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E3 06: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass - hands on

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Were you one of those people that really had to struggle with the Saturday morning graphics of 2003's Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker? Well, get over it, because the 'toon style is coming back - and this time, you're only going to be using the DS' stylus to save the day.

Phantom Hourglass seemingly ignores every button on the handheld, forcing you to guide Link through the land of Hyrule by pointing and sliding the stylus across the touch screen. A glowing fairy serves as a sort of reference point, telling Link where to run, jump or swing his sword. Slashing monsters is accomplished by tapping them. The same goes for flipping switches, reading signs or talking to townspeople.

Removing most of the button functionality hasn't trimmed away any signature moves, though. By directing the fairy all the way to one side of the screen, Link will run and roll (a common way to clear some ground a little quicker); tapping the ground near Link will have him drop whatever item he's hauling on his head. Tapping further away makes him toss the object like a projectile weapon. Finally, twirling the stylus in a circle around Link pulls off a spin attack.

In all honesty, having the stylus constantly in the way of the screen takes some getting used to. Not being in direct control of Link, at times, makes the whole game feel very hands-offish - but then we're being chased by an oversized, armor-clad knight and quickly forget.

If there's one other complaint we all probably share about Wind Waker, it's the vast ocean you're required to sail... at great length. The waterlogged world returns, but from what we've played, it’s slightly more manageable. You can literally draw a sailing path on a map, then your boat takes off on its own. You can't skip ahead and just "arrive" at your destination, but you do get to man the novelty-sized cannon that's piggybacking on the ship and take aim at seaborne creatures.

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