The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is a cross between a sequel to A Link to the Past and a remake. The story follows a new Link, apprenticed to a blacksmith. On a sword delivery to the castle, Link discovers an evil wizard hell-bent on collecting the Seven Sages in order to resurrect Ganon. It’s a simple Zelda tale with nothing revolutionary in it, but the charming atmosphere, characters, and the few plot twists make for a fun adventure.
This game resurrects our hero in the top down perspective, but that’s not the only change. The standard Zelda formula of collect item in dungeon to finish dungeon in a linear fashion has been turned on its head. Instead equipment can be rented, or later bought, via a merchant, Rovio, who takes up shop at Link’s. If players die, rented equipment goes back to Rovio, but with plenty of saves and a fairly easy difficulty, players won’t find it cumbersome. The other new mechanic allows Link to disappear into walls, giving the game a unique 3D perspective in an otherwise top down world. From the rental shop to the wall clinging, every puzzle is that much more engaging, allowing for multiple ways to tackle this quest.
When ALBW was announced, this writer was a tad skeptical, as a good sequel to the best Zelda game seemed impossible. While it may not have that wondrous charm of the original, ALBW hits home on every mark. The visuals, especially the 3D, are phenomenal. The soundtrack brings back classic tunes with a new twist making an already amazing score from ALTTP that much better. The world may be the same, yet slightly altered, but there’s still a lot to see and do for veterans. Having a Zelda without lengthy tutorials, or hand holding exercises while giving players freedom over the world instantly is what makes this sequel uphold what made A Link to the Past so special.
A Link Between Worlds is the best Zelda game in ages. It’s a return to its roots while being innovative at the same time hopefully paving the way for what the next console Zelda will be. Its an instant classic for the 3DS, a worthy sequel, and a must buy for this holiday season.
Score: 5/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on December 11, 2013 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.