One of the best things about getting my 2DS fixed this year has been the free time available I have had to play. Being that console a portable one gives me lots of freedom to play anywhere and anytime, minding my duties and all that of course. Also, retro-compatibility. As a retro gamer, it was only a matter of time before I started looking out for DS games to play and of all those I already have on a list, The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass always came out on top. Nostalgia? A little bit yeah as I played some of it as a kid, yet this game has something more, something greater to offer, and that is what got me into it.

Back in 2002-2003, The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker was released for the Nintendo Gamecube, and surprise was that a sequel to it was actually coming to the Nintendo DS. Though I haven't beaten the Wind Waker, I got to play it until near the end and I can say the graphics were carried from a home console to the portable one just fine. Cel-shaded once again, Phantom Hourglass is a nice game to look at, both in the lower and upper screen of the Nintendo DS. Also, when one has to look at both at the same time is a nice touch, no slowdown at all and good use of the hardware.

The Legend of Zelda series is known for having memorable and long lasting soundtrack for us to hear long after the games are over, however, such is not precisely the came with this game. Granted, remixes from Wind Waker are here and there, being The Great Sea the best one in my opinion and other themes are nice to listen to, yet the sound design is where this game shines. Sailing, exploring the game's dungeons, and the cutscenes are even more captivating thanks to sound behind them.

As read in the image above, the gameplay is really special in this game. First, one controls the game with the stylus from beginning to end and that may seem a little too much for both newcomers of the series and the Nintendo DS (me, in this case) but truth is that is it not. The game offers quick and easy tutorials for players to get used to the gameplay just fine, and so it happens. Never a dull moment? Only when one gets to know the way through dungeons, other than that, the only thing that this game didn't make use of what the camera of the DSi as back in 2007 that wasn't a thing, but the microphone and the whole hardware of the Nintendo DS was taken into full consideration when making this game and with great results, indeed.

Finally, for the story the common tale of Zelda being kidnapped strikes again this time, yet the twist here is the companions Link gets during his journey. Ciela, a fairy resembling Navi and Tilt from the Nintendo 64 games is your partner in crime, and Linebeck also though not so much. They are given the task to rescue Zelda from a ghost ship and to that they must free spirits and recover pieces in order to stand a chance against the evil holding back Zelda. The way Ciela and Linebeck help, and not as well is what makes them good companions as they do not stay reminding you what to do or how to do things, but when the situation requires their assistance, they jump into action. This kind of interaction is what often opens a way for a great finale, which this game did not think twice before doing it. All in all, if The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass wanted to try tweaking the Zelda formula a little bit, it succeeded.

Many years have passed since I wanted to beat this game, and this year I finally accomplished that. This does not have to do with nostalgia, but appreciation of a work well done. Best game played in February this 2018.

4.5 out of 5

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