Reviews: The Legend Of Zelda Spirit Tracks

An Ambitious Game that Pays Off in the End

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks is a very solid entry to the series, especially for the handheld side. It both attempts new ideas while keeping the long standing format that we've come to expect from the series and does it's best to stand on it's own two feet. For the most part this really pays off, and the journey is a fun and memorable one from beginning to end.

The plot follows the same structure of Zelda being kidnapped with Link setting out to the different lands to save her, but with a twist. Zelda herself is accompanying Link on his quest detached from her body and serves as the Navi/Midna/Fi type character. This makes her one of the most enjoyable Zeldas for me personally, and I'm sure many others as well, but even past that the journey has all sorts of highlights. New Hyrule is unfamiliar grounds despite having Hyrule in the name, and your going to have to conquer all of it's wide selection of scenery on your train. There are many twists and shocks from beginning to end and it really does make up for any flaws the narrative does have.

The gameplay could best be defined as a more updated version of it's predecessor Phantom Hourglass, as the field traveling and combat remains mostly the same. One of the biggest change in comparison to it is that aside from a certain portion of the game, the world is much more land based, which while ordinarily is standard for the series, is very refreshing after the oceanic island like design of the previous game. In terms of additions, there are two big ones, starting with the titular Spirit Tracks, which serve as the mode of travel from area to area. The train can vary in enjoyment, as at times it's novel and can actually be pretty engaging, while in other cases it can be slow and monotonous, it's pretty mixed, though I still kinda like it. The next big thing is Zelda's ability to possess Phantoms during your trecks through the Spirit Tower, which add to the puzzles found there while still keeping the stealth elements that were found in Phantom Hourglass. This I feel is a wonderful addition, it makes the recurring dungeon feel special and adds to the quality of the dungeons. As a matter of fact, the dungeons as a whole are a lot of fun, they make great use of your items and make you think outside the box without being too gimmicky, and those bosses are all a lot of fun to fight. Overall, the gameplay gets high marks from me even if I could see why some may be turned off.

Overall this entry feels ambitious for it's handheld status. It sets out to tell it's own story while improving on what worked. It's a wonderful game as far as I'm concerned, and I recommend any Zelda fans, especially those who enjoy the top-down games, to give it a look and see what I mean.
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