The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (Nintendo DS) Reader Review

Posted by By J4K 0 Number of reads 1397 Posted 16.12.2007

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is a game that many fans have been wondering about since it was first announced at GDC 2006. Many questions centered around how the unique features of the DS would be put to use. Here are some answers!

As the beginning scenes finished, and I began controlling Link around the beach, I could immediately see how tight and responsive the touch screen control is. All action takes place on the touch screen, with the buttons being used merely as hot keys to quickly pull up options. To attack an enemy, just tap on them. To thrust forward, draw a quick line from Link toward the enemy. Its done so simply and so well that you will soon forget the buttons even exist as you interface directly with Link.

The touch screen control isn't perfect, however. While it works 98 percent of the time, there are instances where the game will not interpret the rolling attack, and on occasion Link will attack mid air when you only intended him to run by, but these instances are so rare that they hardly make an impact on the over all gameplay.

The rest of the game is fairly standard Zelda. You sail the seas as in Windwaker, this time though its sped up a bit by way of a steam power instead of wind power. Over all, the world you traverse is fairly large and lively, with ships and enemies coming and going and many islands to visit and explore. On these islands are the many temples with their special items that have become Hallmarks of the series.

However, standard Zelda doesn't mean a bad thing. Though the game follows the Zelda pattern of find item beat temple, the temples themselves offer a lot of different challenges that are made interesting by the unique use of the items via the touch screen. The boomerang is an especially good example, as with the touch screen, you simply trace its path and the boomerang follows it with pixel perfection.You really have to play the game to fully understand the impact the touch screen control has had on the gameplay.

The touch screen isn't the only unique function of the DS that is put to good use. The Dual screens play a part in some of the most enjoyable boss battles in the series yet, and in the rest of the game, act as a map that shows you your surroundings.

The map itself ends up being far more handy than you might originally suspect. I would compare it to the map in Mario Kart DS, in that the player originally suspects that he will get little use out of it, but eventually finds it to be indispensable. The map in Phantom Hourglass is made even more useful by the ability to take notes. This importance is especially manifested in the games main temple, the Sea King's Temple.

In this temple, the player must make his way through it several times, progressing a bit farther each time. Taking careful notes ensures that the player knows what they are doing the next time they venture through.

Some players may complain about the repetition involved in the Sea King's Temple, but I found it to be very enjoyable. Over all, it offered the most challenge in a game that severely lacked difficulty. It also provided some of the more interesting concepts to the game, like the time limit, and the phantom guards which cannot be defeated. Both of these factors add together to bring an air of suspense and excitement to the temple, and in my opinion, also help to freshen the Zelda formula a bit.

Technically, the graphics are some of the best on the Nintendo DS. Many of the sights are pretty stunning for the DS, and the over all look is amazingly similar to Wind Waker. The sound is also very good, with proper effects for everything, and a decent sound track. The sound track, though good, is one of the weaker aspects of the game unfortunately. Too few of the tunes are memorable, and the ones that are are likely remixes of past Zelda tunes. Never the less, the sound track achieves its purpose and sets the mood well enough.

Over all, Phantom Hourglass does an excellent job of using all the unique features of the Nintendo DS. It combines excellent usage with excellent gameplay to achieve excellent results. While the games difficulty and somewhat short 15 hour length are disappointing, in the end, Phantom Hourglass is still a first-rate game and a worthy addition to the Legend of Zelda Series.

J4K's Rating Rated $score out of 10  9/10

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Rated $score out of 10  9/10

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Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (39 Votes)

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