The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Review

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Guest writer Justine Lee tells us what she thinks about the newest Legend of Zelda game!

For those who have played the 1991 game A Link to the Past, this latest game in the Zelda franchise takes place in the same world (about six generations later). A villain named Yuga has invaded Hyrule and captures the descendents of the Seven Sages by turning them into paintings. To prevent Yuga from reviving Ganon with the Sages, Link must brave the mysterious and dark parallel world of Lorule.

As a result, A Link Between Worlds is a nostalgic game. The overworld is the same as that of the first game as well as items such as the fire rod and the hammer. That being said, while there may be some familiar aspects, the game also has a variety of new features that certainly makes the game stand out on its own.

Very early in the game, you can rent weapons from Ravio if you can’t afford them. If you die in the game, your rented items will return to Ravio, which makes having enough rupees more important than ever before. But after a certain point, it is possible to buy the items and eventually upgrade them. This rental system essentially changes the way you can play the game. The dungeons are completely new in this game and typically require a certain weapon to enter or that will make completing it easier. Consequently, in the other Zelda games, you typically follow a straightforward path, but this rental system allows you to explore the dungeons of Hyrule and Lorule at your own choosing and pace. The end result is a collection of dungeons that require more creative thinking on a regular basis than in previous Zelda games.

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However, simply having access to all the items early on doesn’t mean that there isn’t a challenge. A huge new part of the game is the ability to transform into a painting on the wall at will. It’s essentially required to traverse areas that are otherwise inaccessible. Although Link looks a bit like a cave painting, or some kind of weird modern art, Link’s new ability adds another dimension to the dungeon puzzles. It forces you to think differently to the point that you might be sitting there for an hour scratching your head for clues.

Another new feature is the StreetPass. You can battle players you’ve tagged with StreetPass. When you StreetPass another player, their Link will appear in your game as a Shadow Link. You can battle against their Shadow Link and win their bounty if you are successful (the better equipped the Shadow Link is, the more rupees you get for winning). The only items you can use are those you have selected before you begin battle with the Shadow Link. Your hearts will be fully restored before and after battle. And whether you win or lose the fight, you’ll leave with the items you battled with. And vice versa, you can create your own Shadow Link character that will be sent out to others in StreetPass. There are 50 challenges you can complete for a StreetPass battle, such as “win without taking damage” or “win without taking a single step”. There isn’t really much to these battles, but at least it’s something to do after you beat the game.

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Even with games like Animal Crossing and Pokémon X & YThe Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is easily one of the best 3DS game of 2013. It breathes new life into a franchise that some may consider repetitive. A Link Between Worlds introduces a new way of playing without losing its identity. Even if you’re not a big Zelda fan, it’s a game that you don’t want to miss out on.

9/10

The review was written by Justine Lee.

Edited by Nikki Yuan

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