Generation 7 has proven to be an era of nostalgia. We've seen many a rerelease and/or remake hit the shelves of stores and the menus of digital console network shops within the past seven or so years and it's a trend that seemingly will not go away. Most recently was the release Ducktales Remastered HD across all major platforms and has been doing fairly well. More recently with the coming of its own release, Zelda Wind Waker HD is now sparking some debate over its validity and value.
There are arguments on both sides I can get behind, so I will start with the good.
Wind Waker HD looks gorgeous, I don't think anyone with an eye for art styles would disagree. With initial screenshots for the game showcasing a newly rendered soft shading kind of art style, the final product much more closely resembles the original "toon shading" style that was popularized on the Nintendo Gamecube. It's pretty amazing to imagine that the tools used to create this are also capable of creating the Zelda tech demo at E3 (presumably since we can assume that the two use the same assets and technology) and are also being used to design the brand new Zelda game for Wii U.
Zelda Wind Waker HD, by and large, is a remake. Using nothing from the original Gamecube game and remade totally from the ground up exemplifies it as a genuine remake of its standard definition grandpappy from yesteryear. However, updated visuals are not the only perks for the game. There are new features that add an element of freshness and flare to the game; most notably the Miiverse and Tingle features.
Miiverse lets you send bottles that contain messages to your friends in their games. Cue the song by The Police. http://www.youtube.com/watc...
Cute and maybe a little fun, but nothing major. Tingle on the other hand was an optional aspect of the original who required a GBA and connection cable to get the most out of him. This issue is rectified in the remake in the full version. The developers have supposedly directed the game in such a way that the player must meet Tingle at some point in the game and naturally the GBA functionality will be mapped to the Gamepad screen. Just to boot (and this is the part I like most) is the first person game made that lets you move around and shoot arrows in first person. This can be used in tandem with the Pictobox camera which of course lets you take pictures of the world and even self-portraits of Link.
Couple this with a fix that lets you obtain a faster and more reliable sail as well as a streamlined Triforce quest, you have yourself a pretty polished and balanced looking game. So in the end I believe it's safe to say that the new features and modifications justify referring to this as a remake as oppose to a rerelease.
The big question; is it worth $60? Here comes the bad.
The short answer is, at least in relation to other HD remakes/rereleases, no. The long answer goes as follows…
Zelda Wind Waker HD being priced at $60 is pretty hefty for a game that basically used a Gamecube game as a cheat sheet. That won't make it any less fun, or in the eyes of any Zelda fan, any less worthy of the price, but not everyone is going to like paying so much for what is essentially an older game made new.
Sony's Playstation 3 HD collections contain more than one of these games (albeit these are more like rereleases, only upscaling the resolution of the content and adding trophies to obtain) and are often priced at $40. Microsoft's Halo Anniversary remake was made almost in exactly the same spirit as Wind Waker HD. The new features included online co-op, online multiplayer (using the Halo Reach engine) and the ability to switch from the brand new detailed graphics to the original Xbox game with upscaled resolution. This too was priced at $40.
So historically speaking, pricing Wind Waker HD so high is definitely a low point and understandably frustrating for some. In my own case, my way of handling it was giving a friend of mine a copy of the GCN game for $20, so I've essentially traded in my old copy for the new game at what I would consider a more appropriate price. Said friend is uninterested in the Wii U but wanted to play the game, so that's how the trade transpired. Everyone wins!
However it's not this easy for everyone. The bundle that includes the game with the Wii U console may be a good way to obtain the game. If it is still priced at $350, you would basically be getting the game for free (or for ten dollars cheaper, plus the shnazzy Zelda Wii U gamepad depending on how you look at it). It's definitely something worth contemplating as far as remakes go.
Anyway, those are my thoughts. What are yours?