* AlternateCharacterInterpretation:
** Ganondorf: Irredeemable monster or WellIntentionedExtremist? King Daphnes: TheAtoner or a {{Jerkass}} using innocent children to restore his own honor? You be the judge...
** Tingle: Jolly, naive, fairy-obsessed individual who only wants to help you and become a fairy? Or is it all a hoax to cover his true nature as a greedy {{Jerkass}} who terrorizes and takes advantage of his brothers (and one guy who isn't related to him)?
* AmericansHateTingle: ''The Wind Waker'' isn't Tingle's [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask first game]], but it is where most of his unpopularity was born: he plays an integral part in the least liked section of the game; he [[AdamSmithHatesYourGuts charges outrageous sums]] to decode the player's Triforce Charts; and he's shown to be actively unpleasant to the brothers and one non-brother mentioned above, unlike in ''Majora's Mask'' where he's clueless but not malevolent.
* AnimationAgeGhetto: This is the main reason why the artstyle has caused such a BrokenBase, especially when the game was first revealed. At the time, many fans feared that the ''Zelda'' franchise was going down in a more kid-friendly direction in general, which helped drive hype and anticipation for the [[RealIsBrown more "gritty" and "realistic"]] ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess Twilight Princess]]''. Nowadays, ''Wind Waker''[='=]s artstyle is more widely appreciated due to people becoming aware of this phenomenon, and because fans now recognize that the ''Zelda'' franchise uses a different artstyle for every new game. Despite this, this reaction is one reason why many fans prefer other games in the series, as some of them prefer more "realistic" and "mature" artstyles in the first place.
* ArcFatigue: The infamous Triforce quest in the original Gamecube version grinds the story to a halt.
* AuthorsSavingThrow:
** The Swift Sail[[note]]which is available as soon as Link can access the auction house and easily affordable with the first wallet[[/note]] and Triforce quest being cut down were both additions added to the HD Remake in order to cut back on the {{padding}}.
** The Figurine Collection quest is also far less time-consuming by allowing the player to get the Picto Box Deluxe as early as first arriving at Windfall Island, allowing for 12 pictographs to be saved at once, adding an icon to note if a picto is suitable for a figure, and being able to turn all 12 (plus more if you have photos from Tingle Bottles to carry over as space is freed up) to the gallery at one time, with all 12+ figures being crafted at once over the course of a single night.
* BaseBreakingCharacter: Link. To some, he's the best Link ever for being {{Adorkable}} and more of an UnchosenOne than a destined hero. He has character flaws for the first time, and the new graphical engine allows him to emote. On the other hand, some dislike him for just this reason -- feeling that it reduces the role of Link to just any schmuck who stumbles into it. While not nearly as divisive as Samus, some have similarly argued that giving Link a personality took away from his mystique. A third group of fans find "Toon Link" to be a stupid concept altogether, and have hated the character and his design since they were first revealed.
* BestBossEver:
** Helmaroc King, for making things [[ItsPersonal personal]] at the very beginning of the game.
** The final fight against Ganondorf is considered one of the best in the series, and it's certainly left its mark on later games -- ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess Twilight Princess]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword Skyward Sword]]'' both have epic sword duels with the BigBad, and ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks Spirit Tracks]]'' (and ''Twilight Princess'' in the horseback battle before the sword duel) has Zelda with a bow helping you out. Ganondorf also gets finished in the most beautiful way possible: with a mighty leap, Link impales Ganondorf's forehead with the Master Sword, and Ganondorf turns to stone. The floodwaters that drown Hyrule for good bury him, as well.
** ''The Wind Waker'' in general is filled with great bosses, be it the surprisingly elaborate first boss, Gohma, to Molgera (whose main appeal lies in its amazing battle theme), to the homage to ''Ocarina of Time''[='s=] penultimate battle that is Phantom Ganon, a '''miniboss'''. All-around, this game excels in making its bosses entertainingly challenging and unique.
* BrokenBase:
** The CelShading art-style caused this. It all started with this game, and to this day, debates rage about which style is better.
** It was all revisited when Nintendo announced a UsefulNotes/WiiU updated HD rerelease with a [[http://static.thegamershub.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/WindWaker-HD-Comparison-1.png somewhat different aesthetic style]]. In particular, the excessive bloom is debated as to whether it enhances or undermines the game's original art style.
** And continuing the trend, there have been some disputes over [[http://www.amazon.com/The-Legend-Zelda-nintendo-wii-u/dp/B002I0GF72 the game reportedly being priced at full retail price]], which many claim is unreasonable for a 10-year-old rerelease. Considering that this was merely intended as a 'stop-gap' to buy time for the actual next installment in the series, this complaint is of course not without merit.
** Is the sailing a wonderful, meditative way to pass the time, or annoying {{Padding}}?
** Similarly, some fans disliked the decision to shorten the quest for the Triforce Charts/Shards in the HD port, feeling that the sheer length of the quest was part of the original game's charm. Others just consider it FakeLongevity and are glad the remake trimmed it down.
** Tetra's skin tone. Tetra is AmbiguouslyBrown, but she turns lighter when [[spoiler:she becomes Zelda]]. This has broken fans into people who wanted an AmbiguouslyBrown [[spoiler:Zelda]] and felt the change was unneeded, and those who don't care or think Tetra's skin tone is just a tan. It doesn't help that [[WhatCouldHaveBeen early concept art]] shows Tetra with dark skin as [[spoiler:Zelda]].
* BreatherBoss: Gohdan, the guardian of the Tower of the Gods. For a mid-game boss, he's very easy to begin with, only having one real attack that you get plenty of warning of in advance and is fairly easy to avoid. Plus, he'll even snort out extra arrows and bombs from his nostrils if you run out of them during the fight. This is justified since the Tower of the Gods is a proving grounds for the hero's courage, so it makes sense for the boss fight to be easier than you might expect. He's testing your heart, not your aim.
* ContestedSequel: Before it was VindicatedByHistory, the game had a big share of detractors when it first came out. The most popular reason for it was how very different it was from the previous ''Zelda'' games, especially ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]]''. Inside the more devoted fanbase, however, the biggest complains were rather the SequelDifficultyDrop, which was way too excessive for most veteran fans, and the sailing system, which was largely considered a ScrappyMechanic. Fixing these two issues was one of the main reasons why the HD remaster was so well-received, although there's still debate on how well it holds up compared to ''Ocarina of Time'', especially between older vs. newer fans.
* CriticalDissonance: Critics seemed to like it, but fans had significantly [[BrokenBase different responses]].
* DisappointingLastLevel: The quest for the Triforce shards. Especially if you are already bored of [[{{Padding}} sailing]].
* DiscOneNuke:
** The Tingle Tuner gives you a steady supply of healing potions, explosives, temporary invincibility, ''and'' the ability to walk on air (reaching areas and items you normally wouldn't have access to) long before you get the respective items that these are based off of. For a fee, of course, but given the myriad of ways to get rupees in this game...
** The Grappling Hook. Using it on enemies lets you steal their treasures without even having to defeat them. It's as easy as going in and out of a room, pilfering, and repeat, and the first time always nets you a spoil, with the Skull Necklaces and Joy Pendants earning you 5 Rupees a pop.
* DracoInLeatherPants: Ganondorf, thanks to his more sympathetic backstory that was introduced in this game. Fans often latch on to making him an AntiVillain, saying that he was only evil out of circumstance, even though he himself makes it clear that it was ''power'' he wanted, and no amount of it would ever be enough.
* EarWorm:
** Chances are you are going to have the Great Sea overworld theme stuck in your head by the end of the game. [[AwesomeMusic/TheLegendOfZelda Not that that's a problem, however.]]
** The Pirates theme is pretty catchy too.
* EnsembleDarkhorse:
** Medli is considered quite the fan favorite.
** Some have taken a liking to Aryll for being the only sibling that any incarnation of Link has ever had.
** Jalhalla, for being a humorous and light-hearted boss in contrast to everything else in his temple.
** Molgera for its [[AwesomeMusic/TheLegendOfZelda boss theme]].
** This game's incarnation of Gohma also gets some points for its unique design and boss fight compared to past and future incarnations.
* FirstInstallmentWins: Despite ''The Wind Waker'''s status as a ContestedSequel (though it was eventually VindicatedByHistory and the Wii U remake was critically acclaimed), the consensus is that both subsequent 'Toon Link' games, ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaPhantomHourglass'' and ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks'', failed to surpass its memorable storyline or match the level of its popularity.
* GameBreaker:
** The Elixir Soup. No doubt the best soup/potion in the entire ''series''. Free, two servings per bottle [[note]]''Supposedly''; see GoodBadBugs below[[/note]], and your strength is doubled so long as you don't take damage. Pair it with the magic armor (which prevents damage through a slow drain of magic power) and watch the difficulty of boss fights disappear.
** The Magic Armor itself becomes this the UpdatedRerelease, where as opposed to draining magic, it drains Rupees, and unlike the Magic Armor in ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess Twilight Princess]]'', Link only loses Rupees when he gets hit as opposed to losing them steadily. Combined with ''The Wind Waker'' having one of the largest wallets in the series allowing for 5000 rupees, this makes him nearly invincible.
** Parrying. [[ItsEasySoItSucks It virtually cripples the challenge of combat.]] It's automatic and easy to execute, even for a quick-time event. None of the regular humanoid enemies or mooks can withstand it. The only sword combatants that offer any kind of meaningful resistance are the four Darknuts you face in the Savage Labyrinth.
** While it's more thematically-appropriate to use bombs as cannonballs, the boomerang can be used when sailing, locks on to multiple targets, and it doesn't use ammo. Use of the boomerang makes some seafaring encounters, such as the giant squids, a massive joke.
* GoodBadBugs: Elixir Soup. In the GCN version, make sure you have a whole bottle of soup (i.e. 2 servings). You can infinitely replenish the soup if you pause the game while pressing the button for the soup. Then switch out the soup with an empty bottle. If done right, your "empty bottle" will now have been filled with half a bottle of soup. This seems to have been removed on the HD version.
* GeniusBonus: ''The Wind Waker'' actually provides the names of ''two'' kings of Hyrule. [[spoiler:Not only Daphnes, but "Nohansen" appears to be a variant on the patronym meaning "Son of Nohan." This would make him Daphnes' father and, presumably, his predecessor as king.]]
* HarsherInHindsight: This quote from Carlov, referring in-game to the loss of members in the Nintendo Gallery, but retroactively becoming meaningful for the controversial (even to this day) transition between the UsefulNotes/NintendoGameCube and the UsefulNotes/{{Wii}}, as well as between the UsefulNotes/GameBoyAdvance and the UsefulNotes/NintendoDS:
--> '''Carlov:''' Ah, well, no worries one way or the other. We've been losing members due to our lack of "gimmicky attractions"...but we don't worry. True fans know we're the coolest.
* HilariousInHindsight:
** In the final battle, [[spoiler:Tetra apologizes for oversleeping]]. [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword Some things really don't change over the incarnations]].
** Sometimes, if you talk to Medli shortly after [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential throwing her into a wall]] on Dragon Roost Island, she'll ask when Link became [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTriForceHeroes triplets]].
* HypeBacklash: Inevitable, given that this is one of the more widely praised ''Zelda'' games in the fandom. In particular, some ''Twilight Princess'' fans are sick of the prevailing opinion that ''Wind Waker'' is a SacredCow while ''Twilight Princess'' is an {{Acceptable Target|s}} despite both games getting similar critical praise.
* ItWasHisSled:
** [[spoiler:Tetra is Princess Zelda.]] They [[LateArrivalSpoiler make sure you know this]] in future adult timeline games.
** [[spoiler:Hyrule was sealed by a GreatFlood prior to the events of the game. It is destroyed for good at the end.]]
* ItsEasySoItSucks: After the game's release, this became the biggest complaint about the game along with the sailing system. The HD re-release addressed this too, with a Hero Mode similar to that seen in ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword Skyward Sword]]''. With Link taking double damage and no healing items besides fairies and potions, this game potentially becomes one of the toughest in the series (at least the combat, since the dungeons and puzzles were unchanged, and they are very easy to figure out compared to most of the other entries in the series).
* ItsTheSameNowItSucks: Although ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask previous]]'' [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOracleGames installments]] got this problem too to different degrees, ''The Wind Waker'' was the game that definitely established this DoubleStandard, not only among fans, but among critics.
** Those who complain "It's the same" argue that the gameplay is basically ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]]'' all over again with a dull "oversea", instead of an actual "overworld". For these people, the art style change was nothing but a mere "disguise".
** On a different note, the news that the Wii U HD port won't make any significant changes to the game beyond the graphic update and making the sailing system a little bit more agile made some fans upset. Especially the lost opportunity of playing the two dungeons that supposedly were scrapped during the development of the original game due to time constraints.
* MemeticBadass: Link, and not without basis. The kid is under 13, yet he can use a hammer twice his size to kill a man-eating bird 20 times his size. Not to mention [[Music/TheLonelyIsland he's on a boat]].
* MemeticMutation:
** For obvious reasons, there's a lot of Videos on Website/YouTube, featuring this game and Music/TheLonelyIsland's 2009 song "[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin I'm On a Boat]]". There's a ''[[http://www.levelupstudios.com/on-a-boat t-shirt]]'', too, courtesy of Ninja Bot.
** [[Webcomic/{{Hiimdaisy}} The King of Hyrule is a Jerk]]
** The UsefulNotes/WiiU remake added the ability to take "selfies" of Link. [[https://twitter.com/Linkstagram The internet immediately ran with this.]]
** The man who runs the Fleet Game.
-->"Spleeesh." "Ka-BOOM!"
** [[WhatDoYouMeanItWasntMadeOnDrugs "There's like this castle in a bubble on the ocean floor. I went there on my talking dragon boat."]]
** "Pass it on," a phrase used by people who use the Tingle Bottle in the Wii U version to distribute Nintendo Gallery-compatible pictographs.
* {{Moe}}: Aryll, Link, and Tetra, among other examples.
* MostAnnoyingSound:
** The Miniblins and the Wizzrobes when they teletransport.
** Link's scream when he jumps into a secret cave. Get ready to hear it a lot when you take on the Savage Labyrinth.
** A lot of people absolutely hate the noise Aryll makes at the beginning of the game when she's trying to find her brother.
** The Kargarocs' incessant buzzing/bleating.
** Pressing the A button on the Game Boy Advance when using the Tingle Tuner causes Tingle to scream "Heeeeeey!" while the screen zooms in on Tingle's cursor.
** The Bubbles' laugh when they manage to hit you. It gets extra annoyance points if it was a blue Bubble, whose curse prevents you from using your weapons for a while.
* {{Padding}}: All of the sailing, including the reassembly of the Triforce of Courage and gathering enough rupees for Tingle to translate the maps leading to the Triforce shards. The Wii U HD rerelease made an effort to fix the Triforce shard quest. For five of the eight Triforce Shards, you will no longer have to search for the maps, as they're right where the maps used to be. Also, they added a new "Swift Sail", which will allow you to travel at top speed, regardless of what direction the wind is facing, so you [[AntiFrustrationFeatures don't constantly have to realign the wind just to go to the right place]].
* PolishedPort: The [=HD=] port for the ''Wii U'' isn't just a resolution upgrade. It adds various tweaks that add a nice something extra to the already amazing visuals, there are tweaks for some of the game's {{Scrappy Mechanic}}s (such as a sail that speeds up sailing, a streamlined version of the Triforce piece FetchQuest, etc.), and it's, overall, the definitive version of the game.
* SacredCow: A bizarre example; while ''The Wind Waker'' has its share of fans and detractors, many of its fans will adamantly defend it from criticism, more than the fanbases for other ''Zelda'' games. Some more vocal/zealous fans will even go as far as to take it for granted that anyone who plays the game will love it, claim that it's ''objectively'' better than other games in the series, and/or attack people who don't outright ''praise'' the game and its artstyle or who prefer its [[FandomRivalry fandom rival]] ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess''.
* SpiritualAdaptation: An OceanPunk fantasy of an archipelago of islands that need to be traversed by ships, a boat that can be sailed by using magic to power the wind, and a heavy focus on exploration and voyage to develop WorldBuilding, this is as close as you can get to Literature/AWizardOfEarthsea.
* TaintedByThePreview: The first reaction after the announcement of the game. Part of it was because of a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBtAvX4Pkyk tech demo]] based on ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]]'' that was shown at at previous expo, which showed Link and Ganondorf in gorgeous graphics ([[TechnologyMarchesOn for its time]]). As a result, the first trailer of this game made some people feel cheated.
* ThatOneBoss:
** The second boss of the game, Kalle Demos. Just the item needed to beat the boss alone makes it this due to how difficult the camera is to move, the fact that it only targets 5 things at a time (and Kalle Demos has 20 vines the player has to cut), and that it targets anything within its targeting distance, meaning you can be backed up against the arena wall and it'll still target vines on the other side of Kalle. It doesn't help that the boss's vines reattatch after a short amount of time, Kalle Demos's pod is so large the player may end up hitting that if their first vine targeted was a vine on the other side of the boss, and it requires every single vine to be cut, meaning in the time it takes to target and get the boomerang to the last vine, other vines the player had previously cut may have started coming back. If you managed to bring a bottle of Forest Water into the fight, however, you only need to worry about cutting down the boss's vines for one cycle; pouring Forest Water on Kalle Demos's head kills it instantly, turning it into a bit of an AntiClimaxBoss.
** The third stage of Puppet Ganon, which fittingly enough resembles and moves like [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast Moldorm]]. After an entire game of boss fights that were interesting and visually engaging but not particularly hard, and enemies that constantly dropped generous supplies of needed items, the [[spoiler:worm form that rockets around the room while you try in vain to shoot its butt with an arrow]], fought in a room that is not particularly forgiving with its arrow or magic drops, can feel punishingly difficult.
* ThatOneLevel:
** The Wind Temple is largely seen as this due to many irritating factors, such as wind-based puzzles, lots of shifting between Link and Makar, and because you have to spend most of it climbing up and down a central room comparable to [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime the Water Temple]], but tends to be saved because its boss is so fun to fight. On hero mode, the enemies can also quickly lay on the damage. It's not uncommon to hear people waste two or more of their fairies going through the dungeon on hero mode.
** The Earth Temple is disliked for similar reasons to the Wind Temple. You'll be doing a ''lot'' of switching between Link and Medli to deal with rather finicky {{Light and Mirrors Puzzle}}s, along with having to deal with 'curse fog' which locks Link out of using his weapons. Wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for there being a section where you have to avoid a bunch of [[DemonicSpiders Floor Masters]] while you can't attack. On top of that, the very last puzzle in the dungeon is a very long and tedious light puzzle that, while not difficult to solve, can take far longer than need be because of needing to push giant mirrors around and positioning Link/Medli just right so the light reflects off their shield/harp, which is far more difficult than it sounds.
** There's one island in particular seen during the hated Triforce shard padding. It requires the player to use the Hyoi Pear (Bait Bag item that lets you control seagulls) to ''slowly'' fly up to five or six spires and hit switches on their peaks, all while dodging the relentless, much faster Kargaroks that perch there. While one or two can be hit with arrows, doing this requires ''extreme'' accuracy and most of them are simply too far away, forcing the player to do it the hard way. And yes, if you leave to go buy more pears, the switches reset.
** On Hero Mode, Dragon Roost Cavern, the first 'proper' dungeon of the game, can easily become this. Because of the fact that pots and enemies don't drop hearts and it's not possible to get any health potions/fairies in a bottle up to that point, a greater part of the dungeon might as well be attempting a NoDamageRun. If you're diligent enough, it's ''possible'' to go in with four hearts instead of three but it doesn't help too much. The dungeon has a lot of [[GoddamnBats Keese]] that can easily sneak damage onto you, as well as a few [[LedgeBats dickish Chu-Chu placement]] that can easily catch you off guard. Finally make it to just outside the boss room where the fairies are? Well, too bad, because you need to have the grappling hook to ''get'' to those fairies, which requires you to fight two Bokoblins with machetes and ''then'' a Moblin, who easily becomes a DemonicSpider on Hero Mode thanks to his large attack range and quick attacks when unarmed, which makes it really easy for him to one-shot you if you're not careful. It's not uncommon to hear that when people ''finally'' get to the fairies, they only have half a heart left. Thankfully, by comparison, the level's boss is [[BreatherBoss much more manageable by comparison]].
* ThatOneSidequest:
** The Nintendo Gallery requires you to get a Deluxe Picto Box (only accessible past a certain part of the game), which can only carry three pictures at a time, and get a full-bodied, front shot picture of every single character in the game. This includes bosses. And enemies. Ever tried to take a decent picture of something when it's trying to kill you? And the Red Wizzrobe only appears in one dungeon, moves around, and ''summons'' more baddies to attack you! And was it mentioned you have to wait a full day for every single figurine to be made? Oh, and the characters that you can't take a picture of (Great Fairies, sage spirits, etc.)? You have to buy them. According to the guide, there are 134 in total. That's 268 times you have to play the song of passing. Have fun. It's been fortunately improved in the HD rerelease, where a tiny "Good!" marker is added whenever you get a picture that will be acceptable for Carlov to turn into a figurine, and he can take 12 pictures a day instead of just one (which, by the way, is now the amount of pictures the Picto Box can store, so you can potentially get most of the pictographs you need in one or two trips). Also, you can get pictographs from bottles on Miiverse, but if you miss the ones that can be missed permanently, [[LuckBasedMission it'll probably take a LONG time to get the ones you'll need]].
** Trying to sort 25 letters. Twice. On Dragon Roost Island, to secure a heart piece, the player must quickly sort a letter into one of six spots, a 3x2 grid. There is only 30 seconds to do it. The real problem is how much time it can take to have to move from one side to the other. The tenths of seconds wasted more often than not will cause a failure.
** Getting a Heart Piece from Orca requires you hitting him ''500 times'' before he hits you three times. Even if you can get into the rhythm of hitting him, then immediately mashing A and back when he blocks, there are times where Orca will ''still'' hit you before you can either jump out of the way or Link can pull off his counter dodge. Essentially, this can cause the entire thing to become a LuckBasedMission depending on whether or not Orca decides "no, f**k your counter! You die now!".[[note]]However, this can be averted if you simply do a combo or two and then block his attack; it takes longer, but it leaves yourself wide open less often.[[/note]]
** Getting the high score on the squid battleship mini-game to get a treasure chart that leads to a Heart Piece can be a massive pain, thanks to the fact that it [[LuckBasedMission all depends on the RNG of where they're placed]]. Even with basic guesstimating ability based on square placement, it can still take you hours since you need to get ''under'', not ''tie'', the high score in order for it to count, and tieing the high score is, unfortunately, frustratingly common. At the very least, however, it spawned the [[MemeticMutation "Sploosh" and "Kaboom!" memes]].
* TheyChangedItNowItSucks: The biggest fan complaint about the game among those who think "They changed it" is that it was too much of a departure from ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]]'', specially aesthetic wise. [[ItsEasySoItSucks The lower difficulty]] compared to its predecessors and [[ScrappyMechanic the sailing system]] were also considered major deal breakers.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodCharacter: Tetra's pirate crew are set up as a diverse team of supporting characters who will remain prominent throughout the game, but their number of appearances can be counted on one hand, and of them, only Gonzo and Nico really do anything.
* UncannyValley: From the UsefulNotes/WiiU remaster screenshots, the realistic lighting mixed with the cel-shading makes the characters look unnervingly doll-like instead of actual characters. During E3 2013, the lighting was toned down, so the characters don't look doll-like anymore.
* VindicatedByHistory:
** Upon release, this game was instantly lost to the tides of ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]]'' nostalgia. Complaints were either about the cel-shaded graphical style, the [[SequelDifficultyDrop drop in difficulty compared to its predecessors]], the padding sailing system (specifially during the Triforce of Courage quest), or a combination between the three. In later years, popularity polls frequently place it among the top five favorite games in the franchise (if not all Console Generation 6) and the art style has been hailed as a refreshing experience from other [[RealIsBrown "brown"]] games like its successor ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess Twilight Princess]]'' (if not all Console Generation 7). The successful HD remaster cemented all of this even further, specially since it addressed the issues about difficulty with Hero Mode, and the sailing system with the swift sail.
** Sailing was initially seen as {{Padding}} of the highest order, and the Great Sea was seen as an incredibly empty excuse for an overworld. The explosion in popularity of [[WideOpenSandbox open world]] games in the [[UsefulNotes/TheSeventhGenerationOfConsoleVideoGames Seventh Generation]] has led to more people re-evaluating the series in terms of their overworlds. Now, while succeeding games like ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess Twilight Princess]]'' and especially ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword Skyward Sword]]'' get criticized for increased linearity and arbitrary handholding, ''Wind Waker''[='=]s Great Sea is now praised for being one of the most open, in-depth overworlds with little barriers between story events, many useful treasures to find and discover, and balancing the openness with a well-written story while still retaining a larger degree of polish compared to [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII other]] [[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind games]] with open worlds released during the [[UsefulNotes/TheSixthGenerationOfConsoleVideoGames Sixth Generation]]. Indeed, one sandbox game with sailing, ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIVBlackFlag'', explicitly cited ''The Wind Waker'' as its inspiration and influence.
** This incarnation of Link also fell into this. After Link was an adult in ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]]'' and the first two ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'' games (which modeled the character after his popular 1998 portrayal), there were many fans displeased upon release that the new Link was once again a little kid. He was even derisively referred to as Celda. Years later, he's been praised as one of the better incarnations for having [[DorkKnight a more expressive personality]] despite being [[TheSilentBob a silent protagonist.]] Nintendo themselves have even adapted these traits into [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword future]] [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaBreathOfTheWild games.]]
* VisualEffectsOfAwesome: The cel-shaded art style is very pretty, and this is one of the most expressive versions of Link out there. It's even better in the HD version. On top of that, the original GameCube release has aged like a fine wine (as opposed to more "realistic" titles, which tend to age not as well).
* TheWoobie: Link's sweet old Grandma. Poor lady breaks down sobbing after her granddaughter is kidnapped, and when you come back to Outset Island, she's literally sick with worry over Link and Aryll. Just the music that plays in these scenes qualifies as a TearJerker. You cure her with a fairy, after which she realizes how brave Link is for going out to save his sister, and decides [[IronWoobie she's going to be strong]] [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming just like her grandchildren]]. The Elixir Soup she starts making (for free) after you cure her, which is the most powerful healing item in the game with added QuadDamage effects, doesn't hurt either.
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