Tag Archives: A Link Between Worlds

Everything old is new again in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

TLOZ A Link Between Worlds early impressions

The first thing I did when I got my copy of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is make a silly Vine video. However, the second thing I did, once the game opened up enough to allow me the freedom to explore, was travel this way and that way and every way possible across the Hyrule map, seeing all my old stomping grounds. Because, in case it wasn’t clear from Grinding Down‘s never-changing header image, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is my absolute favorite game of all the times, of all time. It is only closely followed by Suikoden II. And I, more or less, know it by heart.

To be honest, when ALBW was first announced, I was put off. Very put off. How dare Nintendo create something that seems to exist solely to play with my childhood and early gaming experience nostalgia! HOW DARE THEY. And even as time went on, as previews and early impressions leaked out to the public and even final copy reviews, I refused to give in. No, I will not stand for this. I cannot. This game needed no direct sequel, and all they really had to do was put ALTTP on the 3DS eShop and watch the rupees flood in.

For one, I thought Nintendo’s newest take on Link and Zelda and the realm of Hyrule looked terrible, like some kind of knockoff, straight-to-DVD version called The Tale of Telba: Princess Panic that you’d find in the bargain bin and toss aside without a second glance. When you think about it, the newest game’s graphics are that way and not SNES era sprite-based because you are playing on the Nintendo 3DS, a system able to produce 3D effects sans glasses. However, by the time ALBW came out, Nintendo itself was over the gimmick–and rightly so–but it had been produced that way for a reason from the very start. Which is a shame. I’d rather have had what looked like ALTTP and no 3D than what we have now, even if it does look pretty nifty in a few cinematic spots.

I’ve only played about an hour or so of ALBW since Tara and I were playing catch-up with The Walking Dead, and it’s nice and bouncy and brimming with wonder, but I’m not sure if those warm, fuzzy feelings in my belly are because the game itself is fun or if it’s just reminding me very much of the same kind of fun I had in ALTTP. I guess that’s going to be the real question throughout is whether or not I enjoyed this very same dungeon more some twenty-two years ago or if the new twist on it is enough to warrant it some distinction.

ALBW opens innocently enough: Gulley, the blacksmith’s son, wakes Link up because he has a job to do, which is deliver a finished sword to the Captain at Hyrule Castle. Why Gulley himself couldn’t do this is beyond me. However, Link eventually finds the Captain stuck inside the Sanctuary by a mysterious man called Yuga–hey, that’s A GUY backwards–who turned the Sanctuary’s minister Seres into a painting before running off. Princess Zelda informs Link that he has to obtain the three Pendants of Power to gain the Master Sword, which can defeat Yuga, and yadda yadda yadda. You kinda know the drill by now. Oh, and thanks to some strange, purple rabbit squatting in your house, Link now also has the power to turn into a painting and move along walls and into cracks.

While I still stand by my negative reaction to how the game looks, thankfully it plays like a dream. Moving around with the circle pad instead of the d-pad makes for speedy trekking, and slashing at grass, firing arrows into trees, and bothering chickens is just as enjoyable as it once was. Navigating Hyrule is a joy thanks to the timeless, slightly remixed tunes, as well as the ability for fast travel via a witch’s broomstick. You can also now acquire all of the items before tackling a dungeon by renting them from that previously mentioned purple rabbit. This allows you to take on the dungeons in your order of choice, which sounds really awesome. Alas, so far, I’ve only done the first mandatory one at the Eastern Palace so I can’t speak to exactly how effective this works. There’s definitely a lot of new stuff here to do–that chicken-avoiding mini-game in Kakariko Village is silly fun–and collect, and a lot of other parts have been streamlined for playing portably, which is always appreciated.

I’ll definitely be eating up more ALBW over the upcoming holiday break, but don’t also be surprised to hear that I went through the trouble of dusting off and hooking up my SNES to play the realest, most amazing Hyrule adventure that Link ever played part in. You know that which I speak of. It’s the one that begins with, “Help me… Please help me… I am a prisoner in the dungeon
of the castle. My name is Zelda.”

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Nintendo 3DS and the final two months of 2013

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The next two months are looking to be pretty fantastic for the Nintendo 3DS, with a lot of big name games coming out for the holiday season. However, there’s also a number of smaller, indie-esque titles that look just as interesting, so many that I felt the need to make this post to keep everything clear and tidy and all in one place, as well as a good reminder to myself to spend that cash money for digital entertainment when all of these things drop.

Now, I’m not covering every game coming out for the Nintendo 3DS over the following sixty days (a rough estimate), just the ones that I’m genuinely interested in. Sorry, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies. Let’s take a look then at those vying for my attention.

Pokémon X/Pokémon Y (October 12)

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Ever since Pokémon HeartGold, the unwritten rule in my life now is that I will buy every new Pokémon game that comes out, no hesitation. And then I’ll play it for a bit, get stuck at a certain gym, and put it down for some time until I get that itch to go back. The newest iteration looks really neat, and I love that the battles will now be more animated. Plus, sounds like you can ride some Pokemon around town. That take, bicycle. From early reviews, it sounds like not a whole lot has changed gameplay-wise, but I’m okay with that. I just now have to figure out which one to get, X or Y, and I guess that really depends on what version Garbador is in, as that hunk of junk is my absolute favorite. Guess I gotta do some light research later on…

Hometown Story (October 22)

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Having almost nearly given up all hope on a North American release for Fantasy Life, it looks like Hometown Story will have to fill my “take on a non-traditional role in an RPG” gaming void. It’s a life simulation game created by Harvest Moon creator Yasuhiro Wada wherein you run the small shop you inherited from your grandmother. You can interact with customers and watch both your shop and town grow in response. That’s all I know so far, but it looks cute and charming and I never did get around to trying out Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale, so this will be my first taste of this niche genre.

Batman Arkham Origins Blackgate (October 25)

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I don’t know much about the Batman games as of late, though I did eventually purchase Batman: Arkham Asylum for five bones during a PSN summer sale, but haven’t played it yet. Hopefully before the year’s out. Anyways, this Blackgate Metroidvania romp through a 2.5D prison space looks a lot like Shadow Complex–which I actually dipped back into recently and continue to enjoy–more my thing, and I’m real curious to see how faithful to its genre it stays or sways. I’m not a huge Batman fan, and not even LEGO Batman could sway me, but if this what I think it is and the billionaire’s array of expensive and effective gadgets are innovative enough to use, I’m in.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (November 22)

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My love for A Link to the Past demands I get this and see what Nintendo has construed in this so-called sequel to one of the best SNES games of all time. I am worrisome in that it looks kind of…lazily designed, and by that I mean that the world looks like a simple update of graphics, but I guess there will be all new dungeons. I also don’t yet grok the whole “turn into a piece of wall art” element, but I want to give this a fair shake. It might be riding a bit too freely on nostalgia’s back though, if you get what I’m saying, and that would be a dang shame, but a new Zelda game is few and far between these days, so this is a must-buy regardless.

Grinsia (Release date TBD)

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This Grinsia looks like some straight-up, old-school JRPGing, and I’m a-okay with that, especially since it’ll be a downloadable title from the eShop. Sounds like some treasure hunters looking for special relics or something like that. Isn’t that the plot in Wild Arms? No matter! Give me, give me, give me.

Treasurenauts (Release date TBD)

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In Treasurenauts, which comes from the same team that made the delightfully challenging Mutant Mudds, your goal is to collect enough treasure to pay for an escape from a perilous, uncharted island. It is an action platformer, and when you get hit, your treasure explodes from your body like those gold rings when Sonic would land on spikes, and then you have to maddeningly hurry to collect all your jews. Here’s an early tip then: don’t get hit. It looks like quite a lot of fun despite the simple premise, and hopefully there is more to the gameplay than what I’ve seen in trailers so far.

And that’s all I can list for now, otherwise my wallet will just up itself from my pocket, flip me the bird, and run off into the Pennsylvania woods, to see if it is better off without me. Chances are it probably is.