A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD is a cartoonish action game with a bit of light role-playing thrown in. The game's hero, Link, is a young boy who enjoys helping those in need and is particularly concerned with rescuing his little sister from some evil kidnappers. Players use weapons including a sword and a shield to fight a variety of fantastical creatures -- including goblins, skeletons, and bats -- who fall to the ground and disappear in colorful plumes of smoke once defeated.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Not a fresh Zelda adventure but rather a remake of a decade-old GameCube classic, THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: THE WIND WAKER HD puts players in the green suit and pointy cap of a young boy who has come of hero's age. Tragedy strikes on his birthday when, shortly after learning how to use a sword and a shield, his sister is kidnapped by a giant bird. In hopes of finding her, Link decides to hitch a ride on a passing pirate ship. From there, he adventures far and wide to islands around the ocean, growing ever closer to the source of the evil that took his sister. Along the way he finds and equips himself with better and stronger weapons and items and learns new abilities, all the while fighting goblins and skeletons, helping people in need, and solving plenty of contextual puzzles so he can keep moving forward.
Is it any good?
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD isn't just a prettied-up, high-definition version of the game that came out in 2002. Nintendo's designers tweaked several key elements in an effort to create a better and more modern gaming experience. For example, you can now purchase an item called the Swift Sail that makes sailing from one location to another a much speedier process than in the original game. Also, the GamePad controller is put to use in several interesting ways, from offering an easy-to-reference map and inventory guide to providing a quick way to remap frequently used items to primary buttons. The screen can even be used to play the game away from the TV. Finally, a new Hero Mode, which can be switched on and off whenever you like, gives experienced players seeking a greater challenge a way to make battles much more difficult.
Whether these changes are enough to make older players who have sunk dozens of hours into the original game feel the need to play again is debatable. Still, Nintendo does a great job of modernizing a classic game and making it relevant to a fresh generation of younger gamers, many of whom weren't even born when The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker first came out.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in games. What criteria does your family use to determine whether a game is too violent for you and your siblings? Do you think the judgments are fair?
Families also can discuss gender roles in games. Why do you think the Legend of Zelda games don't put kids in control of Zelda, but instead a boy named Link must usually save the titular princess? Do you think many boys would refuse to play a game in which they controlled a female hero?
- Platforms: Nintendo Wii U
- Subjects: Hobbies: collecting
Language & Reading: reading
- Skills: Communication: conveying messages effectively
Thinking & Reasoning: logic, solving puzzles, strategy
- Price: $49.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release date: October 6, 2013
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Great Boy Role Models
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Animated Blood, Fantasy Violence
- Last updated: March 4, 2021
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.