Phantom Hourglass (9/10)

Having already played Spirit Tracks, I had an idea of what to expect when I came into Phantom hourglass.  I expected it to be cute and entertaining.  A great Zelda game.  The game did not disappoint.

Phantom Hourglass takes place right after Wind Waker.  (***Minor Wind Wake Spoilers in this paragraph***)  It starts with an adorable paper cut out type cutscene that gives you a cliff notes version of Wind Waker.  You then see Link and Tetra sailing on the open sea, searching for the Ghost Ship.  Long story short: They find it and Tetra gets kidnapped.  Link wakes up on an island to see….Navi?  Oh wait, that is Ciela, she is a fairy that looks just like Navi, only she is much cooler.  She seems to have amnesia and lives with her adopted “grandpa”.  They decide to rescue Tetra, but need a ship.  Long story short, they meet someone with a ship.  His name is Linebeck, a cowardly treasure hunter with an inferiority complex.

The cast is great.  They start out kinda annoying at first, but they really grow on you.  You really grow to love Ciela and Linebeck as you see they are both pretty cool characters.  They are great characters and, like the rest of the game, have a cute cartoony personality.  (but in a good way)

The game controls smoothly, everything is controlled with the stylus.  While I initially would have preffered a more traditional control scheme, I am happy they stuck with they stylus as it allows for some cool items.  Take the boomerang for instance, you simply draw the path you want it to take, and it follows.  The game takes advantage of the DS’s capabilites in all sorts of clever ways, resulting in some really neat puzzles.  You will be solving a puzzle to figure out a certain symbol, then drawing that symbol on the screen quite often, but it never seems to get old.  You will be blowing into the mic to move a windmill.  You will be doing all kinds of cool stuff.

They even added a light RPG element with the addition of force gems.  Throught the game you will be looking for 3 types of special gems: Power (red), Wisdom (blue), and Courage (green).  Once you have enough gems of a certain color, you have the option to equip one of these powers.  If you choose wisdom, you get a defense increase whereas power gives you added strength.  However the best choice is Courage, which unlocks the sword beam from the older games.

There are some flaws with the game however.  There is a dungeon called “The Temple of the Ocean King” you will be revisiting several times.  Each time you can get further into the dungeon that you could the last time.  The problem with this is it involves a lot of backtracking.  You will be solving the same puzzle several times.  Granted, once you get far enough into it, you can unlock a teleporter that lets you skip a good bit of the dungeon, but it is still annoying.  To make matters worse, it is timed so you always feel rushed and can’t quite enjoy exploring new areas of the dungeon.

The sailing is ok, but kinda boring.  It just gets kinda repetitive.  Granted, it is better than the train in Spirit Tracks, but it still is annoying.  Also, I hate the Mailman character.  I know it is only a minor complaint, but I wanted to scream every time he was on screen.  HE WAS OPENING MY MAIL AND READING IT OUT LOUD!  I AM PRETTY SURE THAT IS A FELONY!

There is also a Muliplayer mode, that includes online play.  It plays kinda like capture the flag.  One player controls link and he has to pick up force gems and move them to his goal.  The other character controls three phantoms and tries to stop link.  After link gets killed or time runs out, the players switch roles.  This happens three times, then whoever has the most points wins.  Playing it online makes for a fun little distraction when you are bored and I loved playing it with my friend that one time.  However this is more a little addon than a selling point.  It is fun but not grand.

Overall, Phantom Hourglass is a great game.  If you have a DS you need to play this game.  If you are a Zelda fan, you will not be dissapointed.  And if you are a Zelda fan, you just may become one.  (though this is admittedly not a good game to start with)

5 Responses to “Phantom Hourglass (9/10)”

  1. July 25, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    I wouldnt mind giving these games a try, but I have enough to do as it is.

  2. July 25, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    If you ever want to borrow one, just lemme know

  3. August 10, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    I would say that you get what you expect from both Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, I just really hate all the traveling in both games. The sailing in PH is better, like you said, but both consume so much time traveling and I cannot stand that.
    And I totally agree with the Mailman comment… Every time the mailbox is bouncing I hesitate because I hate the long boring stories that he tells (trying to be funny, but it just doesn’t work).
    Either way, great review!

  4. August 12, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Yeah, they are both good games, but they feel more like they are for people who are already fans of the series.

    Twilight Princess and Wind Waker are great games to get you started in the series (though I would still say ALTTP and OOT are the best starting points).

    The sailing and train rides get really annoying after a while, and can put a lot of people off. And the mailman was attempting to be a cute character that otherwise would like, but he just came off annoying. I actually am a fan of the postal men in OOT, TP, and WW. They were fun characters. but this guy made me want to throw my DS.

    But if you can get past these things, they are really fun games.

    • August 12, 2010 at 11:18 pm

      Yeah, that’s a good point. These games won’t bring in any new fans, it is definitely for people who were already fans.
      And I always say that OoT is the best game to get into the series, but ALTTP is the best game in the series. I was a huge fan of Wind Waker, and I need to revisit that because I don’t remember ever being bored by the traveling, I don’t know why it happens so much in the handheld games.

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