Review - The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

As kids a number of us played "The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past" (ALP) for the SNES. Many people (ZeldaQueen included) believe this to be the best of the Zelda games. Now, 22 years later and 1 day later, a direct sequel, or as direct as a Zelda sequel gets, has been released for the 3DS. Hyrule as we remember it from "A Link to the Past" is back almost exactly as we remember it. But does the new game have the same level of fun that the old game did?

The History of a Hero

For hundreds of years the people of Hyrule have told the story of ahero that saved the country from an ancient evil with the help of Seven Sages. There are paintings that show this history in Hyrule Castle, and that one day the hero will return when Hyrule is in need. As you probably guessed, that time is now. Seven people have been kidnapped across Hyrule (eight if you count Zelda a little later on). Now Link has taken it upon himself to rescue everyone and save Hyrule.

"A Link Between Worlds" (LBW) has several welcome parallels with it's older sibling other then the map. You start with 3 dungeons in Hyrule and there are 7 dungeons in Lorule (think dark world, only less stable). The main difference you will find between LBW and ALP is the free form dungeon crawls. Since the primary item you need to get through a dungeon is provided by the merchant Rovio, for a fee, you don't have to find the items in a previous dungeon before heading to the next one. Now there are still items in the dungeons that help you out, but they are not required for any other dungeon, or required at all.

The fire rod in action.Tools of the Trade

What is a Zelda game without lots of different items and weapons? It would probably be a CD-i game, and no one wants to relive that. In order to keep history repeating itself, Rovio jumps in and opens shop renting and eventually selling dungeon gear. Without Rovio you would be up a creek without a hookshot. As I mentioned earlier Rovio provides the items that are actually required to complete a dungeon. For a small fee he will rent you something until you are defeated. Everytime you use an item it depleats a quick refilling meter of, well not magic, but since it causes arrows to materialize from nothing we will call it magic. Once defeated his little bird thing will take all the items you are renting and set them out for another adventurer. Fortunately there are no other adventurers in Hyrule, so the items you need are always in stock, even with a stock of 1. Once purchased the items are yours through life and death.

Now even though Rovio has all the items you need, he does not have all the items you want. The dungeons do still posses things that can be useful. Items such as Master Ore to upgrade your sword, Titan's Mitts, and tunics that give reduce the damage you take.

Lastly you have the things you can earn form the overworld. One of these quests is given by Mother Maiamai. She will send you on a quest to find her 100 children (think Golden Skulltulas). For every 10 you turn in she will upgrade one item that you have purchased from Rovio, 9 in total. The Upgrades are different for each item and are not always readily apparent, but the bow fires 3 arrows at once when upgraded and the boomerang takes longer to come back while being able to throw three at once. Trust me when I say the upgrades are (mostly) worth it. Stupid Sand Rod, how the hell Osfala thought that thing would make him invincible still baffles me.

Monsters are Everywhere

OK Link, now ou have a mission, you have your gear. Now what is stopping you from saving the world(s). Oh yeah, the legions of monsters that want nothing more then you on the end of whatever they use for a weapon. Good think you're well versed in swords and shields from your time as a blacksmith apprentice. Ok, you are given your first sword as a delivery, and you have to buy your first shield, but you are pretty good with them. Holding the R button puts up your shield allowing you to block most attacks (magic attacks once you get the Hylian Shield). Add that to your innate ability to use any items you get your hands on (video game characters are awesome like that) you are a true hero.

Bosses are another thing though. They will give you a fight for your life if you are not prepared. Some of them are new bosses and some of them have been revived from ALP. It makes for some great new fights along with a nice nostalgia feeling for those of use that played the original game.

History Repeated (Kinda)

"The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds" is our gaming past come back to us. The game brings back that traditional Zelda gameplay that most of us grew up with. It is familar but new and repeats itself in just the right way. If you own a 3DS or a 2DS I cannot state how badly this game needs to be a part of your library. So with that said, go get it.

5 / 5 Joysticks