|Zelda - Spirit Tracks
|$20 - $35
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Zelda Spirit Tracks is a bit of a new fresh rendition of the classic Nintendo series, Zelda. Dating back to the original NES, it's one of the longest running series of games and one of the most well known series.Who I would recommend:
I would recommend this game definitely for all ages. A small child may be overly challenged by some of the puzzles and give up easily on the game though. Due to this I would recommend you only get this for a child under the age of 12 if you are willing to assist with the somewhat challenging puzzles the game presentsThe Good
This game has a wonderful mix of different gameplay aspects. It is a rare thing to see, and pulled off on a handheld platform is even more impressive. From the challenge of driving the train, to the challenge of playing the flute, to the challenge of solving puzzles with 2 characters to control at once, the game offers a very diverse playing experience not seen to this depth in any prior games that I'm aware of.
It is also worth mentioning that the difficulty of the game seems to be tuned to perfection. While it was very challenging, and some parts made me want to pull my hair out, I was never forced to go look at a game guide to see what I was supposed to do. This doesn't mean I wasn't tempted, but the point being, the challenge of the game relied more so on the challenge of figuring out what or how to do something, rather than physical skill and ability to manipulate the controls quickly enough.
The puzzles found in this game were very challenging despite the long history of Zelda games, they seem quite fresh and not repetitious as series of this type tend to me.
The ending was also quite good, while it was to me surprisingly easy compared with the challenges faced earlier in the game, it was very rewarding and forced the player to go through a long series of challenges to reach an ultimate goal. I will try to not spoil anything about the ending, but on a 1-5 scale (5 being the best), i would say the ending was about a 4. Very good, but could have been improved.
This is actually the best game I've played in years (not saying much as I've not been spending much time playing lately). It is also the best game I've ever played on a handheld platform. Again, this isn't a huge accomplishment due to the lack of handheld games I've played, but no doubt worth playing for sure. I could definitely see this game earning a GOTY (Game of the Year) award for the DS platform at some review sites.The needs improvement section
The primary thing that could be improved about this game is the controls. It is really nice how well they made everything work with touchscreen, but essentially the buttons were just about useless. While this came in handy many times, when I was tired of playing in a position I would have preferred my hands have a rest while I played on the D-Pad for a while. Having said that, they did do a very good job with the controls
Controlling zelda when teamed up with her in a phantom body to solve challenges could have been way more intuitive as well. Having to click and draw a line for her to walk and then waiting for her to walk it was many times quite annoying, especially when timing was imperative. It would have been much more sensible, in my opinion, to have the ability to switch characters as the focused character, then have the option to draw a line for the other character while controlling the first one, that way you still had that option, but wasn't forced to use it.
Also, this game is extremely linear. I actually like and prefer linear RPG's (sorry fans of non-linear RPG's) -- since it allows the creator to make an excellent game and concentrate all efforts on one experience rather than spreading them out affecting the quality of the game -- However, there were a few parts of the game which solicited a response that would result in the exact same reaction no matter the result. It is my opinion that if you are going to add content like that, you should in the least create a different response cut scene for each possible response. It also felt like they intended for those decisions in the game to lead somewhere, but in the end seemed very empty and uneventful no matter which response you decided upon.
I am not a big fan of using the DS microphone to play the flute, as aiming for the microphone was quite a task in itself. Things like this I find annoying more than anything, as getting it to work right gives me no feeling of accomplishment at all.
The story line could have been developed just a bit better as well. While it was quite good, and the compelling reason to play this game is the puzzles in the first place, I do believe in order to make a perfect game, one would have to have both a strong plot and strong gameplay. Having said that, the story isn't a complete joke, it's just sometimes hard to follow and feels like some parts were more or less stitched in rather than developed properly. It feels as if this game may have slightly suffered from some deadline requirements that could have changed my rating from great game to greatest game.
Finally, the replay value doesn't seem to be that great. You can't go through and change difficulties (to my knowledge), and there is the option of upgrading your train, but it's so difficult to do that it's honestly not worth the effort. I'm unsure why they would have put this into the game while making it so challenging that honestly I can only see fewer than 1% of all people who play it will actually take advantage of it. Those who will take advantage are probably those who have already beat the game and want to go back to play over and over to beat the game to 100% completion.How does it compare to similar games
Honestly, though it has its faults, I would imagine this particular Zelda release is leaps and bounds better than the competing action RPG's out there. I haven't played them all, so I couldn't truly say that until doing so, but as a general statement, it's very difficult to surpass the quality found in a good zelda game.Conclusions
May not be the best game you've ever played, but good enough that I believe anyone can find enjoyment out of it. The fact that it's something that can enjoyed with the entire family is in itself very worthy of praise if you ask me. Too often these days games are being geared towards the adult generation when games such as this are quite enjoyable no matter what age you are.
This game has excellent gameplay, takes advantage of so many different aspects, and is just all around good wholesome fun. I would say it will be one of the better game purchases you can make.Overall Rating
4 out of 5 StarsLinks to other reviews of this producthttp://www.gamespot....ittracks/review.html