10 Reasons Why You Should Play Wind Waker For Its 20th Anniversary

There's still time to play this fantastic game before Tears of the Kingdom releases.

wind waker hd link and tetra Image source: Nintendo

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker turns 20 years old today; it was originally released in North American markets back in 2003 on the GameCube. The game was initially seen as a departure from the more mature-looking Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask on the Nintendo 64, but eventually it became a beloved classic of the Zelda franchise.

10 years after the game released, it received a remaster on the Wii U called Wind Waker HD, which improved many aspects of the game such as better graphics and quality of life changes.

Whether you choose to play the original version on GameCube or the newer remastered version, this is a great time to play Wind Waker to celebrate its anniversary, especially with enough time to spare before Tears of the Kingdom launches in May. Here are all the reasons why you should play it now, especially if you never have before.

Beautiful Graphics

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Image source: Nintendo

One of the most attractive aspects of Wind Waker is its stunning graphics. The game features a unique cel-shaded art style that makes the world and characters stand out from other entries in the Legend of Zelda series. It’s hard to believe that fans of the franchise were hesitant about this style when the game was first announced because it has aged much better than most games from that era.

The HD version of the game takes the original art style to the next level with updated textures, lighting, and effects that make the enviornments look better than ever. These improvements give the graphics a fresh coat of paint, making the world look more vibrant and detailed than ever before.

Vast, Open World

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Image source: Nintendo

Wind Waker features a vast open world that you can explore at your own pace. Within the first few hours of the game, you are a bit limited to where you can travel to, but before long the game opens up and lets you explore the islands of the Great Sea freely.

The Great Sea is filled with secrets and hidden treasures that encourage players to explore every island. Some of the islands have different races and species to interact with, such as on Dragon Roost Island and the Forest Haven. Other islands are covered in ice or volcanic lava or even have underground caves to navigate for hidden items.

Even though the game’s story progresses in a linear plot, the player is free to break up that linearity by sailing and making new discoveries in any order they wish.

Engaging Story

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Image source: Nintendo

Like other Zelda games, the story in Wind Waker features a boy named Link who ultimately is destined to save his world. What makes it different, though, is that saving the world wasn’t the reason why he set out on his quest; instead, he simply wanted to rescue his sister after she was kidnapped.

During his journey to find and save his sister, Link discovers that he is the chosen hero who can wield the legendary Master Sword to defeat Ganondorf. In the Wind Waker, the player learns dark secrets about Hyrule’s past that are a direct result of the timeline split at the end of Ocarina of Time.

For anyone who loves lore from the Legend of Zelda series, this game is a must-play.

Memorable Characters

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Image source: Nintendo

Wind Waker features a wide cast of characters, each with their unique personalities and roles in the game’s story. Each of their backstories help to make the world feel more alive and immersive.

One of the new characters introduced to the series in this game is Tetra, a feisty pirate captain who learns a lot about herself after crossing paths with Link on his journey. Link is accompanied on his quest by a talking boat called the King of Red Lions, who holds secrets of his own.

Link has had family members in other Zelda games, but in the Wind Waker, his family takes a bigger role: he has a sister named Aryll and a grandmother, each of who play important parts in the game’s narrative.

In addition to the main characters, there are tons of other inhabitants of the game’s many islands that Link meets along the way.

Challenging Puzzles

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Image source: Nintendo

Wind Waker features a wide variety of puzzles that are designed to challenge the player’s problem-solving skills and creativity. These puzzles range from simple tasks, such as finding a key to open a door, to more complex challenges, such as manipulating wind currents to navigate through a maze or defeating enemies using specific tactics.

One of the game’s signature features is the use of the Wind Waker itself, a magical baton that allows the player to conduct different melodies to control the wind and manipulate objects in the environment. Using the Wind Waker is essential for solving many of the game’s puzzles and navigating its many dungeons and obstacles.

Other puzzles in the game involve using different items and weapons to solve challenges, such as lighting torches to reveal hidden paths, using the grappling hook to swing across gaps, and shooting arrows to hit targets or solve puzzles. These puzzles are an essential part of the game’s overall design and contribute to its sense of adventure and exploration.

Wide Range of Items

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Image source: Nintendo

Wind Waker features a wide variety of items that Link can use to explore the game’s world, defeat enemies, and solve puzzles. These items range from traditional weapons like swords and shields to unique tools that are exclusive to Wind Waker.

Essential items in the game include the grappling hook, which allows Link to swing across gaps and climb up walls; the bow and arrow, which are useful for defeating enemies from a distance; and the boomerang, which can stun enemies and retrieve items that are out of reach.

The game also features a range of unique items that are exclusive to Wind Waker, such as the Deku Leaf, which allows Link to glide through the air and create gusts of wind, and the Picto Box, which lets Link take pictures on his quest to show to other characters.

Fun Side Quests

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Image source: Nintendo

Wind Waker features a variety of side quests that offer players additional challenges and rewards beyond the main story. These side quests range from simple tasks, such as finding hidden treasure, to more complex challenges, such as completing mini-games and collecting items.

One of the most extensive side quests in the game involves the collection of figurines, which are obtained by taking photographs of various characters and creatures in the game’s world, and the completion of the Nintendo Gallery, which involves collecting these figurines and displaying them in a special gallery.

Players can also participate in various mini-games, such as the battleship mini-game, where players must sink enemy ships, and the auction house in which players can bid on rare items against other characters.

Each of the side quests in Wind Waker offer players a variety of challenges and rewards, adding depth and replayability to the game beyond the main story.

Creative Dungeons

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Image source: Nintendo

Wind Waker features a variety of dungeons that players must navigate to progress through the game’s story. These dungeons range from abandoned temples and sunken ruins to pirate hideouts and ancient fortresses, each with their own unique challenges and puzzles.

One of the game’s most memorable dungeons is the Forsaken Fortress, which is the first major dungeon in the game and serves as an introduction to many of the game’s mechanics. This fortress is heavily guarded and requires the player to use stealth and cunning to avoid detection and progress through the dungeon.

Two other notable dungeons include the Earth Temple and the Wind Temple, each of which require Link to pair up with another character in the game. The player must switch between Link and these other characters in order to solve puzzles and progress through the dungeons.

Fluid Combat

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Image source: Nintendo

Wind Waker features a fluid and dynamic combat system that requires players to master a variety of moves and techniques to defeat enemies and progress through the game’s story.

One of the most significant features of the game’s combat is its use of the parry system. When a player targets onto an enemy, there is a small window of opportunity in which they can parry to circle around in a counterstrike, attacking the opponent’s back side. It’s one smooth motion and is always satisfying to perform.

Another key element of the game’s combat is its use of special moves. As the player progresses through the game, they will unlock new moves and abilities that can be used to defeat enemies and overcome obstacles. These moves range from the spin attack, which allows the player to deal damage to all nearby enemies, to the hurricane spin, which creates a powerful tornado that can defeat multiple foes at once.

Amazing Soundtrack

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Image source: Nintendo

Wind Waker’s soundtrack is widely regarded as one of the best of all time. The music in the game is playful, whimsical, and full of adventure, capturing the spirit of the game’s seafaring world and its story.

A standout feature of the soundtrack is its use of live instruments, including the violin, cello, and flute, which give the music a rich, organic quality. The music in the game ranges from cheerful and upbeat to haunting and melancholic, with each track perfectly capturing the mood and tone of the game’s various environments and situations.

Among the most iconic tracks in the game is the “Dragon Roost Island” theme, which features a lively melody and tribal drums that perfectly capture the island’s unique culture and atmosphere; this theme would eventually become a recurring motif to represent the Rito Tribe in later Zelda games. Also, “The Great Sea” theme is a sweeping, majestic piece that perfectly captures the sense of adventure and exploration that defines the game.

Overall, the soundtrack to Wind Waker is a masterful work of music that perfectly complements the game’s sprawling, epic atmosphere. The use of live instruments and diverse range of musical styles make it a joy to listen to and add to the game’s immersive and unforgettable experience.

About the author

Rebecca Stone

Rebecca is a Staff Writer at Twinfinite. She has been with the site and in the games media industry for 4 years, and she has a college degree in psychology and writing. Rebecca typically covers Nintendo for the site, and she especially loves the Legend of Zelda series. Outside of gaming, Rebecca is an avid Swiftie and enjoys playing with her cat Frisk.