This was another hard review to write, because I want to tell about all the great stuff I did in this game but it would simply ruin a lot of the experience. So, all me to start off by saying this is the 2nd best Zelda game ever. The crown belongs to the original NES version. This version has so many great things going for it; somehow Nintendo really recaptured the feeling from the first version of the series.
For people who have been playing Zelda for sometime now, should know that Zelda is pretty much the exact same tale told over and over again. While they are fun, great games, the formula does get tiring after awhile. Enter “The Phantom Hourglass!” It breaks away from that mold, but doesn’t lose the sense that it Zelda. The Phantom Hourglass is a direct sequel to the Gamecube’s WindWaker, which means as the game starts you have already defeated your arch-villain. So you get the feeling that this is really a grand new adventure right off the bat; no more discovering your density, or finding out about the history of the Tri-force, all that stuff is in the rearview mirror!
Basically you use the touch screen to control everything which works pretty well for the most part. However, combat can be a bit clunky at times with everything from swinging your sword to using your side weapon in combat. Luckily, the thing that makes this game shine is the focus that went into puzzles for bosses, dungeons. Within these puzzles they have used all the features of the DS; everything from the mic, to having to take notes on your map, and even having to close your DS! A special note is how awesome the use of the touch screen with your secondary weapons/items. Without getting into them too much I have to use the example of the boomerang, which is the first one you get (classic Zelda style) during your adventures. With the boomerang you simply draw the path you want it to fly and it flies that path as long as there are no obstacles in the path. This leads to some really cool puzzles and ways to kill baddies. The DS version of Zelda, just like WindWaker still has the dreaded sailing as the way to navigate over the world map, but they have made it much more interesting and a little less time consuming. They also added ship customization, while you can much your ship stronger (more health) with the right combination of gear. It isn’t practically too deep, but it does allow for you to have a little more customization than Zelda games of past.
While not as important for a Zelda title, as it is for say an FPS title; it is always great to see beautiful graphics. The DS Zelda is hands down the best looking DS to date, and I don’t see that claim being disputed for a little while yet. And like pretty much all Zelda titles the music and sound are topnotch.
I really have very little bad to say about this game outside of the combat can be odd at times and there is one dungeon you have to visit multiple times, which I felt was bad design flaw. But even with that, I still feel that this is the second best Zelda to date and has such a grand feeling of adventure and a great supporting character as well! All I can say is that this is truly a must have title for the DS and you will be missing what people will consider one of this system’s defining games in the future.