You could dissect any 3D Zelda game the same way.
I don't think you can. The ocean in Wind Waker presents unique challenges in the structure of the game that the land based Zelda games don't have. Once I figured out there was one island per map square, it kind of cut my willingness to explore. Yeah, there are also a handful of submarines and lookout platforms, but it felt more like a chore going to all these places and checking them off the list. With the land based Zeldas, there could be a cave, or a hole, or a chest, or some other secret around any corner or under any rock. Those just felt more organic to me. Whereas in the ocean, everything was just oddly spread out. You pretty much knew you were going to find one cool thing on each island. With a major exception being Windfall Island, which was absolutely crammed full of side quests. It would have been better for pacing if there was another island that had lots of stuff to do. Or even if places like Dragon Roost, Forest Haven, or Outset had more to do instead of so much at Windfall.
NNID: theRepublic -- Steam ID: theRepublic
Wii U - Currently Gaming Like It's 2014 (Hyrule Warriors) - 11 games in backlog
3DS - Currently Gaming Like It's 2013 (Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon) - 7 games in backlog
PC - Currently Gaming Like It's 2012 (Borderlands 2) - 11 games in backlog
Mobile - The Simpson's Tapped Out and Yugioh Duel Links