Having recently played The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds for the 3DS I felt a review was in order.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link between Worlds takes place chronologically in the timeline after Links Awakening, but before the original Legend of Zelda game for the NES and is considered a sequel to A Link to the Past, the 1992 Zelda for the SNES. It takes place six generations after A Link to the Past but resides in the same “world” as A Link to the Past.
Link is the blacksmith’s apprentice and after getting up late you got to the Blacksmith and must return the sword to the Captain of the Guard. After reaching the Sanctuary a fight breaks out inside and the doors are locked. You find your way in through a secret passage into the Sanctuary building only to find the Captain defeated and a strange man named Yuga who you find out is a threat to Hyrule. You must claim the Master Sword, discover the evil plot going on and defeat those which are endangering Hyrule.
The story is good and not quite what you expect. I found it enjoyable and something a little different from the normal Legend of Zelda story.
Hyrule is very similar to the Hyrule of A Link to the Past and has changed little in the overall scheme of things. It has a very nostalgic feel to it due to the similarities. It is the same size also and something about the size of the world, although not very large, works perfectly. Also although the world is small in comparison to say Twilight Princess or some of the other Zelda games. dungeons, passageways and other places that you may have to go through to get to the certain areas help it feel larger.
Lorule is the shadow of Hyrule in many ways. The worlds are similar but most definitely not the same. It is a dark world with superstitious people dressing up like monsters. It also contains a lot of monsters in it, most of these will be familiar to players of the original Legend of Zelda. Moblins, like-likes, keys, ghosts, and more can all be found infesting the land. Lorule is also broken up making certain areas inaccessible without traveling to the corresponding area of Hyrule and back into Lorule.
The controls of the game are fairly simple, and as a player of A Link to the Past I picked them up easily as they are almost identical. Of course do to the new features of the game some things are a little different. Also the game takes advantage of your touchscreen by using it to display your map, Rupee count, along with giving quick access to items and gear. It also does not use many of the odd mechanics used in some of the previous Zelda games on the DS, things like blowing in the microphone or having to close the DS to cause something to happen are a thing of the past( and I hope it stays that way). Overall it is not hard at all and you can get them down in the first 30 minutes of play for a new player.
The gameplay was highly enjoyable, enough so I am playing it through again. Things in the game were slightly different from previous games as almost all items become available very early on at Rovio’s Shop. There is a catch however, each item up until you reach a certain amount of progress in the game must be rented for a low-cost. If you die the rented item gets retrieved and must be rented again. After a certain time you may buy the items though. I had little problem with this on the normal difficulty but on hero mode it gets a little annoying. Gear however such as the blue tunic,the Pendent of Power, master sword upgrades, etc. can all be found in dungeons as is traditional. Also the order in which you do dungeons is less linear than some of the more recent games. Most dungeons are still based around the use of one or more particular items or abilities, such as using the Ice Rod to freeze the lava in Turtle Rock.
Many classic elements were carried over from A Link to the Past. things like flying with cuccos, using the Pegasus Boots to knock items off of high places, throwing pots and plants and more. Overall this gives a great nostalgic feel to the game, especially coupled with many of the other throw backs from A Link to the Past.
There are also many fun mini-games in the game.The various mini games include Cucco Ranch, a game where you have to dodge cuccos for 30 seconds to win, Fortunes Choice, a game where you open a set number of chests out of from a larger amount of chests and get to keep the prizes from the ones you chose, Hyrule Hotfoot, a race, Octoball Derby, a baseball style game where you hit pots with baseballs pitched to you to score and gain rupees, Rupee Rush, where you try to collect as many rupees as possible before the time runs out, and my favorite the Treacherous Tower, an arena style mini-game that holds great prizes if you survive.
Saving the game has been updated in this game. In A Link Between Worlds you save at weather-veins that are found throughout Hyrule and Lorule. These weather-veins also become fast-travel points after a certain amount of the game is completed.
There is also a battle mode called Shadow Play, where you battle other peoples characters after passing them with streetpass. The other character appears as shadow link and has a bounty based on how tough he is to defeat and the number of wins. Achievements are also given for winning battles in different ways.
The graphics in the game are great. They capture the feel of the older Zelda games without giving up a 3-D world or a 3-D character model. The style of the graphics themselves are what some Zelda fans refer to as cartooney graphics, and usually I do not enjoy them as much, but with this game it works. The way things are modeled the colors the characters have it all brings me back to A Link to the Past while still saying in a modern 3-D game world. The way the graphics were done feel like someone tried to take the original sprites and make them into a 3-Dimensional model. Surprisingly the game feels both like the old sprite work 2-Dimensional 16-Bit world I love with 3-Dimensional updated graphics. The way things are graphically in the game just work and give a great nostalgic feel. Also the colors in the game are done very well. The are robust and crisp with shading and fading that the Super Nintendo games could never dream of having. One big thing I did notice though was that Link’s hair is blond in A Link Between Worlds were as it was pink in A Link to the Past
The soundtrack to the game is wonderful pulling a lot from the soundtrack of A Link to the Past. Many songs are classic tracks redone with actual instruments verses chip-tunes and the sound wonderful. I do not seem to get tired of or get annoyed by them which of course is important. Once again reusing old things in this new game and bringing on nostalgic feeling of my SNES days.
There are only a few things I believe some Christians may find issue with in this game and they are mainly based around magic. As in previous games there is the witch you can buy potions from, and apart from being called a witch I would consider it harmless she does not cast spells or as for mushrooms or do any “witchy” things, all she does is sell potions. Then there is the Fortune Teller who tells you where to go to continue on your quest. You also have magic items such as the Master Sword, Hylean Shield, and the various items you use. Another is the witch’s gran-daughter who is offers to allow you to use her broom to fast-travel. Finally there is the enemies magic he uses against you and to turn people into paintings. Overall I do not feel that any of these are going to affect anyone’s Christian walk or their children’s walk, but place tell you about this to inform you there are Magical elements in this game.
Overall the game is very good it was designed well and has a good story.The gameplay is fantastic and the game is easy to pick up with its simple controls. Graphically it is very wonderful in looking modern-day yet having and older feel about it. Thje soundtrack is beautiful and brings back many old tunes but updated with instruments and such.The Whole game has a very nostalgic feel that any player of A Link to the Past will recognize, and any new game that feels nostalgic from the start is great.I do warn it has magical elements to it, so if you are trying to avoid magic in games this might not be for you, although it is light enough that I highly doubt it will affect you walk with Christ.The game overall is great and I would recommend it to anyone who like a good adventure game, has a 3DS, or enjoys the Zelda franchise.