Impressions: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Hey, Kaushik here. I picked up my copy of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds several days ago, and I’ve been playing it quite extensively since. This is the latest game in the Zelda series, released on November 22, 2013. Set as a sequel of sorts to the SNES classic A Link to the Past, a lot of people were looking to this title to reinvigorate the series to the hardcore audience, myself included. Could the title deliver? Well, that’s what I’m here to ascertain~

A Link Between Worlds box art

In a word, yes. Maybe it’s not a carbon copy of the SNES classic, but the similarities make it charming and the differences make it unique. Starting out is instantly nostalgic. You start the game in the same part of the map as the original game, in your house, ready for some adventure in short order. I’m only a couple of dungeons into the Dark World section so far, but the game has been engaging from start to where I am now, and I’m definitely a huge fan. My favorite Zelda game in a while.

The game play is like a classic 2-D Zelda game. You have a top down view of the world, and you run around scrolling from screen to screen. You slash your sword at the enemies that come at your way, and make use of your myriad of items to combat the forces of evil. However, this game changes things up somewhat. Instead of getting a new item to explore each dungeon in classic Zelda style, you actually rent out items from a crazy rabbit that lives in your house. Close to the beginning of the game, you have access to nearly all the items the game has to offer. It’s a very cool system, and offers a lot of non-linearity and variance to how you play.

The item rental system; you can rent nearly any item from the beginning.

The item rental system; you can rent nearly any item from the beginning.

For example, I rented out the hookshot early on. Because of some of its properties in terms of bringing an item to you quickly, I was able to complete some of the early puzzles in somewhat inventive ways. In some circumstances, I was able to skip them entirely. So clearly, there’s some non-linearity in how you approach dungeons. But more than that, once you go through the first three dungeons (just like classic ALTTP!), the next several dungeons are to be done completely at your leisure. Based in the classic ALTTP areas with some twists, you can approach these areas as  you please and do them in any order. It’s almost overwhelming at first, but considering the linearity the last major Zelda game took (Skyward Sword), I must say this is a refreshing change of pace. As a result I am quite enjoying it.

A snap of some of the travelling-on-walls mechanic

A snap of some of the travelling-on-walls mechanic

Of course, this wouldn’t be a new Zelda game without some sort of game play gimmick. This time? You can merge into walls to become “2-D” to an extent, and travel along walls. This may sound a bit dumb at first, in fact I thought so as well before I played the game. However, in practice it is used quite inventively and sparingly enough to feel not forced on you. The idea of travelling along walls is subtle enough that there’s a lot of instances it could be used and it might slip your notice. In a nutshell, I’m quite satisfied with the game play of this game, gimmicks and all.

The graphics of this game are quite good; better than I expected even. It retains a lot of that classic ALTTP style, in terms of character and world design. But of course, everything’s been given that 3-D upgrade, which I find smooth and quite palatable. I suppose I do miss Link’s wacky pink hair from ALTTP, but over all I’m definitely satisfied with how the game was handled graphically. There’s also the 3-D aspect to the game thanks to the 3DS’s capabilities, which I have been using sparingly. This is quite a step up from most games where I don’t use 3-D at all, so I’d consider it a testament to how cool this game looks in 3-D.

Here's some familiar scenery if you remember A Link to the Past!

Here’s some familiar scenery if you remember A Link to the Past!

And last but not least, the music. It’s simultaneously familiar and new, which is a great feeling. A lot of the tracks are remixes of older tracks, but there are some new ones thrown in here and there which is nice to see. I love most of the remixed tracks too, so this is one of those few games that I enjoy playing the music for, consistently. I’m particularly fond of the Kakariko Village theme. Speaking of, there’s a musician in Kakariko village that plays some interesting renditions of popular Zelda themes, such as the Fairy Fountain theme or Zelda’s Lullaby. Truly, the music is great in this game.

My final verdict? Go buy it, go play it, go enjoy it. If you enjoy Zelda at all, I think you’ll like this game. If you like video games at all, I think you might enjoy this game too!

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Kaushik

I write about anime and stuff. Giant robots are pretty cool, too.

Kaushik

I write about anime and stuff. Giant robots are pretty cool, too.

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