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dbarry_22's Video Game Reviews (221)

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Kirby's Dream Course 3.5/5
SteamWorld Dig 4/5
Super Mario Odyssey 5/5
Star Fox 2 3/5
Metroid: Samus Returns 4/5
Dragon Quest VI: Realms... 4/5
Super Mario RPG: Legend... 4.5/5
The Legend of Zelda: Br... 5/5
Blaster Master Zero 4/5
Dragon Quest Heroes: Th... 4/5
Super Mario 3D Land 4.5/5
Castlevania: Dawn of So... 4.5/5
Bravely Second: End Lay... 4/5
Inside 4/5
The Legend of Zelda: Tw... 4.5/5
No Man's Sky 3/5
Mighty No. 9 3/5
Mario Golf: World Tour 4/5
Mario Kart 8 4.5/5
NES Remix 2 4/5
R.B.I. Baseball 14 2/5
Bravely Default 4.5/5
NES Remix 4/5
The Legend of Zelda: A ... 5/5
Dr. Luigi 3.5/5

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The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds   Nintendo 3DS 

Taking a Step Forward by Going Backwards    5/5 stars

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is designed perfectly for a handheld and takes many of the best attributes from the series to make this a sequel that's better than the original SNES title.

I'm going to assume the vast majority of the people reading this review have either played a previous Zelda game or at least are familiar with the series, so I'm not going to spend much time describing the basics of the series. In fact, I bet the majority of you reading this are familiar with the SNES game, A Link to the Past. So, to begin, A Link Between Worlds is a direct sequel to A Link to the Past on the Super Nintendo, not a remake. Let's be clear about that. The story references the SNES title and the layout of the Light and Dark World are very similar. But, there are significant gameplay differences so you will not be playing the same game.

I won't go into the story very much because it's quite familiar. The young hero Link gets caught up with a villain early in the game and ends up having to save Hyrule and Princess Zelda.

The game-play is old school Zelda. It's an over the top view of Link while using the joystick to move around and the B button to swing your sword. No need for a stylus like the previous DS versions. It's provides easy to use controls that are intuitive and understood by gamers used in games for many years. The top screen shows Link in the world, while the bottom touch screen provides a map or an item screen for you to select what to use on the X or Y buttons.

The graphics are clean and colorful. Even though it's a 2D over the top game-play, the world is rendered in 3D. The actual 3D (It is on the 3DS you know) is nice but definitely not necessary. It can be useful for a couple of the puzzles where Link falls a significant amount, but I really didn't use it a whole lot. The music references to the SNES title, but it has been modernized and is as good as I've heard in the series. It's too bad there's no soundtrack to purchase somewhere.

Here's what makes this game top notch. A Link Between Worlds goes back to the basics that made this series so great. It's quick paced and contains an open world concept, two things that the recent console predecessors have lacked. You are no longer guided from one dungeon to the next with a small companion explaining where to go. In fact, you aren't very limited at all to where you can and can't go in the world. Early in the game you are given the opportunity to rent almost all the items you will use along the way. This of course takes a couple hours worth of rupee collecting to do, but once you do, you can go to almost every edge of the world and explore it as you see fit. And, because of this, the puzzles you must solve are done with very little assistance. You must figure out what to do with the items you have and it gives a much more fulfilling feeling when you find that piece of heart or defeat a boss in a dungeon. You're not using the quite old formula of finding an item in a dungeon and use said item on the boss, followed by using that item to progress to the next part of the world to find the next dungeon. It's quite refreshing.

The other element that takes this game to the next level is it's unique game-play mechanic. Previous Zelda games have all done it. You've had an Ocarina, or a mask, or Link becomes a wolf, each one is different. In this game it's what I call 2D Link. After the first dungeon you gain the ability to merge onto walls. Then, as a 2D character, you can walk along the wall, go around corners, and access parts of the world or dungeon that you couldn't otherwise. This is a significant change from A Link to the Past and in my opinion, separates itself from it's predecessor. I don't feel like I'm rehashing the same puzzles from previous games in the franchise. The puzzles and dungeons have a fresh feel and the game designers have done well implementing this ability into dungeons and the over-world without over using it.

Just like in A Link to the Past, this game has a dark world. Access to it is different though. You must use your 2D Link to find cracks in walls that have darkness spewing out of it. This is better than the SNES version in my opinion because you have limited access points to the dark world and you're not using the trial and error process that tended to be needed with the mirror.

From my rough count, there are 11 dungeons and an absolute ton of heart pieces to find. There are racing, rupee collecting, random treasure chest, and baseball mini-games. There are other small mini-dungeons where you use specific items to gain access to a treasure chest. There are town folk and a blacksmith to talk to. There's the potion shop with the witch. The Zoras and Gorons make appearances. Needless to say the amount of content in this game is extensive. With that said, this game doesn't take forever to beat either. That's another great aspect to the game.

You may here that this game's story is a bit lacking and that the dungeons are too short. In response to these so called issues, I say that this makes the game a great fit for a handheld. No offense, but I don't want to be sitting and watching my 3DS for 10 minutes watching the story progress. I also don't want to be making my way though a dungeon for 2 hours on a handheld system either. I want to be able to accomplish something in the 30 minutes to an hour that I play my 3DS. This game is perfectly set up for that. It's quick paced. You can easily traverse the world and find save points. Dungeons may not be long but there are a ton of them. Even if you only have 15 minutes to play you can make progress. That's not something you could do in Skyward Sword or Twilight Princess.

I will say this, it has been a few years since I've played A Link to the Past and I've played through that game a few times. Perhaps if I've played that game several times though and just a few months before picking up this game, I would think it has a bit too familiar feel. But, I haven't so even though I had an idea of where the Master Sword was or how to get up onto the mountain, it didn't feel like I was doing the same thing.

I am probably in the minority here, but I think this game is better than A Link to the Past. This game is designed perfectly for a handheld and has no glaring weaknesses. I haven't had this much fun playing a Zelda handheld game since Link's Awakening.

5/5

 

 


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