Review by imagine606
"An Interesting New Entry Into the Series"
I won't lie, I had some skeptical thoughts when I first heard the announcement for this game. I didn't doubt that I would enjoy playing it, but I wondered how much different it would be from A Link to the Past. There was just a remake of Wind Waker announced, and the last thing this series needed was a remake just 2 months after another remake in the same series was released. To make concerns stronger, the people at the top in Nintendo had been talking about wanting to remake A Link to the Past. Then, not too long after the announcement of this game we saw that the overworld was going to have similarities to the overworld of A Link to the Past. Those similarities turned into the overworld being very close to the overworld from A Link to the Past. While there was nothing false about that, at the same time it wasn't close to as bad as it really seemed it would be.
First off, the overworld is indeed very much like it was in A Link to the Past. I won't even try to deny that. However, the way it plays out and is used is different enough. On top of that, I've always wanted the overworlds to at least resemble other games. In the Gamecube version of Twilight Princess you still have the general areas in similar places to where they were in Ocarina of time. The lower left is Lake Hylia, Death Mountain is off to the right, and Zora's River is near the castle, somewhat north. Sure, the desert is a bit further north in Ocarina of Time, but generally speaking, things are at least in similar places. Sure, this version takes it further, but like I said, while there are things in the same places, the places that are there are not the same places. The enemy situation is much different for the most part, and there are plenty of differences to the overworld in some of the most important places in the overworld. At the same time, there's a lot of similarities as far as dungeons go. There are similar small puzzles to enter certain dungeons, and some dungeons have similar layouts or similar methods of going through as they had in A Link to the Past.
The dungeons, in general, are based along the same ideas with similar layouts. There's a certain dungeon that still has its going in and out of the overworld theme to it, there's another dungeon that has the water raising and lowering mechanic, just on a better scale. Even some of the bosses have similar themes to it. However, the boss battles in this game are on a much more grand scale. They may be largely easy for most who play the games, but there is just a feeling of hugeness that comes with them. You're rarely fighting something that's around your size. On top of that, there's usually a special method to each boss, even if the general idea is still the same. This is one of the things that I have always loved about this series. The puzzles in the dungeons are very good, even if they are a bit easy. Still, they're puzzles that are at least fun to complete. The bottom line with any game is that if it's fun, it's a good game. Fun is, in my opinion, the most important factor with any game as far as actual quality goes (as it should be when you consider why we play games).
Moving on, the minigames in this are great as well. Ocarina of Time had fun minigames, but came up a bit slow. Majora's Mask had a bit much for me as far as minigames went. The dodging cuccoos game was a lot of fun, and the rupee rush game was fun as well. However, my favorite game was the baseball game. To anyone who has actually played baseball before, this should be a lot of fun. As long as you can figure out how the whole stance situation goes (which I was able to figure out by the end of my first time playing, and I'm pretty bad at video games), then this should be a fun way to get rupees and a heart piece. As a whole, I thought the minigames in this were among the best in the series.
Since we're talking about things on the side of this game, I'll talk about something else that is fairly secondary to me, graphics. The graphics in this game are right on par with anything on the 3DS. They're not great, there's some jagged edges, and they're not HD or anything, but at the same time, the 3D is done well in this game. It really does add to the game. If you're playing on the 2DS you won't be missing anything too serious, but you won't be getting the full experience either. Still, like I said before, graphics are not a huge factor to me. However, they're right there on par, maybe even slightly better than anything else on the 3DS.
Along with the graphics go the music. The music is nostalgia heaven for anyone who loved A Link to the Past. It's many of the same songs, at least for the overworld, but new versions of them. I'm sure they're all still midi, but still, there's just so much more to them. There's plenty of new music with the game as well, but the biggest thing as far as the music goes is the nostalgia and improvements on the old music from A Link to the Past.
Continuing on the same path, the controls for this game were good. While there wasn't much different from the original, once you got into the game there was a slight improvement. I can't really say that they were anything too impressive, but that may largely be because the controls for Zelda 2D games were already pretty darn good. The improvements that I did like were that the shield is always equipped and has an actual button, and that the whole menu thing is very accessible in an easy way. Also, the whole blending into the wall thing is very easy to do (as well as being a very fun mechanic for puzzles throughout).
The gameplay as a whole is a lot of fun thanks to thanks to this wall mechanic. This is one of the biggest differences in the overworld and just throughout the game. This is how this game really differentiates itself from the rest of the series. However, it's a great, fresh, new mechanic that the series could really use.
Generally, this new mechanic, as well as the completely new story to this game really helped to differentiate this game from A Link to the Past. Those were far from the only things that differentiated it, there was a number of things, but as far as the actual gameplay goes, those were the biggest parts. Still, the similarities were really only in the general layout of the overworld, and general in the most...well, general of senses. The rest of the similarities were slight and not much more than you would find in similarities in any other game series.
The biggest knock I've heard on this game is that the game is too easy. While I'll admit that my first playthrough was a bit easier than I expected, I really don't care. I work a full time job. If you complain about a game being too easy, you most likely don't, or you've been very lucky in life. Life is hard enough as it is, and as for myself, I really could care less about the difficulty unless it's over the top easy or difficult, but I'm rarely going to complain about difficulty in games. Still, I'm fine with the easier difficulty. On top of that, there's hero mode for those who think it's too easy. If it's so easy, then you'll have no problem playing through the game to get to it. Simple as that.
The story itself is really the best part of this. I've seen reviews that have claimed that there are no memorable new characters. I really wonder how far those people played into the game. Sure, there were not a whole lot, but then again, since Zelda has gone 3D in 1998, there have not been a whole ton outside of Ocarina of Time as far as great new characters go. Sure, you had the fun shop owners, but they were still just that, shop owners. Sure, you had the characters like Ralph and Ghirahim that are great for laughs and useful (or the complete opposite, depending on the character), but you also had characters that developed very well throughout the game as well. I won't go too far into that, just because there would be spoilers at the end of the game, but at the same time, most of those characters did a lot of developing before the end of the game.
As a whole, this game had more than everything. This is exactly what the 3DS has been waiting for. In fact, a few more classic Nintendo series getting games like this (Metroid? Donkey Kong? Anyone?) on the 3DS would really solidify the system as, once again, the king of the handhelds. It's been way too long since Super Mario 3D Land to have another game at this level. Nintendo needs to keep games like this coming out. This is a great game that is not only one of the best Zelda games I've ever played, or the best Zelda handheld I've ever played, but one of those games that I'll never forget.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 12/03/13
Game Release: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (US, 11/22/13)
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