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Opinion Analysis Looking back, was Wind Waker the better GameCube Zelda than Twilight Princess?

ManaByte

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This year is the 35th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, and although Nintendo is ignoring the anniversary I've been going back and playing the NES, SNES, N64 and GCN Zeldas (ok, and I played Minish Cap the other night too). I actually think that Wind Waker, in the end, was the better GameCube Zelda than Twilight Princess.

After 20 years a lot of the vitriol might have subsided, but when the game was originally released people revolted against it. At the time, Nintendo fans were really trying to fight back against the "Nintendo is kiddie" image, and Nintendo wasn't helping things much with a purple console that had a handle and then a cartoony Zelda.

It also didn't help that Nintendo initially showed THIS Zelda at Spaceworld 2000:

Only to give people THIS Zelda at Spaceworld 2001:

The demand for a "mature" Zelda spawned memes. When IGN learned of the "mature" Zelda being revealed at E3, they staged the photo that became the "reaction guys" meme. People rejoiced, and Miyamoto won E3 just by swinging around the Master Sword on stage. But in the end, I think Twilight Princess was a more disappointing Zelda compared to what was done with Wind Waker. It feels like Nintendo really trying too hard to win over those people who demanded a dark and "mature" Zelda, but it lacks the fun (and even innovation) that Wind Waker had.

Wind Waker has also aged MUCH better. Its cell-shaded graphics have been more kind to it than Twilight Princess's darker and more realistic take. And I feel the sailing/wind mechanics was something more interesting than the Wolf Link stuff in Twilight Princess (I also don't think Okami helped things much as it was released in the same year as Twilight Princess).

I'm NOT saying Twilight Princess is a bad Zelda game, I just think the years have been much kinder to Wind Waker than its original reception and after twenty years it feels like the better of the two Zelda games Nintendo released that generation.
 
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Kilau

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I wasn’t paying any attention to fan reaction so I missed all that. I was very impressed with Wind Waker when I saw it and yes I enjoyed it more than Twilight Princess.
 

REDRZA MWS

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It always was.
But bitches with bad taste groaned because it wasn't "gritty" or "adult looking".
To this day, I haven't beaten Twilight Princess but I've gone through The Wind Waker several times.
Almost every Zelda game is cartoony/kiddish. To have one a bit more mature is being a bitch? Lmao
 
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Yumi

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Tough call. I think if Wind Waker didn’t cut the dungeons that ended up in twilight princess, it would be more definitively Wind Waker.

Personally, I like Wind Waker more. Better sense of Adventure.
 
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DGrayson

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I liked Wind Waker a lot better. Its one of my favorite gaming experiences. Finding new islands and stuff was so cool.

I really wish they would have finished the ending. I think they cut 1 or 2 dungeons right?
 
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KellyNole

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I wasn’t paying any attention to fan reaction so I missed all that. I was very impressed with Wind Waker when I saw it and yes I enjoyed it more than Twilight Princess.

I agree. Twilight Princess took a little bit to get into. Some of the Wolf sections got tiresome. Still a fun and good game. Just not as interesting as Wind Waker.
 
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Tg89

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Nah. Nothing to do with the style either, the style is the games best asset.

Dungeons in the game are just pretty awful though. Short, easy, too few of them.

In terms of traditional (ie. not incl BotW) 3d Zelda's...OoT > MM > TP > WW >>>> SS
 

Neff

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Not in a million years, no

Wind Waker had a greater sense of freedom and adventure, no doubt. And the visuals are still wonderful today. But Twilight Princess was simply better in every other category- dungeons, locales, items, challenge, setting, music, story, characters... TP takes the GC crown, no contest.
 

UnNamed

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Yes.

Wind Waker introduced few but very important features such as wind, navigation, eyes movements for important objects. Art style was better and the story was really interesting.
Twilight Princess introduced more features but most of them were useless: wolf, sniffing, items like the gear and the statue thing, the knight to learn some new moves. It's a Zelda with no Zelda, but not in a good way as Link's Awakening, just say Zelda was useless.
The only thing TW did better were the dungeon.

WW is a controversial but good Zelda, TP is just a bland Zelda.
 

Moses85

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TWW better than TP?

 

Honey Bunny

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It was certainly more unique. But I find the backlash-backlash about TP silly. The more grim setting really was a valuable addition to the series, just as everyone realised WW's cartooney setting was after the shock wore off.
 

Captain Toad

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I think Windwaker is easily the more popular game, today. It's my favorite 3D Zelda as well.

I still love the asthetics of Twilight Princess and the darker, more mature tone for a Zelda game. But, the game itself just wasn't as good as WW or OoT.
 
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Tschumi

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Without question, for me, tww brought the series into this century than tp brought it right back out of it
 

GeneralKird

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The real answer is the OoT Master Quest on the bonus disc.

What people answer with will come down to how much a person values the open ocean exploratory freedom mechanic or not. Both games accomplish their goals. WW wanted to be something different and fun, and it was. TP wanted to lean heavily back into perfecting OoT. Neither is better than the other, it's just a matter of taste.
 

Panajev2001a

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I bought the Wii U Wind Waker, played it then, and would have no problem buying it again on Switch if Nintendo bothered to port it.
I was initially not happy with the bloomy remaster, but one it was rubbing on screen I could not even try to complain. Both original and Wii U HD versions are great looking.
 

brian0057

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Almost every Zelda game is cartoony/kiddish. To have one a bit more mature is being a bitch? Lmao
Wanting a mature Zelda game is fine.
Dismissing one because it looks like a literal cartoon is being a bitch.
And at the time of Wind Waker's launch, it very much was. It didn't get the status it has today until much later, when the pretention of adult = better died down.
 

REDRZA MWS

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Wanting a mature Zelda game is fine.
Dismissing one because it looks like a literal cartoon is being a bitch.
And at the time of Wind Waker's launch, it very much was. It didn't get the status it has today until much later, when the pretention of adult = better died down.
Thanks for the clarification. I’ve played em all since the OG gold cartridge on NES. As I’ve said most of em are a bit cartoony, never complained live the series, my all time favorite series in fact. Would still love a more gritty and realistic visual looking version to change it up.

PS - I loved the WW.
 
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Banjo64

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I struggle with ranking these 2 games.

Windwaker, I probably had more fun with at the time. I fear that the great sea would be too barren if I went back now.

Twilight Princess, I liked quite a lot, but the slow start has prevented me from getting far in subsequent play throughs.

I’d buy them both on Switch because I’d then own every 3D Zelda between my New 3DS and Switch (and every Zelda game overall).
 

skit_data

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It’s been s very long time since I played them but yes, I consider Wind Waker the better game.

Twilight Princess was just depressing and I don’t have fond memories of having to control Link as a wolf.
 

JimboJones

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Windwaker got the looks but on subsequent play throughs I get to the triforce hunt nonsense and give up.

Twilight Princess is just more of a pleasure to play.
 
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Astral Dog

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For me, it was, even the HD Remaster>Twilight Princess HD

But they are pretty different games and worth playing for different reasons.

Wind Waker is like a whimsical fairytale but has a very dark side to it, with its post apocalyptic plot, it had a more memorable soundtrack and characters, and of course the cartoony visuals are unlike anything you ever seen.

Twilight Princess tries too much to be Ocarina 2.0 but without the charm and many annoying filler sections, but still a solid game.
 

Cutty Flam

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Wind Waker is the better game

Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword both disappointed in their own ways
 

belmarduk

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Twilight Princess was the better game. Zant is just a classic character and the King Bulbin sequence is one of the most fun portions of any video game.
 
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MagnesD3

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No Twilight Princess is tied for the best Zelda with Ocarina. It has the best dungeons and that's the best part about zelda. It also has the best companion, aethstetic/tone, and a really cool final boss. The only negative that game has really is the start is slow.

I have no clue why alot of people have turned thier backs on TP its super weird.
 
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01011001

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of course it was... Twilight Princes is just a OoT rehash with shitty graphics
 

BlackTron

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Wind Waker let me down with chibi Power Puff Girl Link, the art style was okay but not with Link looking like that.

Twilight Princess let me down with kinda dark ugly muddy graphics, wolf Link and a dull as sin overworld.

GC started a recurring pattern of every Zelda having something really lame about it that I hate. My favorites by far are still my first two, Links Awakening and Ocarina, and I don't think that's just nostalgia-tinted glasses.

This pattern continues right up to BOTW that decided to do away with dungeons. Zelda is no longer a megaton game for me, though I watch it cautiously for its return to glory.
 

SantaC

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Yes Wind waker is timeless






Would love to play a new Wind Waker game with same graphics style
 
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Trilobit

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I wished that WW would have had a bit more epic storytelling like TP, but everything else from graphics to characters I preferred in WW. In some parts it gave me serious flashbacks to Saturday morning cartoons and it's just gorgeous throughout.
 
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Urban

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i hated the controls for the Wii, so for me WW was the better game.

Still hope for a WW HD version for Switch <3.
 
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Jeeves

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Always has been.

TP is no slouch -- none of the 3D Zeldas are -- but TP is lacking in moment-to-moment wonder compared to WW and its world isn't one I care to spend much time in.