(http://www.zelda.com/spirittracks/Rated Everyone 10+ by ESRB  The Legend of Zelda is a series that always have lot of expectations going for it, and it’s no disappointment this time. Despite its many similarities to its DS predecessor, Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks manages to remain a refreshing experience. Once again, our little green friend called Link returns to save the world, and the princess to some extent. Although Zelda still needs help from Link this time, the feature most prominent to Zelda fans is that Princess Zelda is much more than a damsel in distress. Her direct involvement in this adventure makes this particular Legend of Zelda experience unique to those of its predecessors.

(http://www.zelda.com/spirittracks/Rated Everyone 10+ by ESRB  The Legend of Zelda is a series that always have lot of expectations going for it, and it’s no disappointment this time. Despite its many similarities to its DS predecessor, Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks manages to remain a refreshing experience. Once again, our little green friend called Link returns to save the world, and the princess to some extent. Although Zelda still needs help from Link this time, the feature most prominent to Zelda fans is that Princess Zelda is much more than a damsel in distress. Her direct involvement in this adventure makes this particular Legend of Zelda experience unique to those of its predecessors.

 

Presentation:

The world of Spirit Tracks is somewhat of a continuation from that of Phantom Hourglass, with variations of some returning characters. But these connections aren’t significant enough that those hadn’t played Phantom Hourglass would feel alienated.

The two major protagonists, Link and Zelda, have lots of opportunities for interaction this time around; their moments of genuine friendship shown throughout the game often bring a smile to the player’s face. Even though Zelda is left in her spirit form through most of the game because of an unfortunate development, her company during the game gives her an opportunity to show some character. On top of making Spirit Tracks a far less solitary adventure in comparison to other Zelda titles with the many moments of comradeship, Princess Zelda’s presence also brings additional gameplay elements.

 

Graphics:

This title utilizes a cel-shading art style that is eerily similar to Phantom Hourglass from 2 years ago, eliciting some moments of déjà vu. The graphics is simple and charming, though not to be confused with being empty as there are always plenty of unique details in the environment. However, the textures of large environmental structures can be somewhat bland when they are close. Also worth mentioning is the intuitive camera control while in the overworld, an excellent mechanic inherited from Phantom Hourglass.

 

       

Sounds:

The intelligence behind the music is not to be overlooked. It is quite nice that the music are pleasant and engaging, having them creatively weaved into the concepts of the game is simply extraordinary. In the overworld, the field music ingeniously includes tracks that represent the sound of the running Spirit Train – the transportation of choice in this title. The simple melodies the player plays through Link are well harmonized as ever as well. Although this game doesn’t include actual voice acting, the many squeaks, yelps, cheers, and giggles genuinely realize the emotion expressed by the texts.

 

Gameplay:

Many classic Zelda elements of dungeon puzzle solving make a return here, with some new tools at Link’s disposal. And of course, these new tools require new approaches to puzzle-solving. Princess Zelda, in her spirit form, also adds new puzzle elements to the game. In certain dungeons, it is necessary to have her possess a “Phantom” in order to progress. These Phantoms come in different forms with different abilities that solve different puzzles.

 

While in the overworld, traveling by the Spirit Train is a mini-game in itself. There are plenty to do besides picking which way to turn. Aside from the occasional monsters and pirates, there are the armor trains that will cause instant game over should they run into the Spirit Train. As a result, the player is constantly on the look out to avoid these guys while traveling.

 

When fighting as Link, the control is just as straightforward as in Phantom Hourglass. The barrel roll had been improved, replaced by a quick double-tap instead of the circling. The control feels very precise despite being straightforward, as there are very few incidents of unintentional movements or attacks.

 

There are some multiplayer contents here as well, although it does not support Nintendo Wi-Fi connection. The battle mode allows the player to fight for force gems against up to 4 friends via wireless download play. The tag mode lets the player trade treasures with anyone else in near vicinity that is also in the mode.

 

       

 

Innovation:

While the series The Legend of Zelda is almost formula-like itself, Nintendo had once again manages to keep it refreshing with the inclusion of new tools, dungeon design, and puzzle elements. Most notably this time is the active role of Princess Zelda, adding more depth to the puzzle solving as well as breathing personality into the story. Princess Zelda herself is a likeable character, but the best part is the young and innocent companionship through the adventure.

 

Longevity:

There are almost too much to do on top of the main story. Like the past Zelda titles, the plethora of mini-games available offer rewards based on performance, such as increased vitality, in-game currency, or other treasures. The many treasures Link comes across during the adventure may be used to trade for train parts at a location. Trading for desired train part is a welcomed improvement from finding random and repeatable ship parts from treasure maps in Phantom Hourglass. Link himself also have upgrades available through collecting stamps for an NPC. Last but not least, there are 50 rabbits Link can catch for an enthusiast who will give Link various rewards for his efforts.

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