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Legend of Zelda – Phantom Hour-ass

November 8, 2007

link stylus

So I did not buy this game sooner since it came out about one month before my birthday. That being the case I try not to buy media of any sort within a few months of my B-Day since my wife knows how much I hate getting “useful”things. So I unwrap the first Zelda game on DS and wonder what to expect. Being a fan of the Minish Cap, and a HUGE fan of Windwaker’s gameplay. I was ready to tear up this game.

Perhaps the title of the post is a little harsh since I do technically like the game, but you must take the good with the bad. First impression review after the jump. 

So Wind Waker ended, well kind of lamely. Not as epic an ending as Ocarina or Majora’s Mask and more open ended than Matrix Reloaded. While Wind Waker was missing about 3 dungeons and 5 levels in difficulty, it was a very well made game and also a refreashing take on the Zelda franchise. I could suck off my favorite Game Cube title for a few hours, but this a review to WW’s Mini-Sequel. You end WW riding off on a ship with Zeld—err—Tetris and head off for you kiddy pirate adventure. 

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This game starts off where the last one ended, and I mean like maybe 5 minutes later. The story goes…actually you really don’t care. Tetris gets jacked by a Ghost Pirate ship and you get stranded with no weapon and no health you worked so hard to get in WW. Now what bothers me right off the bat is the lack of accomplishment carried over from WW. What I mean is, when you beat WW, you feel like your obligated to play it again for the challenge because you really don’t feel it’s worth bragging about at the lunch room table While every Zelda before WW was worth braggin rights, this game (Phantom Hourglass) feels there is no need to brag either.

Majora’s Mask for example, starts off with Link strutting after saving the world. THE WORLD. He is the badest little Mofo in H-land sukkas and he has a Pony that will straight shank yo ass. Having beat OoT prior, this feeling was great. I felt like I was a bad ass too! So in retrospect I guess this feeling of not caring about the previous adventure is passed on when you wake on some Island not worth remembering the name of. 

The controls on this game, from the start, suck. I never once used the stylus on Animal Crossing: Wild World to move around. In fact, I am not a real big fan of the touch screen, just the 2 screens. If you ever played me at Metroid Prime Hunters, you know that I spend 95% of my time in ball mode (which is controlled by D-pad and shoulder buttons). I dreaded this game because of its exclusive touch screen game play. After about 4 hours you don’t care as much as I did for the first two, but you still hate trying to roll into a freakin tree.

 

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Map drawing is essential, and actually kind of cool. The game makes you blow and yell at the mic multiple times, so people in the next stall might think your crazy. The sound is great for this game so bring headphones. Boomerang play makes the game 10 times more fun. It overall does not feel like a gimimik using the touch screen, but an essential element to the game play. Every technique is implemented in the game, nothing is thrown away. The game is at times straight hilarious. I laughed out loud at one point in the first “Temple” and then again 2 minutes later. I could tell you why, but you would not laugh when you play it silly goose!

However…the game (so far) is painfully easy and dull. You don’t really care about exploring the dungeons because you have seen them for the last 20 years. Since you overall don’t care about exploring you go trough the motions. Hop island to island talking to people and getting your crap and moving on. This once fresh franchise is aging badly and it breaks my heart. But it is a well designed and focused game. I remember WW being a big deal because it was so different, and I dug it. But since WW had a few weak points, that’s all that I seem to remember.

My closing metaphor for the Zelda Franchise.

Much like Motorola, the RAZR was a great phone, but tweaking the same design, moving things around and slapping a new phonetic name on it does not make it as great or ground breaking as the original. When new products like the iPhone come around and innovate the way you once did, it’s time to reinvent yourself. Nintendo, your up to bat.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 9, 2007 12:27 am

    I definitely agree about the stale gameplay, but I thought the touch screen controls felt GREAT, with the exception of the somersault. Using the stylus to run around and fight just feels so much smoother and more natural than the D-Pad + buttons.

  2. November 9, 2007 3:12 am

    Like I said, after a while I warmed up to it, the touch screen was fun. Tapping baddies and letting Link attack was cool. Spinning until I was dizzy is a pretty good time too.

  3. drewmg permalink
    November 9, 2007 9:25 am

    My hand keeps getting in my way when I play, and for the first time I can remember in a Zelda game, I’m really unmotivated to pick up and play. When I do, I enjoy it, though.

    I dunno, the story is just really bland so far.

  4. November 9, 2007 1:57 pm

    …or maybe we are getting too old, and playing another Zelda game for the seventh time doesn’t feel like fun?

    This, hopefully, will be the first Zelda game I finish! But don’t count on it yet… I’m still possesed by Etrian Odyssey (since May!!), and I’m trying to play through Dementium: the Ward at the same time. I got Phantom Hourglass to play it with my daughter, who seemed to love moving the little Link around with the stylus…

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