The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
|The Legend of Zelda:
A Link Between Worlds
North American packaging artwork.
|Developer(s)||Nintendo EAD Group No. 3
|Series||The Legend of Zelda|
|Release date(s)||NA November 22, 2013
EU November 22, 2013
AU November 23, 2013
JP December 26, 2013
|Distribution||Nintendo 3DS Game Card, digital distribution|
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, known in Japan as Zelda no Densetsu: Kamigami no Triforce 2 (ゼルダの伝説 神々のトライフォース2 Zeruda no Densetsu Kamigami no Toraifōsu Tsū?, lit. "The Legend of Zelda: Triforce of the Gods 2"), is an action-adventure game for Nintendo 3DS and the seventeenth installment in Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda series. The game takes place in the same world as the 1992 Super Nintendo Entertainment System title, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, taking place six generations following that game's events. The game was released on November 22, 2013 in North America and Europe, November 23, 2013 in Australia, and December 26, 2013 in Japan. It is the second retail game in the series released on the 3DS, after The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D.
It was released to critical acclaim, and sold 2.18 million copies by the end of 2013, despite being released just 40 days before the end of the year.
The game follows the top-down two-dimensional gameplay of various Zelda games, especially A Link to the Past, though it is now presented with stereoscopic 3D graphics when played on the Nintendo 3DS. The top screen is used as the main screen, while the bottom touch screen contains the map, gear, and items.
Although the overworld is largely the same as that of A Link to the Past, all the dungeons are totally new. Exploration of dungeons utilize the game's 3D effects and feature Link jumping between levels to solve puzzles and advance.
Several items from A Link to the Past return, including arrows for shooting enemies from a long distance, the mallet which allows Link to knock down pegs in the ground, and the Fire Rod which creates a firestorm. The magic meter now refills on its own, a change from the original where it required potions to refill. The magic meter replaces previous games' ammunition system for Link's bow and bombs, as well as being used to power other items and special abilities, such as the magic hammer and spin attack. The Master Sword shoots projectiles when Link is at full health as in A Link to the Past.
Another new feature is the ability for Link to enter walls and become a drawing. When he does so, the camera shifts to a profile view and he is able to move along the walls to reach new areas. Drawings of hearts and rupees can be found on walls and Link can collect them when he turns into a drawing. This ability also allows Link to enter cracks in walls to move between Hyrule and Lorule. This ability causes the player's meter to deplete with time. The feature was inspired by the Phantom Ganon boss battle in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
Kotaku noted that the North American cover for the game included a Nintendo Network icon, leading them to speculate if the game will offer online functionality.
Rupees are much more important in this game than in previous Zelda titles because of the necessity to buy or rent items. This, along with the ability of the player to choose the order of completing dungeons in, sets apart this Zelda game from more recent installments. The only time these two features have previously appeared in a Zelda game was, notably, the original game.
A Link Between Worlds is the first title since the Oracle series to be set in the "Sealing War" timeline since the split that occurred following the release of Ocarina of Time. The game chronologically takes place between Link's Awakening and The Legend of Zelda, six generations after the events of A Link to the Past,  and as such, the incarnation of the Link character is not the same as in A Link to the Past. While the game is set in the world of A Link to the Past, many of the locations from the game, such as the dungeons, or the Dark World, are absent. Instead, A Link Between Worlds features an alternate version of Hyrule, called Lorule that is ruled by Zelda's counterpart Hilda.
Following the events of A Link to the Past, the royal family of Hyrule elected to split the Triforce to stop evil from rising again. This had the effect of returning each part to its elected owner. One part returned to the deceased demon king Ganon, one part stayed with the Royal family, and a third part took its rightful place in the heart of Link.
The game then begins proper, with the blacksmith's son, Gulley, waking up his dad's apprentice, Link, to get him to work. Once there, however, he must deliver a finished sword to the Captain at Hyrule Castle after the Captain leaves without it. Before he is able to deliver the sword, Link finds the Captain stuck inside the Sanctuary by a mysterious figure named Yuga who turns the Sanctuary's minister's daughter Seres into a painting before running off. Coming to, Link finds that he was brought back to his house by a strange wandering merchant named Ravio, who is allowed by Link to stay in his house.
Ravio tells Link to report all that has happened to Princess Zelda, whom Link meets in Hyrule Castle. Zelda gives him the Pendant of Courage and tells him to seek the elder Sahasrahla in Kakariko Village for further guidance. Sahasrahla informs Link that Yuga is hiding at the Eastern Palace and is likely seeking out the descendants of the Sages in order to revive Ganon. Upon cornering Yuga in the Eastern Palace, Link is turned into a painting during the ensuing fight. However, a bracelet given by Ravio protects Link, and he instead gains the ability to transform into a painting at will. Soon afterwards, Hyrule Castle in enveloped by a magic barrier which Sahasrahla says can only be broken by the Master Sword.
Once he obtains the remaining two Pendants and then the Master Sword, Link rushes to Hyrule Castle when he finds out Yuga is after Zelda as he turns her into a painting. Link follows him, finding a mysterious crack in Zelda's study that leads to a strange, darker version of Hyrule Castle. By the time Link finds him, Yuga is using the paintings that hold Zelda and the Seven Sages' descendants to revive Ganon and fuse the demon with himself to obtain the Triforce of Power. Luckily, Link is saved by a young woman named Hilda, who traps Yuga-Ganon in magic bonds and reveals herself as princess of the decaying kingdom of Lorule. She tells Link that he must free the Seven Sages before the bonds weaken.
After saving the Sages and obtaining the Triforce of Courage, Link returns to Lorule Castle, where Hilda tells him the history of Lorule. Much like Hyrule, Lorule had its own Triforce which was fought over by the people. This Triforce was destroyed in order to keep it out of the hands of evil, but this led to their world gradually crumbling away. Link learns that Hilda is the one who is really behind Yuga's actions, a scheme to take Hyrule's Triforce to replace their own, as she siphons the Triforce of Wisdom from Zelda. Hilda then summons Yuga-Ganon and frees him in order to kill Link and take his final part of the Triforce. However, Yuga-Ganon reveals that he has been acting on his own whim to remake the world in his image, and he absorbs Hilda to combine the Triforce of Wisdom and the Triforce of Power. Still trapped in her painting, Princess Zelda gives Link the Bow of Light so he can defeat Yuga-Ganon. Despite being freed, the weakened Hilda decides to fight Link personally to get the completed Triforce from him.
At this time, Ravio appears, revealing himself to be Link's Lorulian counterpart in disguise. Out of loyalty to his princess, yet lacking the courage his Hyrulean counterpart has, Ravio snuck into Hyrule and sought out Link so he could secretly help stop Hilda from making a grave error. Ravio manages to convince Hilda to relinquish her ambition for the sake of both lands, and then she shows Link and Zelda the way back to Hyrule. Upon their arrival back in Hyrule, Link and Zelda use the Triforce to wish for the restoration of Lorule's own Triforce, subsequently saving Lorule. His quest complete, Link returns the Master Sword to its resting place. In Hero Mode, an extra scene shows Link being accompanied by the Seven Sages and Zelda in the Lost Woods.
Development of a new Zelda game for the 3DS began in 2011. In 2012 Shigeru Miyamoto stated in an interview that he would like to remake A Link to the Past, but would rather create a new game inspired by it. Later, he said he was debating whether to make a sequel to A Link to the Past or a 3D remake of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. Series producer Eiji Aonuma clarified in an interview that Miyamoto had asked him to do a remake of A Link to the Past, but that Aonuma himself preferred to work on a brand new game, and so convinced Miyamoto that this was the best direction in which to head.
A Link Between Worlds was officially unveiled on 17 April 2013 on Nintendo's online broadcast channel Nintendo Direct. The European and North American broadcasts did not provide the game's subtitle, only referring to it tentatively as The Legend of Zelda. A 3D trailer was released on the Nintendo eShop the same day. The game is confirmed to feature fully orchestrated music from the original. The idea of Link becoming flat like a picture came from the Phantom Ganon boss from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, where the antagonist hides inside paintings, and the development team asked themselves why they couldn't grant Link the same ability.
The game features slightly updated sound effects from its predecessor, A Link to the Past. The music tracks are arrangements of the originals. In addition to the music from its direct storyline predecessor, the Streetpass battle mode of the game includes two remixed and rearranged versions of the Temple Theme from Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. The Streetpass mode is itself directly inspired by the final "Shadow Link" boss fight of the NES game.
After playing the demo of the game, IGN editors claimed the game had "everything [they] wanted from a Nintendo 3DS Zelda game", and that the game's bright color palette captured the spirit of the original game. One IGN editor expressed concern that reprising the overworld from A Link to the Past would lessen the sense of wonder from the original game.
The game has received critical acclaim, scoring an aggregate score of 91.27% on GameRankings, based on 51 reviews, and 91/100 on Metacritic, based on 79 reviews. IGN's Keza MacDonald declared that "A Link Between Worlds 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." While Gamespot's Martin Gaston stated that "There's a lingering sense that by this point Nintendo is just running victory laps around a set of mechanics they perfected decades ago but, at the end of the day, none of that matters: this is simply an absolute treat to play." Gamespot later awarded it "Game of the Year" status for both the 3DS platform and across all platforms for 2013. GameZone's Lance Liebl gave it a 9.5/10, stating "It's an amazing adventure game, not afraid to tweak things from one of the most beloved video games of all-time, and it begs for you to explore the gorgeous land of Hyrule." And on December 24, 2013, GameTrailers.com awarded this game as game of the year for the Nintendo 3DS, competing against three other prestigious 3DS games of 2013: Fire Emblem Awakening, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, and Pokemon X/Y. Gameinformer was effusive with praise in their review giving a perfect 10/10, praising virtually every aspect, including the rental system, story, gameplay, and especially the way the game lets you do the dungeons in any order and lack of hand-holding.
As of December 31, 2013, it has worldwide sales of 2.18 million.
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- Official Japanese website (Japanese)
- Official North American website
- Official European website
- Official Australian website