Session Playtime: around 3 hours
Destination Point: Lost Woods Dungeon completed. Just reached Snow Area.
Remember when I praised the music but didn’t exactly say that it’s classic? Well…I have to admit that some of the tracks are really growing on me. A lot of effort has been put into the soundtrack compared to Phantom Hourglass, particularly the dynamic ever-changing leitmotif that the Zelda series is known for and the variety of other tracks in the game. I even looked up the composers from the game’s manual just to see who I’m dealing with here: Toru Minegishi, Manaka Tominaga, Asuka Ota, and finally Koji Kondo. A much bigger team than PH’s if I recall correctly. Toru basically composed for PH single-handedly with little success. With the legendary Kondo on board and up-and-coming Ota (New Super Mario Bros series, Mario Kart Wii), the music has been upgraded to epic proportions in ST. I have no idea who Manaka is…but a quick google search reveals that he’s relatively new too, previously working on Wii Fit and Animal Crossing Wii.
I haven’t detailed overworld navigation in the previous log simply because I sampled very little of it. I can give off some basic impressions now that I’ve finished off the first area. So far, it feels stripped down compared to Phantom Hourglass’ ship travel. With the latter, you’re basically free to explore every bit of the sea, discovering Islands along the way. Spirit Tracks, however, has pre-determined tracks on the road that expand with certain plot points. All you do is draw your path on the tracks. Stops are there in plain sight so there are no hidden areas. I have to admit, the controls feel authentic…I like pulling on that rope to blow the whistle and changing the rails is sweet. Let’s hope the game changes up travel as I gain more “equipment” for the train. I just have the cannon so far.
Apparently, Link-exclusive dungeons do exist. I was under the impression that all dungeons force you to use Link and Zelda…co-op navigation is only confined to the Spirit Temple, which makes sense. The first dungeon outside the Temple is pretty good…nothing overly hard but enjoyable to play. I’m happy that the game treats you as if you’ve already played Phantom Hourglass. There’s little to no spoon-feeding found in the first dungeon and Spirit Temple. The developers got rid of those annoying stone tablets that spoil the whole game for you. Instead, there are just a few scattered for basic info and if you want to look up hidden chests per-floor (replacing the compass item). I like the first item obtained as well…the whirlwind sends a mini-tornado in the direction you’re facing by blowing on the mic…it’s almost like the gale boomerang of Twilight Princess but without the return functionality. Just like Phantom Hourglass, the sequences of physically carrying the Big Key to unlock boss rooms are intact here…the first one isn’t bad at all.
Speaking of the mic, another item that uses this DS feature as well is the Spirit Flute. It’s essentially a simpler version of the Ocarina of Time with a more authentic controls. The songs you learn are extremely catchy, too. I dig that “Song of Awakening” beat. Not expecting bigger integration with the game but we’ll see what happens.
That’s all for now. Look forward to the next log soon!