Yeah this is pretty much exactly how I felt as someone who grew up playing Ocarina of Time; Twilight Princess was exactly what I wanted from a next gen Zelda; the same kind of epic, moody fantasy adventure but evolved.
Instead we got Wind Waker, which was a crushing disappointment as it just felt so watered down (badum tssh) and lacking in gravitas.
TP felt like a return to form, to what we should've gotten in the first place.
Unfortunately, they didn't evolve it as much as they should've/could've. IMO, they should've made it semi-open world game with much more overworld exploration, and start bringing more character development choices while keeping main story and dungeons as they were...GC was perfectly capable to manage that, but unfortunetally they didn't...so eventually we ended up with BotW, ocean wide, puddle deep game.
It sort of is semi-open-world by Gamecube standards, and while yeah they could've pushed for more character choices, that's never really been part of Nintendo's DNA, they're less focused on storytelling and more on keeping narrative in the back seat in favour of gameplay.
I thought TP still pushed forward in key areas compared to Ocarina, most notably giving you a much more interesting companion and upping the scale, while keeping the epic, dramatic, often dark feel that made the 1998 game so captivating.