Thursday, February 06, 2014

Review: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)

This was the game that came packaged with my 3DS XL. I am a big fan of the Legend of Zelda series, and this is a direct link (ho ho) to one of my all-time favourite games- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (shortened to LttP here) which was originally released on the SNES.

The map and outside enemies are the same, but with much better graphics- for example, the small stones that move in LttP? In LBW (Link Between Worlds) you can see that they're actually skulls. The music also remains the same, and I think it's this continuity of game details that really makes the franchise flow well.

Plot-wise, our hero is once again called upon by Princess Zelda to save the Kingdom of Hyrule, this time from an evil sorcerer who...turns people into paintings! Our hero, however, holding special power, is able to use this to his advantage. He can go 2D and merge onto walls! This gives an interesting twist to the gameplay, and gives a lot more scope for exploring the landscape- you can, for example, merge onto the back of a building, or between boulders, as well as walking on walls like a living wall-painting (which is pretty much what you become).

Instead of the dark and light worlds of LttP, this has the parallel kingdoms of noble Hyrule and ruined...Lorule. Yeah. Lorule. I jokingly thought that might be the kingdom's name as I watched the cutscene, and was slightly taken aback to see it was the actual name. It does work though, and I especially like the look of  Lorule's princess.

One major difference in this game is the way in which items are obtained. I'm not going to go into too much detail because of spoilers, but for those expecting the standard formula of Go to dungeon-->Get item-->use item to defeat dungeon boss-->Use item to assist in getting to next dungeon, it's not how it happens. I was initially put off by this, especially as it gives the game less structure, but then I got used to the idea and was able to move between the dungeons as I chose.

The level of difficulty in this game was low for me, I finished the storyline in under a week, but that is with about 24 hours of gameplay. I also needed a few hints for some of the side quests and also for the very very end of the final boss fight (something I'd tried earlier in the fight but didn't work needed to be done). Normally these games stump me for longer than that. I am still short one piece of heart thanks to an incredibly tricky minigame, but other sidequests were straightforward (note: this does not mean easy).

 Overall this is a worthy successor to LttP, and a great addition to the Zelda franchise. I will be playing it again, this time seeing if I can get things to run more smoothly (for example, get extra hearts earlier).

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