Do You Prefer Zelda: Wind Waker HD's Bloom Lighting Or The "Flat" OG?
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Which lighting style do you favor: Zelda: Wind Waker HD’s bloom lighting or the original “flat” version?

The Wind Waker: Cel-Shading vs Bloom Lighting

The Wind Waker: Cel-Shading vs Bloom Lighting

The GameCube brought a cartoon, colour-popping style to Link’s adventures, throwing the hero into a beautiful cel-shaded world full of vibrant blues, greens, and expressive effects. In HD, however, the cel-shading was toned down in favour of “bloom” — a shader effect that creates an illusion of extremely bright light to reproduce the imaging artefact of cameras. It brought even more colour and depth to the world along with some incredible lighting and shadow effects, but it hasn’t always proved popular.

It’s a debate that’s raged on over the years — the cartoon colour of cel-shading, or the blossoming bloom? The Wind Waker is an incredible game, no matter where you play it. But here are some side-by-sides to give you a rough idea of the differences:

Of the GameCube’s art style, we said that “the graphics bring this game to life in a way that the ‘normal’ visuals could have never achieved”, while in the HD rerelease, we praised the strength of the original art direction while acknowledging that the “simple resolution boost and improved lighting can make it look as good as it does now”.

So whatever version you prefer, you’re a winner, basically. But really, there’s no official Wind Waker GameCube, but there is a rather fetching Wii U Wind Waker.

Wind Waker Wii U
Image: Nintendo

But anyway, we’re not here to be indifferent or sit on the fence: we want to hear from you, lovely readers. Vote in our polls below, and sink into the sea while we still wait for that Switch version of The Wind Waker. Sigh.

Have you played The Wind Waker HD? Which art style do you prefer? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Have you played The Wind Waker HD?

  • Yes, I still have my copy ready to boot up! – 56%
  • Yep, but I don’t have a Wii U anymore – 11%
  • No, I never had a Wii U – 8%
  • No, I’m waiting for the Switch port *fingers crossed* – 19%
  • No, I’ve never played The Wind Waker, even on GameCube – 6%
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Which visual style for The Wind Waker do you prefer?

  • The OG cel-shading and harsh lines can’t be beaten – 30%
  • HD’s bloom lighting is vibrant and beautiful – 39%
  • They’re both good! Don’t make me pick! – 30%
  • Neither, these are the worst art styles for Zelda – 1%

Do you think we’ll see The Wind Waker on Switch?

  • Without a doubt – a surprise for the new year – 23%
  • Yes, but it will be a cross-gen title – 24%
  • No, it’ll be a launch title for the Switch 2 – 27%
  • No, it’s not happening. It’s never happening. Nope – 27%

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Written by Casey Mitchell

Born in Brighton and raised on a diet of Tetris and Dendy classics, Casey is a gaming historian.

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