Zelda games have had their ups and downs lately. Twilight princess had mixed reactions from the fans, and skyward sword its fair share of problems. The last original handheld Zelda game was Spirit Tracks, a game that no one really seems to hold in high regard. But thankfully The Legend of Zelda: A Link between Worlds has burst onto the scene. And much like Ocarina of Time, this is one of the best Zelda games of all time.
The story to A Link between Worlds is typical Zelda fair, she’s been kidnapped and it’s up to link to find the master sword and save her. While the game keeps to the same old formula, there are moments of real story telling that work well and make the story stand out a little more. The game is a spiritual sequel to A Link to the Past, meaning that the over world is largely the same as the SNES classic.
There are a few change ups and odes to past games nestled in Hyrule, something that sooths player new and old into this fantasy world. But after a few hours in, Link gains the ability to merge into walls and become a 2D painting. Now the world opens up to new possibilities, nearly every wall leads to a secret and places never thought of as being reachable are now just a wall walk away. Once Link gets the hang of that, he’s then thrown into this games version of the dark world named Lorule. (Hyrule and Lorule. Well played Nintendo.) Lorule completely changes the world and creates many new and exciting areas to explore. The game consistently introduces new gameplay mechanics that never feel forced, it never stops showing off new and exciting things. One second Links in sunny Hyrule, the next he’s fighting a Cyclopes in Lorule. The fast paced action makes sure the game is never boring.
The biggest change to the typical Zelda formula are the items. Items in Between Worlds aren’t found in dungeons like the last games. Instead, there is a hooded man who sets up shop in Hyrule who rents items to Link. These items can be carried around freely until Link dies, then the hooded man takes his items back. Every item is there from the get go, and every item can be rented for a price. The fact that the items are there means that any dungeon can be accessed at any time, there’s no defined order to approach them, it’s up to the player. This little added freedom makes the game feel so much more like the player is making their own choices, that things they do really matter, instead of just being part of the story. This new approach to the game creates a sense of freedom and discovery like never before seen in a Zelda game.
When it comes to music, the Zelda franchise has always been leagues above the rest, and the same stays true here. Between Worlds’ soundtrack is one of the most adventurous yet. Every location has its own theme for both Hyrule and Lorule, making both lands contrast in style even stronger. Hyrule is focused on orchestral pieces as seen in previous games, meanwhile Lorule is set more on violins and salsa drum beats. Some of the finest music to ever grace the 3DS.
Graphically, Between Worlds looks like A Link to the Past come to life. Every little detail from the past game comes to life with fantastic 3D graphics that fit in perfectly at home on the handheld system. Characters have nice little details, such as the homeless man with little birds sitting in his beard. Little things help make the world(s) fell like real living places. Also, as many fans were worried the games camera was too zoomed in on link; the camera is zoomed in just enough to get a perfect look at the world, while still being far out enough that the surrounding enemies can be seen. It’s practically perfect.
A Link between Worlds is a fantastic game that any Zelda fan deserves to play. It has a few annoying dungeons, and some items are hard to handle, but none of this detracts from the sheer joy felt while playing this game. A Link between Worlds is a masterpiece in gaming, and reminds us why we love games. For the adventure.
This review was originally posted on http://www.gamingcapacity.com/