If there’s one thing loyal Nintendo fans have been clamoring for, it has been for a new installment in The Legend of Zelda franchise. Late in 2013, the call was answered with The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS. And if you are one of those who has recently picked up the system (since it has been on sale constantly over the last month), learn why this title should be your first purchase.

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The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is a sequel of sorts to the best-selling game of yesteryear, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, which came out for SNES in 1991. If you came along in gaming after the SNES, here’s what you need to know about the original. It has been critically regarded as a top 100 game of all time, often breaking the top 3 on a number of occasions which just speaks to the quality of the game itself. With a great story, great music, and great gameplay, it is basically the blueprint for the perfect adventure game.

As mentioned, Link Between Worlds (LBW), is a sequel to that game in the sense that it takes place in the same world, but its hero Link is not the same Link of the original game as the successor takes place 6 generations or so after the first game. Outside of the different time period and ┬áthe usual plot of having to save Zelda, much of the game is very familiar including music, the maps and their two land system and even familiar characters will show up stroking the nostalgia factor. But thankfully, Nintendo wasn’t content to keep everything the same and the things that are different really make their newest effort sing.

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If you’re a familiar to the world of Zelda, you know the formula for most of the games is:

  1. Traverse a dungeon
  2. Get item needed to continue progress
  3. Continue progress

LBW flips this notion on its head by allowing you access to essentially all items in the game very early on. A traveling merchant named Ravio, that hangs out in Link’s house, will rent the items you want to you at any point during the game. What this does is alleviate the need for the player to have to visit every dungeon in order to explore a fraction of the world. Instead, you can rent all the items you’ll need at once and literally hit the town exploring caves, towns and of course any dungeon you would like. It would be a misnomer to say that this transforms LBW into an open world game but if you’re a long time Zelda fan, that is kind of what it feels like.

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But perhaps the biggest change to this game over its predecessor is the new mechanic that allows Link to turn into a painting so can move left and right along walls to find new areas. When one first hears about this feature, admittedly it sounds a bit gimmicky. However, it is simply brilliant as it dimensionalizes otherwise flat dungeon rooms and throws a Portal-esque level of thinking into many of the puzzles encountered in the game. Most importantly, it’s never overdone in the game as you don’t feel like you’re forced to use it every 5 seconds. Additionally, it’s this same feature that allows Link to traverse between his normal land of Hyrule and its alternate world of Lorule by slipping through cracks in walls.

On a related note, from walking on walls to jumping up and down between floors of dungeons, A Link Between Worlds seems to a perfect fit for the 3DS. The graphics are crisp, animations are familiar and the 3D aspect of the system proved to be quite fun, and useful, while playing through the game. Truth be told, I had the 3D function turned off most of the time. I had to play under the covers as to not bother the wife since I often found myself playing until 3 in the morning and it’s hard at that point to get that perfect line of sight, which is just a testament to how fun the game is.

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If you couldn’t tell, this is a fantastic game. It keeps everything you loved about A Link to the Past but adds some great new elements that really makes this is fresh entry in the franchise. You’ll love the exploring, the mini games, the puzzles, and probably even a twist or two in the usual formulaic story line. If you have a 3DS, and don’t have this game; go buy it. If you don’t have a 3DS, and were looking for an excuse to buy one, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is it.

This review is based on a retail copy of the Nintendo 3DS version of Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds developed by Nintendo

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Reviving an Old Classic | The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Review
Positives
  • Great New Mechanics
  • Exploring Encouraged
Negatives
  • Little Replayability
9Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
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