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4.7 out of 5 stars
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (Nintendo 3DS)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 26 February 2015
Before you carry on reading the rest of the review let me begin by saying that:

(i) if you don't own a Nintendo 3DS console, then this game is a good enough reason, on its own, to buy the system (preferably the 'New 3DS' model released in February 2015);

(ii) if you own a Nintendo 3DS console, but have not picked up this game, then don't hesitate for a moment to purchase it.

Simply put, ''The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds'' is, in my opinion, one of the greatest games to be released to date for the Nintendo 3DS and without a doubt one of the best and most addictive gaming experiences I've had in recent years on any gaming platform. As you will see, I'm reviewing this in February 2015, so by 'gaming platform' I also include the new PS4 and Xbox One consoles.

The game is a 2013 revisitation of ''The Legenda of Zelda: A Link to the Past'', a much hallowed game released for the Super Nintendo in 1992. '"A Link Between Worlds'' presumes no knowledge of the 1992 iteration, thus providing a fantastic opportunity for introducing new players to ''The Legend of Zelda'' series whilst at the same time allowing long term fans to indulge in some well-deserved nostalgia.

''The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds'' is probably best described as a: (1) action (2) adventure game with (3) some RPG elements:

(1) The action resides within the game's focus on combat, which revolves around use of Link's sword or a choice of magical powers;

(2) The adventure refers to the possibility of freely exploring two alternate worlds and the pleasure of discovering new locations, secrets, and side quests, in particular via use of the 'merging' technique you will learn of in the game, thus, if you like, providing a '3DS-scaled open world' experience;

(3) The RPG element refers to the fact that, as the player advances in the game, the character will grow in terms of both health and magical parameters, and will also acquire new gear, items, etc. Having said that, the RPG element is light : for example, there is no turn-based or heavily strategical component to the combat.

But, you may ask, how is this different from the countless other games that fall within the definition I've just provided?

My answer: Dungeons.

The absolute genius of this game is expressed via the challenges the player will encounter in the dungeons scattered throughout the world. As previously mentioned, the game allows you to explore the world(s) freely, particularly after the first 'segment' of the game, so you'll have a choice of which dungeons you choose to visit at any given time. The dungeons are really an excuse to test the player's logical ability and puzzle solving skills. Let me tell you, they are a delight to play, and in my view a much welcome shift away from the quick and easy satisfaction that seems to be the guiding principle of so many games nowadays. They are the absolute highlight of my experience with ''A Link Between Worlds''.

Add to that:

- Easy and fully accessible gameplay mechanics;

- A simple but compelling story ; and,

- Iconic Nintendo characters such as Link and Princess Zelda

-- and what you find yourselves with is an extremely balanced and enjoyable game that will demand hours and hours of involvement from you and, trust me, you will know, merely a few minutes in the game, that you will enjoy every single moment of it.

Any other game would still be relatively pricey at £25 -- this is a steal. It's a Nintendo classic. A must have. An essential game for your 3DS collection. So act first, think later : buy this game, now.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 6 October 2014
The first original Zelda game for the 3DS and the usual top quality you'd expect from a Zelda game. Following on from the classic Super Nintendo entry Link to the Past, A Link Between Worlds brings top down Hyrule bang up to date whilst dishing out the nostalgia to those with fond memories of the 1992 classic.
Whilst a very enjoyable adventure maybe a finger can be pointed at the lower difficulty than we have come to expect but does not detract from the quality of the game.
The game isn't Links best and it is far from perfect but every 3DS owner should have this in their collection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 September 2014
This is a very fun Zelda game, it is unique in plot, game play and weaponry and has a wonderful feel to it.

I won't go into the story too much as I don't want to ruin it however it is nice to have Ganon as a background character and nice to have the main enemy affect the gameplay so much. As you may know already the main 'quirk' of this game is the way you can navigate the world by becoming flat and painting like. This is really fun and makes puzzles a lot more interesting as well as how you explore Hyrule.

A rather controversial change is the rental of weapons. Weapons are available straight away to rent and so the order of most temples/ dungeons is up to you. I liked this a lot, it felt more natural, rather than waiting to find a weapon in a dungeon you were able to have the more natural ability to simply rent it. This does not mean you can go anywhere, you still need to complete quests to gain items that will give you extra abilities, and so the world is not yours from the very beginning but simply a little larger than usual.

This feature of rental could have worked even better. Rupees are precious as they ensure your development of the game however they are simply So easy to get. This is what has dropped it a star for me, the ease of which you can gain rupees and so weapons makes the game far far easier than any other Zelda.

The difficulty of the game does develop randomly with this new ability of choosing your own order of dungeons, meaning some are difficult early on and later on they may seem far too easy. Over all however this hasn't taken anything from the fun of the game.

My last point would be the beauty of the game. The graphics are fantastic and the world is very pretty. The music adds to this beauty and is some of my favourite in any Zelda game.

I cannot comment on the 3D of the game as I have played it on a 2DS (from what I can tell not having 3D took nothing away from gameplay).

Overall I immensely enjoyed this game, from plot, graphics, music and the way it plays. It is original but agree with so many other- it is truly the easiest Zelda I have yet to play.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2015
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is the first Zelda game made exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS is set in the fan-favorite world of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. A daring adventure awaits Link in Hyrule, where he can use his new ability to become a “drawing” and move along walls of dungeons. This opens up ways to explore and puzzle elements that give Link access to locations he could not otherwise reach.

What could have been an easy sequel that traded on past glories is instead a compelling argument for digging up the foundations of Zelda and seeing what happens - rather like Wind Waker did 10 years ago. A Link Between Words is not a total revolution, but it may very well be the start of one. I haven’t been so challenged by a Zelda since Ocarina of Time, and rarely have I been so consistently surprised by one.

Between Worlds recaptures the spirit of adventure that gave the early games Zelda their potency, and lays out a vision for Zelda games still to come. It invites them - and us, the long-term fans - to let go of conventions that may have been comforting, but were ultimately holding us back. It’s at once intensely nostalgic and powerfully novel, unpatronising and cerebral. As a Zelda fan, I couldn’t wish for much more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 March 2015
As a Zelda-fan, I must admit that Zelda - A link between worlds is a great game with a fantastic atmosphere, amazing soundtrack and a unique action-based gameplay. I love the game! The 3D-effect also adds to the experience. I played Zelda - link to the past, the predecessor of this game, on Super Nintendo. I must admit that "A link between worlds" has a lot familiar to "link to the past". And I loved that. Why not give the game 5 stars, you might say. Well, the difficulty-level of the game could be great for new Zelda-players, but I experienced it as a rather easy game. They could have made it harder. The dungeons in the game were mostly quiet short and the puzzles were not that hard. Yet, no other game will bring the same experience as this one. In my opinion, it's a must have game!!! Enjoy!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 21 March 2014
When I say 2D, I mean top down semi-3Dish 2D, as opposed to Ocarina of tIme.

This game is a sequel to the popular game from the SNES, A Link to The Past, it takes many elements that made that game great (Open world exploring, large amount of dungeons) and makes them even better.

This game is the first Zelda game to not have the dungeon items inside the dungeon. In every other Zelda game, the dungeon item would be found about halfway through the dungeon after fighting the mini-boss, the dungeon item would then be used extensively to finish the dungeon, and kill the boss. And depending on the item would be used outside of the dungeon too, some more than others.

This game scraps that idea, you now buy your items from Ravio for 800 or 1200 rupees a piece, then make your way to whichever dungeon you choose. This gives rupees a large use too, typically rupees in Zelda games are either barely used or used to buy some expensive item, in this game rupees are in constant demand, although getting the 15k+ rupees needed to 100% the game is not too hard, those who don't explore and rush will find themselves with a serious rupee problem. The game rewards players with rupees for finding chests in dungeons and the overworld, which goes towards the next item you're trying to buy which works perfectly. Rupees feel like a real use, rather than just stacking up in the hopes of some 4000 rupee heartpiece.

The game rewards those who played the original by having many secrets in Hyrule be the same, though they're not all the same, you will know where some are. This isn't a detriment to new players though, if anything those who didn't play the original will find even more exploration.

Lorule however, the somewhat unoriginal name for the dark world, will be new to everyone, and this is where you'll be spending majority of your time. The game takes place in both Hyrule and Lorule, after the first 3 dungeons of the game, you'll travel to Lorule and you're then free to fully explore and play whichever dungeon you wish, with the exception of one. I won't spoil it but one dungeon requires an item only found after another. It was an interesting twist, switched things up a bit.

There are 10 main dungeons, a final one and a semi-one. Unlike ALLTP where the dungeons could feel a bit samey, they all have a unique theme, there's your standard ice, desert, fire and all that, and a few other more interesting ones. There's a nice variety of dungeons. Dungeon wise, they're all well designed, with floors, another thing not seen much in the original is each floor having levels, although this was in ALLTP, every dungeon has 2 or even 3 levels, making it feel larger. Dungeons are typically 2 floors with a 3rd floor containing the boss. They're long enough, and since you have the item from the start, you get a good use out of it, that said, they could've been a bit longer, I think an extra floor would've made them perfect.

The music is a mixture of ok, decent and fantastic, the dungeon music is mostly good enough, its atmospheric and varied enough that you won't get bored of it. The overworld music is I believe, orchestrated and sounds fantastic, although nothing sounds bad, some sounds better than others. Some of the Dungeon music is plain catchy, others is just random piano keys that add more atmoshpere.

The graphics look beautiful, everything is full of life, arrows fly through the air, the fire rod burns the grass, water looks clear yet slightly opaque, and ripples. The game runs at a constant 60FPS and it's very noticeable, everything feels very fluid and responsive and I never raged because link didn't move or lag killed me. There was only one place in the game I experienced lag, and it was brief.

Items are done quite well too, there's the series staples, so you'll be throwing bombs, shooting arrows and whacking guys with the boomerang, the fire and ice rods return, and are great fun to use, watching the fire rod burn an enemy before flinging it into the air with it clutching it's butt was hilarious to say the least. Items are used with the new Energy Bar, which replaces the Magic Bar, I really love this bar, using an item ill use energy, which refills over time, in previous games I never really used more powerful magic weapons because I wanted to conserve my magic, in this game it gives you loads of options for combat, you can freeze an enemy with the ice rod, burn them with the fire rod, fling them into the air with a new item, the absence of magic also means you won't be leaving dungeons because of a sudden need for magic. Some may say it makes it easier, however yu can only use your weapon a few times before the bar depeletes, don't expect to destroy 20 enemies by spamming the fire rod.

The items can be upgraded using the new hunt for the miamais sidequest, in essence it's this games equivelent of gold skulltalas, every 10 you find you can upgrade a weapon, the upgrades are great, although a few can only be gotten after the item has been used in the dungeon. Finding them all is quite a task, and some of are hidden quite well, expect to slice every bush, and lift every rock if you wish to get all 100.

A new thing coming into this game is the ability to turn into a painting, at first people were skepticle, saying it's a ripoff of paper mario. However this mechanic adds alot to the game, it allows you to move along walls, and enter portals to hop between Lorule and Hyrule, hopping between the worlds is crucial, as Lorule is a mess of islands, and you can't reach everything without warping, the painting mechanic finds its way into every dungeon, and is used in more unique ways, you can slip through bars, avoid attacks, create wall paths and then travel along them. It never feels abused, and each time is used in a new way.

The upgrades previously obtained through sidequest are now in Dungeons, this work great too, the chests typically are a little out of the way, but you'll want to hunt for them.

The maps are easy to use, overworld maps allow you to zoom in and look at things in more detail, you can also use pins to mark an important location, if you come across an area you can't do anything in, stick a pin there and you won't forget. Dungeon maps are also easy to navigate, they show chests and each room, the dungeon map is available from the start, however the official map is needed to reveal treasure chests and your location. There's no compass, it comes with the map.

The story is interesting enough, with a few twists.

Overall, this game is the best 2Dish top down Zelda ever made, it offers close to 20 hours of gameplay and exploration. Difficulty wise the game is not too brutal, enemies take off anything from 1-2 hearts typically, however upon completeing the game, you'll access Hero Mode, which offers 4x damage, those looking for a challenge will find it here, suddenly Keese are doing 2 hearts of damage.

I recommend this game to anyone who loves Zelda.

Overall scores:

Gameplay: 10/10
Music: 8/10
Graphics: 10/10
Story: 8/10

A few bland tunes and a not too complex story.
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on 3 June 2015
Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is a good candidate for "Best Zelda Game". It is certainly the most fun I have had playing Zelda.

Whilst the story is not overly contrived and relatively simple, it adds just enough charm to be engrossing and engaging throughout and leaves you wanting more. The 3D in this game is the best I have seen in a 3DS game and I would deem is a necessity for playing as most dungeons utilize it really well.

I loved the rental system in the game, whilst starting I was slightly confused because I didn't know you could rent items, leading me on a quest to find the bow... eventually I died and got sent to Ravi's house and then it all clicked!

The main feature, the wall-merging is amazing - Nintendo have implemented this idea perfectly, with enough hidden chests and puzzles to keep it exciting and fresh. I found myself towards the later stages on the game to be scanning every wall I could see - it adds another great puzzle element for you to think of.

The combat was fun and fresh, it had enough from Link To The Past, and enough newer mechanics to be really interesting. I upgraded my fire staff last, which was really disappointing, because as soon as I saw how good it was, I used it for everything! The overall difficulty in the game was slightly easy, however there were points that had me stumped (mainly the Pegasus Boots!) - I am sure if you want a real challenge, you can start hero mode and complete the advanced level of the Treacherous Tower on three hearts with no potions or fairies and just using the Super Lamp and Super Net!

It seems easier to 100% than other Zelda games, I personally was too terrible at Baseball and Sprinting to get the final pieces of hearts. However I think Nintendo did a great job here in the Maiamai quest - which forced you to go to each location on the map and find the majority of heart pieces and secrets along the way.

All in all, I think this game is near perfect - I hope they make another one of these with the same mechanics, perhaps in a new map now we have had the Nostalgia kick!
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on 27 December 2014
For those who thought Zelda games of late have grown stale, this fantastic game is the step forward the franchise has needed for a long time. It's extremely engrossing, beautifully designed and simply a fun, easy to pick up title.

If it's not immediately obvious, this game is inspired heavily by the SNES classic A Link to the Past. However, this game isn't a mere remake; it takes the foundations of a brilliant game and twists them into something new. Fans of ALTTP may recognise many similarities, but the brand new dungeons are clever, unique and rather snappy, making them perfect for handheld gaming.

The game's biggest strengths are the two main new mechanics; renting core items and transforming into a painting. The former allows you more freedom to play the game how you want, instead of how the designers wanted. It's satisfying to have access to a full arsenal early in the game, and renting allows for a greater degree of freedom and exploration. You can tackle dungeons in any order you choose, harking back to the non-linear Zeldas of old. If you die, you lose your rented items and must rent them again for a cost, which adds decent balance to this concept. Transforming into a painting is an awesome idea; it's really cool to be able to interact with the environment in this way. It breaks down barriers in the world and presents opportunities for ingenious new puzzles. Traversing the expansive light and dark worlds using this mechanic in search of heart pieces or lost creatures is so much fun.

In addition to the central story (which is charming, but like other Zelda games, predictable and simple) and dungeon crawling, there's more to do in the game's two overworlds. You can search for heart pieces to add to your health, search for creatures to upgrade your items, play minigames to score lots of rupees (the game's currency) and much more. You can even use the streetpass function of the 3DS/2DS to fight shadows of other players' characters to win prizes. In short, this game has a lot to see and do. It's so liberating after recent, linear Zelda games to explore the world at your own pace and do things as you see fit, as opposed to being guided along by an invisible hand.

In terms of presentation, this game is gorgeous, as expected from a Nintendo game. The simplistic, pleasing art style is reminiscent of ALTTP. The graphics are crisp and colourful and the game runs at a consistent 60 frames per second, even with the 3D turned all the way up. The 3D effect is cool, as debris, items and monsters jump up and appear to touch the limits of the screen; it's an immersive effect. As per first party Nintendo games, the animations and sound effects are littered with tiny details and were created with meticulous care. The soundtrack, whilst not the most original, comprises some quality remixes of classic tunes from ALTTP.

This is truly one of the most Zelda games in years, if not a contender for the best Zelda game ever. The game is fast paced is very fun, the presentation is sublime and there's plenty of content to give you your money's worth. A Link Between Worlds is a refreshing revolution of Zelda, and a game that every 3DS/2DS owner should purchase.
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on 20 April 2014
It's been around 20 years since I played my first Zelda game, Link's Awakening, and now I'm nearly 30 I'm still letting these games into my life. The only difference is now instead of it having an impact on my homework and academic performance it's intruding into my homelife, the dishes aren't getting done and laundry gets put on hold!

The game throws you straight into it, with the Hyrule map being the same as a Link to the Past (albeit some subtle differences) you are easily able to navigate your way round. The graphics are great and the soundtrack is classic Zelda, the amount of times I've put down the game only to continue humming the Zelda theme shows me how much I enjoy it.

There are two unique features in this version of Zelda that makes it stand out to others in the series; firstly, is that nearly all the weapons are available early on in the game, the only difference is you have to buy or rent them. You are warned, that choosing the rental option is risky as falling in battle means they're all returned to the shop! Secondly, the story involves capturing the sages into artwork, this in turn leads to link being able to turn into a wall picture and move around the map in an additional dimension, this can lead to creeping up on enemies, finding hidden hearts and rupees also pictured on the walls and solving puzzles in a new way.

As usual there is the usual map and dungeons to explore and boss battles to beat, similar to A Link to the Past there are two world's to explore in this installment both Hyrule and Lorule which can be accessed by approaching certain cracks in the walls.

In total I spent around 26 hours to get from beginning to end, and I still have items left to upgrade, bottles to find and mini-games to ace. In addition there's a master quest now to complete, which for the die hard fans will be a huge perk!

I've enjoyed playing this game, and feel it's right up there with A Link to the Past and Link's Awakening as one of the better top-down Zelda games out there. An essential must-buy for your 3ds library, if you can afford losing so many hours of your life.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 13 April 2014
Many many years ago I was given for my birthday a toy that changed my whole gaming experience, the Nintendo Gameboy.
I still remember the excitement of opening the box and the thrill of anticipation as I took the Tetris cartridge and gently placed it in the top of the Gameboy, gingerly switched it on and watched those blocks fall, from those early moments I was hooked.
But like all good things I needed a new challenge and that came in the form of a game that I knew nothing about apart from the box looked good, that game was The Legend of Zelda – Link’s Awakening.
It was amazing, I had never played a game like it, I am embarrassed to say I even pretended to be ill to get off school to play it and Duracell must have made a fortune off me the amount of AA batteries I went through.
I just loved having this world to explore and all the cute characters to engage with.
However I got older and got a job and my gaming days where few and far between and my game boy lay untouched for a long long time until the dreaded day I decided to sell it on eBay to raise some cash for my holidays, no more zelda but with a heavy heart I stupidly parted with it.
Fast forward a few more years and a new kid was on the block, the Nintendo DS which I was given again for my birthday, my main reason was for this – Zelda was back in the Phantom Hourglass and I had to have it!
The first shock was the size of the DS cartridge then the fact it was all in colour, my game boy was the original black and white one, I remember starting to play it and it just all flooded back, the joy of exploration and the sheer size of the world you had to find your way through, two more games came after this, the Spirit Tracks and the 3d (for my new beautiful blue 3DS) ocarina of time, my love affair had been rekindled.
Which leads me to now, the newest 3DS game Link Between Worlds, which surprise surprise I got for my birthday again.
First impressions were good, even though I liked the Ocarina of Time, I missed the old school look of the game and the controls I found a little fidgety but this was more like the games of old, it looked and played beautifully.
In this game a bad guy has turned people in to paintings, namely Zelda and the sages, our brave Link has to battle the dungeons of Hyrule to save the princess and the sage’s before it’s too late.
Link has a nifty new trick in that he can merge in to walls which takes a bit of getting used to, I would find myself stuck forgetting I could merge in to a wall to cross an abyss, also you have most items to begin with which you rent with an option to buy later in the game, I would recommending buying as soon as possible because when you die you lose the item and have to go back and rent them again.
Part way through you leave Hyrule and start exploring Lorule which adds a great new spin to the game.
I haven’t even completed it yet but it feels so good to be playing this again and with every new game Nintendo really up the ante.
I also recently bough as a companion to the games the gorgeous Hyrule Historia book which I thoroughly recommend with it beautiful images and history of the series.
But anyway all in all I love it and I hope to be playing Zelda for a long long time.
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