It's been awhile since I've played through a Zelda game, so I've dusted off my 3ds and saved Hyrule once again as the famous green hero.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is the First 2d Zelda entry on the 3ds. It is a semi-original re-make of the Super Nintendo classic, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Two big changes A Link Between Worlds adds to the formula is the new ability that allows you to merge into walls, and allowing access to all the special items via rupees instead of finding them throughout the game in dungeons.
The new ability to jump into walls adds new depth into the puzzles and combat of Zelda. Puzzles have added complexity that require you to merge into walls to access areas you can not reach traditionally. With combat, you now have a new option to avoid enemy attacks by blending into the wall. On the offensive side, you can maneuver around the bad guys by jumping into the wall and then jumping out behind them to gain a better position of attack.
I'm not entirely sold on the decision to allowing the renting and buying of special items. The benefit of this decision allows for more complex puzzles in the early game, and allows the player to explore the world map as they see fit. On the down side, Dungeon's seem to have a lot less impact considering that you don't gain special equipment for completing them. I really miss the joy and excitement of the traditional way of fighting through the game's various dungeons to find new equipment. To compensate this, the developer has added optional items to dungeons that improve Link's abilities, but these upgrades just don't have the same excitement of finding new special items.
I found A Link Between Worlds is just too similar to the Super Nintendo classic, a Link to the Past. Back in the 90's this was a great game, and one of my favourites of my childhood, but I find these nostalgia based games to be a bit of a let down when replayed in modern times.
A Link Between Worlds was just too easy for me, there wasn't many sections of the game that challenged me, and the vast majority of dungeons where very simple to clear. The lack of challenge makes the game go by quick. I had a completion rate around 75% with a 20 hour run. There was no purpose on the main difficulty to get 100% of the items and bonuses as the ones I already obtained made me near invincible. Unfortunately, master quest difficultly only unlocks after finishing main game, and by then, I really had no urge to play through the game again.
I found the game to be very kiddy friend, this game really is perfect for someone's first Zelda experience, or for a non-gamer who may want to try something different. If you're a Zelda vet, this game is going to be a walk in the park.
The story was boring and predictable. There is nothing new here to see for experienced Zelda players. I really wish they would try something original to the story like back in the day with Link's awakening. You can make a kid friendly story that is interesting to all ages, but the story in A Link Between seems called in without much imagination behind it.
I did enjoy the music, the developer has grabbed the classic Link to the Past tracks and re-mixed them perfectly. The overall sound quality is top notch, sound effects are great, and all the traditional Zelda sound effects are included to make you feel at home. The graphics are great for the 3ds too, one of the best looking games on the system so far. The 3d effect is implemented nicely as well.
The puzzles are well done too, a lot of them you will have seen before, but a few got me scratching my head for a bit. There is nothing too hard, but they are challenging enough to make you feel rewarded when you figure them out.
A Link Between Worlds is a well put together game. The graphics are nice, the music is great, and the game-play is the same old Zelda formula. I was let down by the lack of changes between A Link Between Worlds and A Link to the Past, and by the main difficultly being laughably easy. In the end, I did enjoy my time with ALBW, I just feel as I wasn't the intended audience of the game.
If you've played a Link to the Past, and felt let down by the nostalgia of remakes/remasters before, I would suggest skipping this.
If you haven't experienced a Link to the Past, looking to introduce someone to Zelda games, or like an easy adventure to pass your time with, ALBW may be the perfect game for you.