Not pictured: naming screen, because it's a name entry screen and thus not terribly interesting.
Rather than 15 shots of this bit, I'll summarize for you: Link defeated Ganon, peace returned for a time, Ganon returned, the people expected the hero to show up again to save them. He didn't (more on that in a second), and they prayed to the gods to save them. The gods responded by flooding the world, nobody knows what became of the kingdom of Hyrule, and the legend of the Hero of Time is passed through the ages.
Enough of that though, the Zelda timeline is a mess, and no matter how many Nintendo execs try to convince me they have it all planned out, I'm reasonably certain they just set out to make a game, tack the story on as an afterthought, and then give it an arbitrary placement in the so-called "timeline".
Aryll informs us that Link's grandmother is looking for him, and we finally gain control! I jump off the tower, and Link spots something of interest! Honestly, nobody talks in the Zelda series, but in Windwaker, they express themselves very well with facial expressions and body language.
Anyway, I collect the rupee, and I find something far more interesting, a pig!
There's a man nearby who teaches you how to catch pigs, you can either use bait (which we don't have), or you can sneak up on them. Crawling was a new addition in Wind Waker, you can use it to get under things or sneak around in the grass. Anyway, I pick up the pig and take it to a woman who apparently wanted a pet pig (and who wouldn't!).
A bit further on, an old guy with one hell of a melon teaches me how to L-target (replacing Z-targeting in Ocarina of Time), then invites me in to gain some higher education. That is to say, a wall with instructions on how most of the functions work.
We head downstairs, and I spot a small boat inviting me in to rob the owner blind by smashing all his good china.
SOME 20 FEET AWAY...
Link enters his home, and his grandmother greets him, essentially saying "I can't believe you're this old already, here, have some silly looking clothes to wear!" Link looks understandably disappointed.
Anyway, she explains the tradition of the outfit, similar to the tradition of putting the family shield on the wall. Then she tells me to go get Aryll so we can prepare for Link's birthday party, and after mucking about around the island a bit more, I climb back up the tower. Aryll gives Link her prized telescope, but only for a day. Link has a look around, and spots a very large bird delivering mail... then suddenly, an even larger bird appears carrying a person. Following the bird is a large ship, opening fire on it.
Anyway, they hit the bird, it drops the person, and the she dies from falling 300 feet to the ground, upside-down. Link, being a child, decides to go save her, and visits the brother of the old man with the giant head to get a sword after a brief tutorial on all the available actions with it. He then heads for the forest. Once there, he encounters his first enemy (unless you count the woman intending to eat our piggy friends, but there's nothing to be done about that):
Moving on a bit, Link spots the person in a tree, and is immediately attacked by two more of the little goblin dudes flown in via birds that make annoying sounds. It ends as one would expect:
Morrowind came out the same year, and just doesn't hold up as well. I like the aesthetic behind Morrowind, but the graphics tech behind it doesn't hold up with the style they were going for.
The person wakes up, falls out of the tree, and is revealed to be a female pirate captain(?) named Tetra. They take off, and Link follows. The giant bird returns, and Link totally knows what's about to happen. He looks VERY unhappy about it too:
The bird snatches up Aryll, Link almost falls off a cliff running after her, and looks genuinely concerned. I haven't mentioned it up to this point, but most of the music in Wind Waker is fantastic, as are the sounds. There's never a track that you wish would just stop, there's no track where you think "Wow this is out of place", no sounds that make you want to smash the source (HEY! HEY! LISTEN! LOOK! LISTEN! HEY! HEY!).
Tetra and crew are on the beach, apparently preparing to leave. Link asks to go with them to save his sister, and Tetra just starts shit-talking Link. The postman from earlier chastises her, since it's basically her fault that his sister was captured in the first place. Tetra agrees on the condition that Link finds a shield.
Hey, I know where there's a shield! Time to head back to Link's place... only to discover the shield is missing. Link's grandmother approaches him, understandably upset about her granddaughter going missing and her ~10 year old grandson being of mind to go after her to a location that is supposedly quite dangerous. She gives him the shield and sends him on his way, and we're off!
At the last second, Link spots his grandmother, alone, looking old, sad, and fragile.
Tetra talks some more shit to Link because he misses his friends and family, then tells him to get inside because he's a useless twat (not quite in those words). We meet Niko, the bottom of the barrel as pirates go, and he makes us do a silly mini-game (read: tutorial section) where Link has to get from one side of the room to the other by swinging on lanterns from platform to platform.
Not Pictured: The neat little heat wave effect the game has for flames.
Anyway, I succeed, Niko gives me a Spoils Bag, and then I get called to the deck. We've reached the fortress, there are spotlights everywhere, and docking is impossible.
That sequence right there makes me laugh every time. It leads me to believe that Nintendo won't add voices to the game because they'd never get an E rating with all the obscenities Link would be shouting at people when they told him to do stupid crap. Again, the visuals are very nice, Link is incredibly expressive, water drips off of him as he exits the water, his hair looks wet... There's a lot of little details that I can never get across in screenshots, like Link's hair moving with the wind, or the blades of grass that pop up as he rolls through it.
Right, so Tetra starts speaking to Link via a magic stone she slipped into his pocket, apologizing for his sword landing so far away, and then we're off again. With no sword, stealth is the only option, so we have to find a way to sneak by the searchlights to get anywhere.
What happens when you get spotted? You go to jail.
Luckily, there's a hole in the wall just large enough for Link to crawl through nearby, and he escapes to find the map. You're almost better off for getting caught because you will find the map almost immediately after exiting, and it puts you in a good place to start disabling the spotlights. The spotlights are guarded by the little goblin dudes from back in the forest, who are now armed with large sticks. Luckily for Link, there's always a pot full of large sticks for him to use as well.
Right, so I disabled the spotlights, now I've got to sneak past a moblin guard. As long as I don't move I'm fairly certain he can't detect me, even if he's right next to me.
Right, so I sneak past the moblin, and reach this point:
A bit further on, Link finds his sword and looks rather excited about it, and yet is somehow oblivious to the goblin guard standing 3 feet away. Either that, or he just doesn't care. I'm going with the latter, considering Link is a 10 year old with next to no sword training, and he can effortlessly take them out in small groups, never mind one on one.
Not Pictured: Spikes shoot up from the ground behind Link, thus locking him into a battle to the death with a goblin dude that is marginally more powerful than the others. He died so quickly I didn't have time to get shots, but I'm pretty sure he might've been red instead of blue.
Link enters the building to rescue his sister, only to discover a small group of young girls that have been captured! Someone should contact the authorities, there's a pedophile on the loose!
Anyway, Link hears a noise, and makes an excellent "Wait a second..." face.
Link awakens in a talking boat, revealed to be the King of Red Lions. He tells Link of Ganondorf, how the gods sealed him away, and how his return will surely mark the end of the world. Then he tells Link to find the blade that destroys evil, go on a huge adventure well outside of the scope of his original task of saving Aryll, and generally become a 10 year old badass.
This seems like as good a stopping point as any. I could take you through the entire game, but the point would be the same: Wind Waker is extremely well done, it's very fun, and the way it handles the subject matter is more "mature" than the other Zelda games, so go play it!
Link has a family, you meet them, you get the impression that they care for one another. His motivation, initially, at least, isn't destiny or fate, but simply a frightened little boy wanting to rescue his sister. There was no fairytale ending for Hyrule, the gods flooded the world. The kingdom is gone, and only small outcroppings of land exist in the vast oceans. Ganondorf has a motivation other than just being an evil dick, the character of Zelda plays a much larger role, and Link himself is expressed well via his facial and body language. This is why the game is more "mature" than the others in spite of the chosen visual style.
So, what are the downsides? Well, difficulty, if you want to count it. Wind Waker is by no means a challenging game, and there aren't really any places where you'll be stumped by a puzzle. There's also the length, the game is only about 4 or 5 dungeons long, including the last one. In some cases, this wouldn't be a bad thing, but with Wind Waker, you definitely want more because what's there is so well executed. That's a sign of a good game though, it leaves you wanting more, and really, it's not a huge downside.