The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

  • Released on Nov 22, 2013
  • By Nintendo for 3DS

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds review
Ranks Among the Best in the Legend of Zelda Series

The good:

+New "wall" ability
+3D effect really adds to the top down view of the game

The bad:

- No save points in dungeons
- Pointless Quick Equip


The following review will use the following criteria:
Graphics - 15%
3D Effect - 5%
Plot - 10%
Game Play - 50%
Sound / Music - 10%
Replay Value - 10%

Since this game is a sequel to A Link to the Past, it looks like its predecessor except some enhancements have been made since the 16 bit era. Characters and environments looks sharper and more colorful. This game is not as good as Fire Emblem or Kid Icarus Uprising, but it does a nice job nonetheless. (8.0/10)

3D Effect
The 3D effect really works well with the top view of the game. Technically, it isn't a true top down view, but nevertheless, the 3D effect makes all the different layers of environments and dungeons stand out more. It helps players view all of the different levels and see where hazards and enemies truly are. This is one of the few games I play with the 3D slider on most of time. I still need to turn it off from time to time because it hurts my eyes after awhile, but I play this game with the effect on when I can. (10/10)

This games takes many, many years after the events of the Legend of Zelda: a Link to the Past. An evil sorcerer is going after the descendants of the Seven Sages with the purpose of reviving the demon king, Ganon. Link must travel between Hyrule and Lorule to prevent the return of Ganon. By the way, in a Link to the Past, Lorule was only known as the "Dark World". For a Link Between Worlds, it finally has a name with its own princess as well. I would like to see the history Lorule make its way into future Zelda games (9.0/10)

Game Play
The Legend of Zelda returns to its top down roots in this game except there are some slight twists in this game. Most fans of the series will tell you that there has been a long pattern with the game flow. In many previous games, Link would enter a dungeon, collect a weapon, and then use that weapon to solve some of the dungeons puzzles and defeat the dungeon boss. While Link once again has to visit many dungeons, the weapon collect has changed. Instead of finding weapons in dungeons, players now can either rent or buy items from a character called Ravio. Therefore, this system creates an sense of openness. Previous games have been linear in terms of which dungeons are visited first. After the first dungeon, it will mostly be up to the player to decide which dungeon to visit by renting and later possibly buying the appropriate weapon from Ravio to complete the dungeon. Another change is the use of equipment. In previous games, Link would have a set number of bombs and arrows to use. Certain other items used magic power. In this game, Link's use of his equipment will now use a purple energy bar except his sword and shield. If the energy bar runs out, Link will not be able to use the majority of his equipment. I'm on the fence about this bar. I'm not a fan of it nor do I hate it. It's just different. Finally, there's the wall ability. Link now has the ability to merge with wall just about anywhere. This gives Link a whole new way to battle enemies, solve puzzles, and find hidden areas. This new ability breaths a breath of fresh air into the series, and it really makes this game standout from other Zelda titles.

The top screen shows the main action while the bottom screen shows the overview map or the dungeon map. Players have the ability with the overview map to place pins to mark certain spots. After going to Lorule, players can toggle between the Hyrule overview map and Lorule overview maps. The touch screen also allows players to access the gear and item screens. There is also the broom summoning bell. The broom will take you to any of the weather vanes you have activated in the game. Speaking of the weather vanes, these are the save points in the game, kind of like the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. While Skyward Sword had save points in abundance, even inside dungeons, a Link between Worlds only has save points outside major dungeons or places of interest. This brings me to my main criticism of this game. There are no save points within the dungeons. Therefore, if you want to save, you need to go outside to the weather vane to do so. It is entirely possible that you may have to do a dungeon all over again from the beginning.

Players move Link by using the circle pad which is easy enough. The directional pad is used to extent the view of the by a small amount up, down, right, or left. I will say there are a few times where it is a bit challenging to aim certain weapons like the bow or boomerang with the circle pad. The A button is used to interact with other characters or certain objects. The B button is Link's sword. The L button is sprint if you have pegasus boots, and the R button is block if you have a shield. The X and Y bottoms are used to equip other items. Players can change what items are assigned to the X and Y button by using the items screen. Items can then be dragged and dropped in to the button icon on the touch screen. One of the more curious additions to switching out pieces equipment is the quick equip ability. From the items menu, players can move a slider with the stylus to select the number of pieces of equipment available to quick equip. During regular play, player can use the touch screen to tap one of the equipment spots to access quick equipment. This ability has no practical purpose since the game pauses when you access the items screen. It would make more sense if the game did not pause for you during the heat of battle, but since it does, why have quick equip? (9.0/10)

Music / Sound
The music is well done, and it changes as the game progresses. What I mean by that is that the overall adventuring music in both Hyrule and Lorule changes as Link nears the end of his quest. This is an interesting and welcome inclusion by the developers as it prevents the music from becoming stale. Sounds are fine and not annoying. I like that Link does not have give some kind of grunt every time he jumps, swings his sword, etc. Overall, A Link between Worlds has memorable sound track. (9.5 / 10)

Replay Value
As with any Zelda game, there is the quest for 100% completion. This includes gathering all the items and having a 20 heart health bar. There is also quite a few mini games to check out to earn more rupees or a piece of a heart. So, there is much to explorer in both Hyrule and Lorule. Finally, after players complete the game once, hero mode unlocks. Like Skyward Sword and Wind Waker HD, hero mode is more difficult since enemies do more damage and hearts are harder to find. (8.0/10)

Final Thoughts
A Link between Worlds ranks as one of the best entries in the series. If you own a 3DS or strongly considering buying one, then this game is a must have to add to your game collection.

8 * .15 = 1.2
10 * .05 = .5
9 * .10 = .9
9 * .50 = 4.5
9.5 * .1 = .95
8 * .1 = .80

1.2 + .5 + .9 + 4.5 + .95 + .8 = Final Score 8.85 rounded to 8.9

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