Review by Trixter800

"Wind Waker on the go"

There was that infamous picture going around - fake, but nevertheless really interesting. The picture of the portable version of the Game Cube. And right on that edited on that picture, was a picture of Link, from the Wind Waker.

Maybe they knew about it because Nintendo a few years later made the wonderful Phantom Hourglass. Its similar to Wind Waker - with the good ol' DS touch. Even before you open that plastic, you'll notice it's similar due to it's cover - Link's on it, but exclusive to the Wind Waker, he's Cel-Shaded.

True to it's front cover again, it involves you hunting seas, navigating dungeons, collecting sea parts. And added to it, is multiplayer modes. One is trading ship parts, with other people. And the other part is a whole 'nother adventure - Battle Mode, where you duke it out with a partner, going around stealing Force Gems and avoiding Phantoms (controlled by the other player, which means both players at once take part in the action)

Story
[9.5]

Phantom Hourglass starts where Wind Waker ended. After slaying the evil master, and rescuing Tetra, Link joins the pirate crew. After the paper cut outs Niko drew, you find out they're going after the Ghost Ship (not they were this ominous in Wind Waker)

After some discussion, they find the Ghost Ship. Trying to prove it's a ghost ship, Tetra, the leader, climbs in, screams, and dissapears. Link tries to make a jump, but loses his grip and falls into the ocean.

. . .Link washes up on to an island, all items lost to prevent uberness, and a fairy meets him. Link explains his predicament, and soon after 'another accidental sword gainage', he's on an adventure to save Tetra.

Graphics
[8.0]

How are you supposed to take wonderful, thrilling console graphics on to the itty bitty DS? And it's still decent!

Of course, they had to cut off a few things. The graphics aren't as sharp and clear, and if you're too close to something, like an island (mind you, which is cut down to less due to it's smal size) it becomes unclear and pixely.

But alas, it's in 3-D! Still Cel-Shaded, cartoony, thrilling, entrancing 3-D that gave the Wind Waker its good name.

Sounds/Music
[9.5]

The sounds again, aren't as good and realistic in the Wind Waker. Obviously your limited to how far your volume slider goes - you'll be finding yourself trying to pull it past the max. The sounds are still good in spite of those remarks. You hear, ping, bash, BAMs, kabooms and more. You hear water rushing under the force of your ship, with the purring of your engine.

Music, on the other hand, is excellent. It has remixes of classic Zelda music. It still keeps the famous - dee dee de du dee dee - after you complete a puzzle. There's Ocarina of Time music (which boasted excellent, classic music) in Battle Mode. And there's even music from Wind Waker, and even some brand new music, all which make the music fun.

Gameplay
[9.8]

Gameplay isn't the same old button pressing, but it's still fun - new and old things.

Obviously one of the first things you noticed is how the Menu is. There's a Menu button that opens up a bar which you can open your Items, Collection, Sea Charts and Map. Along with that, items aren't set with a three different choices - nor three choices and a main as in Twilight Princess. There's an item button, where you choose the button at the top right section on the screen. You touch it to use it.

They changed a lot of things. Even rolling and moving is based a touch. You slide the stylus along the screen to move, further out from Link to dash. You draw circles to roll. You even sword fight using the stylus. Touch an enemy to slash them (or jump slash, if their far away enough) draw a line between you and your desired area is another way, and draw a circle around you in order to Spin Attack - the bigger the circle, the wider range.

But with changes there comes new. Now, in many previews, the Boomerang is the most unique. You slide a path for your boomerang, and let it fly. You have a somewhat wider range as well as more control.

A very, very cool thing is the map. In mid-text, or wide open, you can pull up your map (there's shortcuts, Down Control is easier) and draw on it. Yes. If someone tells you where someone or something is, jot it down on your map. Also, the map is always up unless your drawing, even in text. So someone might point something out on your map, and you can pull it up while they're/its talking.

One unique thing of Wind Waker was the ability to roam the wide open seas. While they're not as wide open, it's still fun. This time around, it's an actual ship. You can customize your ship to make it the best with parts collected many different ways. You can even trade, which makes it fun.

The world is still huge. There's four big sections, N, E, S, and W. Land and dungeons are huge and fun to explore, and unique in many ways - from puzzles, following ghosts directions and more.

Multiplayer
[9.0]

Many Legend of Zelda games lacked this, with the exception of Four Swords, multiplayer heavy, and Phantom Hourglass implements Multiplayer into a whole new mode, fun, and challenging.

The game is simple. There's your base, safe zones. Force Shards are located on safe zones, and you must carry them to your base. Small ones, medium ones, and big ones - the bigger heavier to carry.

But it's more complicated than that. While your opponent is waiting, they control the Phantoms. If Link gets hit by a Phantom, that round ends. Phantoms cannot enter any bases, or safe zone, so it makes it a bit easier. After 120 seconds, or Link is hit, they switch.
Controlling Phantoms is simple and fun. You mark out a path on the map, they follow it. You can draw never ending lines, and have them patrol that area, or draw a never ending circle around something and watch them guard it.

Along with that, there's still more. Whenever a Force Shard is placed on a base, it turns that color, and they get the points. The other player can pick them up, put them on a Safe Zone (where they turn back yellow, where it's nobody's point again.) or even their own secret base, located on the other side. There's also items located around one of eight stages, which do various effects helping you - or against your opponent.

Replay Value
[6.7/10]

The one thing that brings the score down is the little Replay Value. Once you beat the game, that's it. The credits show, and when you play that file again, you'll be back where you last saved - right before the Final Boss.

There are a lot of side quests though, something that Wind Waker had outshown the other Zelda games in, but then again, once you complete those there'll be no more use for Story Mode anymore.

Though Multiplayer mode might keep you busy a little while after, the repetitiveness of it and the many cheaters in it might keep you from playing.

Buy, or Rent?
[Buy]

The infamous question - is this game a buy, or rent kind of game. It's well worth buying.

First off, if you complete it in a few days, you're either addicted and SHOULD buy it, or you cheated. Even after you beat the game, you'll be hooked to Multiplayer mode, completing your ship, or starting a new game.

Overall
[9]

Basically, Phantom Hourglass is the wonderful, better sequel to the Wind Waker. It's fun and thrilling, and fun to play - with new features like the touch screen, mic, and multiplayer. Get it!


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/22/07, Updated 07/25/08

Game Release: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (US, 10/01/07)


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