I was first introduced to the series through Super Smash Bros Melee, and I liked Princess Zelda so much that my parents pre-ordered The Wind Waker for me. As a free gift, the pre-order came with the GameCube port of Ocarina of Time, plus the Master Quest version. So OoT was technically my first Zelda game, but TWW was the first one I experienced as it was released, being 7 years old at the time. My dad had to help me at several parts, but I’ve played it again a million times since then and I also got the HD Wii U version when it came out, so it’s one of my favorites.
Using the Wind Waker constantly to change direction was also one of my biggest gripes too, but they fixed that in the HD one with the Swift Sail, which makes the wind go in whatever direction your ship is heading automatically. It made sailing easier and also made The Wind Wales actually stand out more, because I was finally just using it for important tasks and not just turning my boat around because I saw a cute looking island or I had forgotten something.
Like you, the game also has some of my favorite enemy designs, particularly the Wizzrobe, because hearing that siren noise before seeing it was always a moment. I really love the Miniblins because hearing those shrieks of them coming out of nowhere low key freaks me out sometimes, and I love when a game is able to do that. I absolutely love the Darknuts too, in fact they’d be my favorite in the series if not for their Twilight Princess iteration. That Temple of Time Darknut fight is everything. The Wind Waker revealing their Jackal themed design also makes me wonder if they could one day presented as a normal race in a future game, similar to how the Zora often appear as enemies in earlier games.
This review is really spot on for me. The Wind Waker isn’t my favorite, but it’s definitely up there as ONE of my favorites. Then again, I don’t have a solid ranking as it always changes depending on the day, with the one exception being Breath of the Wild and Twilight Princess occupying my top spots. One thing that The Wind Waker did that I would love to see again was the Nintendo Gallery. Imagine being able to make a collection of figures of every character, animal, and enemy in Breath of the Wild. I’m actually surprised that they didn’t do that, because purchasing those rare photos of the Blight Ganons and Calamity Ganon reminds me of buying the legendary pictographs from Lorenzo in The Wind Waker.
I’m curious to know your thoughts on the follow up adult timeline games, because while not everyone was a fan of those, I personally love them and think they add to the timeline’s overall story beautifully.
I can’t remember if I’ve recommended it to you before, but Hyrule Warriors is a must have, especially if you love The Wind Waker. It features Toon Link, Tetra, and Medli as playable characters along with Windfall Island/Dragon Roost Island/Forsaken Fortress and the Earth Temple/Wind Temple as stages (the islands and temples being combined into two different stages makes sense in the context of the game). The Wind Waker’s Phantom Ganon also appears as a boss in the game with the same Dead Man’s Volley strategy as he has in the mainline series.