Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Review

Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Review

Reviewed by Joel Vandermeulen

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (LBW) is the first original adventure to be released in the Zelda series since Skyward Sword in 2011. In the official timeline, the events in the game unfold after the event of Link’s Awakening, but for all intents and purposes it’s basically a sequel to A Link to the Past. LBW replicates the style of the aforementioned game perfectly in 3D; from the music, to the enemies, and to the environments. Even the world map closely resembles the original Hyrule from the beloved SNES title with only a few minor tweaks.

As per the usual Zelda formula, the game requires the protagonist, Link, to save Hyrule’s beloved Princess Zelda. She has unfortunately been turned into a painting by the evil wizard Yuga. When Yuga attempts to turn Link into a painting and abandon him, he is able to resist the magic and return from the wall thanks to a bracelet given to him by the mysterious salesman Ravio. Using his new found ability Link can merge himself into walls and move around as a mural to solve puzzles and travel to the mirror realm of Lorule to save the Princess Zelda from Yuga’s evil cluthes.

The Verdict

9Amazing

The Good: While the game does follow the Zelda franchise trends of Link saving the princess, it switches the pacing of the game up in two ways:

1. You rent all of the major items in the game from Ravio’s shop. You can rent whichever items you’d like, for as long as you like as long as you have the rupees to pay the price. When you lose all of your hearts Ravio’s pet bird(?), Sheerow, flies to your body and takes all the items you’ve rented back.
2. Related to the last point, you’re given the opportunity to finish all the dungeons in whatever order you choose, the only caveat being that you are required to rent certain items from Ravio in order to enter or progress in the dungeon you’ve chosen.

I find that both of these choices really help to change the way that the game is played, and is kind of a refreshing change from the usual Zelda formula.

Of course there are other goods. I really like how they handled making characters and objects appear isometric on a top-down surface by physically slanting the in-game models (this is evident in a few areas where you go into mural form and statues around you look strangely slanted). I also love the revision Link to the Past music, as it had some of the best music from the Zelda series. Finally I love how they portrayed the “dark” versions of characters, such as Princess Hilda. They’re not just clones, but have their own desires and goals, something that Nintendo has steered away from in previous “dark” characters (I’m looking at you Kid Icarus).

The Bad: While I feel as if the majority of the game’s content leaves me on a positive note there are a few things I noticed in the game.

1. There are way too many rupees in this game. I had no trouble renting all of the items from Ravio at the start of the game, and by my first time dying, it wasn’t a big deal to rent them all again. When I finished the game I had amassed a total of 9,999 rupees, the max the game lets you have. It was revealed in an “Iwata Asks” interview with the creator Eiji Aonuma and other members of the development team that they originally thought of titling this game “New Legend of Zelda” and by the amount of rupees you collect it doesn’t surprise me they were trying to emulate New Super Mario Bros.
2. In truth I found the new ability of becoming a portrait really interesting, and it definitely made for some unique puzzles, but overall the game was fairly easy. While completing a dungeon you didn’t really have to think of where to go next, and it kind of felt as if I was on cruise control killing baddies and collecting keys from one room to the next. There was never any puzzles that truly frustrated me with their difficulty. Which is something I usually expect at least once from a Zelda title.

While the game is easy, it also holds itself up as one of the best Zelda titles in the series, and hands down is the best top-down Zelda since the game it is modelled after. The experience, music, characters and world all work to recreate the nostalgic feelings evoked by one of my favourite SNES titles, and they succeed. Aonuma said that the next installment of Zelda will be the best yet, and if it’s anything like A Link Between Worlds, I’m all in.

Overall I give this game 9 green rupees out of 1 yellow rupee (9/10 for people who don’t know the conversion rate of different rupee colours…).

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