Thursday, November 15, 2007

Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS)

Yes, yes, I realise I've utterly missed the boat talking about this game. But I wrote all of this stuff a month ago and just never got around to editing and posting it. Honest. And at least I've actually finished it now.

So, my take on it:

Even by the end I still often found myself wishing I could use the d-pad and face buttons for movement and combat a lot of the time. Especially when being chased by enemies who needed stunning with an item before they could be killed, since the controls don't let you use items and move at the same time as far as I could tell.

I loved a lot of the touchscreen control stuff. Boomerang control and being able to write on the map are the two stand outs, and there are some very nice puzzles involving those and some of the other touch screen features.

I really liked some of the "3d on both screens" sequences (in particular the boss of the 'bow and arrow' dungeon is a brilliant idea).

Some of the other dual screen stuff I've heard people rave about left me cold, mainly because I've played other games that do the same things. If you've got a very gimmicky use for the DS' functions (like closing it) I suspect people will only think it's cool for the first game they see it in.

I hate anything that makes me blow or shout at the mic, and Zelda seems to use these just often enough to be annoying. I have no problems looking like a tit while I'm playing games (I have a Live headset after all), but having to blow or make a loud noise is just pointless.

I found the boat travel either boring (I ended up spending a lot of time shooting seagulls earlier in the game, just for something to pass the time) or annoying (the number of enemies increased dramatically towards the end of the game when I had to do a lot of sailing). Thankfully they have an option teleport that you can unlock if you explore.

I really liked the salvage mini-game, but it was a shame that the damage you took could only be repaired in one place. It just meant that I didn't bother with it as much as I otherwise would have done, because I didn't want to have to endure more sailing back and forth.

Finally, I found a lot of the items boring. Many of them seemed to be included because they are expected of a Zelda game, rather than because they played to the game's touch screen control strengths. I hoped they would have taken the opportunity to completely revamp the tool set, but I guess that would probably upset a bunch of people.

Overall, I'd say it's very good. Very good indeed. Probably the best "full game" type thing I've played on the DS.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Nice bit of recruiting

Call of Duty 4's multiplayer message of the day from today. Made me chuckle - Infinity Ward is a very cool developer.