It has been over 20 years since Nintendo released it’s Super Nintendo classic The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Many would think creating a semi sequel to the game after all these years would be too much of a risk, possibly tarnishing it’s legacy. The good news for both fans and Nintendo is it paid off. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds not only recaptures that nostalgia and creates an old school feel, but also provides a completely new and creative aspect to the game that both old and new fans will enjoy. The game also features plenty of easter eggs from past Zelda titles to be found, as well as a new ability to discover.
The focus of the story is to stop the new villain, Yuga, from sealing the seven sages into paintings and resurrecting Ganon. Yuga attempts to do away with Link by transforming him into a painting as well, but instead gives you a handy new technique. The main new feature to A Link Between Worlds is Link’s ability to merge into walls as a portrait and navigate around corners and through cracks to reach secret pathways and overcome obstacles. The dungeons in A Link Between Worlds are as creative and imaginative as ever, partially due to this new ability.
The map layout is almost identical to that of A Link to the Past, which is expected since the game takes place in the same world only a few generations ahead in the timeline. What is different though are the dungeons. The dungeons in A Link Between Worlds are some of the best dungeons in the series, and definitely the best of any of the handheld versions. The puzzles are just difficult enough to provide a challenge, but not difficult enough to frustrate you. A Link Between Worlds has a non linear feel to it compared to previous games since for the most part you can choose which dungeons you want to do in what order. Not only that but the entire weapon inventory is at your disposal from pretty much the beginning of the game. In A Link Between Worlds you can rent any item you like from Ravio, the freeloading merchant who decides to crash at your place and set up shop. The only catch to renting these weapons is once you fall in combat, he takes them all back from your cold dead hands. Although this can be tedious when trying to clear dungeons, it makes collecting rupees more important than ever. Don’t worry, weapons eventually can be bought outright without the hassle of renting.
A Link Between Worlds features several weapons that you know and love: The hookshot, bow, bombs, and boomerang, as well as a new addition in the Tornado Rod. Bomb and bow ammo has been replaced by using the magic bar, which regenerates over time. Having all these weapons available from the beginning makes exploring for secrets even more exciting. Don’t have the item you need to obtain that heart piece you discovered? Pin the location on your map and use your trusty new witch companion Irene to fast travel back to Ravio. The ability to fast travel is a great feature to the game and is done so by discovering weather vains all over the world. These weather vains are also used to save your progress. Another new feature is the ability to battle “shadow links” via the Nintendo 3DS Streetpass feature. With this feature a shadow Link will appear in your world for a showdown, with a bounty of rupees dependant on the items they are carrying.
In many ways the game looks like an HD Remake of A Link to the Past. The landscapes are the best the series has seen on a handheld, and are very pleasing to the eye. A notable change is the fact that Nintendo decided to stray away from the use of the Toon Link style character and instead revamp a classic, using a similar style to how Link was depicted when The Legend of Zelda was first created. The soundtrack to the game is also incredible. If you’re an avid fan of The Legend of Zelda you’ll recognize all of the themes, but also appreciate the new and improved versions.
In many ways The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds takes you back to what makes Zelda such a great series, and just when you start to feel familiar it takes you on an unexpected turn and makes the game feel fresh and innovative. With the creative new Wall Merge technique at your side, and plenty of new incredible dungeons to conquer, A Link between Worlds is an instant classic that does not disappoint.
Title: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Format: Nintendo 3DS
Developer & Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: November 22nd 2013