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The Legend Of Zelda; Phantom Hourglass Review, 9.5/10


Jul 19 2007, 08:24 AM (Post #1)
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The Legend Of Zelda; Phantom Hourglass


Picking up where the Wind Walker left off, Phantom Hourglass is an adventure that is sure not to let anybody down.

Quick Facts


Title: Legend Of Zelda; Phantom Hourglass
Console: Nintendo DS
Year: 2007
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Publisher: Nintendo
Cover:

Plot


Being a Zelda game, the plot for Phantom Hourglass is very intricate and interesting. The story begins a few months after The Wind Walker finishes. Link is sailing with Tetra (AKA Princess Zelda) and her pirates. One night, they get caught in a thick black fog, and a ghost ship appears. Tetra investigates and Link follows quickly behind, only for both of them to disappear into the fog. Link then awakes on a beach (which seems to be a trend in the handheld games) and his quest to find Tetra begins when he runs into a brainwashed fairy, filled with plot twists, heart pieces and twelve year old that runs around in a green tunic cutting up monsters twenty times his hight.

Gameplay


First thing first, the controls. When the game was announced to have only touch screen controls, it was made with much uproar. However, I can confirm that the touch screen controls are easy to get used to, and integrate into the game well. Dragging the DS stylus across the screen causes Link to walk or run, and tapping on an enemy cause Link to strike it. For more complicated battle tactics, drawing a circle around and enemy causes Link to unleash his trademark spin attack, which is useful for tight situations. All the items, such as the Bow and Boomerang as well as some new ones return, all with easy to use controls as well. There are some other instances of use, such as when some enemies grab you (such as the zombie ReDeads), the touch screen must be rubbed repeatedly to be released. The touch screen controls have been well implemented and they can be easily used without feeling tacky at all, a trend amongst the recent DS games.

As with Wind Walker, there is much sailing to be done between destinations. Gone, however, is the King of Red Lions, the sentient sail boat from the previous game. Now Link has command of a steam ship, which is moved by plotting a course on the sea chart on the touch screen. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Zelda game without every single animal attempting to kill Link, so there is an option to customize Links’ ship, fitting it with cannons, mechanical arms and much more weaponry for those damn giant squids. Other aspects of the ship can be customized, improving its armour, speed and salvaging equipment. While initially only a small area of the map can be explored, gathering more sea charts allows you to traverse the whole world.

The dungeons have been excellently done. While the general formula of the dungeon remains the same (Enter, Get Weapon, Get Boss Key, Beat Boss), there have been many alterations done to the task. Firstly, the map is usually displayed on the top screen. However, at the stroke of the stylus, the map can be placed temporally on the touch screen, allowing you to make notes on it by writing with the stylus. This can be helpful if you come across an area which you can’t access, but wish to return to later. Also, there are many touch screen orientated puzzles to be done, which provide for some interesting interactions. The Bosses have been done magnificently, most taking up the entirety of both screens, which makes for colossal battles in every dungeon that are sure not to disappoint even the hardened of fans.

Graphics


The graphics are of excellent quality, with the same cell shaded style of Wind Walker. This graphical style looks brilliant on hand held consoles, as seen on the Minish Cap. The graphics look the same; if not even better then the Gamecube quality of graphics. Unlike most other 3D DS games, the textures are sharp and none of the character models suffer from slowdown or graininess.

Sound


The view is top down like the other handheld Zelda games, which gives it a traditional feel. The sound has again been done by Toru Mingishi, and does not fail to disappoint. The towns have an upbeat catchy tune. The forests have a creepy track, while the boss music is insanely climatic. I seldom sail across the sea without thinking the music makes me think of pirates.

Difficulty


Although this game is perfect in nearly every aspect, I have found one flaw with it. It was far too easy to complete. The bosses, while intimidating looking can be easily defeated once their weak points are exposed. The dungeons, while frequent are also quite easy to complete. Even people with that aren’t adept at this type of game will not have much trouble with it.

My Ratings


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Overall Rating: 9.5/10

Conclusion


In summary, Legend of Zelda; Phantom Hourglass is an excellent game. The excellent plot, tied with the new gameplay mechanics and mixture of sound and graphics is the near perfect game for the Nintendo DS. However I have to dock a little from the score due to the low difficulty.
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Aug 6 2007, 04:15 AM (Post #2)
Really screwed in the head
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Huzahh! another reason to own a DS!
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