E3 '07: The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass Hands-On Preview

Nintendo delivers a time-limited demo of its highly anticipated DS Zelda title at this year's E3.

74 Comments

Nintendo had much to shout about at this year's E3. First of all, the company broke the news that it had two new Wii peripherals set for release in the form of a Zapper light gun and a steering wheel. Then the company revealed a procession of new games heading to the Wii, including Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles, Mario Kart, and Wii Fit. But even with all these new products, one of the biggest attractions at the company's hotel suite was still The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass on DS. The game was playable in time-limited demo form, so while we only got around 15 minutes at the beginning of the game, we still relished every minute.

The game started with Link dreaming about Tetra, a character who should be familiar to players of the GameCube game The Wind Waker. Like that game, the artistic style of The Phantom Hourglass is reminiscent of mid-20th-century European animation, something that certainly divided fans the first time around. It's still open for debate, but there's no doubt about the game's technical prowess. Mixing top-down and over-the-shoulder views, the game boasts an impressive level of detail, while the overall character animation is superb.

Click to enlarge!
Click to enlarge!

The touch-screen control system is certainly very different to past Zelda titles, but the majority of Link's signature moves remain intact. Once Link awakes, he is guided by a fairy called Ciela, who then acts as a cursor for Link to follow as you touch the screen. Tap the edge of the screen and Link will perform a roll, and as always he'll automatically jump over gaps or down from edges.

What's arguably more important is the combat system, and Nintendo seems to have utilised the touch screen to great effect. Our demo gave us just enough time to find a sword and talk to a character called grandpa, who gave us the full lowdown on using the touch screen to attack. There are basically three different ways for Link to strike his enemies with a sword. Tap them once and he'll launch a simple lunging attack. Draw a line in between Link and the enemy or obstacle and he'll perform a sideways slash attack. Finally, perform a circular motion and he'll use a powerful spinning move on them.

We also managed to see a couple of puzzles in our short time with the The Phantom Hourglass. In trying to get hold of a sword, we had to gain access to grandpa's secret stash hidden in a cave. After some exploration, Ciela informed us that the entry code was the same as the number of palm trees on the beach. After heading down to the shoreline and counting seven, we drew a number '7' on the sign and managed to enter the cave. You can also draw memos on the in-game map to highlight key areas or make general notes about where you've been.

Nintendo has had to revolutionise the control systems for its two most recent Zelda titles, first with The Twilight Princess on Wii, and now with The Phantom Hourglass. Just from our short E3 play test, the touch-screen interface for the latter has clearly been carefully implemented, and it's intuitive after a few minutes of play. Time will tell if the system and the game itself will reward longer play, but as it stands right now, we're more excited than ever about getting hold of the finished game.

$89.25 on Amazon
Buy
$78.25 on Walmart
Buy

GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 74 comments about this story
74 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
  • 74 results
  • 1
  • 2
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for bshaw84
bshaw84

267

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

I preordered it months ago. From the other reviews, I'm glad I did. I bet it'll get a 9.0. Other reviews say it's a lot easier than other games in the series, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I think GS is pretty unforgiving in their scores. Which is also not really a bad thing. It helps me trust their reviews more for some reason.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Tigerslayerxxx
Tigerslayerxxx

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 0

This Looks Awsome! All zelda games rock! I bet it'll be big later on. ^_^

Upvote • 
Avatar image for damariofan
damariofan

564

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

This could nail a 9.5. I don't think Alex will be able to give a 10-there will always be one downer that will hold any game back. I don't think PH is an exception.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for link631
link631

615

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 0

i reserved it like 3 months ago and im getting it on the 2nd yay

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Gorge-a-Maniac
Gorge-a-Maniac

80

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Ahh I can't wait for this... I looks like Nintendo are showing how to properly use the touchscreen! Looks like its an awesomely executed game... Im gunna pre-order it tomorrow!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for hellpolice
hellpolice

352

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

Awesome this series manage to stay fresh somehow after all this years. Makes me want to get a DS so I can play this once its out in the market!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for REVOLUTIONfreak
REVOLUTIONfreak

18418

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 55

User Lists: 0

Perfect 10? Uhh.... definitely not. I don't think Alex is prepared to be so bold as to hand out a ten to any game. Phantom Hourglass will have it's flaws like any other game, but I am expecting this game to be superb! It looks like a lot of fun, and the puzzles seem relatively challenging... which is good. The touch controls look more promising to me than they initially did too, which is good.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for swordmaster33
swordmaster33

178

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 18

User Lists: 0

gonna buy it for sure can´t wait

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Lightfellower
Lightfellower

10146

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 32

User Lists: 0

Something tells me this could be the next perfect 10 game on GS, or at least close.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for sniper2k0
sniper2k0

211

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

This game will be sweet! Can't wait..

Upvote • 
Avatar image for DarkWarrior42
DarkWarrior42

3390

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Dude I can't wait for this game to go on My DS!!! This will be the most poular hand-held game for DS abd the rest of the Hand-Held Industry.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for YeOldeBowser
YeOldeBowser

145

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 13

User Lists: 0

Can't wait for it :)

Upvote • 
Avatar image for gaming24-7
gaming24-7

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

UBERCOOL this game will be great not only is a new Zelda title (that is more than sufficient to make the game itself good ) but it utilises the touch screen in an appropriate and interesting manner cant wait to get it!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for vestalboy
vestalboy

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Been waiting for this one!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for fax555241
fax555241

4067

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 0

can't wait!!!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Aumala
Aumala

6678

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

can't wait to get the new zelda on my hands!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for illinoissooner
illinoissooner

632

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Too many games, too little time... :) But there is always time for Zelda. The game sounds great.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for patriotsrule47
patriotsrule47

39

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

awesome

Upvote • 
Avatar image for patriotsrule47
patriotsrule47

39

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

awsome

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Dumberhalo117
Dumberhalo117

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Can this connect to the wii somehow? kinda like the GBA connection with the GC?

Upvote • 
Avatar image for MythDarK
MythDarK

48

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

It's worth all the waiting, for sure. I got some other games to complete before it hits europe anyway. So i'm not bored of waiting....yet

Upvote • 
Avatar image for hitman1988
hitman1988

154

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

sweet, can't wait to get my hands on it

Upvote • 
Avatar image for xombie5
xombie5

26

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

I hope the touch controls are done well.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Strongholdluva
Strongholdluva

31

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 29

User Lists: 0

Can't Wait for it

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Distinctive_Fin
Distinctive_Fin

305

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 0

I agree on the buttons for combat, but a change might just be what we Zelda fans need (Wii version of TP was the best!) The only way to absolutely perfect a Zelda game is to do what ever the heck they did in Ocarina of time. It was like crack in game form!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Turbo-Evil
Turbo-Evil

13898

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

You'd better be able to use the buttons to attack and move too. I hate games where its touch screen only.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for luigispatch
luigispatch

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Wonder how the 2 player wifi is gonna work?

Upvote • 
Avatar image for SerpentsofSet
SerpentsofSet

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

I am looking forward to this game, despite the fact that im a noob/newb/n00b to the Link games

Upvote • 
Avatar image for c_rakestraw
c_rakestraw

14626

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 64

User Lists: 0

c_rakestraw  Moderator

This look awesome! I can't wait!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for arpitjaipal
arpitjaipal

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

looks awesome

Upvote • 
Avatar image for jiggerkiller
jiggerkiller

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I have the *** version. i don't want to play it because i don't understand the language. after a few minutes of messing around i found it to be irresistible. my only gripe is that i need a longer stylus, i have to hold it (uncomfortably) from the end so that my hand doesn't block the action. PoeTokoro buy a screen protector, i had the same fear, its worth it..

Upvote • 
Avatar image for PoeTokoro
PoeTokoro

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 20

User Lists: 0

I hope the game has an option to use buttons for combat, it's not that I don't like touch controls because the touch control on games is what lead me to get a ds, but sword slashing is really intense in zelda games and I just don't want to scratch the hell out of my screen.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for slayersdeath200
slayersdeath200

429

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 17

User Lists: 0

CANT WAIT FOR IT TO BE RELEASED IN THE UK WOOP WOOP WOOP WOOP

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Megatoa111
Megatoa111

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

In the press conference, the spokesman said it was his favorite Zelda title ever, but really, is that fair to Twilight Princess so soon after they released it? Some people are still trying to catch all those #@^* Poes. Don't get me wrong, it looks like it has a lot of potential, the feedback is reassuring, and I can't wait to see more WW-style Zelda, but for some reason that comment just bothers me.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for The_Deepblue
The_Deepblue

776

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 149

User Lists: 1

Bruno BRS wrote: "think im the only one who liked to sail in WW... this is going to be the greatest portable zelda ever!!" You're not alone. The sailing is one of the main reasons I like the Wind Waker better than any other Zelda out there. Can't wait for this one.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for blrasmu
blrasmu

42

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

the touch screen control makes me a little nervous, but i am excited for this game

Upvote • 
Avatar image for icytower
icytower

10643

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Never been a Zelda fan myself.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for msudude211
msudude211

44517

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 8

User Lists: 0

This has potential... :)

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Warfust
Warfust

3045

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 41

User Lists: 0

I am really looking forward to this, sailing again!!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for BrunoBRS
BrunoBRS

74156

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 6

User Lists: 0

think im the only one who liked to sail in WW... this is going to be the greatest portable zelda ever!!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Tiaginho4Life
Tiaginho4Life

440

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

GOLDEN I CANT WAIT!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for especensor
especensor

3180

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 17

User Lists: 0

this sorta graphics is a lot more suited for a handheld. especially for a top down handheld. because, if it were the older adult link, link wouldn't be like a square in the game anymore.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ma118uller
ma118uller

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

i just hope the story is great, Zelda is known for great stories, but this is a bit too reminiscent of link's awakening, AKA outdated and boring, everything else seems great

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Pannstar
Pannstar

25

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 8

User Lists: 0

im skeptical about the whole thing. It looks a bit bland, and the controls maybe too simple, but i guess ill just have to wait and see

Upvote • 
Avatar image for JaMeS4418
JaMeS4418

2520

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 39

User Lists: 0

this game is going to be breathtaking

Upvote • 
Avatar image for kappareign
kappareign

2413

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

the game looks great... i would like to try out the touch screen controls for myself before buying though

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ScrawlKnight
ScrawlKnight

574

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 48

User Lists: 0

RorshachV : If you didn't love Twilight Princess, something is wrong with you...

Upvote • 
Avatar image for ahyumifan
ahyumifan

1396

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 7

User Lists: 0

what can i say? Its Zelda game. and what is Zelda game? Top Notch gameplay.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for RorshachV
RorshachV

103

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

As much as I want to play this, i really want a Zelda for the Wii. For real this time

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Willy105
Willy105

24974

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 19

User Lists: 0

Nintendo Hardcore Game for E3 2007 #5. This game rocks.

Upvote • 
  • 74 results
  • 1
  • 2