Toon Link proves to be just as magnificent as his realistic counterpart, if not more.
Game: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Why it's List-worthy:
Because it’s the not-so-secret best Zelda game. While Wind Waker might have had an bad initial reaction (Celda), it has held up remarkably well, with beautiful cartoony graphics, unique/interesting sailing mechanics, and the typical Zelda greatness. It’s also got that excellent story—easily the tops in the series—where you deal with the ramifications of a (8-year-old spoiler) flooded Hyrule. It added a parry system in combat, some cool new items, and very memorable moments.
Going to Hyrule for the first time is one of the most solemn and eerie moments I’ve ever experienced as a gamer. It’s when the story goes from light-hearted affair to serious business, and the plight of Ganondorf seems a little more palpable.
I also love the opening moments. The setup of the story as myth, with Koji Kondo’s excellent score kicking it off, and then exploring this fantastically colorful world as little boy Link. It’s followed by a dip in quality with the first romp through the Forsaken Fortress, but hey, games can’t be perfect.
Least Favorite Moment:
Using the Wind Waker to do anything. You have to use the baton to change the wind direction, teleport, and switch to control of a different character in later dungeons. For those later dungeons, you’ll spend most of the dungeon playing the damn thing. While it’s worth triumphing through those bottlenecks, it’s still annoying. Twilight Princess somewhat solved this problem with the Dominion Rod item that let you use a weapon to easily control other characters instead of playing a six-note song every time.
Also, I’ll admit to hating the sailing and the associated Triforce piece quest when I first played the game. It’s long and arduous, but upon later playthroughs, I really dug it. It was initially one of my least favorite moments in a Zelda game ever, but the glory of the exploration and the excuse to explore all the islands on each square is wonderful.
Surprised to See...
This is an easy one: Seeing Ganondorf get stabbed in the freaking head. That is a hell of an ending. Once again, that is an 8-year-old spoiler. If you haven’t played this game yet and I ruined it for you, I’m sorry. You had a lot of time to do so.