Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks announced

Finally some Zelda News! Finally! In 2006 Iwata announced The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass in his keynote on the Game Developer Conference, today, three years later, he announced the Phantom Hourglass sequel called "The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks" on the very same event. So, like I've expected last year here, they're releasing another DS Zelda before the next BIG DAMN ZELDA for the Nintendo Wii. According to a Nintendo DSi won't be mandatory to play the game. But I guess, that there will be some extra DSi features like downloadable content or an optional sidequest using the camera motivating Zelda fans to buy a DSi system. Nintendo does these kind of features all the time.

Spirit Tracks will feature... well, a train. Link is riding on a train and shooting with a cannon on the video materials. Well, basically so far it looks like Phantom Hourglass with a steam train on the mainland instead of a steam boat on the ocean. Everyone, who hated the Ocean King Temple and its Phantoms, will be pleased, that the Phantoms are now are supportive units. Link can control at least one of them to attack enemies and solve puzzles using a conductor's whistle. There is also some kind of a blowgun, that shoots whirlwinds.


My thoughts:

Well, if you take a look at my articles last year about the future of Zelda and the Nintendo E3 2008 event, you will notice, that I was expecting a second NDS Zelda and that I was excited about it. I love the gameplay of Phantom Hourglass, I'm a person, who really enjoyed the controls of the latest Nintendo DS Zelda. Also, in the article about the Valley of the Flood fake I stated, that the idea of a train running through Hyrule actually sounds nice. You put both of this together and somehow you get "Spirit Tracks", which is why I was totally surprised by today's news. But still I don't like the fact, that a good portion of the mainland won't be walkable. It's one thing to do this with the ocean, but with mainland? Right now it feels like it will completely take away the feeling of freedom. The other areas better be larger and somehow connected, and not just "islands" in an ocean of grassy fields. On the other hand, it's seems like the best opportunity of using Phantom Hourglass' 3D sea travelling engine again without actually having sea travelling in the game for a third time. That way you're going to see the new land in 3D, which is great and wouldn't be possible with a sole isometric perspective. Also, it does has some potential. Think of the minecart tracks in Capcom's 2D Zelda games, those always were clever puzzles and the railroads don't work that different.

We don't know anything about the story so far, whether it's a sequel to Phantom Hourglass, where Tetra and Link found a new land, which is somewhen in the future in danger. Or a prequel to The Wind Waker, which takes place in the Hyrule, which will later be flooded. Valley of the Flood, toon style.

And I love the idea of controlling Phantoms, it's a very nice twist after all the Ocean King Temple stress. I guess, in the later dungeons, you can control more and even stronger versions of Phantoms. And this game needs more items than just seven, one of the main complaints I had about Phantom Hourglass was the limited number of useable items. And considering that the Gale Boomerang in Twilight Princess already combined the two items shown in the Spirit Tracks trailer, this new blowgun feels like a damn waste right now. So, don't you dare to make a game with just seven items again. If there are going to be DSi related features, I would like them to be downloadable content, no camera crab. If there's a multiplayermode like in Phantom Hourglass a stage builder similar to the one in Smash Bros Brawl, which lets you design your own multiplayer levels, definitely would be nice. But it's still too early to say anything more specific about "Spirit Tracks", the trailer doesn't give away much. But I'm open minded about this game and looking forward to more infos.


oni-link1 said...

I just finished Phantom Hourglass yesterday, for the second time. And this game is really awesome =).

I hope this one will be up to it. I noticed the Hyrule Castle in the trailer o__o.

TourianTourist said...

Yeah, and the castle looks like the one from The Wind Waker, which let me believe, that this game might be a prequel to TWW taking part in the world of Hyrule, which later gets flooded. Wether the flood will be part of the game or not is the other question but very doubtful, since Link is obviously in the game and we all know, that the flood occured because there was no Hero to save the land and the people prayed to the Goddesses.

However, where this game takes place in the timeline might be of big interest.