‘The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks’
Console: Nintendo DS
For gamers who came of age in the ’80s and ’90s, the release of a new Zelda game is something of an event. No other series tickles our nostalgia bones in quite the same way. Still, changes to the series formula come few and far between these days. Does this new title depend on that wellspring of nostalgia or does it bring something new to the table?
Like most things in life, a little bit of both. Zelda fanatics will find tons of “deja vu” moments here, but the game really does try to mix things up a bit. Sure, it’s still a coming-of-age adventure yarn set in a mystical kingdom, but this time there are trains! Steampunk continues its invasion of pop culture. Also, for the first time ever, Princess Zelda is along for the adventure. No kidnapped maidens this time around.
This game is ridiculously good looking. The graphics return to the cartoony splendor first pioneered in 2003’s “The Wind Waker.” The storyline is also much darker than you’d expect, given the whole thing looks like a series of Don Bluth doodles. Also, the world is populated by charming and ridiculous characters, just like the cast of “227.”
The controls are, again, completely stylus driven. You D-pad purists out there should skip this title. However, the occasional glitches found in the last installment have been addressed. Actually, most problems that plagued the last title have been addressed. This adds up to one fantastic Zelda game. Familiar or not, you will not find a more polished experience on the DS.