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I have a little bit of an obsession. In fact, I have a few, some stranger than others. Thankfully today I'll be telling you about the more socially acceptable ones. I wouldn't say that I'm a gamer (or a Gaymer as a million horrid little gay-gamers are now proudly calling themselves, urgh, spit) but I do, very occasionally, fall madly in love with a game. The only games that have managed to have this effect on me were as follows: Goldeneye (N64) Quack Attack (Snes) The Prince of Persia (Playstation and later the Wii) and The Legend of Zelda (Various Nintendo consoles). The first three slowly lost their charm over the years either due to ageing drastically or simply due to the makers becoming too arty for their own good and not linking the controls up to new consoles very well (Prince of Persia, I'm talking to you). Only one game has firmly held my attention since it was introduced to me and that is The Legend of Zelda.
===Who is this Zelda you speak of?===
Zelda gets far too much credit. The Legend of Zelda was first released way back in 1986 and has since followed a very similar formula. The magical land of Hyrule and its surroundings were created by three goddesses who left behind the Tri-force when they left this world for the spiritual realm. This funky little object is made up of three golden triangles and if you get your hands on all three, then you can pretty much do what you want because you'll be super cool and all powerful. Obviously that means that some pretty shifty people want to get hold of it and make everyone's life a misery. As part or all of the Triforce (depending on which game you're playing) is guarded by the Royal Family, The Princess Zelda always manages to get in the firing line when Ganon (the usual evil guy constantly breaking his eternal bondage in the spirit realm) comes for what he wants. So off she pops into a deep sleep, or trapped in a see through crystal or underwater or into a painting etc and all of a sudden you are thrown into the job of saving Her All Powefull Idiotness from the clutches of doom. The hero of the story is a little boy called Link (who actually takes on your name when you enter it) who is generally fast asleep when the game begins. Each generation has some version of him, but he has a penchant for being blondy-ginger and wearing a lot of green. He is the one destined to protect the power of the Tri-force (and apparently, by proxy, that pesky attention seeking princess) though he has a bad habit of being knocked out or passing out at the same moment Zelda gets herself in trouble leading to a giant quest instead of a short battle. So really, the entire series should really be called The Legend of Link, but I guess that doesn't have the same ring to it.
The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hour Glass was released for the Nintendo DS console in 2007 which was after Nintendo's much bigger release of the franchise's "Twilight Princess" for the Wii in 2006. Rather than following on from that release, however, this game follows on from the earlier release of Windwaker for the Gamecube in 2003. As such the style, characters and music is much the same as in Windwaker which is a lot more cartoony than most of the other releases. I always said it was a bit like the Rugrats when they let out Windwaker. This story begins just after windwaker finishes with Link and Zelda (or Tetra as she's calling herself) on a pirate ship exploring the oceans. In true Zelda style she hears about a Ghost Ship abducting people and decides it's a great idea to go check it out. Ten points if you can guess who gets kidnapped? Double or nothing if you can guess who half drowns himself and passes out trying to save her? Yup. And Yup.
===Behind the times===
Unfortunately for me, I tend to be quite a bit behind in getting to play them since I'm not made of the kind of money you generally need to keep up with the new Nintendo consoles and releases. Recently, however, Allan got himself a 3DS (a little handheld thing, think fancy gameboy) and just in time for the latest Legend of Zelda release. Having thoroughly kicked the backside out of that release I realised that the 3DS is backwards compatible, meaning that I could buy the Legend of Zelda releases for the slightly less fancy DS and play it on this machine. I almost melted with joy.
From the second I plugged it in, I was not overjoyed. Not only had someone used this game before me (well I did buy it second hand), but their profile showed that they didn't even bother completing it. Cretin. Absolute scum!!* Apart from that though, the graphics were nowhere near as good as I had expected. Windwaker's animation style was a bit cartoony, but it wasn't poorly put together. The cut scenes and some of the close-up character interaction in this game, however, are not great at all. They are quite flickery and unstable when usually they are better animated than the rest of the game. It feels like it was very quickly whacked together so they could have a DS / Zelda release to draw people in. Even the graphics on the N64 were better and that's a much older console. Strange indeed.
I fully admit here that I came from playing a 2013 release straight to playing a 2007 release. Six years apparently made all the difference as I really did not like the controls on Phantom Hourglass at all. The 3DS folds open to reveal two screens. The one on the bottom half is a touch screen and the one on the top can be used to view 3D segments of games if they have them. The 3DS has a joystick on the left hand bottom side along with the arrow buttons, while the other side has the A, B, X and Y buttons. You also get a pointer with the console to help you with the touch screen. In the most recent release you move Link around the screen by using the joystick which is smooth, easy and accurate. The DS was an earlier version of this and did not include a joystick. So how did you move Link around a 360 degree world without a joystick? The touch screen.
===Oh God, the touch screen===
If you put your pointer on the touch screen at the place you want Link to go to, he starts running in that direction. The screen moves around him so if you do want to go quite far you just keep the pointer held at the side of the screen in the direction you want to travel. If you want to slash your sword at something you have to draw a quick line between Link and whatever you are slashing. Defending yourself with a 360 sword spin is as easy as drawing a frantic circle around Link, while tumbling as you run is done by scribbling small circles at the side of the screen while Link's on the move. Not only does your main game play now take place on the less clear of the two screens, the movement is quite inaccurate. In other games it's easy to run up to a bad guy and slash your sword at them and hit them. In this game, however, I've found Link stopping short of a target and slashing nothing but air. Nudging him forward isn't easy as he starts going full pelt soon as your pointer touches the screen and a lot of the time runs right into the bad guy you were trying to get closer to. You can use the option to simply tap each bad guy in turn and link will automatically hit at them, but it's not as fun and takes a lot of the skill out of the game. It also makes cutting any grass in the fields very time consuming. If you've never played a Zelda game before, long grass always hides items such as money (Rupees) or hearts which replenish your health so it's always worth slashing as much grass as possible. This game makes it very, very boring to do so.
Picking items up such as rocks and barrels is as easy as clicking them with your pointer, throwing them away is just as easy by tapping where you want to throw. Speaking to people is done much the same way, but with less throwing afterwards. Again it all seems to over simplify the game, but again it's possible that I just spoiled myself by playing a more technologically advanced Zelda game on the same console first. That being said, I think that they went straight for the gimmick of touch screen and ignored the other buttons that could have easily controlled link a lot more accurately. Oh well.
===Speak to yourself===
There are one or two points in the game that use the microphone on the DS to activate or access certain areas and this is something that I loathe. Normally I can sit and rather unobtrusively play these games while my partner does something else. I don't really appreciate having to shout like an idiot at the DS to be able to progress with the game. Not only does it disturb my partner watching TV while I play, it makes me look like a total numpty. Imagine if you were just sitting playing this in a coffee shop and you got to a point where you had to shout to move further. Frustrating. There is literally no way around this at certain points.
You can toggle the map from the top screen to the bottom screen and make notes on it which can be helpful for remembering where things are. It can also be used later in the game when you get into your boat as you can plot a course that your boat will then sail on the course you've chosen. You can use the pointer to look around and jump while the ship is sailing but it's quite a task to keep on top of where to look while you're moving. It makes the game feel very "all over the place" rather than smooth and seamlessly put together.
Much like earlier games, you can save this game whenever you feel like saving it. There are pro's and con's to this. Saving whenever you want means that you can stop whenever you want and put the game down. That can come in handy if you are in the middle of a dungeon and need to go do something. Con's are that you tend to get put back to the start of the dungeon (albeit with the rooms you've completed still mostly complete) when you do it. I much prefer being able to save wherever I want as it can be quite annoying if you have to run half way across the world to find a save point before you can turn your game off.
As with any Zelda game there are a few different weapons you can pick up along the way to help your quest. You can even pimp out your ship with cannons and various other bits and bobs that basically power up your ride. You can salvage parts from other ships that sail the incredibly boring seas of this game too. Joy. If I hadn't already gotten completely bored with travelling everywhere this might make the game fun, but controlling the ship no matter how pimped out it is, is a slog and sailing somewhere always just makes me want to cry with boredom.
Having started this review wondering why someone wouldn't complete the game before sending it off, I quickly realised that this was the first Zelda game that I didn't actually feel a burning desire to play. In fact, it sat for days at a time without being touched simply because the controls are so horrible that it put me off. As for how long it actually takes to get through...well! If you play it from start to finish without being put off, you'll probably get about a week or two out of it (that's about normal for a Zelda game anyway). As it stands, I've had months out of it simply because I don't really want to go back to it. To this date I still haven't completed it fully, which was unheard of when it comes to me and the games I've gotten my mitts on from this franchise.
I hate the controls, that much is clear. I'll have to take a star off for that alone. Another star also has to come off for the occasionally blocky and terrible graphics that make the whole thing seem really cheaply put together. There are long and very boring segments of travel in the game that just don't keep me engaged enough to care about what's going on. I get to the point where I just want to be where I'm going and be over with it. I'm taking another star off for that. That leaves me at two stars before I take a star off for the lack of any drive to complete the game. It feels like a dismal attempt to squeeze money out of the franchise. I may eventually complete it, but it's going to take pure will power and a lot of teeth-grinding boredom. I'm a huge Zelda fan and I'd say steer clear. One star out of five.
*I take that back, I fully understand now.
Phantom Hourglass was the first DS Zelda game and it used visuals close to those of WindWaker on the gamecube; bright and colourful cell-shaded graphics. I love the way the visuals and music really come together to make you feel like a child again, on a wonderful adventure.
The touchscreen controls work very well for this game, something I was originally concerned about. But my fears were put to rest after 5 minutes with the game. It is very simple, hold on the screen to move somewhere, or strike across an enemy to swish your sword at them. Holding a trigger button allows you to use your secondary weapon, which usually consists of you drawing a path for a bomb or boomerang, which works very nicely.
The quest is quite long but feels a little drawn out in places. It is never quite enough to put you off playing, but having to return to the temple after each dungeon gets a little tiresome, even though you can fast track your way through it with your latest collected items.
The sailing parts for the game are good fun and are not as lengthy as in WindWaker. Simply draw a path on your map and you boat will take you there automatically. This is a nice idea and transporting is much more speedy this time around.
My only real complaint is to do with the difficulty, this is much easier than most Zelda games and whilst that might be a good thing for more casual gamers that are thinking of getting themselves into a big adventure, more seasoned gamers may find themselves waltzing through with no real problems.
There is also a fun multiplayer mode that can be quite competitive. It is good fun for a while to distract you from the main quest from time to time.
I've never been a big fan of the Zelda series of games so I'm not actually sure what made me buy this. It was one of those odd impulse buys that you regret somewhat once you've actually thought about it a bit. So it stayed in my game case for quite a while without being played, until I finally got irritated at myself decided it was a massive waste and actually tried it! Needless to say I wasn't expecting a great amount from it but you'll be glad to hear that I was pleasantly surprised by the game.
Anyone who has ever owned a games console and most of those who haven't will surely have heard of Zelda. But for those who haven't for one reason or another, which may include a very large rock, Zelda has been one of Nintendo's largest and most long running series with many different titles on different consoles. From my childhood I quite enjoyed the original SNES and N64 Zelda games but lost interest in them quickly afterwards, as far as I was concerned there were far better games out there.
But anyhow, for those of you who really don't know, the Zelda games focus around a little leprechaun in a pointy green hat and a princess; who by sheer coincidence is called Zelda! Granted the small figure in a pointy green hat is actually a Hylian child, but as far as I'm concerned if it looks like a leprechaun, dresses like a leprechaun and collects shiny gems to hoard then it is a leprechaun! As the play you are this small green leprechaun named Link and your usual task is to rescue the princess in distress at some point or another in the game (kind of stereotypical I know, but bare with me!).
Granted the storylines are a little bit more complex than that, and if you include the chronology of the multitude of games in understanding the overall plot then it gets far more complicated. But, unless you want me to go on forever I can only give you a brief run down. The overall chronology of the series is complex largely because it is still under a fair amount of debate amongst fans of the series due to the amount of sequels and prequels to the original 'The Legend of Zelda', and that doesn't include the splits in the timeline and games set over 100 years later! But this particular game is a direct sequel to the Wind Waker world that was introduced on the GameCube and it picks up exactly where the last game left off as Link and Tetra sail off into the sunset. The game does have a nice picture book summary of the previous game which is very handy for those of us who hadn't played the previous game!
This does kind of follow on from the previous section on background and could possibly be included with it but I have to admit I believe it deserves a short section of its own as it is such a well known and well developed universe.
The usual setting of the Zelda games is in the land of Hyrule which has many different areas which feature in various games such as the Lost Woods and Lake Hylia. Certain games are set outside of Hyrule, and this particular game is set on the Great Sea, which is a flooded Hyrule. The basic back-story is that the goddesses Din, Farore and Nayru formed Hyrule and in 'Ocarina of Time' it states that Din formed the basic geography, Farore created the races which fill the land, and Nayru formed the laws which govern the land. Once they had done this they departed for the heavens and left behind three triangles which became known as the Triforce and in them is the power to rule all things.
As I mentioned earlier, the story follows on directly from the earlier Gamecube game and is set in a flood-covered Hyrule. In typical Zelda style, Tetra is captured by an evil ghost ship which appears and disappears at random, and from that point onwards it is Link's mission to save her. In his initial attempt he falls overboard, is washed up on an island and is awaked by a fairy who decides to join him in his quest and do everything it can to help Link. By a massive force of co-incidence this island contains the Temple of the Ocean King which contains clues to the location of Tetra in the form of maps throughout the game...in the same streak of co-incidence he also finds the Phantom Hourglass which is the only way you can get safe passage through the Temple of the Ocean Winds as the main floors drain health! At that point Link enlists Captain Linebeck and his ship and the rest of the game is Link sailing the ocean trying to free the main three spirits so that they can help him find and save Tetra.
The big thing to note about gameplay is that it is entirely touch based using the stylus for everything. There is no way around it - trust me, I tried! There is no alternate control scheme that you can change to, so if you want to play the game you have to get used to it. Usually, I hate touch screen obsessed games as I am somewhat of an old-school gamer; I like my D-pad and I am not too pleased when games try to force me away from it (one of the reasons I never really got into the Wii). Because of this it took me quite a while to get used to this game and actually get into it, but oddly it does work and after a while I found it just as easy to play as with a D-pad. Nintendo in no way, shape or form apologises for this radical decision (if anything at points they actually mock the D-pad), it just is what it is and so, love it or hate it, Phantom Hourglass is a touch only game. I would however recommend you give a shot as if I can get used to it, anybody can!
The only true issue with the touch controls is that it is sometimes not quite as responsive as you would like it to be and Link can do random moves which you had never intended...this does occasionally result in you rolling off a cliff by accident. I became quite grateful that I have small hands!
The rest of the gameplay is very similar to the other games in the Legend of Zelda series, but it is divided into two gameplay types. Half of the game involves sailing between islands on the 'world map' or sea maps and half of it involves exploring the islands and dungeons on foot. The sailing section comprises of you setting a course using the stylus, dodging obstacles by jumping over them and blowing up enemies with the cannon. The island part revolves around exploring the islands, killing the enemies, solving the puzzles and collecting gems and information as in all Zelda games. I have a feeling that if there wasn't both sections to this game either one of the above would very rapidly become tiresome, but because there is a certain amount of variety in what you are doing it stays interesting and engaging.
The only other gameplay issue that I feel needs to be mentioned is the absolutely fantastic addition of being able to write notes on the maps for future reference. This is often vital for solving the various puzzles and very handy for just about anything...including if you've just forgotten a pen and paper and need to scribble down a quick shopping list!
As with all of the Zelda games a large percentage of the game is situated around puzzles and challenges to allow you to get to the next stage of the game. As I am not a hardcore Zelda fan I am commenting solely from a normal DS owners point of view. Because of this I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed them. I found them to be engaging, challenging and at the perfect level of difficulty as I get rather irritated when a game makes me feel stupid!
For each level and dungeon you have to make full use of all of the items and weapons that you have gained throughout the game, for example the boomerang allows you to hit switches from a distance when you draw a course for it on the map. Even all of the bosses are puzzles in their own right as they all behave differently and are weak to different things so you have to figure out how to destroy them before you can actually do any damage to them! And again, the ability to write notes on your screen is a massive plus as it allows you to sketch pathways and keep track of what you've done so far, although it's a simple feature it truly enhances the game.
There have however been complaints from experienced Zelda fans who have reported that the dungeons and levels are less complex and often not as complex as in previous games. A lot of the hardcore fans felt somewhat let down as they felt that Nintendo had abandoned them for the more casual gamer, and this particularly showed in the touch screen controls. Even with that though, many gamers still felt that it was a good game, just different and some went as far as to say that it breathed new life into the Zelda series. From my point of view, I would respectfully suggest that it just showed a level of genius on Nintendo's part as it opens the game up to a larger and less experienced audience.
It is at this point though that the game moves from a good game to an outstanding piece of work. For a game on the DS it is spectacular. It has some quite stunning contrasts as the characters are cartoony, cute and more than a little bit goofy and yet some of the scenery as you move around the sea is absolutely beautiful. It's amazing just what a difference very good graphics make to a game, as it makes the game much more enjoyable, particularly as it is so unexpected in a DS game.
Most reviewers seem to suggest that it will take you about 15 hours to complete if you run straight through the main plot. If you incorporate all the side quests and treasure hunts then you can play for much, much longer. And if you're like me then it will take longer anyway, I tend to be a slow and methodical gamer...and so things take quite a long time! You can also add onto this time by using the Battle function when you finish the plot and there is the ability to play multiplayer, which I can't comment on as it is somewhat impossible when none of your friends own a DS!
This is a game which I can happily advise to go out and give it a shot. It is fun, innovative, intriguing and has just the right amount of puzzles and challenges. If you're a hardcore Zelda fan, or if you have very large hands then you may be less impressed with this particular game but even with that if you give it a chance you should be able to have a large amount of fun with the game.
Title: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Platform: Nintendo DS
Rating: Ages 7 and over
Release date: 19 Oct 2007
Price: At time of writing prices go from £8.95 second-hand and £21.45 for a new game on Amazon,
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is the first game in the Zelda series to see a release on the Nintendo DS. As such it has a lot to prove, not only in proving that the DS is capable of adapting to the series' varied gameplay but also demonstrating that the massive and lengthy stories that the series is famous for can be squeezed into one of those tiny little cartridges. It rises to both these challenges superbly.
Firstly, Phantom Hourglass is a little unusual in the series in that it follows on directly from a previous game. Most entries in the series take regular components, the hero Link, the Princess Zelda and the villain Ganon and then place them in a totally self contained story. This time around we pick up not long after the conclusion of the last home console entry in the series, The Wind Waker. Fortunately the game does not depend on too much back story but for players of The Wind Waker it's nice to find yourself in a familiar world.
The game begins upon a pirate ship populated by some of the most cheerful pirates I've ever seen. You play Link, a young boy this time around, a member of the ship's crew under Princess Zelda who has taken to playing captain. While the whole set up will probably make more sense to players of the previous game it doesn't matter too much as thirty seconds in the jolly pirate ship runs afoul of the ghost ship. A fog clouds the entire vessel and Zelda is abducted. Link being the hero that he is, dives overboard in pursuit only to get caught in the current and wash up on a strange beach. And so it is that all is washed away and we embark upon a new adventure.
Link soon becomes acquainted with a fairy, a wise old man, a sea captain and a fortune teller. Between them all they piece together enough clues about the ghost ship and set sail. Players of The Wind Waker will remember sailing from island to island in their personal yacht. This time around Link has access to a small paddle steamer and so things move a fair bit faster.
The first thing you'll probably notice about this game is that it has some of the most beautiful graphics ever seen on a DS game. When The Wind Waker was released on the gamecube, a surprising uproar erupted from Zelda fandom about the graphics. The Wind Waker demonstrated a very well designed example of cell shading at a time when games didn't dare to be different. The visuals were very stylised, bright and colourful with a hint of ancient chinese art about them. Character designs were very exaggerated, water was a mix of pure blue and pure white, great explosions blew out in a flurry on inky spirals.
It remains one of the most beautiful games I have ever played. Apparently some of these "fans" however, had been operating under the delusion that Zelda was and ever should be an ultra realistic, gritty fantasy series with polygon perfect characters. While that doesn't match any Zelda game I've ever seen, this corner of fandom was particularly vocal and objected strongly to the direction The Wind Waker had taken. Shigeru Miyamoto, the game's designer was a little hurt, I believe and when the next major Zelda title arrived we were presented with a dark and gothic tale set in an ultra realistic, fantasy world. It was a great game but really only a fraction as innovative and as fun as The Wind Waker.
All is not lost however and The Wind Waker's visual style has been kept for Zelda's handheld titles, where gamers don't seem to take themselves too seriously. Phantom Hourglass benefits so much from the heritage of The Wind Waker, it's hard to imagine the game being possible without it. The diminutive child version of link makes a perfect little hero to guide around the world and while the power of the DS pales in comparison to the Gamecube, a more stylised more is far better suited to its hardware. Textures here are the biggest weakness with most being blocky and rough, however the whole game is assembled beautiful and I was overjoyed to see that explosions still blow out into inky spirals. I think Phantom Hourglass is probably the best looking DS title that I own, while it doesn't push the hardware as much as some it always presents a consistent image that suits the game. In the end it is games such as these that we remember.
The game also makes use of the entire DS capabilities, often in very clever ways. Controlling Link is done via the touch screen however, unlike Super Mario 64 which expected you to use the touch screen like an analogue stick, here you merely touch the stylus to the screen and Link will run to that point. The stylus must be held down allowing Link to follow but unlike other titles you aren't require to push forward; it's much handier. Links typical range of sword attacks are all here and made highly intuitive. Simple quick attacks are done by tapping the screen while more complicated attacks are done through a series of swipes. The spin attack is probably easiest and just asks you to draw a quick circle around Link. It's quick and easy to do, most players will probably get to grips with it in minutes. Phantom Hourglass also makes use of the microphone, though only for a few specific events. As they're part of some very entertaining puzzles, I won't spoil them here, I'll just say it's nice to see developers using this feature.
While the gameplay is strong, I was a little disappointed int the storytelling which seems to have taken a step backwards this time around. Ostensibly the game places its emphasis on exploration but this is far too easy to be truly diverting. The games doesn't feature a wide range of other characters and those that are around often aren't that interesting. he game also doesn't last as long as I've come to expect from a Zelda title. The story can be worked through in a good few days and the ocean has somehow shrunk since The Wind Waker. However, it is playing the role of an epilogue more than a completely new adventure so perhaps that's intentional.
There's a lot of really solid gameplay to be found here and peeks of a really solid game hiding beneath the surface. The dungeon segments have the added twist of a time element that makes them somewhat more interesting than usual and I often felt like this could have been a classic with perhaps a better story. There's a lot to love including a fantastic visual style and a control scheme that's a dream on the DS but I was left wishing the visuals were all they'd taken from The Wind Waker. The game feels more tied down by the ocean setting than liberated and as much of the vast world has been cut out it seems somewhat pointless. I keep finding myself drifting off to a world where I was playing with exactly the same engine but a whole new story. Perhaps next time, eh?
If you're considering buying Phantom Hourglass, don't let this review put you off. It's a first rate game that not only looks stunning but is fun and compelling. However, if you're coming over from other entries in the series then I would advise you to think of it more as a short trip than a whole new world to fall into.
This is available at most game stores and online for around £20, it will run in any Nintendo DS console.
Another beauty from the Zelda franchise.
A direct sequal to The Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass continues Link's journey across the great sea. On board Tetra's (Princess Zelda's) ship, the crew go on a quest to find new lands. However, their ship gets attacked by The Ghost Ship and Tetra is kidnapped. Link, knocked unconscious by the kerfuffle, wakes up on a beach (a la, Link's Awakening) and a familiar voice wakes him from his dazedness. The voice is identical to Navi, but it's not so my hopes were dashed pretty epically - when will that fairy return? (for people not in the know, Navi's your little guide in Ocarina of Time and most of us Zelda-istas want her back).
On this land, the fairy takes Link to Oshus, a man with a huge head and staff who gives you a little bit of back story of what's going on but not much - he gives you the information in drips. Link asks around the island about the Ghost Ship and finds that there's strange goings on in The Temple of The Ocean King.
In here, when you are not on specific areas, the temple drains your life. And it is here where you meet Linebeck who owns a boat. You save him and Oshus enters the temple and tells Linebeck to help Link. This is where Link gets the Phantom Hourglass; an hourglass that contains Sand Time which allows you to run through the Ocean King's temple without coughing it - that's until the sand runs out - it take sunlight to restore it's energy.
The game carries on in that Zelda adventure way - exploring caves, running overground collecting items etcetera. Control ways it took a little getting used to - sword fighting with the stylus can be slightly hectic. Also, it is awkward swapping between items in time without getting hit by an enemy. Mid-fight, if you need something, you have to hit the items tab bottom right, then choose your item in the list that comes out, then click the circle in the top right corner, which now contains a picture of the item you've chosen, then the weapon is selected and ready to use. I've gotten quick doing this, but I still take a hit in some heavy battles.
My other qualm is the hourglass time mechanic when inside the Temple of The Ocean King. Time limits are pretty much over in modern gaming so it was pretty stressful being kept to a time limit. Hungover playing is really not recommended if inside the Temple. I had 10seconds left at one point and just managed to escape on time with what I needed: my heart almost exploded.
Who says games are engaging?
I have been a big fan of Zelda since it was first released on Nintendo, so I was very excited to play this game - and I was not disappointed at all. It is everything you come to expect of a Zelda game but with the benefit of being able to play it anywhere! There is not too much story telling which I like as I'd rather be playing the game! It is taxing and not too easy so I don't think the player would get bored. It is easy to navigate the character and is very easy to use. It uses a lot of the DS's unique features, such as the touch screen to move around and the microphone for speaking and blowing into - I find the use of the microphone a bit "for show" and a bit unnecessary but doesn't ditract from the great game play. I was concerned that it wouldn't be the sort of game that you could pick up and play for 10minutes on a bus journey and was more a sit-down-for-2-hours type of game - I have found that it is easy to pick up for ten minutes and the game can be saved at any time, not just at save points, but if you are in a castle be warned - if you save the game and turn off, you will resume outside the castle! Argh! I really enjoy this game and would definately recommend it to anyone who has or hasn't played Zelda before. The game play is great!
The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass is the first Zelda game ever to be made for the Nintendo DS system. Since the DS first came about in 2004, there has been no Zelda game for the DS until 3 years later, in 2007 where it came out, with thousands of millions of buyers along the way. Zelda Phantom Hourglass is sort of a sequel to GameCube version called the Wind Waker. Zelda Phantom hourglass still has that style and surrounding world as well as the plot of the game to the GameCube version, the only difference is the New Nintendo DS control etc.
The game it self is so like the old Zelda, including the tunes, the scary places and dungeons, the same hard bosses and brain thinking puzzles, but at the same time the DS version is so much unique due to the touch screen control area! Nearly everything in the game involves of you to use the touch-screen and stylus, from swiping right to left and left to right to attack monsters, swiping to cutting down trees in the way of your path and also to help you complete puzzles by marking and jotting important places on the map given to you. As well as using the Stylus at some points you can use the key pad, you will just need to configure the settings.
The whole game actually really gets into adventure mode where you pick up the phantom hourglass in the mysterious cave, and that is where you last left it on The Wind Waker GameCube version. You travel to different islands sailing on your ship, but don't get me wrong, instead of the sailing being computerised you actually get to control the ship and where to go, so it really does make it a challenge, especially if you skipped the talk your ''grand-dad'' gave you, as then you would not know where to go.
Overall the game is yet just another superb one from Nintendo which every Nintendo DS owner should have to get the actual feeling and adventure from Zelda!
The Phantom Hourglass was first shown to gamers in 2006 at the Games Developers Conference (GDC). It was finally released first in Japan on the 23rd of June and then last in Europe on October 19 (Nintendo hates us Europeans!).
A quick explanation of the story is that it is one of the few Zelda titles to carry on from another, this one being Wind Waker. Tetra (Zelda) is kidnapped in the beginning and, like all Zelda quests, you have to go and rescue her. Typically there is a special item that the game is named after that is critical to the hero's success. The Phantom Hourglass allows Link to walk around the Temple of the Ocean King without being harmed.
Facts over, this game is jaw dropping. The first thing you obviously notice is the cel-shaded top-down view graphics that are not only perfect for the game and the system, but they actually FIT this time. In Wind Waker it was a bizarre concept of a more grown-up tale but with the more cartoony graphics which didn't fit well. Here it's fantastic; the explosions, characters and especially the sea which continues to hypnotise me. I'll admit they can be slightly fuzzy or pixelated but still they make you wonder how they didn't try this earlier.
The sound was another joy to behold, the music was fantastic (as you'd expect from a Zelda title) and the sound effects were - as usual - cute and unforgettable. Zelda games always have the ability to keep their songs and sound effects stuck in your head for many days, weeks or even years. A rather important plus is that they aren't rehashes of Ocarina of Time music/effects in the most part which unfortunately recent Zelda games have fallen fate to and again this just increases the addictiveness of the sound.
Obviously the next bit to talk about is the controls which are feel as though Zelda was made for them and not the other way around. They require absolutely no or little expertise and yet again fit perfectly into the game. I was under the impression the d-pad would be used to move but the Stylus is used for almost everything and it was so perfectly. Without the learning curve anyone can pick it up too straight away for no problematic controlling issues that were seen in the likes of Mario 64 DS. The use of the items in this game were yet again another feature that had me desperate to get to another dungeon just to get the next item and the new uses of old items (Grappling hook as tight rope type thing) were so intuitively brilliant.
Now, I've rather loved this game so far and it's not perfect. Some parts of it are (controls) but quite frankly there are some niggles. One is obviously the largely unoriginal Zelda plot that's usually changed around very slightly every game of fetching Zelda from a bad guy to save Hyrule. The backtracking to and forth from the Temple of the Ocean King can really grind your gonads, at least eventually, especially having to go through floors you've already "beaten" before.
Yeah, the use of the top screen was generally for a map which sometimes moved to the touch screen if you wished to make notes or draw a route while sailing. The note system works really well and is excellently used to remember certain combinations and puzzles
However, the game is one of the few Zelda games to dare to change the formula, like Four Swords. The brand new and innovative controls to completely overhaul the fighting system/item system are a bold move for one. The excellent changes to the gameplay; travelling on the boat, the map and its notes, the use of the microphone and the customisation of the ships. The fact is does change the Zelda formula, try something new and not just use the same seven temple format as the last few games really makes it stick out in your mind as the Zelda that tried and succeeded. It's certainly paved the way for other franchises and developers to be more innovative about the touch screen system and showing it can work on an adventure game like this.
So, is the glass half full or half empty? Well, neither. It's very nearly full. It's an excellent game that doesn't drag on at any count (only a few temples ensures not drawn out like WW). Its graphics are stunning for the console it's on, the controls are a benchmark and the game is pure Zelda at heart but different on the outside, and for the good. It even has a multiplayer mode based on the stealth sections of the game which I haven't even been able to try but have heard of some good things.
I have been quite a fan of the Zelda series of games ever since I had my first Gameboy and played Link's Awakening. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out they were making a new Zelda game for the Nintendo DS!
This game did not disappoint my anticipations, it starts off gently adding just the right amount of frustration in all the right places.
In this game you have to travel around by sailing the seas with the help Captain Linebeck and his ship, which is in itself a really fun feature, you sometimes come accross enemies in the ocean which you have to defeat before you can continue!
The way this game has been set out for the Nintendo DS's dual screens is fab, the top screen is mainly used as an overall map of the area that Link is in and the bottom screen is used for gameplay. I love the use of the stylus when moving and fighting, this is quite a novel way of controlling Link.
The ultimate aim of the game is to obtain the Phantom sword in order to defeat the enemy Bellum to save Link's friend Tetra.
This game took me a while to complete, it's certainly not a short game in true Zelda style!
I would recommend this to fans of the Zelda series, if you are not already a fan of this style of game you may find it a bit long.
The Legend Of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass Review: (10th February 2008)
'Phantom Hourglass' (Nintendo DS) is a direct sequel to the events of 'Wind Waker' (Nintendo Gamecube), in which Link must once again save Tetra, and help restore the power of the Ocean King. Does the game stand up to the best of the Zelda Series?
Graphically, this is the best the DS has to offer. Nintendo did an amazing job transferring Gamecube graphics to the DS, and admittedly, it's not a full conversion, not by a long shot, but it's still incredible to see Wind Waker style graphics on the DS, and the game looks amazing because of it. Granted, the characters can look a little rough sometimes, and admittedly, they're not eye-poppingly amazing, but they are still incredible, considering they're on the DS, and when the game is in motion, the game looks even better. It just shows how much better games could look if developers actually put some effort into 3D games on the DS.
As always, the sound in Zelda games rarely makes massive steps in evolution, but, it still sounds amazing. Admittedly, the best tunes are the ones that are from older games, but some of the newer tunes still sound brilliant, and altogether, the sound helps make the game a lot more immersive than it would have been otherwise. One of the best examples for this is when you're sailing on the ocean, as the music makes the experience feel more immersive, and in a game, that's important. However, some of the newer tunes aren't incredible, the older tunes reign supreme, and considering this game is supposed to be a different change for the Zelda series, this might not be the best thing, however, all the tunes are well done, and mostly memorable, and they help to make the game more immersive, and its rare music in games does that.
One of the biggest points about Phantom Hourglass was that the touch screen was supposed to radically change the way you played, and to give the Zelda series some evolution. For the most part, this idea is true, as the fact that the game can be played without ever touching any of the buttons is an indication as to how different the game is trying to be. However, the game isn't that much different at the core of it all. While the Touch-screen controls take a bit to get used to, eventually, you can do pretty much everything with ease after a while, which I guess is the point of the control scheme, and some of the ideas work amazingly well in theory. When it comes to things such as sailing, drawing the route is a great idea, but drawing straight lines is difficult, and while its normally not much of a problem, its makes the pacing slower. This is most obvious in the ocean sections, because until you learn how to warp across the ocean (and it's entirely possible you can go through the game without ever learning how to), sailing still takes a long time. Luckily, not as long as Wind Waker, and there's even distractions such as randomly occurring enemies, and so forth, which works in theory, but sometimes, the sailing can still be too slow, especially if you're sailing a very long way, and the randomly occurring distractions don't help that.
There's less items this time around, and the result is mixed. For one, the items you get are used on a semi-regular basis, unlike a lot of previous Zelda games, where you'd get the item, use it in that dungeon, and then never use it again, except for the obligatory puzzle that cropped up later in the game that demanded you use it. So in this sense, its a really nice feeling to know that the items are used quite a lot, and while one or two items may be mostly rejected for others, they're all still used a lot, especially if you go for the side-quests, and so forth. However, the lack of items and weapons also makes you realise how much shorter the main part of the game actually is in comparison to the other Zelda games.
So that's where the side-quests come in. While there are no heart pieces this time around (However, you can still get heart Containers, thankfully), no upgradeable wallets, and there are less weapon upgrades, there's still an amazingly large amount of things to do in the game outside of the main quest, and the length of your game can depend on how much time you spend on the side quests. There are loads of ship parts you can find to upgrade your ship, and collecting matching ship parts can increase the amount of damage you take, and you can find these in a multitude of ways, mainly from treasure maps, or to get the elusive Golden Ship Parts, playing and achieving certain awards in the Multiplayer. However, Golden ship parts are still available without playing Multiplayer, and so it is still possible to get these without playing Online. There are also trading systems are well, but like the other side-quests it's entirely possible to complete the game without using them. There are also 60 Spirit gems to collect, 20 for Courage, Wisdom, and Power, and collecting 10, then 20 of each will give you upgrades ranging from a more powerful fire-sword, increased defense, and shooting light out of your sword, and while they're not necessary, they can be helpful, especially against bosses.
Boss battles of course, are quite different from previous games, mainly because they normally require the use of both screens. While some of these bosses are interesting, the boss in the Temple of Courage is a particular stand-out as one of the better boss battles in the game, and the boss battles are normally clever and well thought out, sometimes, the Boss battles are disappointingly simple or easy to figure out, such as the boss in the Ice Temple. However, this criticism is one that basically rings true to most of the game.
One of the bigger criticisms you will find of the game is this: Its one of the easiest Zelda games around. The amount of puzzles is drastically reduced, and most of the main puzzles in the dungeon, apart from using your newly acquired item, will consist of "Defeat all the enemies in this room!" to "Quick, push this block!", to "Quick, read these clues, then write down the correct sequence using the map!". Admittedly, while the map is one of the best features of the game, and some of the initial puzzles involving it are clever, the puzzles involving it, like many other items in the game, go from clever and innovative to overused. If you're new to the series, you won't mind this too much, but if you're a Zelda veteran, then a lot of the puzzles will be very easy for you up until about the Ice Temple, which is the 5th out of 6 main dungeons in, not counting the main dungeon you keep going back to. After this point, some of the new puzzles are quite clever, but mostly, the game won't make any massive steps up in difficulty, and in fact, I only ever had to use a potion on the final iteration of the final boss in the game. A lot of the game is easy, and if you're a Zelda Veteran, it's a massive cakewalk. Fun, but easy.
The other main problem is the massive shortness of the main story. It starts out with a lot of promise, but as you get towards the end, you realise how short it is. Dungeons typically would last over an hour in the older Zeldas, but in Phantom Hourglass, you can complete the first few dungeons in less than an hour, and the other ones barely over an hour, partially because of the shortness of each temple, and also bundled with its difficulty. Then, you find out there's 6 of these dungeons, plus another one you have to keep coming back to, which is the Temple of the Ocean King. The story point is that you need to collect sands of time for your Phantom Hourglass so that you can last longer in the dungeon, and if you run out, then you start running out of health, and eventually die, and that's if you don't get caught by the Phantom Guards who can kill you in one swipe if they catch you. This is normally okay, but when bundled with a time limit, it can get annoying, and makes it harder to experiment until later on in the game, when you have much more time to spend. Its okay at first, and it also makes me ponder how fun an Metal Gear game on the DS could be (Hint Hint, Mr Kojima), the fact you have to keep coming back to the dungeon actually makes it come off as a repetitive attempt to artificially lengthen the game.
The Multiplayer is a fun experience as well. One player controls Link, and has to get as many force gems as possible, while the other player controls the Phantom Guards, and tries to stop him. It's a fun distraction, and can take up a lot of your time, but after a while, it can get boring. However, playing online and fulfilling certain achievements unlock Golden ship parts for you in the main game, which is an added incentive to play the Multiplayer, which is fun regardless of that fact.
The Value of this game depends entirely on how much time you will end up investing in the side-quests, and in the Multiplayer. While the main quest does not last as long as it ultimately should, its still more than worth your time, and the side quests make the game last much, much longer, and make the game much more satisfying to play. If you just play through the main quest, you'll have fun, but you won't get much value out of the game, but if you spend a lot of time with the side quests, and on the multiplayer, then you'll find yourself playing this for a long time to come.
Overall, the game is immensely fun, but the easy difficulty and the shortness of the main quest make the game slightly disappointing, and the game is mostly more of the same Zelda goodness, with new elements added in, and Online Multiplayer, among other things. However, while the game is fun, and you'll enjoy it while it lasts, the game serves to prove how desperately in need the Zelda series is in need of a rehaul. While I love the Zelda formula, and the Zelda series is my favourite by far, Phantom Hourglass mainly showed me how much Nintendo needs to change the Zelda formula, while keeping it the amazing series we know and love, and if anyone can do it, it's Nintendo.
However, there's no doubt that you need to get this game, as this is one of the many essential purchases for your DS. Enjoy it while it lasts.
-Amazing fun while it lasts.
-Unexpectedly brilliant graphics for a DS game.
-Innovative control scheme.
-Some Memorable boss fights.
-Mostly memorable music.
-Side quests will keep you playing for much longer.
-Main Quest is too short.
-A lot of the game is easy.
-Sailing can get boring.
-Temple of the Ocean King.
-Shows How Desperately Nintendo Needs To Change The Zelda Formula.
-Makes You Think Nintendo Needs To Change The Zelda Formula.
Overall Score: 91%
Since the release of this fantastic game, I have wanted to get my hands on a copy. I recently bought a copy, second hand from Game at a good price. It was already well worth the buy and I imagine I am only around one eighth of the way through the game. The game follows the same genre as all previous Zelda games of the adventure sort, with a good storyline. This game is very unique and enjoyable to play as it makes use of the Nintendo DS touch screen and requires a little bit of logic as you complete puzzles and mysteries throughout the game to progress. This has to be the most enjoyable game on the Nintendo DS and if there is one game you buy, I would strongly suggest this one.
The game comes in a very bright and colourful box, which can't be missed on the shelf. Despite it's time since release, the game is still way up in the charts so will be found there. The box features Link and the sailor, Linebeck on the boat traveling across the sea between islands. 'The Legend Of Zelda, Phantom Hourglass' is displayed towards the bottom right of the box, and the game has a Pegi rating of 7+ due to mild violence (fighting). The official logo for this game is an hourglass with golden sand within. This is revealed to be a vital object within the game that you will use whilst uncovering further mysteries within a main temple. In the game, you will get the instruction manual in full colour along with a few other bits and bobs by Nintendo, who this game is made by. The instruction manual is quite attractive with the game logo on a dark blue background featuring a sea chart. The manual tells you the story, which is also fully explained in the beginning of the game. You can also view the controls and much information about navigation and how to play including information on the Wifi online play.
The game starts up quickly and has an introduction of seagulls flying over the sea on which Link and Linebeck are on their boat. You must touch the screen to begin, as this game makes use of the stylus and touch screen throughout. You must then select a profile, where you can copy, erase and start the game. You can also tap to configure your Nintendo Wifi settings from here. The game displays your character name as well as your health (represented by hearts) and the spirits that you have such as power and wind - these are collected throughout the game and play an important role in completing the story. Once a profile is selected, you can either choose Adventure or Battle mode. The Adventure mode is where you will play through the storyline, which is the main part of the game. In battle, you can choose Multi-Card Play, Nintendo WFC or DS Download Play. This means, whether you have one game card, a friend with a game card, or no friends with game cards, you can play against other people (providing you have a wireless internet connection). You get a card that displays your name, rank, battle points win percentage, and a breakdown of your game wins, losses and ties.
The battle game is simple and very fun to play. You take turns to control Link and Phantoms, which are big lethal enemies to Link. Link must run around the map bringing Force Gems to his responding colour floor (red or blue depending on the player). The bigger the gem, the more the points and there are powerups for both teams that they receive when they smash their capsules. The phantoms must catch link who is safe when standing on safe floor areas where he becomes invisible. One player controls the phantoms by drawing lines from each of them on the touch screen map to navigate them to try and get near to link and catch him. It's a really fun game to play but does get boring after a while and it's a shame there aren't other types of games.
Now onto the Adventure mode - the main part of the game. The story is basically that Tetra, who transformed from the Princess of Hyrule to a pirate, has been captured and once again needs rescuing. A mysterious Ghost Ship has captured her and the aim of the game is to capture her back by taking control of the ghost ship. However, the ghost ship is not easy to deal with as it creates a thick fog around it whilst sailing and many who have tried to get near the ship have never been seen again. You come within close range of the ship early in the game, which brings excitement and reminds you of your aim. Your sidekick fairy called Ciela is with you throughout the game. She flies beside you all the time and will give you tips and help you through the game. With the help of a great old man, Siwan - who sets you off on your journey, it's up to you, in control of Link to find and rescue Tetra. The storyline is quite interesting yet simplistic, but with mysteries lingering throughout the game, it's exciting to play and continuously reveal secrets.
The gameplay itself is great and takes place in two main ways - on land and by sea. Right near the beginning of the game, you are told of the sailor, Linebeck who eventually sails with you on his boat so you can navigate across the sea to different areas and islands. He seems quite arrogant yet he is shy and a coward in reality. His main interest seems to be finding treasure rather than helping to rescue your friend. You use your boat to travel to other islands including those, which play a main part in the game as they contain spirits to be gained after killing bosses. For example, the first island is one of fire with a volcano, and the spirit you gain after completing the puzzles and battles to the end is the Spirit of Power. There are eight to gain, which are needed to finish the game so there is much to do with other things to do as well, which gives the game a superb replay value. Collecting parts for all different sections of the boat can customise your boat. As far as I know, this just changes the look of your boat. Early in the game, you have access to 'Cannon Island' where you can work on getting a cannon for your boat, which is needed for sea enemies. You encounter these whilst sailing and you can usually kill them with your cannon, but you can also jump over some enemies with good timing. You use the touch screen to draw a line on the sea chart, navigating your boat where to go. It automatically goes at a constant speed but can still be stopped and started if you are going to crash or want to look around. There are also other boats on the sea including salesmen and the scary Ghost Ship. You must navigate to the port of each island to dock, where you will then be free to explore.
On land, you will be exposed to a variety of challenges, battles and puzzles. There are many enemies throughout the game and the gameplay generally gets harder as you progress to different islands. I quickly gained much knowledge and my skills increased with my sword, enabling me to fight my way through enemies a lot more easily. You earn rupees (the currency in Zelda) by defeating enemies and destroying things such as barrels, long grass and rocks. You can even roll into certain trees to knock out rewards. I have got to a stage where you can use a shovel to uncover large amounts of rupees where the ground is clearly cracked. You can use your money to buy items as well as more weapons. As you progress, there is a lot more to do including customising your boat, fishing and much more. Every island contains puzzles and challenges, which must be completed to progress through the game. You are given clues as to your puzzles by reading around, talking to people and visiting places. You are required to use your microphone, touch screen and logic in the game. A main feature is using your maps (both land and sea chart) to make notes to help you through the game. For example, you may be given the location of treasure or windmills that you must blow into to start them up and open a key door. You can draw on your map and also erase. It becomes obvious after a while when notes should be made, but at first you are hinted to make notes.
The game can be challenging at times with enemies and bosses, which can take a lot of effort to beat so it certainly isn't just a walkthrough. You can increase your health by gaining extra hearts through the game. Enemies will either deplete full hearts or half hearts depending on their strength - once you're out of health, it's game over and you restart from a previous checkpoint. The difficulty of the game also gives a great replay value - you'll be playing this game for hours and hours. Overall, the gameplay is very enjoyable as it requires you to think a bit and once the puzzles are solved, it gives you a rewarding feeling. There are many people to talk to, lots to do and it's all great fun.
The graphics of the game are surprisingly good too. There are cut scenes where the graphics aren't exactly amazing, but whilst playing, the graphics are very respectable and follow the quality of games like Animal Crossing and Metroid: Prime Hunters. The game is very colourful with bright green grass. The different islands really put you in a unique atmosphere with effects such as erupting volcanoes and gusts of winds, making it difficult to move. The way Link moves whilst standing still brings lifelike character to him and the movement is both very smooth and realistic.
The sound is quite impressive too. You can usually hear the surf of the sea as well as other sound effects including enemies, wind and fire. The sound is quite realistic and helps to put you in the game and in the atmosphere created. There is also classic Zelda music playing in the background, which is accompanying throughout the game and gives it the classic Zelda feel. The sound of Link using his sword is quite brilliant too. A whole new realistic feel is given to this game compared to past ones on portable devices.
The controls are brilliant and make use of every feature of the Nintendo DS, For a start, you will have to use the microphone to call out to people and blow into objects too. The touch screen is used to control the movement of Link. It is sensitive to the direction and distance, which gives full control over link. You may have to walk slowly and quietly at times, and the smooth walking control enables this. You use very natural actions to control your sword. A simple line will cause a lunge attack, a swipe will cause a sweeping attack and a circle will cause a spinning defensive attack. You can also circle at the edge of the screen whilst moving to roll, which is used to hit trees and other objects. Either using the touch screen or buttons, you can control the menus too and view your items. Ideally, you can play the game purely using the touch screen, which is innovative and easy.
So it is quite easy for me to come to the conclusion that this game is pure brilliance. It's easy to play and has a very natural feeling to the controls, but also gives the player many challenges and a somewhat hard difficulty to get through. Being required to use your brain and logic a bit gives the game an extra edge that makes it worth buying. It's unique and all works really well. The gameplay is enjoyable and rewarding but very addicting too as you makes your adventure through the vast map in order to rescue Princess Zelda. The storyline is quite original and the addition of the sea, being able to travel between islands is a new idea within the Zelda games for the portable consoles. Backed up by the great graphics, fine sound and simple controls, this game is excellent. It can be bought brand new for around £25.00 on amazon.co.uk and for a similar price offline. I would definitely recommend this game to anyone who has a Nintendo DS as it makes full use of the consoles features and is really enjoyable to play.
Thanks for reading,
Having played this fantastic game 4 times through now, I can honestly say it's the most charming handheld game you can get your hands on today. Innovative, challenging, and a true adventure.
Zelda games have always featured heavily in my collection and since Ocarina of Time, I knew that he was not a wee man to be messed with.
You'll find yourself gasping or screaming at the way in which you have to use the stylus, microphone or possible other means (one of which took me about an hour to figure out, how embarrasing). Some would argue that this is a childish game, but see through the cartoony graphics and allow yourself to take a trip with the gang on the high seas. It's a far superior game in terms of playability compared to many other DS games. It'll take you at least 15 hours to get through, and as always with Zelda's adventures you won't be left dissapointed by the end of it.
If you've never tried a Zelda game as you think they are too "fantasy-based" then take my advice and look through that, this is a game designed for everyone. Let's face it, the DS hasn't given us a great selection of adventure games, and this is one great adventure. The crowning glory of the capabilities of the DS console!
Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for Nintendo DS
Zelda fans WILL love this. I have been playing Zelda since 1988 and this installation to the series lives up to its name.
They did a good job with the elemental graphics here making a 2D game almost look 3D with the way it shades it's pixels at some points. The cut scenes are pretty good to for DS.
Just like all the other Zelda's there are a whole lot of things you can do and a lot of tools to use. Of course you get your bow and boomerang at some point, but you also get a grappling hook, some sort of mouse bomb that travels in the direction you send it, bombs of course, a shovel for digging up treasure and a very powerful hammer. You pretty much need to find every tool to reach the end of the game and you get each tool through missions and yu usually get them right before you get to a boss and you usually have to use the item or weapon to beat the next boss. Sometimes you have to use multiple tools and weapons to beat them.
This game goes with the tradition of Windwaker (part 2 really) and takes place a in a big sea with a lot of places to explore and secrets to find.
The majority of this game is played with the touch screen pad and stylus. You even control where your character goes with it. You can leave yourself little notes about secrets that you need to come back to at a later time. You can draw the direction you want your mouse bomb to go and the direction of your boomerang.
When you're on the sea in your boat you use the touch pad to control the camera angle and to shoot your cannon. There are a whole bunch of different boats you can get by piecing them together in series. They also have ratings on how strong and fast they are and the boats have health points and you can drown in the sea if your boat is destroyed. You find the boat parts by finding treasure in the sea or on land or you can buy some from a traveling boat salesman.
For a DS game this was a big one. There are alot of islands and areas to explore and alot of cool bosses.
As with any other Zelda game you can buy items with jewel's that you collect along the way and build your hearts up to live longer during battles. There are so many side quests and side journeys to get cool extra stuff just like any other Zelda game.
Battle friends online with several different types of game play with people all around the world. If you know your friends ID code you can always find them as well.
This is my favorite game for DS (Seeing that my DS is Zelda Special Edition!).
Link, Zelda needs your help... Again.
But this time she's not been snatched by an evil sorcerer, she's not asking you to save her kingdom that she will rule once she's queen. Oh no, this time she's done a Princess Peach and thrown herself into danger.
Starting off with a scene of how Link and Zelda "met" (for this game, anyway) you find yourself almost bored to tears when suddenly BAM! You find yourself having listened to this story on a ship, moving onto the plot where Zelda is a pirate, searching the lands with you at her side for buried treasure and new found glory. Oh, but there's one legend she should've been afraid of. When you try to jump in and rescue her (what a short game that would've been if you had succeeded) you find yourself stranded on an island and a fairy hovering above your head. And so it begins.
Having disliked The Wind Waker with great passion, I had my doubts when looking at the graphics of this game in picture shots, thinking it to be another version of the awful WW. Until I saw the TV ads. I was sucked in like a Zelda fan and had to buy this game. Was I disappointed? Far from it. The graphics were brilliant even if they were the same as WW only on DS, (this not being what put me off, but thinking it follow similar lines to WW which I greatly disliked).
The gameplay itself absorbs you, throwing you so many things to do at once if you so choose, but making it simple to follow them all in one hit if you do. Several mini games give you a relaxing break from fighting enemies and completing dungeons, side quests such as treasure hunting in the sea (and finding the map pieces to find these hidden treasures), and the opportunity to build your ship up to fight some sea creatures.
When you do place yourself on dry land there's little not to do and plenty to do. Uncovering secrets to carry on the game, while seeing some old favourites on the weapon front, which also add to the diversity of the gameplay. Lets take a look at the trust boomerang, once only able to fly forward and then back to you, you now choose it's flight path to a certain degree, and then let fly to hit awkward enemies or flip switches you just can't reach yourself.
Although the game includes relying a lot on the stylus until either it's worn down to your fingertips, or your fingers hurt from grasping it so long, the game compliments excellently to the series, and greatly making up for the disappointment that Wind Waker brought to many. If you buy any game for your DS, this has to be on your Must Have list, whether a Zelda fan or just interested in giving it a go, it's worthwhile. Giving this game a five star rating.
I'd heard of the Legend of Zelda, and heard good things about it - but as I mainly stick to the DS I hadn't played it or seen it before now. I'm not a great fan of action games (I prefer role playing and puzzle games where you have time to think) so I wasn't sure if this would be for me.
However, it's just fantastic!! The mixture of story, puzzles and action is just about perfect. And it's very well adapted to the touch stick of the DS console. At times it gave me a real brain ache, and there were moments where I thought I'd never get through (and I must confess to using a couple of walk through cheats that I googled). It also requires real long-term concentration as you have to remember where you've been and what you've done on the overall quest.
My only complaint is that I've completed it and I want a new DS Legend of Zelda adventure!