Frankenreview, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS)

61JePlRHTzL._SS500_.jpgSince the last scene of the GameCube's Wind Waker, we've been craving cel-shaded Link at the lust level we generally reserve for booze, pantsu and headshots. So his triumphant return in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for the DS had us... how can we put this gently... playing the DS without a stylus.

So hit the jump for our Frankenreview on the newest Zelda title—offering almost enough time savings for you to finish school, get a job, become rich, buy the game and retire early to play it—because you don't need to click around and fight all the ads. zeldagraph%282%29.jpgEurogamer Phantom Hourglass follows the events of the GameCube's Wind Waker, and does an unbelievably successful job of aping its visual style too, wisely focusing on creating expressive and beautifully-animated characters rather than effects, or environmental detail. As happy as most fans were to see Twilight Princess revive Ocarina's epic mood, the immense charm and polish of Wind Waker's art deserved better than the scrap heap, and so it's a delight to see it continued here.

i_12860.jpgCVG Controlling Link with the stylus is like riding a bike without holding the handlebars: you know it can be done, but at first you might worry that it's just a stupid thing to do. It's not. Stylus control of Link is a very cool thing. Say sayonara to the d-pad, then, and embrace the technology that makes Phantom Hourglass the most enjoyable Zelda game since Ocarina of Time.

GameLife Hold the stylus anywhere on the screen, and Link will run in that direction. Tap an enemy and Link will rush forward and attack it. Slash back and forth and he'll swing his sword in a wide arc...You can also draw on the game's map, perfect for plotting your ship's course at sea or making notes about places of interest you might want to return to later. And simple actions like throwing a boomerang become novel again when you're drawing the path that it will take, directly on the screen.

i_12857.jpgVariety In some cases, gamers are asked to unearth buried treasures by plotting intersections on a map. In others, the game relies on more devious brain twisters, one of which even involves hidden numbers and the use of cryptology. There's occasional repetition in the dungeons and at least two cases in which the puzzles are so complex that finding their answers seems more about luck than honest intellect. But overall, this "Zelda" game succeeds by keeping players' mind fully engaged.

Gamespy One of the most satisfying reasons to explore hidden parts of the world is to find some of the many ship parts you can customise your vessel with. From your bridge to your cannon, you can take the ship to the shipyard and see just what kind of super-vessel you can come up with...Salvaging treasure from the bottom of the sea is represented by a simple mini-game that can be frustrating, since failure requires sailing back to the dock to get your salvage arm fixed, but is a nice diversion to have.

- Looks like it's a keeper. Now to finish BioShock, Metroid, and Halo 3... this list is getting heavy and it's barely October.


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