Friday, November 9

Game: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS) Click for more info

Billed as the spiritual, if not direct, successor to Windwaker, Phantom Hourglass uses the same visual style and presentation as the not-so-classic Gamecube implementation of the Zelda franchise. While this in itself is no bad thing (the style had been universally accepted as being a brilliant touch, if not the game itself), I couldn't help but feel weary about having Link appear on the DS. Would all that was wrong with Windwaker also make it though the transition?

Well, I'm glad to say that it didn't. Obviously, PH is a much smaller and less ambitious game than WW and so any danger of trawling an ocean for ages or spinning your wheels doing a tedious challenge has somewhat been nipped in the bud.

Instead we're left with the good bits of Zelda: puzzle solving temples and dungeons. There's still a bit of fluff in between for my liking, but it doesn't spoil the game for me like it did WW and even Twilight Princess. Since the world stage is still an ocean there's still sailing, but at least now you can set your ship on autopilot and take a nap while travelling (the promise of warp points makes this even less annoying potentially).

Other complaints include having to go back to a timed "hub" dungeon between each of the others. The timing itself is bad enough, but to introduce unbeatable guards which you have to stealthily avoid makes you wonder exactly what the game makers were on while designing this game.

So a mixed reaction then? Well it's not bad enough to stop me from playing (especially since I don't have anything else on the go for the DS at the moment), but it's still not the classic Zelda experience I was after. And since this has largely been the case for the last three games in which I've been controlling Link, I'm starting to think that, perhaps, I just don't like Zelda any more.

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