The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Review
Posted on 11/18/2013 2:00:00 PM by Austin Dickson
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds - what more can I say? It is a great game that everyone should play but just how good is it? For starters - the game takes place in a map reminiscent of A Link to the Past and feels like a great throwback to yesteryear with the returning elements; however, do they appear too frequently? We will let you know in our review after the break...
The story of A Link Between Worlds is fascinating and plays on the players emotions throughout with major plot twists appearing that will surely leave one shocked as Link learns of a dire secret. The world of Lorule has been ravaged by chaos and will allow the player to explore new puzzles never before seen in a Zelda game just like how Skyward Sword featured brand new puzzles; however, many puzzles from A Link to the Past will reappear and one will surely instantly recognize them if they are a longtime fan.
Hyrule - on the other hand - features all of the main locations from the SNES classic and even some of the same puzzles and heart piece locations. Hyrule is renewed; however, with several new plot elements and passage ways to get to key locations. The story that takes place in Hyrule is one of cheer when Link travels through Kakariko Village but turns to doom and gloom whenever revisited in the Lorule counterpart - Thieves' Village. Zelda: A Link Between Worlds has a great story overall that fans should enjoy.
The gameplay in A Link Between Worlds has been refreshed with an item rental system alongside a new stamina-like gauge for item usage. Players can use items infinitely until said gauge is depleted, which causes for great tension during many hectic battles making one to have to rethink strategy on-the-fly. Being able to diagonally aim items such as the bow or hookshot allows for new puzzle types that rely on this concept. They startled me the first time through as I was fascinated by the new aiming system and how well it works - after a while, the player will be used to it and no longer be as amazed.
The puzzles throughout the dungeons are a rejuvenating element in A Link Between Worlds and will provide for hours of enjoyment. I became stuck for short periods while navigating many areas of the game and this proved to be something that drew me back for more as I am not one to give up when challenged. The bosses provide another source of enjoyment due to the new and returning enemies - with new abilities none-the-less - that are sure to leave the players flabbergasted from time to time.
The dungeons in A Link Between Worlds will puzzle veterans of the series as they provide new puzzles not seen before as the 3D effect allows a new type of environment - one that allows for the use of depth in gameplay. One example is when Link becomes put up against a set of Wizzrobes in Turtle Rock that reside above the floor where the player is located requiring Link to have to shoot upward instead of the usual side-to-side of previous handheld iterations of the franchise.
Many other puzzles that require Link to move in such a manner exist throughout the game. The player will have to navigate in all directions in order to defeat every element of the game and this allows for a challenge that other recent Zelda games have lacked on the handheld landscape - the game plays on the use of 3D in many exciting ways and this will surely prove a plus to many gamers worldwide; however, the game is also fully enjoyable without the 3D effect but I strongly recommend against going 2D.
The usage of 3D in A Link Between Worlds appears and runs much better than Ocarina of Time 3D - which I thoroughly enjoyed - due to the developers likely having more experience with the platform. The 3D looks really well and adds a lot to the enjoyment of the game. In many dungeons the 3D allows the player to find secrets otherwise not noticeable. One thing I really loved seeing in 3D were the skulls and skeletons in the game - the 3D really made them pop and fell alive adding a level of sensory awareness that is sure to be thoroughly enjoyed.
The soundtrack of the game is very reminiscent of A Link to the Past with many of the old tunes being remixed for the new game. This provides for a very nostalgic atmosphere that one will surely love as the sounds of old have been refreshed in a way that makes them feel brand new. One song that I really loved was when playing the cucco mini-game where Link has to dodge a plethora of cucco for 30 seconds. The song that played provided a very uplifting mood and the gameplay that accompanies it added to that as Link creates happy cuccos in exchange for the possibility of winning items. The soundtrack has become one of my favorites from any Zelda game and one will surely agree.
Side Objectives and Mini-Games
A Link Between Worlds features many side objectives that will yield rewards such as heart pieces and new gear. They may not be as in-depth as say Ocarina of Time 3D but will provide for a feeling of accomplishment as you help fellow Hyruleans and Loruleans in their quest to provide others with nourishment and regained health.
The mini-games in A Link Between Worlds are great fun. One called Treacherous Tower provides a challenge to players of all skill sets and will yield significant rewards if won such as bags full of rupees. It is very reminiscent of the Cave of Ordeals in Twilight Princess. It provides great challenge at times and was a joy to play. Octoball Derby also appears in the game and while it is not as enjoyable - at least to me - it still provides an experience that people are sure to find fun.
Hero mode appeared in The Wind Waker HD as well as Skyward Sword but does A Link Between Worlds provide a new version? The answer is no to an extent as this time around enemies will simply do quadruple damage. Hero mode in the game will provide players looking for a more intense and hard experience just that - a challenging playthrough where Link is easily defeated even by the most innocent of creatures. This new mode will extend the playtime of A Link Between Worlds significantly beyond that of the normal mode and provide many hours of enjoyment.
The Verdict - 100/100
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds plays on many elements from A Link to the Past; however, this provides for a very nostalgic yet renewed experience. The games story is fascinating and very enjoyable while not overdoing it. The gameplay provides a new challenge to even veterans of the series and will surely be enjoyed by people worldwide. The new dungeons are captivating yet simple and provide for a rejuvenating appeal that is known throughout the Zelda franchise. Overall, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds will surely appeal to players of all ages and with the addition of Hero mode - even skilled players will be able to secure many hours of enjoyment and challenge. I could not recommend the game more to my fellow gamers - this is a must have for any Zelda fan as well as those who enjoy the genre.