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Game of the Month: “The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds”

March Live From Japan 1By James Page 

Developer: Nintendo

ESRB: Everyone

Release Date: 11/22/2013

System: Nintendo 3DS

Rating:

Graphics: 4.0 out of 4.0

Game Play: 3.0 out of 4.0

Personal: 2.0 out of 2.0

Total Score: 9.0 out of 10.0

Travel back to a familiar world, a world which has seen many hours of time invested in its people and their stories. The time has come to once again traverse the land of Hyrule but this time it will not occur on a television with the Super Nintendo. Instead one will need to pick up the Nintendo 3DS and delve into the lush 3-D world of Hyrule.

Although only 21 years have passed since the last time Nintendo took people through the land of Hyrule, the number of “game years” has been many. The events from “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past” have faded into the realm of legends. The story has been passed down through countless generations of Hylians, and only a few now know the true story. Time has changed the people and some of the architecture, but for the most part Hyrule has remained unchanged over the years. When one travels through the fields, forests, waterways, and towns there is a feeling of familiarity. Players know that they have been to these places before, but at the same time there are signs of change.

Some things have changed over the years and some things have not. Unfortunately, the one thing that has not changed is the desire of evil to prey on the peaceful land of Hyrule. Recently, an unknown vandal has been covering the world with graffiti. This act may seem harmless enough, but it is the harbinger of dark and evil days. Eventually a wave of villainy will wash over Hyrule, causing despair and destruction, and it will culminate with the imprisonment of a number of Hyrule’s peaceful citizens.

Hyrule does not exist in a vacuum. There is a mirror world which exists like the reflection in a pond. Whereas Hyrule is a peaceful land, this mirror world is a dark realm inhabited by evil and wicked versions of the citizens of Hyrule. This land, once known as the “dark world,” has come to be known as Lorule.

Ages ago the hero Link traveled from Hyrule to this dark land in order to rescue the seven sages and defeat the evil Ganon. Unlike Hyrule, which was hardly touched by the effects of time, Lorule has been ravaged and split apart. The hero from the present day will need to follow in the steps of his predecessor and eventually find a way into this world of despair in order to chase down the evil which has been terrorizing Hyrule and free the citizens who were taken hostage. At the end of this long adventure the hero will have to face an ancient evil and make sure that the evil being never again threatens the kingdoms of Hyrule or Lorule.

“The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds” brings the player back to the world from “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.” It is an odd turn for the franchise, which has never had a direct sequel staged in the same area as the previous installment. The player will be able to revisit many places from the original game and see how everything has changed with the passage of time. Although, the designers took great care to replicate many areas from the previous game, there are a number of discrepancies between the two games. The most common difference is the change in dungeon maps, but for the most part this is a minor difference. The most drastic change occurred when the designers relocated two dungeons in the dark world by switching the locations of the Ice Palace and Turtle Rock.

Controls are easy to learn and quick to master. The game introduces a new approach to acquiring weapons by allowing the player to purchase them, rather early in the game, which would normally be acquired by exploring dungeons. This can make some dungeons ridiculously easy and allows for a player to exploit powerful items normally acquired late in the game. At the same time, it adds a slight degree of difficulty by forcing the player to figure out which items work best in a given situation.

“The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds” is a fun and enjoyable title. Although the puzzles have toned down the difficult level when compared to the previous game there are still engaging challenges. The graphics and music do a great job of creating a new game while tying the game to its classic predecessor. Ultimately, players will find themselves devoting a great many hours to this new installment from the Zelda series.

Remember, like all games, if you play them just to have fun, there will never be a bad game.

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