I wasn’t surprised that Prima Games was releasing a new book for the HD version of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. Why reprint the original book when you can modernize its look and sell it again? That’s pretty much what Nintendo did; might as well jump on the same bandwagon. But what did surprise me was the differences in size between the books, as seen on the image to the right. The original is on top, and the new strategy guide for the HD remake is on the bottom. It’s roughly a 200 page difference.
If everything stayed the same save for an update to the graphics, why in the world is the newer book so much bigger? And more importantly, why should anyone buy the newer book?
After sitting down with both books and comparing them side by side, I will be honest with you–the original book will get you through The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker just fine. However, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD strategy guide is the better book all the way around.
Let’s look at some comparison photos between the two.
From the table of contents on the first page in both books, you can already see the difference in the layout and design.
The original book compacted the entire TOC into a sidebar, whereas the HD book blew it up entirely and broke down each individual section to further help you find what you’re looking for. Case in point, look at the sections for “Islands of the Great Sea” for both books.
The layout of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD strategy guide is far less compact and has more detailed information in regards to, well, everything. One part I had a ton of trouble with when I played Wind Waker on the GameCube was in the first “real” dungeon on Dragon’s Roost Island. Link had to kill a Magtail that patrolled a rock in the middle of a lava pool. If Link didn’t do this, then he couldn’t throw the pots of water into the lava from the rock and progress. To say I had trouble taking care of the Magtail would be putting it lightly. Check out how much more detail the HD book provides on getting through this part.
This is just the walkthrough for one little enemy in the middle of a dungeon. Imagine how much more detailed all of the information is throughout?
Care to see a few more examples? Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the same mini-game and collectible information from Windfall Island in the Islands of the Great Sea appendix:
Notice how everything just looks so bunched up in the original guide? The HD guide has it more spread out with larger screenshots.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison with the Triforce Charts appendix:
I think you can see my point, as well as why the HD guide is so much thicker than the original. When you spread out all that info that was in 4-5 columns per page to 1-2 columns, the book is going to get long in a hurry. A thicker book may seem like it’s less efficient, but I think it’s easier and faster to find what you’re looking for when information is spaced out instead of crammed into one page.
So guess which book I’ll be using whenever I find time to get into Wind Waker? I never finished the game when it originally released, but I hope with this newer, more informative, and easier to navigate (hahaha! see what I did there?) tome, I’ll be less frustrated while playing. Maybe I’ll actually finish a console Zelda game!
On the flip side, the tear-out Sea chart is the one thing that isn’t bigger in the HD guide than the original. Holy cow.