The PlayStation 3 currently has some of the best video game HD remakes available. Sony clearly started a trend by giving some of the best PS2 games a complete HD overhaul. This year, Nintendo appears to be really interested in setting a new HD remake standard
Nintendo has gone above and beyond with their upcoming game, Zelda: Wind Waker HD. The game originally released on the Gamecube will be getting an extreme HD makeover. As most gamers know, today’s HD remakes are not created equal, some HD remakes have been built from the ground up with additional content and impressive visual and audio enhancements, while others only get a lazy resolution upgrade that doesn’t really deserve to be called an HD remake.
Being a game for the Wii U, The Wind Waker HD runs at 1080p and 60 FPS, compared to the original’s 480p and 30 FPS. The remake uses an enhanced version of the original game’s cel-shading, with a full-fledged lighting and shadowing system that allows for more realistic and fuller lighting than the original , as well as subtle bloom lighting to give a sense of “surreal realism”. In low-light areas, the cel-shading gives way to a softer, more realistic shading system. Other shaders are used to increase the expressivity of characters. Textures are the original high-resolution ones created during development of the original game, which used scaled-down versions of the textures to match the GameCube’s hardware capabilities. 2D elements such as icons and the HUD are completely redrawn to match the style of the game’s promotional artwork.
Music in The Wind Waker HD uses higher-quality instrument samples than the original game’s music. The updated instruments are most noticeable in fanfares and some boss themes. Some music includes new instrument tracks, creating a fuller sound. However, most sound effects are unchanged from the originals.
The gameplay in The Wind Waker HD has been tuned up from the original to enhance the player experience. The infamous Triforce Shard Quest was shortened, with only a few shards requiring Triforce Charts to find. Certain item usage cutscenes, such as the cutscene that plays upon usage of the Grappling Hook, have been shortened.
The game includes a Hero Mode similar to that of Skyward Sword, but is available upon the creation of a new save file. Recovery Hearts do not appear in Hero Mode, forcing Link to use potions to regain health. In addition, enemies deal double the amount of damage as in normal gameplay.
The game supports GamePad-only play, allowing for play without a television, as well as control with the Wii U Pro Controller, for those who prefer the more traditional control scheme of the original game.
Because The Wind Waker HD was developed for control with the Wii U GamePad, many control methods have been changed or improved. The Items menu is now accessed through the GamePad, with no need to pause the game. Items can be equipped onto the three item slots by sliding the item icon on the GamePad to the slot icon at the top of the screen. This allows players to switch items quickly. Some items, such as the Wind Waker, are permanently mapped to certain buttons as opposed to being able to be equipped to the three item slots. This allows players to quickly and conveniently access these items, as they are key to playing the game.
First-person aiming of items is achieved through either the left analog stick or the GamePad’s gyroscope. Link can also be moved in first-person mode, though item usage is limited to the Hero’s Bow in this mode.
As you can see and hear, this is almost a completely new game, with obvious time and work put into it its visuals, audio, and gameplay. Hopefully, this sets a new standard for all HD remakes that will follow suit.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD is available for pre-order.