Review by Pikachu1918
A Sequel, without Equal!
Hey gaming fans, it's your old reviewer here, Pikachu1918. I was but a small tot when The Legend of Zelda: A Link To the Past came out back in 1991. When it was made, it was a game that set several high bench marks for the SNES as a video game system, and if I dare say so was one of the best games of golden age of video games.
Intellectually I had to ask myself why risk marring this game's legacy with a sequel? Zelda isn't a franchisee built on sequels. With 15 original games (not remakes), sequels tend to come fast and furious, not with 12 years between them. It was only after playing The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds did I fully understand and appreciate the fact on why they went back. I will whole heartily admit, I bought this game on launch like countless other players, and I was impressed beyond reason.
Nintendo pulls a game from 12 years ago out of the achieves and gives it a sequel. For the record here I suspect high sales of the original game via the Virtual Store is what encouraged them to make< b>The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. Sales and hardware alone do not make a good game.
Depending on the nature of the Zelda sequel, what happened in the last game was either in the last few years, or in the distant past. This game takes the distant past approach. Which is frustrating to fans of the last game who always want to ask the "What if" question.
In a sense this game takes a page from The Legend of Zelda: A Link To the Past , you start off as an apprentice, in theory a nobody. Then, then fate pulls a fast one, and you are forced into the center seat. Will you be a hero and save Hyrule, or will you die as we found you, a nobody? Only time will tell Link, only time will tell.
Wait, hold back the angry mob, I am not done yet! Because Link doesn't do much talking, it makes it hard to build up a story around him, it always has been, and it will always be. Hard doesn't mean impossible. During the game you do talk with different people (even if they are one sided conversations), and you get a sense for what has happened in Hyrule, and Lorule since we were last there. Yes, could it be boiled down to save the princess, unit the Triforce, and go home? Yup, it could be.
I do like how they played with the villains, and while including Ganon, they didn't make him the focus of the game like they could have. Instead you don't really see any mention of Ganon until the midpoint, and even then he's merged with the main villain you've been fighting so far. There are more than a few plot twists leading to the conclusion of this title.
User Interface 9/10
After all those games, it becomes hard to reinvent the wheel, and in A Link Between Worlds they did it well. Given how this is a direct sequel to well known game. In some ways things haven't changed, and I admit a bit of nostalgia when playing this game. Since the locations, and some of the boss's are the same as they were in A Link to the Past. Older players will enjoy this, but the new layout and bosses will keep them hungry to get the deeper into this game.
One of the tried and true methods of distribution weapons in Zelda games is for you to find new ones in a dungeon. Usually it's a straight forward equation. You enter dungeon A, you find weapon B, you defeat boss C. In A Link Between Worlds they do things differently. There is no pattern to boss progression, no weapons in a dungeon. Since you need to rent and later buy all your weapons from a fellow who takes over your house after your choosen to become a hero. How he got them? Who knows? My best guess is that he found them where the old Link stored them, and chose to make a tidy profit by renting/selling them to all adventurers. There is a battle tower in Lorule which unlocks more goodies, assuming you survive it. It's also a premium source of coinage for a game which you need to pay for weapons.
Early on in the game due to the interaction between a bracelet you wear, and the villain grants you the ability to become a living, moving painting. This opens up several areas of exploration that Link has never had, besides serving as a means to go between worlds.
I can see you going, SWEET! New weapons, new ways to play, what are the downsides? Well for the record you can't buy/rent all the weapons in the game. A major downside is that there is one central self regenerating mana pool to power all your weapons (including Bombs and arrows).The fairy who upgraded your gear in the game before has gone into retirement, and a mother squid now fulfills that role, in exchange for you finding her babies.
At a certain point in the game you will unlock a broom that will help you quickly zip from one point to another around Hy and Lorule. The game does encourage you to save often, I admit it takes a bit of work to find all the flight points in both worlds that you will need to beat the entire game.
With all sequels it's hard not compare the original to the game that came before it on all fronts, including graphics. I am proud to say I can't see a real difference graphics wise between, A Link to the Past & A Link Between Worlds .
Could Nintendo made the graphics better? Yes. The 3DS certainly has the horse power to do better. I think it was part of the drive to make this more than a spiritual sequel to A Link to the Past, was by making the game look and feel the same as A Link to the Past. I can hear the comments about this being in 3D, while the original wasn't. That is in essence splitting hairs.
You aren't trying to identify your foe types by a few pixels, or what type of terrain you are one. When you pull the Master Sword from the stone, when you beat the game, despite the small DS screens compared to a TV. These feel like epic moments that they are. This game deserves top marks for both graphics.
I said it years ago, the 3DS has a grade A sound system, the kind of system that shakes your system when it's put on max.
Well Nintendo used insider knowledge to put this sound system through its paces and it does pay off. Yes, sometimes the generic tune in the background gets old. However the weapons have different sounds, you get audio warning to compliment the visual ones if your health is low. Nintendo chose to take the old approach, if it isn't broken, don't fix it.
Just to be upfront with you, there isn't a multiplayer function per say, it's a street pass feature. Where you can have your Link VS other Links you pass on the streets. You need to visit the village to be told where the fight happens. You have your weapon, the other guy has his, winner gets the loot. I think this is a good compromise on how fans would want multiplayer mode to happen, since you are both the hero, and you both have weapons you want to bring.
FINAL CALL TIME
Welcome Boys and Girls, and kids at heart, we're down here in the FINAL CALL BUNKER! Where we always answer the question. Do we buy or not buy this game? Drum roll please . . . and the answer is. BUY IT!
I am an older fan of the Zelda franchise, and I am disappointed in the fact that it took me 20 hours to beat the game the first time around. It averages out to about me paying $2 per hour to beat the game the first time. I felt the challenges and unlockables weren't all that hard. If it wasn't for the fact that there is a harder mode, and multiplayer, the overall score would be less than what it is. I could see someone from say 16 under taking a lot longer to beat this title. I see this as a game more up the ally for a board college student looking to kill a few hours between courses, and not the wall to wall adventure that Zelda usually brings to the table.
Does this game fit well as a sequel to Zelda: A Link to the Past? Yes, it does the job perfectly, they just cut a few corners, and at its preverbal heart, it's a great game to have in your 3DS collection. I only saw its warts near the end of beating it on easy, so our older players might not love it despite how great an overall title this is. Well gaming fans, she who must be obeyed is pull on my ear, so this is Pikach1918 signing off by asking if you find the Triforce, would be too much to wish me up some money?;)
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (US, 11/22/13)
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