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The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds – 3DS

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds – 3DS

Zelda: A Link Between Worlds - 3DSPlatform: 3DS

Developer: Nintendo

Publisher: Nintendo

Release Date (NA): November 22nd, 2013

Genre: Action/Adventure

Rating: 10 out of 10

Reviewed by Lady Russell

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds surprised me. Not because I had doubts about it being a good game (Zelda has a solid reputation for unique stories packed with adventure and puzzle-solving) but because the previous DS handheld games were a little disappointing. They were fine, but there wasn’t anything that wowed me about them and sometimes I forget they existed at all. A Link Between Worlds was a very different story. It combined features from beloved old-school Zelda’s with new gameplay elements and an original storyline. I loved everything about it.

We open on our young hero, Link,  as he wakes up from an ominous nightmare. As a blacksmith’s apprentice, you have no time to sleep in and are sent to deliver a sword to a careless customer.

ALBWYugaInstead, you find Yuga, a sorcerer with the power to turn himself and others into paintings. He has transmuted a priest’s daughter into framed artwork when Link confronts him. It is only by the grace of Link’s “ugliness” that saves him from becoming imprisoned in graffiti. Yuga tosses him aside, knocking Link unconscious. When he awakens, he goes to warn the princess of Hyrule, Zelda, of Yuga’s misdeeds.

Princess Zelda sees Link, although his claims are unbelievable. Seemingly by fate, she shares his nightmares and has foreseen darkness. She entrusts him with the task of stopping Yuga but is not sure how or why he’s doing this. One thing is certain – Yuga is not just art collecting.

Link chases a lead and meets Yuga once again. This time, it’s Yuga who takes a beating. Sensing Link could put a damper on his plans, he finally relents and turns Link into a painting (despite the aforementioned ugliness). It seems hopeless until Link mysteriously escapes his restraints and harnesses the power to transform into a drawing at will!

As Yuga continues traveling around Hyrule, snatching people up, he turns his sights on Princess Zelda. Trapping her as well, he escapes with his new collection. Link follows him to find a mysterious portal to the decaying parallel kingdom Lorule. Your only hope to save Princess Zelda and the others is to use your new powers and defeat Yuga once and for all. The fate of two kingdoms rests on your shoulders.

ALBW1

A Link Between Worlds revisits the same Hyrule of A Link to the Past, and the map is relatively unchanged. The graphics, while new and refreshed, remain reminiscent of the old 8-bit style (in a very good way!). While some people may complain about the simplicity of the cartoony visuals, I think it creates a very charming experience. It suits the game perfectly and is very beautiful in 3D. In my opinion, it’s one of the best-looking games available on the 3DS.

Nintendo also improves gameplay by increasing the freedom of playing how you want. Like earlier Zelda games, A Link Between Worlds goes back to being non-sequential. There is no right order in tackling dungeons, and that’s pretty liberating. You can even rent weapons early (and pretty cheaply) in the game! You’re free to use your tools in a variety of ways to finish each puzzle and dungeon. Limit yourself or give yourself every advantage. The only downside is that you have a chance of losing all rented items if you die.

Also new is the nifty energy gauge. As you use your items, the gauge uses energy and recharges when not in use. It’s kind of nice because I didn’t have to worry about running low on arrows or bombs during boss fights, but it is also used to limit your use of the moving drawing feature (you sadly cannot spend the entire game as a hieroglyphic).

ALBW2

Transforming into a drawing was oddly clever and I loved the feature. Never does it feel gimmicky or forced. I loved the creativity behind it. I could use it to avoid attacks, hide from guards, or get to places no ordinary person could reach. Incorporating it into boss battles was a plus! It even made the treasure-hunting side missions fun and challenging (and I’m not always big on side missions). I completed every part of this game because I didn’t want it to end.

It may seem like a lot of fangirling (womaning?) I’ve been doing, but I honestly couldn’t find anything wrong with the game (unless you count the quick equip feature, because it was a little hard to use, and pretty much took the same amount of time it took to just switch weapons around normally, but I’m not gonna knock points off because I tried something once and quit). Little things like the energy bar made the game more challenging rather than being downright annoying. I cannot stress how much I enjoyed this game.

At Nerd Bacon, we all obviously harbor a deep love for retro games, even in the wake of the new and shiny. The great thing about A Link Between Worlds was that it had a perfect fusion of the best of both modern and classic Zelda. If you’re a long-time Zelda fan, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this game. If not, I think you’ll have fun anyways! The endearing story and imaginative gameplay make for one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had in a long time.

Written by Nerd Bacon

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