Players: 1 Player Game | Genre: Action/RPG
Release Date: 10/01/07
Nintendo did not provide any further details such as story, release date, wireless features, or anything else. So the video is all we'll get for now, but you won't see me complaining. I'll try to break down the interesting details that the short trailer reveals.
The game's officially titled The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. Besides the symbol drawn at the beginning of the video, it's not clear what significance the Phantom Hourglass has in the game. Time manipulation sounds like a safe bet though, and that is certainly a familiar aspect of Zelda games now.
The first thing you'll notice is that the game is visually styled after The Wind Waker, and man, I still really love those Wind Waker smoke swirls. If anything is actually cel shaded though, it's only Link and the enemies, and I suspect that it isn't true cel shading graphics. I'd have to see the game up close in motion to be sure though. Regardless, the game looks pretty and faithful to the GameCube predecessor.
The first portion of the video shows off dungeon gameplay. Though the graphics are rendered in 3D, the dungeons seem to have an overhead, 2D design. It's very reminiscent of A Link to the Past. As you watch Link run away from a knight, solving puzzles, and whacking rats, you'll notice that he has a fairy companion, like the Nintendo 64 games and unlike The Wind Waker. I'm not sure what that means, especially considering that later segments of the video make it look like the game is actually set in the world of The Wind Waker.
You can see that drawing on the Touch Screen will be an important part of the game mechanics. At the very beginning, an hourglass symbol is drawn on a door in order to unlock it. Later, you'll see that you can draw out a path and throw the boomerang which will follow the path. I thought that was particularly cool. Another cool looking feature is the ability to draw notes on the dungeon maps, which will be handy for navigation and solving puzzles. Still later in the video, you can see the player draw a path on the sea chart and apparently, it sets an autopilot course for Link's new steam boat. It looks like that will make traversing the ocean less tedious and it will allow you to combat aquatic enemies without stopping the boat or losing direction.
Speaking of which, the overworld areas shown in the later parts of the video suggest that the game takes place in the same world as The Wind Waker, with huge oceans in every direction. Of course that's just speculation. Whether or not this game shares continuity with The Wind Waker can't really be determined right now.
As link battles the mutated Octorok thing outdoors, you can see that the perspective is at ground level, more similar to 3D gameplay of the Nintendo 64 and GameCube games.
I'm going to get a bit gushy and say that this video got me pretty excited. I love Zelda, and I loved The Wind Waker, and I love the DS. The handheld's been getting a ton of awesome games and I'm sure this latest unveiling has every Nintendo fan excited. It appears to be a Zelda game that, like all those previous, will combine classic elements and brand new mechanics, such as the drawing maneuvers, into a new adventure. The only other thing I could wish for is a Four Swords multiplayer game whether or not it's separate from Phantom Hourglass. There's still a lot to be revealed about the game, but it will be playable at E3, less than two months away. We'll be there to give you impressions.