The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS) Review
Posted by Adam Larck on 11.22.2013
The Legend of Zelda franchise makes its debut on the Nintendo 3DS with The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds! But how does it measure up? 411's Adam Larck checks in with his full review!
Title: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Developer: Nintendo EAD Group No. 3
Out of the entire Zelda series, A Link to the Past may still be my favorite title.
I continuously went back to the game to beat it again and again. When I heard that a direct sequel, Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds was being made, I immediately took an interest. Even as some changes got announced, like the item renting system, I still hoped that it would be great.
While the game is still a solid entry in the series, a few small complaints keep it from being at the top of the pyramid.
Thankfully, like the SNES version, there really isnít wave after wave of dialogue and cutscenes that hit you in the game. You wake up in the bed, find the newest evil to hit Hyrule and rush off to try and defeat it and save the kingdom. From the start of the game to the first dungeon, only about five-10 minutes will pass, letting you jump right into the action.
One of the earliest things youíll notice about the game that is seen throughout is the amount of throwbacks and memories that will be drawn while playing the game. Many dungeons are modeled after old dungeons with new devices to be used. Old enemies and even some old bosses make a return. And, of course, many of the old weapons from the SNES make a return, ready to help you overcome a dungeon again.
This is as good as time as any to talk about the rental system. The boomerang, bow and arrow, bomb, fire rod and more are now all available from a merchant called Ravio, who decides to crash in your house shortly after the game starts. The items can be rented for a small fee and kept indefinitely, provided you donít die. If you do, donít worry, you can still rent them again, just at a higher cost. You can eventually buy the items as well and upgrade them for a higher cost.
While this may seem like it would break a game, itís actually good to get some of the items early on to allow for more exploration and to let players take on whatever dungeon they want to. Each dungeon shows its key item out front, so you can always make sure you have the item you need before going in.
As a quick side note, not all items are gotten this way. Some dungeons still have key gear youíll need. Itís just most of the generic stuff from past games are given a lot earlier on for a small fee.
Another change for the better for the series is the new energy bar. Any item rented from Ravio has an energy bar that recharges after a few seconds of use. This means no more farming for bombs or arrows to use, letting you use items more frequently whenever you feel like it. This is the first Zelda where I actually didnít try and conserve magic or items and used them more often.
I havenít mentioned the other key ability, flattening you against the wall. The 2D mechanic can let you avoid danger and get to new locations, but it also drains the energy meter as well.
Eventually, youíll get to Lorule, this gameís version of the Dark World. Lorule seems more disappointing than the Dark World, though. Where the Dark World let you explore almost the entire land and gave you the Magic Mirror to go back and forth, you can only get to Lorule in certain locations and mainly just for a quick dungeon and then leave again.
Another dragging part of the game is the main boss, Yuga. Yuga just doesnít have the personality or captivate the same way Ganon or other baddies in the series has. Itís a bit of a disappointment there.
Outside of dungeons, which are actually fairly easy and quick to complete, there are plenty of sidequests to do, hidden areas to explore and some minigames to check out. The main quest will take you between 15-20 hours, but if you try and collect everything youíll sink quite a bit more time into the game.
For a top-down Zelda, this may be one of the best ones out there. The bottom screen is used well to keep the map, items and armor down there, and the camera can be moved around with the D-Pad. Itís a good idea that lets the game utilize everything that the 3DS has to offer, and lets the gamers get the most out of the game.
Graphically, the game is one of the best on the 3DS. Itís even great in 3D, which is normally a questionable part of the 3DS. I played quite a bit of it in 3D actually to experience the depth of some of the dungeons.
The soundtrack is also solid in the game. Youíve heard many of the tracks before, as the game does remixes and some of the old tracks of A Link to the Past. However, considering itís set in the same world, I found it to be a great touch to harken back to the previous title.
Gameplay is great.
Most items can be obtained early on.
Donít have to farm for items.
Some dungeons are really simple.
Boss isnít as memorable as others in series.
Youíve seen most of the items before.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is definitely a solid entry in the series. While it doesnít add a lot besides the flatten mechanic against the wall, everything it does is well done and a joy to play. If youíre a Nintendo fan, this is a great title to add to your collection.
The graphics look great for the handheld, and the 3D is probably one of the best Iíve seen on the 3DS.
The gameplay is solid and most choices in the game were great, I just would have liked to have seen a few more new items.
The soundtrack brings back memories of the Super NES title, which isnít a bad thing.
The main game takes about 15 hours, and there are a fair number of sidequests to check out as well.
The game was great to play, outside of the bland boss character.