wii console.