Review: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Link Between Worlds Review If there’s one thing Nintendo’s been consistent with over the years, it’s in the quality of its handheld Zelda games. Every one has been a joy to play, and with stylus play, the two most recent ones (Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks) have experimented with the formula in fun ways. Interesting, then, that Nintendo decided to take a page from their back catalog and develop a remake of A Link to the Past. It was to our great fortune that halfway through its development Eiji Aonuma and Shigeru Miyamoto were reportedly so pleased with the project that it ended up becoming more than a mere remake – A Link Between Worlds is a classic Zelda in its own right, and while it does recall that timeless game in many ways, it also brings a touch of its own with its unique wall-shifting mechanic, which lends itself well to mind-bending puzzles and tricky boss fights.


Though the dual overworld, various enemies, and locations of some secrets are very familiar to the SNES classic, the story, dungeons, puzzles, hidden challenges, most bosses (returning ones have slight twists), and collectibles are all totally new. This isn’t just a nostalgia trip or an attempt to improve on what is widely considered to be a perfect game. It’s a beast all its own.

The story appears to take place several generations after A Link to the Past. With Ganon long defeated, evil eclipses the land in the form of Yuga, a creepy sorcerer who swaggers about Hyrule turning people into paintings, notably the descendants of the Seven Sages. Link, a lazy blacksmith’s apprentice, gets tangled up in this mess, and must track Yuga to the parallel dimension of Lorule, which was once a beautiful land like Hyrule until its Triforce was destroyed. Here, Princess Hilda works with Link to halt Yuga’s attempted revival of Ganon, pleading for him to save her land as well as his. The story and writing, while not complex, are actually better than I expected for such a straightforward game, and the ending is surprisingly satisfying.

A Link Between Worlds’ defining mechanic, the ability to shift onto two-dimensional planes and traverse walls, is seamlessly woven through the experience, opening up a whole new plane for players to engage in. Though Link still moves in two dimensions across the top-down game world, you’ll be constantly scanning and sliding across every surface, as well as mentally picturing the dungeons in three-dimensional space. Very often the solution to a puzzle lies just beyond an overlooked corner.


If it sounds overwhelming or complicated, I’m doing the product a disservice. The simplicity and old-school nature of this offering is very welcome. Actually, the most refreshing thing about A Link Between Worlds is that the developers don't hold your hand through any of it or waste time with tutorials. In fact, within ten minutes of playtime, you are already armed with a sword and making your way through the first of many challenges. The dual-screen presentation is boss, with easy inventory and map access on the lower screen. Hot-swapping items has never been easier than with the Quick Equip menu. Helpful witches will teleport you across the map and brew up potions made from certain drops, saving time on the go. In true Nintendo fashion, there is a constant evolution in the way the player tackles the game’s challenges.

Similarly to A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time, you’ll be tackling ten main dungeons – three early ones, and seven later ones, with two additional dungeons early on. It should be no surprise that these areas are the real meat of the game, where the player is tested in terms of skill and mettle. The Ice Ruins, Dark Palace, and Tower of Hera are standouts, but nearly every one ranks among the best Zelda dungeons in recent memory. The 3D effect is put to great use especially in the more vertical dungeons where having it at least slightly up is all but necessary. Unlike my play-through of Ocarina of Time 3DS, I thankfully experienced no issues going back and forth between the 2D and 3D screens.

As for the puzzles, they are not in any way limited to the dungeons. Taking a page from the best Zelda titles, oftentimes getting to the dungeons will prove to be just as challenging as besting them. While no trick room was enough to stump me for long (I think the longest I spent in one room was fifteen minutes), I did find each obstacle very enjoyable to tackle. I was honestly very impressed that Nintendo had it in them to make a game that matches A Link to the Past in terms of challenge and quality and even surpasses it in imagination and level design.


One much talked-about feature in this game is in the way items are acquired. From early on, every major item can be either rented or bought from Ravio, a shopkeeper who sets his wares up in Link’s house. Rented items will be lost upon death, whereas bought items are kept forever. This system allows the player to tackle the dungeons and overworld challenges in just about any order, which gives a sort of illusion of freedom. The downsides of this are that you miss the feeling of accomplishment upon discovering new items within dungeons, and that racking up a full set is no real challenge, since Rupees are not exactly hard to come by, and death becomes much less common the more one progresses in the game, due to the Zelda tradition of giving out Heart Containers like candy.

The growing ease of the experience (a time-tested Zelda problem) is actually my only real complaint – even if you pick up just the Containers dropped by every boss without seeking Heart Pieces, you’ll have thirteen Heart Containers by the time you reach the last dungeon – enough that even without a supply of potions, the challenge afforded by enemies and even bosses is thoroughly gimped. My initial thought was that this could have been avoided by forcing the player to tackle dungeons in a particular order and adjusting the difficulties of the enemies and bosses accordingly, but honestly, once you’ve got at least ten Containers, you can likely count your remaining in-game deaths on your fingers. Some may not have this problem, but I consider it a real issue. Thankfully we do have Hero Mode, which ups the challenge significantly as enemies deal four times the damage. I’m navigating it right now and it sure isn’t easy.

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There’s so much A Link Between Worlds gets right. Whether it’s the incredible soundtrack, featuring beautiful renditions of both old and new tunes as a happy fusion of MIDI and real instruments, the fantastic dungeons, which are both challenging and intuitive, the slick presentation, or the plethora of things to do in the overworld, I doubt even someone seriously jaded with Zelda will find much to dislike, even if the winning formula still hasn’t changed. I even welcomed a return to the old ‘90s art style. From the moment you boot up the cartridge to the final notes of the end credits, A Link Between Worlds will keep you captivated. I don’t think I had my 3DS off or played another game in the time I spent in Hyrule/Lorule. This Zelda has ‘classic’ written all over it.

SCORE: 8/10

Reviewed by: Joseph Choi Platform: Nintendo 3DS XL


-       Old-school Zelda goodness

-       Top-notch dungeon designs and bosses

-       Simple in theory but well-utilized wall-shifting mechanic

-       Fantastic presentation and soundtrack


-       Several moments and the layout of the world map will remind you strongly of A Link to the Past (not necessarily a bad thing, but at times this robs the game of its own identity)

-       Lacking in relative difficulty until Hero Mode is unlocked

The Wii U needs to catch a break

Wii U sad Since the release of the Wii U, Nintendo is having a hard time finding a place in the market. Why is it a big problem now? Well, it's only competing against current-gen consoles...and it's struggling. Where it stands now, consoles such as the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, even the Wii still remain at the top.

The  Wii U is Nintendo's console for the coming years, but the appeal seen so far makes me worried. With PS4 and the Xbox One just around the corner, the incentive to consider the  Wii U u during the holidays is slim. The problem that Nintendo is currently facing is how to stand out. The previous console, the Wii, had so much more going for it back in the day; A new unique way to play games( motion controls) and exclusive titles on platform launch( twilight princess). What the  Wii U had during last years launch was close to nothing. No big first-party title as well as no feature to really stand out. And that highly mentioned third-party support during the start slowly dwindled as the months went by. The extra screen on the pad was a neat idea, but the PS3's six axis was also a neat idea, and we know how that turned out. The gamepad's extra screen, which Nintendo tried so hard to convince people it's a big feaure, is nothing if you put it side by side with the Wii's motion controls. That control scheme did it for the Wii. It kept the console afloat for years. The casual crowd just loved it. The  Wii U just doesn't have that, and what it currently offers is about the same as everything else out now.

Graphics have been upgraded to match current consoles today, great, but when the new batch of consoles get released, they are back at the tail end visually. I'm not saying graphics are everything. It's just an edge against them that Nintendo insists on living with. Is Nintendo worried? I'm positive, especially when the Wii is doing slightly better than their next-gen console..

Nintendo reported their financials since April 1 to June 30 and revealed that they sold 160,000 Wii U units globally. Let that sink in for a minute...okay let me make it worse. On the same months, the Wii did even better selling 210,000 units.  I'm not sure how they would allow sales like this to happen. The company is still earning profits overall thanks to great sales elsewhere and the 3DS finally selling like hotcakes, but I'm sure they were not expecting these kinds of figures.


But there's still time. There's no more room for error though. Games are really what matters and Nintendo's prized possessions are still on their way. Mario, Zelda, and the rest of the Nintendo band Wagon has yet to hit the Wii U, so don't count out this console just yet. All it needs is an opening. Why didn't they start the launch with a big title that is well known and is a sure sell? I have no clue. Pikmin 3 is out now and is one of the big titles to hit the console this year. As we get closer to the holidays, the Wii U needs exclusive games like Pikmin to pull people to buy the console, to get some kind of momentum. The month after that we get The Wonderful 101, but that might take a beating since Grand Theft Auto V is scheduled on the same week (Why Nintendo? Why!?). It's going to be a rough year for the young Wii U. Once the PS4 and Xbox One gets released, it will get even harder since it will be a three-way fight to get consumers attention.z

It's not a race, But it's a war, and Nintendo is already taking a lot of hits without the next generation at full swing yet. The Wii U needs to catch a break. I don't see it getting one this year, but maybe next year we'll see it turn around with back-up from games like Super Smash Bros U, the new Zelda game, and Bayonetta 2.

[Source: IT World]

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Dual Destinies Goes Digital

aa5The fifth installment in the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series is set to see only a digital release outside of Japan. The reason for this is due to the lack of sales for the series. Simply put, not enough people were buying the games. Ace Attorney producer Motohide Eshiro commented on Capcom's decision about a digital only release.

“The reason we are releasing the game as digital only is not primarily due to a lack of retail support. One of the main reasons we went for a digital version is it will be more convenient for the users. We felt that if someone will be interested in Dual Destinies they will want to get it right away, and if we offer a digital version, instead of going to a store however many miles away, they can just download it directly to their 3DS.”

Is Apollo Justice like some kind of badass samurai now?

He also mentioned that by making this a digital only release would mean that the English version would come out sooner. Fans were displeased about a digital only released but hey, at least we're getting the game. I hope they decide to do the same with Ace Attorney Investigations 2. I've played all the Ace Attorney games except AAI2 and it's left in my objecting heart.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Dual Destinies comes out in fall of this year for 3DS on the Nintendo eShop.

E3 2013: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Trailer

LoZ_Link_Between_Worlds_01 We finally get a real title for the new Legend of Zelda game on the 3DS. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.

Set to take place in the same world as The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, I like how they went with a similar title, Link being a link to something. With the title being "Between Worlds". it's safe to assume that the worlds are the normal game world and the wall painting world and Link is the link between them since he can travel to both world freely. As expected, the whole wall painting mechanic will be used to traverse areas around the world and solve puzzles in dungeons. Your typical Zelda fare.


A Link to the Past was the very first Zelda game that I really played. Technically the first one I played was the very first The Legend of Zelda on the NES but I really got into A Link to the Past when I borrowed a friend's copy on the GBA. And seeing that world in full 3D is just amazing. The top down view and with more emphasis on vertical travel is perfect for the 3DS' 3D slider. A lot of A Link to the Past items also make a return, such as the hammer (which is now orange) and fire rod. I also like how they gave Link his more classic colors such as the gold trim around his hat and the brown undershirt.


The dark triforce symbol on the title screen would lead me to believe that we might also see the return of the Dark World. The title also doesn't specify exactly how many worlds Link will be able to travel to and I wouldn't be surprised if the Dark World was like a surprise twist or something or that notion.


If you've been waiting for a reason to pick up a 3DS, this looks about as good a reason as any. Oh and Project x Zone is also a pretty good reason.

New Super Smash Bros. Trailer Confirmed for E3 2013


Masahiro Sakurai tweeted that a trailer for a new Super Smash Bros. will be shown during Nintendo's E3 Nintendo Direct. During which Nintendo also sent confirmation to Official Nintendo Magazine that there will be two versions of the game, one for the Wii U and one for the 3DS.

This is big news, especially for me, since Super Smash Bros. Melee was the reason that I chose a GameCube over a PS2 back in the day and Super Smash Bros. Brawl being the main reason why I got a Wii. I spent over 800 hours in Melee and enjoyed Brawl quite a bit. I've been looking for a solid reason to even consider getting either a 3DS or a Wii U. So far, the games I want for those both platforms are Project x Zone for the 3DS and Bayonetta 2 for the Wii U. This new Super Smash Bros. might just seal the deal.

Source: [Operation Rainfall]

Update: You can find the trailer for the new Super Smash Bros. for both 3DS and Wii U here.