Phantom Hourglass Review

Feb 7, 2008

Another game I finished recently is The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for the Nintendo DS. This game took me quite a while to beat, mainly because there's so much to do (and I didn't do everything). I thought I'd write up a few thoughts I had.

The Good

Classic Zelda Gameplay
Phantom Hourglass is as much Zelda fun as I've had since the SNES classic A Link to the Past. Puzzles in the game are quite challenging, the action is spot on, and there's a laundry list of side quests and challenges. This is classic Zelda, through and through, and that's a very good thing.
Excellent Use of the DS Hardware
As I have mentioned before, Phantom Hourglass makes great use of the Nintendo DS hardware. The touch screen controls are incredible (I hope future games use it as good as this title did), and clever use of the microphone really added a new dimension to the gameplay.
Great Writing
The writing in this Zelda title is particularly strong. There are a lot of really great scenes, and the ending is one of the best I've experienced in a while. Over the course of the game, I really grew fond of the various characters, which is rare for me in a game like this.
Fun Side Quests
A large portion of the game is spent sailing various oceans on a ship. Several side quests go along with this game play, including treasure salvage and fishing. The treasure salvage mini-game is pretty fun, and there's plenty of fun to be had on the high seas.
Bottomless Wallet
This is the first Zelda title I know of where Link has no apparent limit to the number of Rupies he can pick up (if there was a limit, I didn't hit it). Finally!

The Bad

Annoying Repetition
One of the main 'puzzles' in the game involves traversing through the temple of the Ocean King. You end up having to go through this Temple 4 or 5 times, which gets old pretty quick. As you gain new items, you can go through the temple quicker, but it still gets a little tedious.
Insanely Difficult Puzzles
A few of the puzzles throughout the game are insanely difficult. "Maze Island" is impossible to do without a guide of some sort, which really frustrated me. Thankfully, there aren't many of these.

The Verdict

This title is a must own. If you don't own this, go out and buy it immediately. My final rating: A+

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