A true sequel to the Super Nintendo classic The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past, A Link Between Worlds is a top-down adventure set in the same world as LTTP in which you play as Link, obviously, and work to save the kingdom of Hyrule from being destroyed by Yuga who has turned the Priest’s daughter Seres, the Captain and even Princess Zelda into paintings in an attempt to “capture perfection”.
A Link Between Worlds starts, the way it seems every Legend of Zelda game begins, with Link waking up at home. A young blacksmith apprentice, Link is late for work after oversleeping and has to high tail it to the shop before getting in too much trouble.
He’s then sent on a delivery job to return a sword to the Captain after he irresponsibly left it at the shop, and that’s where the fun begins. You run into your first two encounters with Yuga, including a battle with him where you then gain the ability to merge into walls less than an hour into playing.
The coolest new aspect to the game is the item rental/purchase feature. Very early in the game, Link meets a character named Ravio who had rescued Link after his first encounter with the villain Yuga. Ravio then lends you his bow, for free this time, for you to take on your quest. Should you die, however, Ravio takes his item back, and you will have to pay for it again.
If you are nervous about constantly perishing then later on in the game you will be able to actually purchase these items instead of renting should you so choose for a higher price. This then begins a renting/buying feature that allows players to technically purchase any item in the game early on.
It’s a welcomed addition that is a definite breath of fresh air for the franchise, and it sure beats the old way of having to get a wallet first before collecting rupees and making purchases.
In terms of the world layout, there has never been a group of more beautifully crafted dungeons than those in A Link Between Worlds.
From the structure to the puzzles to the colors, each dungeon is great in its own special way. And although dungeons in past games could become confusing to the point where players would just put the game down due to frustration, that thought never comes into my mind while playing this game.
The puzzles are complex, but simple enough that even the most casual fan won’t have too much trouble navigating their way through them with the use of a little brain power. What makes playing through this game even better is the simple fact of being able to do it your own way. No following arrows, and going to specific areas. It’s all about how you want to attack a level.
Besides, if you’re ever unsure of what to do, there are new hint ghosts that will give you a, you guessed it, hint on how to solve a puzzle or what to do next. It only costs one 3DS play coin to get their help, and even if you do succumb to needing the help of a hint ghost, the level of fun each dungeon provides doesn’t dip one iota, and a lot of that can be credited to the boss battles you encounter.
Because of your ability to rent a plethora of items from Ravio, who has conveniently turned your home into his store because “it’s not like your ever there anyway”, you are able to take different approaches to how to fight dungeon bosses.
It simply feels different yet familiar at the same time which is just how this gamer likes it. Even the music, like the classic Overworld theme, sounds remarkably different while still being as great as it ever was.
And if all that wasn’t enough to get you psyched, A Link Between Worlds even has multiplayer. That’s right, a Zelda game with multiplayer. In the game, players can use StreetPass to access multiplayer which comes in the form of a deathmatch-style game mode that allows other players – known as Shadow Links — to join your world with a variety of weapons. It’s now earth shattering, but for a series that has never had anything like this before, it’s a pretty cool new add-on.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is a charming refresher to a series that lives, in a way, on nostalgia while also looking to improve for the future. The visuals, gameplay mechanics (both new and old), music and overall presentation and structure make this a game that could very well be the best in the franchise’s history.
(A copy of this game was provided to GameSided for the purpose of this review.)