Just yesterday, my copy of The Legend of Zelda: A Link between Worlds arrived, and since it arrived, I've been doing hardly anything else outside of school than enjoying this gem on my 3DS. I'll be honest, the game was actually just planned as a time filler for me, until I could get my hands on Super Mario 3D World. After all, though, Super Mario is still my favourite franchise.
That's why A Link Between Worlds comes as a huge surprise. Sure, the reviews of the game had been overly positive, but I didn't expect to be sucked into the game as much as I am right now.
Too keep things clear, while I'm not in love with the franchise, I've always respected the Zelda games. I never witnessed games like Ocarina of Time, A Link to the Past or Majora's Mask when they were released. In fact, the first Zelda game I played fully was the 3D remake of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. And it was a blast, I'll admit. I also played parts of Twilight Princess, at times where my brother needed help or I just wanted to give the game a try. The other 2 Zelda games I played were Phantom Hourglass and Skyward Sword. Phantom Hourglass was quite disappointing. It wasn't bad, not by a far shot, but it wasn't particularly good either. It was simply okay. Skyward Sword is a completely different case. As it was my first console Zelda game for me too tackle, I was pretty excited to play this game. And it received outstanding scores. In the end, however, I was a little disappointed with the overall package. That doesn't mean it wasn't good in my opinion, it had lots of great and outstanding moments, like the temples and the boss battles that followed. But it also had many flaws for my taste that ensured both frustration and exhaustion, especially towards the end. Up until now, I actually never quite finished the game.
But with that, let me get to the main topic here. I'll keep my impressions short, since I don't have too much time. So, A Link Between Worlds is quite a surprise for me. But there are reasons. Now first of all, the only game that I had played that seemed to have a bit of the same style and camera perspective was Phantom Hourglass, which as you know now wasn't my favourite game of all time. However, the newest adventure of Link is much more appealing than I initially thought it would be. The controls are spot on, but it's the rather simple yet extremely effective world and dungeon designs that make this game a blast. Instead of having an epic plot with rather spectacular storytelling and the more epic, grand feeling like the console Zelda games have, A Link Between World treats these features as secondary and treats the gameplay as it's one and only primary. With A Link Between Worlds, you get as little of a tutorial as possible, instead letting you right away into this big world full of surprises and collectibles. The story is definitely present, and quite interesting, but it focuses more on the pure enjoyment that comes within exploring the world at your own.
Up until now I've already experienced 3 dungeons, each one with outstanding design, as well as the following bosses of each dungeon, which weren't as equally impressive as the dungeons. The first boss battle was fantastic, presenting an epic and exciting battle in a classic way. The second boss battle was over within seconds, without any kind of a lasting impression. The third boss battle was better, with a much bigger length and more challenge, though that battle wasn't really memorable as well. Yet, none of these boss battles were bad in a way of being to lackluster or boring. Just not memorable at all, except the first battle.
Of course, wondering around the hub world of the game took away the majority of my playing time up until now. It's incredibly well designed, with many secrets and collectibles to find. The more items you have, the more can be found within the world, and it's just incredibly fun exploring the world and taking down all enemies in your way. Of course, I can't say anything about the comparison of the hubworld of A Link to the Past and this game, since I never played A Link to the Past.
Also adding to the game is the ability to rent items. Unlike past Zelda games, items that are mandatory for beating dungeons can all be grabbed at once, very early into the game. This makes for a level of freedom that hasn't been present in a Zelda game until now. And it's an incredibly good feature that let's you tackle dungeons and other areas within the hub world in the order you want to tackle them.
Presentational wise the game is quite solid as well. It's a great looking game, even if the environments can look a little inharmonious at times. The soundtrack is also quite good. While I'm not sure, I think most of these tracks are just remastered versions of the old game, either way, the game has some great music playing along the adventure.
And that sums it up for right now. I was expecting a fun, entertaining experience with this newest Zelda title, but I wasn't expecting it to be this good. I hope to post a review as soon as possible, though who knows when that will be. But one thing is sure: A Link Between Worlds has the potentional to be one of the best titles of the 3DS in my eyes.
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