Phantom Hourglass

Well, finally putting a bit of time into the new Zelda. It’s a little frustrating but still quite fun. I’m loving the new controls; drawing a line to send a boomerang smacking into a monster is very cathartic. I think the best part though is being able to doodle on the maps to your heart’s content. :anjou_embarassed: Of course, I only like that last bit because mentally? I am six.

What does everyone else think of it?

My review:

Zelda on the DS, it’s something that’s been hotly anticipated for some time now, and it’s finally here in the form of The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass, the latest installment in the Zelda franchise. The game is a sequel to the Gamecube?s The Legend of Zelda; The Wind Waker, which happens to be my favorite Zelda game to date. It goes without saying, but the characters and graphic style are borrowed directly from it’s predecessor. It works really well too; the graphics are really good considering it?s the DS (despite Link’s sometimes oddly shaped head in cutscenes).

The story follows Link trying to save Tetra after she is abducted by the mysterious Ghost Ship which is said to house untold treasures, of course it develops into something much more epic, but since the main villain is unseen and incredibly bland, it’s not all that motivating. The story is decent, but it’s a Zelda title, so story isn’t going to be all that important or all that great. That’s not supposed to be a detriment to the series, but the story is really just supposed to serve as why Link is going through various dungeons. Like The Wind Waker, there’s an element of traveling around the world map on a boat. It didn?t really bother me all that much in Wind Waker, but since it was hated by many, I thought it bears mention. But this differs in that navigation is done by drawing a line from your boat to wherever you would like to go, and your instantly follow your planned course. This works, but can be a tad bothersome at times since it doesn’t allow you to simply draw a line and maybe watch TV until you arrive at your destination. Enemies and other obstacles frequently pop up, so by ignoring the game, you could possibly leave yourself open to getting blown up especially since your boat doesn’t have much stamina.

The actually gameplay is standard Zelda, go from dungeons to dungeons and collect various items that are needed to accomplish the goal of rescuing Tetra. The only difference is that the game is operated almost solely by the touch screen. You attack by either drawing a line to slash or by tapping your enemy in order to attack them. You move around by simply placing the stylis on the edge of the screen and you move in that direction. The touch screen is also used for drawing the path of the boomerang and other items. It’s also used for occasionally drawing various symbols for opening doors or summoning whirlwinds to quickly travel across the world. It works well for the most part, but there were two instances where it was mind-numbingly annoying and frustrating.

The biggest problem I had with the game is that there are no original items. None whatsoever. One of the best things about the Zelda franchise is seeing the new items and how the developers incorporate it into the dungeon design, and this isn?t here. Sure, you can use the boomerang and the bombchus in different ways, but it doesn’t change that they’re all items we’ve seen and used before. Another issue is that while the dungeons are well made, they aren’t all that memorable, and I actually have a hard time recalling all of the dungeons (despite just finishing the game a few minutes ago). I do remember two fire dungeons, but that?s standard Zelda.

But there’s a lot to do, which various power-ups to find, ship parts to discover and several unmarked islands to explore. There’s also multiplayer, which has you switching between playing Link trying to bring Force Shards to your base. which is essentially a colored piece of ground, and controlling three phantoms who try and attack Link and end his turn. It?s a fun little diversion but I can’t really see playing it beyond sporadic little bursts.

In Short:

The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass is a solid entry in the Zelda franchise. The touch screen adds a few unique touches to the game and the presentation is excellent. But if you went into the game expecting new items (like I did), you?re bound to be disappointed at the lack of brand new puzzle elements brought into the game. But if you go in with a general idea of what to expect, you?ll probably have a good time. It doesn?t hurt that there are several different items to discover as well.