Monday, October 08, 2007

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, finished the game in 7 days.

One of the Best Games for the Nintendo DS

Definitely a first for me, beating a game in such a short period of time. I just couldn't put it down, let alone for very long. The morning work commute, Lunch breaks, and my spare time outside of work, all devoted to Nintendo's latest Zelda title. I guess it was because I wanted to beat the game before my friends, and well, the game is pretty irresistible in itself. Link's adventures on the high seas, have never been so well thought out, working perfectly on the Nintendo DS platform. The intricate puzzles, and mazes, and general design aesthetic, utilizes just about every feature of the portable to their full extent; it's Mic, it's touch-screen, and dual-screen all play important roles in the game design. (The online Wi-fi mode is pretty enjoyable as well.)

There were many times throughout the game where I was impressed with the way the player was drawn into the experience. Sure most of these features have been done in previous DS games, but in Phantom Hourglass, the features all come together like a well oiled machine, tightly woven within the interactive narrative, it becomes hard to imagine the game without them. It's a wonderful feeling when things just click, and the solution to the obstacle becomes clear. It's ingenious.

There are some minor annoyances that I found with the game, like the repetitive visits to the Ocean King's Temple, and the inconvenience of having to go through the maze over, and over again, it's as if the only way to extend the gameplay time is to repeat the same area. With the lack of checkpoints or two-way portals, temple mazes, can be frustrating. I stepped into the blue light a few times by mistake, and had to redo the entire maze.

Not having free control over your boat as well, was something I would have liked. There were times where I'd get stuck by a rock, or island, and had to draw my way out of the obstacle.

Links lack of swimming too! Why can't he swim!

Graphically the game looks like Wind Waker, clean, smooth animation with much of the same art direction, but it lacks the day/night time changes and weather elements. Which personally, I would have liked to see. Limitations perhaps?

I bought the game on Tuesday Oct. 2nd, and beat it on Oct.8th, and though I was able to beat it within that short time, there is still plenty that I purposely overlooked, or just hadn't discovered. No doubt, this is a huge game, one could spend many hours just boating around from island to island discovering treasure, and customizing their ship.

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