Friday, March 6, 2009

Phantom Hourglass... Here's why I'm not that into you.

I was just here getting ready to pack up my copy of The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass to ship off to some person in New York, who will be sending me a copy of Mario Kart DS in trade, and I started thinking about why I'm shipping it off in the first place. Why did I put it up on swaptree.com before I even finished it? Why haven't I picked it up in months... and don't want to?

I'm a big fan of the Legend of Zelda series, and having heard only good things about Phantom Hourglass, I asked for it as a gift and... yay!... got it. I started playing it and was happy with it immediately. Everything you're expecting is there... cute village, cute characters, fun dialogue, and pouncin' around hacking at grass to find rupees. The touch screen made it pretty fun and interesting, though I never got a precise hang of tumbling... oh well. The boat was also quite fun, and I liked the interactivity of the whole thing... drawing your route, checking out mysterious ships floating around, etc. And writing notes on your map? Sweet! Saved me the trouble of keeping a notepad around.

I soon began to become disenchanted with the whole thing. The elements I liked were still there, but there were these new annoying ones creeping up on my as I played. Like wait... didn't I already complete this level of this dungeon? Why do I have to open all these doors again? And again? And AGAIN?? On a time limit! With enemies you can't kill, and that never disappear? I started to long for a dungeon in WoW, where when you clear a section of raid up through a boss, that section never respawns (at least not until reset).

I put down PH for a while in order to get some serious play time in on a Phoenix Wright game. When I picked Hourglass back up, I was faced with a problem... where was I? What was I supposed to be doing again? It took me a while to get reoriented. Once I got rolling along, I uncovered some new things I liked, such as the golden frogs in the ocean... sort of like save points. I also found some minigames, something we have come to know and love in the Zelda games. And finally, I found this crazy ghost ship! I boarded it! Something is really happening now, I can feel it.

...Well, maybe not. I worked my way through the ghost ship dungeon, rescued all the stupid girls, and then... was stuck. I don't honestly remember where or why, but I couldn't figure out what to do or where to go. So I put the game down again, frustrated. I picked it up about a week later... to find that I had to FIND THE GHOST SHIP AGAIN. What? I was there! I saved it there! This is getting ridiculous...

And as I wove the ship through the fog, waiting for the fairies to dance around and trying to avoid exploding barrels, I realized something... I don't want to do this. Not right now, and not really ever again. I'm unconcerned about where the plot is going, partially because I can't really remember it, and partially because I keep being sent back in time for some unknown reason.

And so, when I made my swaptree.com account, Phantom Hourglass was unfortunately one of my first "have to trade" items that I listed. It's really a shame, because I like Zelda, I like my DS, and I liked the game in many ways. But I didn't want to keep doing the same things over and over again... something I hope they realize when they make the next game.

I still quite love the character designs... that aspect has been carried on successfully through the Zelda games. I've seen some good Phantom Hourglass cosplay, too (one of which is in this post). I probably won't ever be wearing any myself, though.

How about you? Do you have any games that your friends just loved, that you couldn't make it through? Something critically acclaimed that was just terrible? Or just some random game you picked up that ended up being incredibly frustrating to play? Share in comments. ^_^

One final note... no, I don't work for swaptree or anything, I just think it's a really cool site, both in general and through personal experience.

3 comments:

ridley88 said...

The one thing that bothered me about PH was the music. Other than the original tune on the ship, there was nothing even remotely remarkable. (The island music didn't even have a melody!) To this day, I listen to remixes of almost all the other Zelda's, so needless to say I was really disappointed. Oh well, I still slugged through it.

Triene said...

Yeah, I agree, the music left something to be desired.

I was focusing more on the gameplay with this post, but what you say is true. But I've played bad games with good music and great games with terrible and/or repetitive music, too. *sigh*

lohking said...
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