Zero Punctuation: Zelda Phantom Hourglass

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You sir, are the reason that I have registered on Escapist & found myself actually looking forward for this weeks review. Keep em coming.

But Yahtzee The Hylians clearly had Flak Towers. If you just look in any Hyrule history book, you can find pages and pages of info about them.

Aramax:
It would be fun if those reviews had subtitles or something so we can all understand what Yahtzee is saying. I have trouble fellowing what he say from time to time and it's frustrating to replay the same video over and over again just to understand a small part of the video.

Who's with me on this one?

We'd have to replay the same video over and over to read all the subtitles.

EDIT: maybe you'd like transcripts?

Asspigeon:
I love the nod to Okami, that was a super-fantastic (and horribly underappreciated) game!

Apparently, it never sold well in Japan. It's sure that part of its appeal is the exotic context and content.

CK20XX:
...wow. I kinda wonder if Yahtzee was still ticked off over Medal of Honor: Airborne when he made this.

Don't get me wrong and suspend my account when I say this, but this isn't a review: this is simply hateful bashing. Sure, the Zelda series seems to now be going the way of the original Mega Man series, and I agree about the shoehorning of the stylus controls, but beyond that it seems to simply be bitter for bitterness's sake. Phantom Hourglass, despite its shortcomings, is a good game that's worth anyone's time, and this video is hardly informative about the game at all, it just rips on it for the sake of entertainment.

But you know what? That's ok. People like Yahtzee are important because they expose hypocrisy and bigotry to an otherwise oblivious world. They may seem lonely, petulant, and vile, but they don't hate mankind, just mankind's excesses. Thus they arm themselves with irony, satire, sarcasm, ridicule, and march against pretense, pomposity, conformity, and incompetence. There's a fair amount of truth in what Yahtzee says after you sift through his seemingly unjustly misguided attitude.

"It is a fine thing to face machine guns for immortality and a medal, but isn't it a fine thing, too, to face calumny, injustice, and loneliness for the truth which makes men free?" - H. L. Mencken

then you obviously don't know why these reviews are published

nightfish:

CK20XX:
...wow. I kinda wonder if Yahtzee was still ticked off over Medal of Honor: Airborne when he made this.

Don't get me wrong and suspend my account when I say this, but this isn't a review: this is simply hateful bashing. Sure, the Zelda series seems to now be going the way of the original Mega Man series, and I agree about the shoehorning of the stylus controls, but beyond that it seems to simply be bitter for bitterness's sake. Phantom Hourglass, despite its shortcomings, is a good game that's worth anyone's time, and this video is hardly informative about the game at all, it just rips on it for the sake of entertainment.

But you know what? That's ok. People like Yahtzee are important because they expose hypocrisy and bigotry to an otherwise oblivious world. They may seem lonely, petulant, and vile, but they don't hate mankind, just mankind's excesses. Thus they arm themselves with irony, satire, sarcasm, ridicule, and march against pretense, pomposity, conformity, and incompetence. There's a fair amount of truth in what Yahtzee says after you sift through his seemingly unjustly misguided attitude.

"It is a fine thing to face machine guns for immortality and a medal, but isn't it a fine thing, too, to face calumny, injustice, and loneliness for the truth which makes men free?" - H. L. Mencken

then you obviously don't know why these reviews are published

For the ads?

The Okami ending was perfect, ha ha ha.

I love the damn game, it's so smooth and charismatic, but I can't stop laughing when the video hits play. That was one of your best rant for a long while, thank you Yahtzee. It was totally worth registering.

I'm surprised you didn't like the game though, despite your many argued-to-death points (need new IP, same story over and over) and the repeated stealth sections. It was just a blast to play through. Perhaps I'm just too much of a Zelda whore.

P.S.: Flak towers.
P.S.S.: Liverpool: 8

Hm... I must admit I am somewhat loathe to respond to comments people make about me because it makes one look like they are struggling to defend their castle from an onslaught of mighty aggressors and thus can be a severe blow to one's pomposity, but a couple things here caught my eye.

kushiague:

CK20XX:
... but this isn't a review: this is simply hateful bashing.

And i loved every second of it.

Exactly. I enjoy Yahtzee's work for what it is, not what it claims to be. It's always fun to watch.

Jack Sheehan:
What? He gave plenty of reasons for why he didn't like the game...

Exactly!

I think gamers turned a bit of a corner with Zelda last year when Twilight Princess was released. Certainly most websites immediately gave it perfect scores and cheered it as an amazing game, but sites like Gamespot actually took them a bit to task on the fact that it is always the same game. Seems like more and more gamers are agreeing with the sentiment. Not enough to stop buying the games, but at least they are aware of it and more able to give criticism to the games.

Now if only Mario would become fair game for critics....

I try to play the N64 and first two gameboy releases as far as Zelda games go. I can't really get into the new games despite the good/playful graphics. Great review though, you have some pretty good-to-great ideas about story lines for games.

Arbre:
[quote=Aramax]It would be fun if those reviews had subtitles or something so we can all understand what Yahtzee is saying. I have trouble fellowing what he say from time to time and it's frustrating to replay the same video over and over again just to understand a small part of the video.

Who's with me on this one?

We'd have to replay the same video over and over to read all the subtitles.

EDIT: maybe you'd like transcripts?

Well..if you want to collect signs to ask dah man to publish the transcript, count me in:
even thought I guess it's not much in his mmh..style? personality? (just my guess) to give them away, that'd be freaking great!
(and i know they exists..he showed a page of that in a previous video :P)

lol! you own!

no idea why Yahtzee thinks you have to yell into the mic... a slight blow directly into the mic achieves the desired results. It's things like that, that make me realize these aren't reviews so much as comedic bits. Which is ok, as long as you realize that's what it is. Many people here don't seem to realize that.

Also, Nintendo is definitely one of the most creative gaming developers there are at the moment. While that may not be saying much, to put that into a review about Zelda, but not in any of his other reviews seems a tad strange. That should be more of an overall gripe, then a gripe at just Nintendo. Also, why even bring up how much money Nintendo has, as if Ubisoft or EA Games is hurtin' for cash?

Illuminatis:
I like the review but I think the arguement of Nintendo not trying anything different is fairly stupid. Considering all the new ips the have created over the last few years I dont know how you say they arnt trying create fresh games. Animal Crossing, Pikmin, Geist, Disaster, Praject Hammer, Custom Robo, Battallion Wars, just to name a few.

=\

Fairly stupid? Yet you go and mention several average games as an example of Nintendo creating fresh titles? Some of those aren't even released yet and, hey, one of the titles is even cancelled! You've hardly done a good job of defending Nintendo's [in]ability to make original titles.

Kenkaku:
It's just like Metal Gear; Hideo Kojima said he wanted to stop making the Solid series after 2, but people kept begging for closure and hence got Solid 3, but obviously the closure wasn't enough as the fans kept begging for another installment and now you've got Solid 4, and it's obvious that Kojima is ready to put the series to an end regardless of what people think by making Snake die at the end of the title (hinted at it dozens upon dozens of times). But even then, the series might still continue since he made ANOTHER hint in a different interview that if enough people wanted it, he'd continue the series.

I'd say it's fairly different to the state of Metal Gear. Comparing the plot of MGS and Zelda for example is like comparing Lord of the Rings to My Pet Goat. Well, maybe I'm going a bit over the top as some consider the MGS plot to be ridiculous but still, the point is that MGS is a series with a real series plot unlike Zelda which has a very simple story which is unique to each game. Metal Gear Solid has a lot of questions which have been raised over the course of the series which still haven't been answered in 3. Kojima has promised to tie up all the threads in the next game.

Great review, and I am glad it's about a game which doesn't require 90 seconds of politics before one can get to the meat of the matter. And I have to agree - Nintendo's just milking it. Honestly though, I don't think they're milking it just for the heck of it. I think they truly believe in the strength of the game concept itself - the formula appears to work - and just don't want to tamper with it a lot. They're simply making it bigger and better for the next generation of the age bracket which Zelda (or Mario, or Metroid) targets. A bit like how Monopoly or Risk are "reinvented" on a regular basis. It's basically a mix of brand recognition and game archetyping. Or just like the Castlevanias since Symphony of the Night. Or the Resident Evils until number 4.

Personally, I've moved on from Zelda, Mario and Pokemon since the originals and after noticing how all the new installments didn't offer anything substantially new. I might give the new Metroid a try, though, but if it's anything like Echoes content-wise, I don't think I'll be looking into the series anymore. And pssst, Okami's coming for the Wii, so hopefully it will get the attention it truly deserves this time. Then again, the Wii is Zelda's turf, so.

Yahtzee, by the way, if you take requests ;), I'd love to see you tackle The Witcher and share with us your wisdom on how it is or isn't one of those very nice, refreshing RPGs where *gasp* your choices are not black or white but in this mysterious colour which game theorists have dubbed "grey" and has been left mostly unexplored.

The Witcher. Think about it while totally not looking at me writing flakturm =).

Flaaaaak towers.

Only annoying factor is the use of "fag" every episode lately it seems. Perhaps it's not quite the slur in merry old england that it is here in the states. Or perhaps he's been listening to too many console 'tards via voice chat.

Or he's playing WoW and is sitting in the Barrens.

Einheit12:

Aramax:
It would be fun if those reviews had subtitles or something so we can all understand what Yahtzee is saying. I have trouble fellowing what he say from time to time and it's frustrating to replay the same video over and over again just to understand a small part of the video.

Who's with me on this one?

I think they'd just be annoying. You've got to look at the animation when listening,not read subtitles.
Just watch it a few times, you'll understand everything.

I'm not even a native speaker and I understand him clearly!

Ditto. I fail to see what's so hard about understanding him. He's speaking better English than kids these days! I enjoyed Orcarina of time, but that's the only Zelda game I've played and took seriously. With that out of the way, I agree with him on every front. I find it annoying that someone says he's hatefully bashing something.

I dub it...a true statement:

-Nintendo IS relying on Mario and friends to save the day. How many original IPs are YOU looking forward to for the Wii?

-A lot of people DO defend Nintendo as if it saved them from the pits of...sand, yeah, sand. Gamespot is the perfect example.

-The Zelda series didn't do too much other than torture Ganondorf. (Orcarina of Time...Windwaker...Twilight Princess) Same villian getting the most evil stabs known to rated E games.

-The first two games to come up in a Wii argument is...you guessed it!

Super Smash Bros Brawl (AKA part III)-Mario (Don't get me wrong, I'm sooo getting this one!):P
Super Mario Galaxy!-Mario

Yay for individuality...

He doesn't bash games, just tells it like it is. See some of the other reviews where he has been quite nice about them, see Orange Box. But to be honest if he wasn't scathing it wouldn't be funny!

The whole Zelda thing is getting old now, Ocarina will still be my favourite. Okami was a fantastic game, I started Twilight Princess and found it shallow so swapped to Okami. It is simply a better game and original!

CK20XX:
... but this isn't a review: this is simply hateful bashing.

Yes, I think that when we mention these things about Nintendo, we should bring up Star Fox Adventures more. They COULD have made an original title, but they stuck in Fox, gave him a staff and called it a Starfox game. Maybe this can explain the Gamecube.

Also, I laughed SO hard at the "dog" joke. For a sec I thought he was talking about Inuyasha and thought, "That's not right."

Whilst I would agree with several points (that freaking dungeon should go and rot in hell) the game is still superb. Sailing whilst still being a drag, is far improved over the sailing in Wind Waker and the fact they got rid of the fetch quest definately makes it better. Personally I'm a Zelda junkie and can't wait for the next game however I hope that's not for another few years.
Also Nintendo does beat it's franchises like a dead horse, (just look at this year we've had Mario, Metroid, Zelda, Pokemon, Star Fox, Advance Wars, Fire Emblem etc) but they are still able to come up with new refreshing ideas. I mean Pikmin, Animal Crossing, Elite Beat Agents, Wii+DS, Brain Training and Nintendogs are all new IPs that Nintendo has had in 00s. I'm glad that Nintendo are one of the only developers that will still take risks but also appease their fanbase. A lot of companys should take a look at what Nintendo has done right and not just copy them!!!

I always thought Shadows of the Colossus was a nice kick in the balls for the Zelda series after the cartoon that was windwaker, they then made twilight princess.

But I have to agree with Yatz, it's always the same platonic elements, the same order, the same weapons, the same dungeon structures, and the same bloody key quests. They've got to make a radical new change to the series, and Majora's Mask stands out as the most original they've made so far.

I laughed so hard at the Okami reference. Nice work!

Can we have an Okami review? Please? Maybe when it comes out on the Wii...

After reading the thread's on MOHA I understand why you said "Please shut up about flak towers," and I second the notion to "Please shut up about flak towers."

I remembered what Yahtzee said on his Super Paper Mario review. Nintendo should just put all their old franchises to bed... and smother them to death.

symphonycometh:

Ditto. I fail to see what's so hard about understanding him. He's speaking better English than kids these days! I enjoyed Orcarina of time, but that's the only Zelda game I've played and took seriously. With that out of the way, I agree with him on every front. I find it annoying that someone says he's hatefully bashing something.

You might be failing..well I don't (Sorry, fat chance for a bit of ego)
Seriously, the problem IS the fact that he's speaking a better english...
I have no problem understanding..dunno..Heroes 100%, but it's not the fast paced talking.
It's his own vocabolary: too rich for a non native. I might be missing a few words just to see a shoe horn appearing on my screen...wtf?
Oh, and yeah..he's totally and completely hatefully bashing the game. The point is..he IS doing a review, while the issue in the post you quoted was wether he was doing that or not :P

symphonycometh:

I dub it...a true statement:

-Nintendo IS relying on Mario and friends to save the day. How many original IPs are YOU looking forward to for the Wii?

-A lot of people DO defend Nintendo as if it saved them from the pits of...sand, yeah, sand. Gamespot is the perfect example.

-The Zelda series didn't do too much other than torture Ganondorf. (Orcarina of Time...Windwaker...Twilight Princess) Same villian getting the most evil stabs known to rated E games.

-The first two games to come up in a Wii argument is...you guessed it!

Super Smash Bros Brawl (AKA part III)-Mario (Don't get me wrong, I'm sooo getting this one!):P
Super Mario Galaxy!-Mario

Yay for individuality...

Well here I am doomed to agree with you. I am sick of eating "Mario & Co" crap, but I bought a Wii because it IS, to me, a revolution (speaking of controls - I surely don't give a damn on graphics). And it works like a charm on some game, a totally new gaming experience, while on some other games you'd literally throw your remote. But that's ok..you can blame it on the launch titles.
And I guess I'll join my 10M fellow wii owners and..hope that the best has yet to come

Capitalistic stomach, brilliant.

With his fast-talking of intricate words, not to mention appreciation of good humor, I would be AMAZED if Yahtzee didn't absolutely praise Sam and Max.

I love it whenever someone compares a game to Half-Life...and discovers a million problems with it. It is kinda true though; Half-Life, while not perfect in any one area, does very well with many aspects other developers ignore, so in some ways establishes itself as a benchmark.

Once again, I wouldn't use this review to decide whether to buy the game, but it's still fun to watch and is a good way of showing to Nintendo fanboys that yes, there are some flaws with your game, and things like Super Mario Galaxy are not an "embarassment to the rest of gaming". Stop trying to label other people as unoriginal when you have the same FUCKING hero from NINE-TEEN-EIGHTY-ONE.

runtheplacered:
no idea why Yahtzee thinks you have to yell into the mic... a slight blow directly into the mic achieves the desired results. It's things like that, that make me realize these aren't reviews so much as comedic bits. Which is ok, as long as you realize that's what it is. Many people here don't seem to realize that.

I think it's not so much not realizing, as that ZP started as real reviews, but as Yahtzee himself has said, people complain when he praises the games, so they've gradually become more vicious attacks for comedic effect than actual reviews. Look at the review for Psychonauts, it has genuine criticism of the games wonky controls, mildly derivative quests and uneven difficulty, but still praises it to high-heaven. Even the Tomb Raider vid had that, but the more recent ones feature less and less of it.

Basically, my point is that it CAN be funny to like a game, just not if it's naught but blind worship.

HAH! Awesome Ookami refrence. I almost threw the game away when I returned to the dungeon, only sucessfully getting out of it, though it looks like I'll still have to go back into it one more time to kill the final bad guy. It's definately a strike against a game when you have to dread something upcoming in the gameplay for no other reason than it's fucking tedious, I want to strangle whoever made the decision to take the worst part of this game and have you go back through it 800 times only it fucks you a little harder each time and apologizes less and less. It never even called afterwards.

Shiloa:
I'd say it's fairly different to the state of Metal Gear. Comparing the plot of MGS and Zelda for example is like comparing Lord of the Rings to My Pet Goat. Well, maybe I'm going a bit over the top as some consider the MGS plot to be ridiculous but still, the point is that MGS is a series with a real series plot unlike Zelda which has a very simple story which is unique to each game. Metal Gear Solid has a lot of questions which have been raised over the course of the series which still haven't been answered in 3. Kojima has promised to tie up all the threads in the next game.

All Zelda plots: fagballs rescues princess
All MGS plots: corrupt government or power misuses elite troops to their own ends, also there is a robot involved somewhere.

I don't see the difference really.

Dead on. I, like others I read on here gave up on the zelda series after the majoras mask deal. Such a old idea, and just not fun anymore.

Great review! liked it almost as much as the one with the doom fortresses =P

Arbre:
EDIT: maybe you'd like transcripts?

That would be an acceptable compromise.

Bravo, Yahtzee! It's something I've been thinking a lot about lately, and I thank you for providing a voice for the side of the detracting side of my inner dialog.

Well, I gave up on trying to find plot in Zelda about the time I finished with Majora's Mask ('cause, really, video game narratives were pretty much done after that one. Everything else has been extra credit). The one thing Nintendo's good at, though, is that even when they make the same game, they play differently. Let's take, for example, Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. Save the princess! Jump on turtles! Gather powerups whose appearances don't correspond to their effects! All the same, right?

Well, no, not really. When you get a Nintendo game, you can be fairly certain that the graphics used for the mute protagonist, the angry fire-breathing no-goodnik at the end, and the damsel in distress will be similar if not identical in each game. But you can also be certain that, in between starting it and kicking the fuck out of the aforementioned fire-breathing no-goodnik, you're going to do something you've never done before. Quite a few things, in all likelihood. It's the same damn story, but it's told differently every time - and it's the gameplay that has the most pronounced differences.

Now, don't get me wrong. If there is one thing wrong with the Zelda series, it is that it's getting long in the tooth. Reusing the premise so many times opens up considerable risk for reusing the same progression over and over again. It really started to show its age, I think, in Twilight Princess. (Interestingly, while that game is nothing short of excellent by itself, it seems to suffer from the peculiar condition of being made worse by being an entry in its series. In fact, I'd say that if the main character hadn't been Link, and they had taken out Ganondorf and Zelda and just made Zant be the entire villain, and probably combine those last two dungeons, but everything else were exactly the same, then Nintendo would have been left with a far more interesting piece of entertainment - even though the game would be exactly the same. Use the Zelda brand, but make it a side story or something.)

The big weakness of the Zelda formula is the continuing reuse of the same basic puzzle-solving, monster-fighting, and adventuring equipment: boomerang, bow, bombs, hookshot. That is Link's default equipment, and the world is running out of interesting things to do with them. Interestingly enough, though, I think that is one of the things Phantom Hourglass does best. The control scheme for it really does shake up the traditional formula for those items. And don't even get me started on how much of a breath of fresh air it is that you don't get a dungeon's item inside the dungeon itself.

Phantom Hourglass makes good on Aonuma's desire to take the series in a new direction, as far as gameplay is concerned. It makes the best use of the DS' controls I've ever seen. It managed to take the flawed execution of Wind Waker's two biggest, most promising ideas - sailing and salvaging - and make them work. It even made money genuinely useful again, something that hasn't been the case since Link's Awakening. So why isn't it my favorite?

Well, the latest Nintendo Super Squad puts it pretty well. It feels, at times, like you're playing an episode of Blue's Clues. I don't mind puzzles with simple solutions. I don't even mind puzzles with obvious solutions, most of the time. What I do mind is when the game tells me, explicitly, "DO X, Y, AND Z TO SOLVE THIS ROOM." It robs me of the chance to figure it out for myself. Maybe it gets better closer to the end, but as far in as I am, I'm starting to doubt it.

I really enjoyed this review, like all the other ones; i've never been much of a Zelda fan anyway. Oh and, the Okami reference might be a hint to one of his next reviews, i'm just saying, Yahtzee has hinted us in earlier videos what his upcoming reviews are gonna be about, EEH GEEH:
On the Tabula Rasa review he says "...Tabula Rasa, the bate effort in which The Escapist parachuted me into for a week..." a few episodes later we watched the MOH Airborne review.

Excellent review. It pretty much sums up my feelings I've had about the Zelda series since playing Minish Cap. That was the first time that part way through a Zelda game I became bored with the game (I did finish it though, Nintendo fanboy rule #18). Even Twilight Princess, while nice to look at, seemed somehow hollow and too repetitive. Granted a mediocre Zelda title is still leagues better then most of the other titles you'll run across, but that should never be the defense for it's shortcomings from fans or Nintendo themselves.

I love the Okami reference in particular. For my money Okami is the best "Zelda" game I've played in years. I also got a good laugh out of the Foghorn Leghorn line. You make Wednesdays fun.

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