When Nintendo officially announced a sequel to “The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past” more than 20 years after its original release, I, like many other people, were ecstatic.
Knowing Nintendo, I had high hopes for a game that would cater to both longtime fans and newbies of the series.
Unfortunately, the final product is what I think I can call my least favorite Zelda game to date. Long gone is that feeling of exploration, self-discovery and character growth. What you get is a game that feels more like a parody Zelda title created by some fan in their garage. Zelda, “A Link Between Worlds” is a sequel set 300 something years after the events of the first game, but Nintendo has done little to nothing to make it feel so.
With a world that is almost identical to its predecessor, there is almost nothing here for longtime fans who want to explore this Hyrule and to see more. If there is one key difference, it’s that during the 300 something years that occurred between both games Link and his family must have interbred with goats because that’s what this Link looks like now.
In order to establish its own identity, “A Link Between Worlds” starts you off with the ability to rent every key item at the start of the game such as the hook shock, the boomerang, bombs, bows, and arrows, etc. This means no more rewarding sense of progression through exploration just pony up enough cash and all the items that normally require lots of effort to obtain are immediately yours. There is some sense of risk.
If you die anytime during the game all the items that you rented return to the store, however, I was always careful and saved before going off into a dangerous place so as long as you save before entering a dungeon you’ll be fine. If you don’t then you will have to go through the annoying task of traversing all the way back to your home just so that you can rent them again. After you’ve beaten the first three dungeons you will be given the opportunity to buy these items indefinitely.
Just like “A Link To The Past” you have a magic meter that drains overuse. However, unlike “ALTTP” magic is drained with everything you use. Everything meaning a simple swing of a hammer or throw of a boomerang will cast magic. So say you want to stock up on ammo and attack enemies repeatedly with a barrage of arrows bombs. And just about anything else, you can’t do that because instead of collecting these items your items are linked to your magic meter.
Your magic gauge is not going to let you shoot more than a good 7 to 8 arrows before it depletes. Why does shooting an arrow drain your magic meter, why can I simply not pick up arrows and bombs like in “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” sequel?
Sure your magic meter regenerates quickly but still, your items should never be linked to a bar of energy unless it’s a open-world game like Far Cry 2 where you have a stamina bar, but this isn’t that game. The Zelda’s biggest new feature is the ability to turn yourself into a painting and traverse walls. This ability uses magic energy and is extremely useful when traversing tight areas. Though it isn’t used that often in combat.
One boss fight requires you to time their attacks and then just as they’re about to ram you, you have to turn into a painting to make them run into a wall and disorient them. For me though the lack of difficulty and memorable set pieces is what made this game a mediocre forgettable title.
I get the feeling that Nintendo has forgotten what it feels like to make a game hard as damn near every dungeon in this game I was able to beat on my first try in less than 45 minutes. For a Zelda game, that’s pathetic.
Every dungeon in this game requires you to use one and only item to beat it. At the very beginning of the dungeon, their is a symbol telling you what key item you need to use to complete it. After beating the dungeon and facing the boss instead of trying to find creative ways to beat it you just use the same item that you’ve been using for the entire level to defeat it.
Half the fun in any Zelda game for me at least is trying to figure out what combination of items is needed to beat a certain level. When the game flat out tells you that you only need one specific item to complete that entire ordeal it zaps away the joy.
There is a lot of stuff to do outside of the main quest that can be fun and adds replay value. Certain subplots like catching a thief to acquire shoes that let you run faster, collecting ore for a blacksmith to upgrade your sword, and wait does this seem familiar? It is, it sounds like I’m talking about “A Link To The Past”, doesn’t it. It’s hard for a sequel to stand on its own to feet when its best moments are referencing its predecessor.
There is also an online mode but it’s completely worthless, all you can do is play against other peoples pre-set shadow links that they’ve customized. You can’t play against your friends in a 1 on 1 match. Isn’t that the point of multiplayer in any game, to play with your friends?
If your a fan of the original game and want a true sequel then I recommend importing the game “BS The Legend Of Zelda: Ancient Stone Tablets” for the Super Famicom. Simply because “A Link Between Worlds” is not the game a true Zelda fan deserves.