Huge step up from the original simply due to the Swift Sail and other quality-of-life features. Still doesn't have very fun dungeons but oh well. I still love the style of this game and wish I could rate it higher, but the dungeons just drag it down IMO.
This review contains spoilers
I really like this game.
The interesting story, the creative characters, the expansive world all add up to create a fantastic experience.
Sure, the dungeons are a bit too linear, with little backtracking after receiving a key item. But there is so many unique dungeon themes that are interesting. The first proper dungeon is inside an active volcano, and you fight a centipede at the end. You can climb a tower, and ring the bell to get the gods to acknowledge you. You find the lost pieces of the triforce. You fight and defeat the evil Ganondorf. The Hero of Winds is so far the only Link to ever have actually killed Ganondorf, and not have him reappear. He is great.
The boat exploration is also brilliant. Being able to wide the waves as the fantastic Great Sea song plays makes me happy every time.
I love this game.
The Wind Waker is one of those games that is instantly recognizable for its art style. Few games have aged as well visually as Wind Waker, and it looks even better with the new lighting in the HD Remake. Overall, The Wind Waker is a traditional Zelda game and plays out like you would expect. There are dungeons, unlockable items, and treasure to find. Its structure is quite different from other entries however, as it teeters near open-world at times with its emphasis on ocean exploration. Sailing around the seas of Hyrule is an interesting premise that makes Wind Waker stand out from its peers. Plus, learning how to do Barrier Skip even on a casual playthrough makes you feel like a part of history.