Review: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (Nintendo 3DS)

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The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is the first overhead-view Zelda game for the Nintendo 3DS, and the first original 2D Zelda since The Minish Cap on Game Boy Advance. A Link Between Worlds is also the sequel to the beloved SNES classic A Link To The Past… and it’s one of the best games I’ve played in a long time. Its mix of old and new elements makes for one of the freshest and exciting games the 3DS has to offer.

A Link Between Worlds will immediately seem familiar to long-time Zelda fans, as the viewpoint is very similar to that of A Link To The Past and the map of Hyrule is almost directly copied from the one in that game. Once the plot kicks into gear, however, tne game becomes quite new. A dual-world mechanic like ALttP’s is present, but Lorule is a new land as active and alive as Hyrule, and other elements like the wall-merge mechanic and rental system dramatically change how the game is played.

Wall-merging innovates on the traditional Zelda formula by adding another plane to the entire world. Link can turn into a painting on most surfaces throughout Hyrule and Lorule, and c everuse of this techniique is necessary to complete puzzles as well as to acquire collectablrs and uncover secrets. The new rental system gives players the freedom to approach many of the game’s dungeons in whatever order they choose, aside from a few set story points that gate access to some areas. Being able to take different dungeons as you choose

The graphics in A Link Between Worlds have been somewhat controversial, but I found that thery drew in ne even thoguh I was indifferent when I started the game. The art feels a little generic, with a cartoony but basic 3D style, but the bright colors and SNES-inspired texturing work well enough.

Length-wise, A Link Between Worlds is just about perfect. Dungeons have a decent amount of exploration and puzzle-solving, but can be finished within a couple sittings so you don’t have to worry about losing your feel for the game after putting it down for a while. I never had an issue, but the lack of a quicksave/suspend feature did keep me a bit on edge occasionally. If you don’t plug your 3DS often you may want to be careful. There are plenty of save points around, but there aren’t any inside dungeons. You’ll have to make your way back outside to save.

My only compaints about ALBW are regarding secondary elements. I would say the biggest shortcoming is a lack of side-quests. There are a few one-off events, but nothing on the scale or the trading sequences in previous titles. Similarly, I feel like we didn’t see quite enough of the game’s cast. The connection to them feels a bit tenuous, though not enough so to ruon the experience. The sacrifice may have neen necessary to maintain the game’s brisk The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is the first overhead-view Zelda game for the Nintendo 3DS, and the first original 2D Zelda since The Minish Cap on Game Boy Advance. A Link Between Worlds is also the sequel to the beloved SNES classic A Link To The Past… and it’s one of the best games I’ve played in a long time. Its mix of old and new elements makes for one of the freshest and exciting games the 3DS has to offer.

A Link Between Worlds will immediately seem familiar to long-time Zelda fans, as the viewpoint is very similar to that of A Link To The Past and the map of Hyrule is almost directly copied from the one in that game. Once the plot kicks into gear, however, tne game becomes quite new. A dual-world mechanic like ALttP’s is present, but Lorule is a new land as active and alive as Hyrule, and other elements like the wall-merge mechanic and rental system dramatically change how the game is played.

Wall-merging innovates on the traditional Zelda formula by adding another plane to the entire world. Link can turn into a painting on most surfaces throughout Hyrule and Lorule, and c everuse of this techniique is necessary to complete puzzles as well as to acquire collectablrs and uncover secrets. The new rental system gives players the freedom to approach many of the game’s dungeons in whatever order they choose, aside from a few set story points that gate access to some areas. Being able to take different dungeons as you choose

The graphics in A Link Between Worlds have been somewhat controversial, but I found that thery drew in ne even thoguh I was indifferent when I started the game. The art feels a little generic, with a cartoony but basic 3D style, but the bright colors and SNES-inspired texturing work well enough.

Length-wise, A Link Between Worlds is just about perfect. Dungeons have a decent amount of exploration and puzzle-solving, but can be finished within a couple sittings so you don’t have to worry about losing your feel for the game after putting it down for a while. I never had an issue, but the lack of a quicksave/suspend feature did keep me a bit on edge occasionally. If you don’t plug your 3DS often you may want to be careful. There are plenty of save points around, but there aren’t any inside dungeons. You’ll have to make your way back outside to save.

My only compaints about ALBW are regarding secondary elements. I would say the biggest shortcoming is a lack of side-quests. There are a few one-off events, but nothing on the scale or the trading sequences in previous titles. Similarly, I feel like we didn’t see quite enough of the game’s characters. The connection to them feels a bit tenuous, though not enough so to ruon the experience. The sacrifice may have neen necessary to maintain the game’s brisk lace, but I think it may have been possible to find a better balance.

The bottom line is that A Link Between Worlds is the best Zelda in years, and it perfectly captures the spirit and tight gameplay of its predecessors while still being undeniably new. If you own a 3DS and enjoy action adventure you’ll be hard-pressed to find s better game.

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