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LONG BLOG

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Review (2019)

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Foreword: Below is an edited version of the script that I used for my Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds review. Scripting is still something that is new to me due to the fact that I feel that my writing is often times inadequete to convey my thoughts as they appear. That and my grammer is absolutely attrocious at times. Originally I was going to post my Museum Exhibition project about Nintendo here, but the C-Blog editor did not agree with the format that the project is in, so perhaps in 2020 I will post that since I need to keep the project for my records. Anyway, enough rambling so here's the script that I used in A Link Between Worlds' review

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past defined not only a generation but would inspire Zelda design for years to come since its initial release. So, how do you create a pseudo-sequel set within the same Hyrule as A Link to the Past, but change just enough to not have it be compared to its predecessor? Well even Nintendo couldn’t help people make comparisons to A Link to the Past, but I believe that A Link Between Worlds does not only enough to separate itself from A Link to the Past, but actually has me prefer this spiritual successor more than A Link to the Past in general. A small disclaimer before we begin, I personally did not grow up with A Link to the Past. In fact, I didn’t play the game until I purchased it on the Wii Virtual Console through the Wii U in 2013, the same year A Link Between Worlds came out. While A Link to the Past is definitely an amazing game though, after playing A Link Between Worlds completely I can’t help but prefer the newer title over the older one.

The Legend of Zelda A Link Between Worlds begins like how most Legend of Zelda games begin, with our main protagonist, Link, sleeping like a log in his nice cozy bed. Well like how most Legend of Zelda games begin anyway, Wind Waker Link likes to sleep on the floor, but hey I ain’t gonna judge. While sleeping Link is having a recurring nightmare of him nearly dying to a giant shadowy figure, but before he can figure out what it all means he is woken up by his boss’s son and friend Gully. Gully was sent by Link’s boss the Blacksmith to make sure Link reports to work today. After arriving to work and getting an earful not only from his boss, but the captain of the Hyrule guard, Link is given a task to deliver the Captain’s sword to him, as the Captain forgot it at the Blacksmith’s before heading out. Traveling our way through Hyrule Link arrives at the Captain’s first stop, the Sanctuary. But before we can enter trouble is afoot. The doors slam shut and lock, and screams can be heard inside the Sanctuary. So, to combat this danger our hero is sent to the Sanctuary catacombs in order to get into the Sanctuary and find out what’s going on.

Once in the Sanctuary we are introduced to Yuga, a Wizard seeking perfection through the descendants of the Seven Sages in Hyrule. How does he seek this perfection, by turning the descendants into pastel paintings. After sealing away the first of the Sages, Seres of the Sanctuary, and easily thwarting Link with the powers of the second dimension Yuga escapes and leaves us for dead; luckily a traveling merchant who needs a place to set up shop was passing by and takes Link with him to a familiar looking house. Link let’s Ravio stay at his place, and in return Ravio gives link a special bracelet that smells like how my car does when a drink spills. Link then proceeds to Hyrule Castle to warn Princess Zelda of the imminent danger of Yuga. Fearing Yuga wishes to revive Ganon Zelda gives us the Pendant of Courage and sends us to track Yuga down and stop him before Yuga can revive Ganon. This is a task that Link seems to be horrible at, as after tracking Yuga down at the Eastern Palace Link tries to stop Yuga, only to be sealed within a wall in the dungeon similar to how the Captain was sealed in the Sanctuary.  All seems lost until Link is able to re-emerge from the wall with help of a bracelet Ravio had given him before.

Zelda gameplay for the largest part of the series history has generally remained the same. This also holds true for A Link Between Worlds in many regards. As such I’m going to focus on the new additions that A Link Between Worlds brings to the Zelda formula, and by Gulley there are quite a few to be sure. The first of which being that you do not obtain dungeon specific items through the dungeons themselves. Remember Ravio? Well he’s not just some free-loader in our house as Ravio sets up shop after the first dungeon. What Ravio does is rent out items for us to use in Dungeons. From classics such as the Hookshot, Bombs, and Bow and Arrow to newer items such as the new Sand Rod and Tornado Rod respectively. Ravio rents the items out to you and you are allowed to keep the items for as long as you like; the catch, if you fall in battle at any point Ravio will take the items back and you will have to re-rent them. While that seems rather unfortunate if you were to fall and lose all your items, the rental rate is extremely cheap and running out of rupees is never really a concern. Replacing ammunition for these items is a magic meter that refills over time and is consumed whenever an item is used. This can lead to some wait time if the player decides to try and spam items or decides to merge into a wall which also consumes the meter, but with how rapid the meter recharges it never really becomes too much of an issue. And when in doubt the player can drink some purple potion they purchase to instantly refill their magic meter.

Rupees are a major driving force in A Link Between Worlds. You use them to play minigames, buy items such as potions from the Witch’s shop, rent and later buy the items from Ravio, and even get a bottle at one point. Rupees are plentiful in both Hyrule and Lorule, but you’ll notice bigger payouts of rupees from enemies in Lorule rather than Hyrule. The challenge in this case though is that in Lorule, enemies hit like a semi-truck. Moblins, Hinoxes, Like-Likes and the new Rupee Like-Likes all plague the land of Lorule. So much so that the last bastions of civilization in Lorule even worship the monsters themselves or are completely jaded about the state in which Lorule is in. The land is so corrupt and destroyed that traversing Lorule in itself is difficult due to giant fissures in the land requiring Link to travel back and forth between Hyrule and Lorule through newly formed portals since Yuga-Ganon’s awakening. To minimize the constant back-and-forth that the game would require, there is a fast travel method in A Link Between Worlds. Early in the game the player meets one of the Seven Sages, Irene, who gives Link a bell that allows her to use her magic broom to pick Link up and take him to a previous location so long as Link activated the weather vane in that corresponding area. Even after Irene is captured by Yuga, Link still has access to her broom in both Hyrule and Lorule which I love. Weather Vanes are always located in key areas right in front of a dungeon, palace, or town and are the only means of saving the game, similar to the while playing A Link Between Worlds so you will always be activating one at some point. 

If there were a low-point in regard to the gameplay I would have to concede that the Maiamai hunting can be extremely tedious. Near Link’s house in Hyrule there is a cave that requires a bomb to be used to open it up; once inside you are introduced to Mother Maiamai, a giant Octopus-like creature who has lost her 100 babies in both Hyrule and Lorule. Upon meeting her your map on the lower screen is given a Maiamai counter which shows how many Maiamai are located within that specific map screen section. What’s the purpose of finding these Maiamai? Well should you take 10 of Mother Maiamai’s children back to her she will upgrade one of your items, provided you have bought it from Ravio, to a more powerful version of that item. Generally doing more damage or having a large area of effect these items make the tougher enemies of Lorule a breeze to deal with. Collect all 100 Maiamai and Link is rewarded with an upgraded Spin Attack. Maiamai are always identifiable by the squeaking sound they make when they area nearby, so you’ll definitely hear them if you are close to one. My major issue with the Maiamai are two things: many require the Titan Mitts to get or are locked behind minigame areas requiring the player to pay for the minigame again just to obtain the Maiamai. If for any reason you do not start the Maiamai hunt at its earliest point you might find yourself backtracking to locations that you’ve already visited once just for one Maiamai. This means that if you had already done a minigame like Rupee Rush and obtained its piece of heart, you’ll have to pay again to get the Maiamai that spawns inside the minigame’s playing field to get just that Maiamai. And touching on the minigames briefly, many of them are fun, except for Octo-ball Derby. That minigame is a blemish on what I consider to be a fun bunch of minigames by the sheer fact that the game requires some god-like amount of skill, or luck, to pull off. Easily spent the most rupees in the entire game on just that minigame alone.

So, through all of this you might be wondering what the connections to A Link to the Past are. Well besides the fact that Hyrule’s map and Lorule’s map are almost exactly the same as A Link to the Past’s Hyrule and Lorule the music used in A Link Between Worlds largely is comprised of updated A Link to the Past tracks. While Koji Kondo composed the tracks originally for A Link to the Past, composer Ryo Nagamatsu would update the tracks for the Nintendo 3DS and they all sound amazing. Ryo Nagamatsu was a name I did not recognize until doing research for this review, and while his sound library is not nearly as large as Kondo’s his contributions are well documented. From being the main composer for Super Mario Galaxy 2, New Super Mario Bros Wii, Mario Kart 8, Splatoon 2, and even The Legend of Zelda 30th Anniversary Concert and the recently released Link’s Awakening remake Nagamatsu has definitely made a name for himself in the composer world with Nintendo. However, I believe that the tracks that shine the most in this game are the ones specifically made for A Link Between Worlds. My favorite tracks being all renditions of Yuga’s theme, Lorule Castle’s theme, Return of the Hero, and the various Milk Bar themes with Ballad of the Goddess being my absolute favorite of the Milk Bar tracks. Sadly, like many Nintendo soundtracks, they are only available within Japan and importing them can be an expensive endeavor. One day Nintendo may release their tracks onto streaming services…at least I hope one day they do. Come on Nintendo, Square Enix finally did it with Nobuo Uematsu’s tracks, surely you can throw us Nintendo fans a bone of some kind? At least do it for Kirby!

Afterward: I also included the video below with the final product for the review. Editing it was really fun to do and I hope to make video reviews, along with scripting in general, something I do more and more often. Hopefully this all makes sense and thank you all for reading. Have a great New Year!

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About Neroniumone of us since 12:32 AM on 01.27.2015

I'm but a simple forum refugee, seeking a new place to be.

Oh, you wanted an actual bio? Okay then. Well I'm a college graduate with a degree in history who will be going to graduate school to acquire a Masters in Library and Informational Science. In my free time I create Let's Play videos under the YouTube username Neronium, and I also stream on Twitch under Neroniumlive. Video editing and creating thumbnail templates are fun activities for me and I hope to continue to do both of them for years to come.

Special thanks to Dango for creating the awesome side bar image!