The Legend of Zelda: The WindwakerReviewed By: John Wade, IV
VOLUNTEER GUEST REVIEWER
And then a day came when a fell wind began to blow across the kingdom, and the great evil once again crept forth from the depths of the Earth. The people believed that the Hero of Time would again come to save them. But the hero did not appear…
What became of that kingdom…? None remain who know. The memory of the kingdom vanished, but its legend survived on the wind's breath.
On a certain island, it became customary to garb young boys in green when they come of age. Clothed in the green of fields, they aspire to find heroic blades and cast evil down. The elders wish only for the youths to know courage like the hero of legend…
The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker is easily the most ambitious Zelda game in Nintendo's long-running adventure series. Its new graphical style shines, and you can tell just by five minutes with the game that a lot of hard work was put into every detail. As a matter of fact, twenty minutes into the game the word that I kept thinking was “polished”. Miyamoto's vision exceeded everyone's expectations. Gameplay-wise, it's all there. The graphics, the sound, the controls, and the world are all beyond anything else we've ever seen. But unfortunately, such gaming goodness doesn't come without an ill price. But let's cover the positive stuff first.
Of course, to pull off an immersive world like this you'd have to have great sound effects and for the most part they do their job. Unfortunately there aren't any voice overs in the game, but the canned emotive responses (like Ocarina of Time's) do a pretty good job until you hear how repetitive Link's combat sounds are. Aside from that everything is encoded in full surround sound splendor, and all the appropriate sounds are where they should be.
The control scheme is definitely there, in fact you would think that the Gamecube controller were specifically designed for this game. Every button has it's use, and while it seems a little cumbersome at first (especially if you'd just recently played the Ocarina of Time/Master Quest bonus disk from pre-ordering Wind Waker, which has a different control setup) it quickly becomes second nature and even the most uninitiated of gamers would be able to easily play without ever looking to see which button they should press. The weapons are very imaginative, and the Windwaker is interesting (albeit slightly confusing at first… I've played the saxophone for over ten years and it still look me a minute to get the concept, which actually follows musical metre). Sailing is neat at first but by the end of the game, where Link actually has to start trolling for sunken treasure, it gets a little monotonous. Thankfully about halfway though the game a song is learned for the Windwaker tha t allows Link to travel around quickly.
Pretty Looney Tunes stuff here. Everything (except bosses) dies with a “POOF” and a puff of smoke. It would have easily gotten a 4 except for the fact that when every boss dies, it usually looks like it's suffering a lot of pain and somehow the head usually ends up laying in front of Link -- attached to the neck or not. One boss actually ends up having the master sword shoved through their head. While not gory, it'd still be a little too much for children who are still maturing.
Adult Content: 5
Christian Rating: 2
Positive: Of course, it's needless to say that Link is self sacrificial in his quest to save his sister. He also has a very caring grandmother who recognizes that while her little Link is going into great danger, that it's for the greater good that he does so. She still takes time to express her worry though. Link meets a lot of characters whose lives he impacts in a positive way, and it feels really good to help out these people in trouble (especially since they're so emotive, it really increases the look of joy). It's the usual fare in a Zelda game. Save the world, rescue the princess, and restore peace and hope to the land.
Negative: This, unfortunately, is the reason that I have a bad taste in my mouth when I think about this game. I'm going to take a lot of heat for what I'm about to say, but I'm honestly disappointed in the spiritual content of WW. The Great Faeries somewhat resemble the Hindu goddess Shiva. Link gains the ability to “possess” certain objects and even a few specific people. resemble Every few minutes it's "the gods this, and the gods that…", the Windwaker contains "the power of the gods", you get a certain ability from the wind god and the ability to travely quickly through cyclones from the cyclone god, and the Tower of the gods has the G in gods capitalized (yeah I know, it's part of the name but still…), and the two sages when mentioned are said to be praying to the gods. The only redeeming thing from the entire gods issue is in one instance you have to kick the cyclone god's butt (which I really enjoyed). What really did it for me though, was that there is a point in the game where it is required to seek out two sages to pray to the gods for the master sword to be reenergized. The game actually says something along the lines of "your prayers were answered and the master sword regained some of its power!" And for people whom would try to say "oh it's just fantasy" try talking to your pastor about it and see what he says… be sure to tell him about the Temple of the gods and the two wind gods, and the praying sages. But I'm a "thou shalt have no other gods before me" kinda guy, so I took this game back and asked for a refund. Yes, I've already been criticized for this, and surprisingly mostly from Christians. For those that think a 2 is too harsh, I would have given this a 1 except for the fact that I felt this game didn't deserve to be placed in the ranks of Diablo and Grand Theft Auto III. If it weren't for the praying bit, I'd have given this a 3 and would probably still have the game.
Overall take: Negative
I actually wanted to like this game, it does everything right except for one key matter. Like I said, I'm a little disappointed in Windwaker, because Zelda had always been a little ambiguous about where the magic or power came from. Some could say that it could easily be turned into a parallel of Christianity. As a matter of fact, in the Japanese manual to A Link to the Past on the Super Famicom it showed a picture of Link kneeling before a crucified Christ. I'd love to find a picture of it.
Above all though, this review is simply to inform Christians about the content of the game, as well as tell about what it does do right. Ultimately, the choice is left in the hands of parents who are considering purchasing the game, or people that are purchasing the game for themselves. This was written for those mentioned who also wish to know of any objectionable content beforehand. My review may be harsh, yes, but I don't compromise and I tend to tell it like it is regardless of whether or not I liked it. Again, I repeat myself that The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker is a fantastic game in the world's standards, and I can't think of a game that pinpointed exactly how I felt when I was a child and first playing video games, but from a Christian viewpoint it falls short where it counts. Honestly, that saddens me greatly.
Year of Release—2003
No more comments are needed for this game.
Positive—This game is the GREATEST I've ever played. Even though the game
looks like a cartoon, anyone can enjoy it. The graphics are awesome, it
shows his emotions clearly and his eyes will follow things of importance or
people. An the story line is just like a book, with twist and turns, It'll
have you hooked the first time. The only thing that some adults might find
offensive is that there's different gods, but their not mentioned a lot.
Other than that, the sword fighting isn't really realistic (but it's funny
when you poke certain enemies in the behind). The puzzles aren't too
challenging so that anyone can figure out. This is a great game for kids
and adults. My Ratings: [4/4]
Neutral—Well the day finally came my per-ordered version of Windwaker was
here I started playing it right away. I played until 9pm and loved it
I found very little objections… then all the “gods” junk started to
happen I was kinda disappointed this game I loved was actually based a lot
on gods. So I quit plain the main game and just tried to beat
extras. Then I saw my friend beat the game and never played it again. I am
disappointed that it had so much to do with gods if that was gone this
game would be AWSOME!!!… My Ratings: [4/5]
Positive—This game is one of the best I've plated in a long time. Some may
find the graphics a little childish and cartoony, but it fits the game's
style. The violence is very mild and fake, and there is not much
objectionable content here. The only thing remotely close to questionable
is the issue of the gods. Although they are present, they are definately
not serious. They are not meant to be taken seriously, (for instance, the
wind god is a frog sitting on a cloud) and it is supposed to be a legend.
Usually in ancient legends, the gods are mentioned, but that doesn't mean
they exist. The gods are a mockery, and I would almost consider it to be
insulting to those who do believe in polytheism, and it is clearly not
bad. It is not supposed to make converts from their current religion to
the Deku Tree. They are not expressed as Deity, but rather as silly
creautes that have the ability to control the elements. The official
review here is clearly over-reacting about this issue.
This is an awesome game. My Ratings: [3/5]
Neutral—The only thing I didn't like about this games is there is a lot of magic and powers and theres a place you sail to its called “tower of the gods” and everyone knows theres only one god and that's Christ! i liked it but it was a little offensive. My Ratings: [4 / 5]
Positive—I agree with everything you said up until all the controversial stuff. I'm an 18 year old christian who loves this game. I don't understand why you would take this game back just because it had all that stuff in it that you talked about. Would you never visit China because they have different things that they worship? Playing this game is just like visiting another country, in that they have different beliefs perhaps. If you disregard these things and take them as false from the start then the whole objectionable stuff shouldn't be a problem. Why would playing this game apply to the no other gods before you verse? If you believe in the gods of the game then it would apply however. Perhaps you shouldn't be able to play if you are about 5 years old and don't understand about all of this stuff yet, but otherwise it's not a problem if you disregard everything. My Ratings: [4 / 5]
Negative—Ok, This game really took me by surprise. I was expecting some serious photo-realistic brilliantly awesome graphics. When I first saw the screenshot of that cel-shaded cartoony little kid, I was shocked to say the least. "Surely it's a huge joke" I said to myself. Then the time game when they released the game. That was the day the name “Legend of Zelda” was scared forever with an image of a child's pre-school fairy tale. Still, I wanted to see what everyone was talking about when they kept giving constant 10/10's on every review site, so I borrowed it from a friend.
Positive—This is a great game; one of my favorites for Gamecube. Yeah, I understand the stuff about “the three goddesses” and magic, but come on; it's just a game. Again, I know how games can affect you, but a two for christian rating? Nobody minds when gandalf uses magic, whether it's good or evil. Back to the review. It has great gameplay, cool new items, and an imaginative story, although for more experienced zelda players it may be a little too easy. My Ratings: [4 / 4]
Positive—I did not find this game in the least bit offensive. The gameplay was amazing and the story was well done. The Legend of Zelda games are notorious for having the best known and best games around. This game was definitely in the top 5. I would say that the gods part of the storyline is a very brief not mentioned a lot part and nothing more than the equivelant to greek mythology. It's fake. My score 5/5. My Ratings: [4 / 5]
Positive—The legend Of Zelda:The windwaker is one of the best games you can get for the gamecube.As for the content rating there is nothing wrong in this game. the violence is extremely cartoony and if you have a problem with the magic in this game rememeber that this game is shown as a legend and takes place in a completeley diffrent world. My Ratings: [5 / 5]
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.