Thursday, August 27, 2015

Why Windwaker is better than Ocarina of Time.

Before I delve in to what will undoubtably anger the large majority of Nintendo fans, I want to make something clear. I'm not arguing that Windwaker (WW) is more influential or more important than Ocarina of Time (OoT), so put down that pitchfork. My intention is to show off Windwaker's strengths in light of what most people consider the greatest game of all time.

Also, I realize there is a number of you who haven't finished WW or OoT. And for you, I've pre labeled the spoilers in Blue text.
OK! let's get into the nitty gritty.

Oh, just to drive my point home, for your listening pleasure as you read:

Disclaimer: I've chosen to refer to these games in their original N64 and Gamecube versions respectively.


WW ocean is big. I mean REALLY BIG. OoT's entire overworld fits in 1 block of WW's 7x7 grid. Admittedly, most of that ocean is empty, but It's impressive none the less. Moving around in that huge space has to feel fluid, fun, and engaging, or else you're going to be left banging your head against a wall while moving between islands. And this game delivers. While you're in your little boat you literally feel the winds of adventure blowing! the music is perfect, steering is a breeze (hah, get it?), and I don't even mind the having to change the direction of the wind every once in a while. It makes sailing feel real.



OoT by comparison, gives you Epona. I actually love Epona. She's as much of a character in this game as anyone else. And even though I like the King of Red Lions, he lacks the charm of a horse companion. That being said, actually riding Epona leaves a bit to be desired. As much as I loved her as a character, I didn't use her nearly as much as I would have liked. Riding a horse needs to feel cool, and I feel clumsy.


Let's chat about overworlds. Both Hyrule field and WW's ocean are pretty empty. But they are vastly different in almost every way. you're not introduced to OoT's overworld until after the first dungeon. Which is an interesting way to introduce the player to this world, but are we supposed to really believe that the player had never been outside of his home town before? You're walled in on all sides, and there's nothing you can do about it. That goes for the entire OoT overworld. You're always walled in, and rarely are you given the chance to explore the greater world beyond.

WW in contrast, doesn't introduce the overworld as some big walled-in mystery. the first thing you do in the game is look through a telescope with your sister and all the cool stuff on the horizon! At the time you don't know it, but you're looking at a drop in the bucket. This world is BIG. And there are islands all over it. Both OoT and WW give you a well worn and fully realized world to explore. Both feature colorful NPCs and vibrant villages. But when I approach an island on my boat that I've been eyeing in the distance, nothing in OoT feels like that, except Death Mountain to a lesser extent. Within the first 2 hours of WW, you're given all the equipment you need to explore 99% of WW's enormous map.


WW perfected what OoT invented as far as combat goes. And unfortunately there's not a lot to quantify here. WW enemies were more dynamic, the music hits coincided with sward strikes, the camera was much better. There's just something about how Toon Link feels when you play. I'm not saying that OoT has bad combat, not at all. It invented combat in 3 dimensions, and I'm not downplaying that, but if you ask me which system I prefer, It's WW.

Let's talk about Princess Zelda. 



Zelda Ninja V Zelda Pirate Captain. This is a tough one. As much as I love Shiek, Tetra took command of an all male pirate ship, she heads full force into danger to save the little sister of some kid she just met, she saves Link, and she doesn't even know she's Zelda... Shiek mysteriously guides link along the way, and for some reason decides to hide her true identity from him. I'll just let that speak for itself.

And a few things that make Windwaker wonderful.

- Dragon Roost Island's Music
- Finding random treasure EVERYWHERE.
- Amazing hidden lore
- Those facial expressions!
- That one part where you fight like 40 enemies at once.

Is the Triforce hunt grueling? Yes. But I'll take it. I'll take the flaws because just sailing around is a joy in this game. It was expertly crafted to make even the most mundane tasks fun. Ocarina of Time is a revolutionary game, which is something I can't say about Windwaker in most respects. But when I imagine Link, I don't think about this grim adult game, I imagine the kind of adventure a child would dream up. An adventure on the open seas, where anything is possible.

People scoffed at the art style when WW was first shown off because the expectation was set. Zelda was gritty, realistic, and dark. And you know what? I prefer my Link childish. The real world is dark and gritty, and when I play a video game, I want to escape. I want to be a kid again running around in the woods behind my house with a stick in my hand slaying dragons and finding buried treasure. Windwaker fulfills that desire in a way that OoT just doesn't. And that is why Windwaker is my favorite Zelda game, and why I think it's overall a better game than Ocarina of Time.

So, What do you think? Am I insane? let me know your thoughts in the comments!


  1. Wonderfully written, I must say!! I personally have not played Oot enough to be able to form an opinion, but I've watched my husband play...I've always thought Oot was the best Zelda game out there because it's usually everyone's favorite when asked, so I was quite shocked to hear you liked WW over Oot. It definitely made us curious and we thank you for taking the time to write about it.
    Just from seeing the pictures, I agree that WW has a more calming feeling to it than the dark and scary feeling from Oot. Yes, we definitely need an escape from the dark and gritty reality we face everyday.
    Oot was a bit confusing to me..When I was helping my 5yo son play, I couldn't figure out how to even find the great deku tree, haha!! After we (I) found it, I then realized it was a little too advanced for my boy (and apparently for me too).
    My final thoughts: I can't wait to get my husband this game! You have painted such a beautiful picture of WW and I want to see it in action, I HAVE to see it in action! I also don't think you're insane, you seem like you're very appreciative of what video games have to offer down to the last pixel. Great post!

    1. I'm excited for you guys to experience this game! It's a whole different animal than OoT. Get ready for some Exploration!

  2. You didn't touch on my main gripe with WW (and also Skyward Sword) which is that it's at least 2 dungeons short of a full console Zelda game. Typically the number is 8, not counting mini-dungeons and the final encounter level e.g. Ganon's Tower). I think the only one with more than 8 proper dungeons is ALTTP. Wind Waker only has 5 proper dungeons, and if we're being generous and including Forsaken Fortress we still only come to 6.

    1. It is a factor. I'd argue that the quality of dungeons in WW was on par with OoT. That being said, much of WW's content happens outside of the main storyline, and there are quite a few great experiences that don't facilitate it's own dungeon. I.E. The battle after you get the Master Sword, discovering Hyrule underwater, the Korok Tree Spirit quest, the 7 Submarines. Hell, just randomly bumping into enemies on the open sea! Now THAT's something OoT can't do. If you go into Windwaker with a hunger to explore, you'll be satisfied to the fullest. If you're expectation is a sequel to OoT, well... That it is not.

  3. Hey man, definitely appreciate your views on the games. I do believe that Oot is one if not the greatest game ever, but I am yet to play Ww. You've inspired us to pick it up and set sail! I'll let you know how it goes! Thanks again!

    1. Awesome! Glad I could inspire you. Enjoy exploring!