The Legend Of Zelda #ALinkBetweenWorlds

I am an avid fan of the Legend Of Zelda series ever since my first time playing video games, and to me, they opitimise everything good about video games - They're epic, they're colourful yet broad in appeal, they involve a big sword, and most importantly, they're fun. 

If anything, I lean towards preferring the handheld games over the console endeavours, as it's just amazing how something so grand in scale can fit on to such a small screen. Links Awakening DX was the first LOZ game I ever played and is still one of the very best. 


And now, Link makes his way to the small(ish) screen yet again, in a completely original Zelda game, A Link Between Worlds, a sequel to the stunning 16bit Link to The Past. The result of Ninty's merging of the nostalgia of old with the tech and design of new is pretty much flawless, creating an instant classic; a must own title for the 3DS and certainly a good enough reason to go out  and buy a system to play it. It really is that good. 


Frequent visitors to the pastures of Hyrule will instantly recognise a lot of the musical themes in ALBW. The 16bit midi has been reorchestrated and sounds exquisit, bringing with it excitement, tension and celebration throughout. Even the sound effects used are polished, with satisfying sounds signalling skipping through text for example - not an annoying beep on earshot. 

They should also recognise the overworld map. It really is a sequel to ALTTP, and whilst the game encourages you to explore very early on, you'll no doubt be treading some familiar paths and taking a walk down nostalgia lane. And it's all presented in brilliant colours and clarity, using the 3d effect throughout. This especially adds depth to the dungeons, which make use of the effect when moving from floor to floor. Early on, Link uses springs to ascend a dungeon, bursting out of the screen before landing safely one floor up. 


As for gameplay, the traditional complete a dungeon with the gear you find within has been replaced with a renting system, making the familiar in game currency of Rupees arguably more important than before. You rent your gear, and should you die, you lose it. A nice idea, though in my first play through I only died once, meaning I soon had enough rupees to buy equipment should I have fallen. Lots of the series staples are still available to equip, such as the hookshot, the bow, and the always inessential boomerang. 

Another new mechanic is the 'as seen on TV' ability to merge into walls as a painting. Link can move left to right in this  state as long as the magic meter lasts. It makes for some ingenious puzzles and some glorious artwork. Picking up painted rupees and hearts is beautiful to behold and really put a smile on my fave when I realised it could be done. 


The dungeons then, for me at least, were tricky, but combat is not. Puzzles and routes often take a lot of scratching your head to work out but fights, even with bosses, were never truly difficult. This is not to say they lacked tension, the music and cramped arenas see to this, but Inwas still able to make my way through with few casulties. Fortunately though, there is an included hero mode which is unlocked upon completion for those wishing to test themselves. 

Finally then, there is the StreetPass. This has been used to gain hits from other 'Link's' from other people's game. They show up in yours as Dark Links in the overworld. Bumping into these triggers a 1on1 battle using your currently equipped gear and nothing else. This is an intuitive and unobtrusive way of using StreetPass and definitely enriches the Zelda experience. 


All in all then, a pristinely polished game which utilises both the nostalgia from the prequel and the new tech of the 3DS to create something sublime. A must by for anyone interested in gaming adventures. 

(Screenshots taken from Official Nintendo Website, at http://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/Z6ft-sYy0pxxdkRc-dIxtTH7XHqWVLl9)

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