The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Returning To A Classic With Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
by Dan Ryckert on Jun 20, 2013 at 05:43 AM
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Rating: Everyone
Platform: 3DS

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is my favorite game of all time, so I was ecstatic when I heard that Nintendo would be revisiting its world with a new 3DS title. I had a chance to play an a demo on the E3 show floor, and I’m confident that it will be a fantastic love letter to the game for existing fans while remaining accessible and fun for newcomers.

All of the game’s environments and characters are based on the art style of the SNES original, and even the soundtrack consists of well-done remakes of classic tunes. Everything looks fantastic, and the game looks far better in motion than it comes across in screenshots.

A Link Between Worlds’ overworld differs slightly from A Link to the Past, but most large sections and landmarks are in the same place. Link’s house is still in the middle of the map, and the demo led me to the Eastern Palace in the same dusty location that it occupied on Super Nintendo. Pots, rocks, and plants are in different locations, and some enemies behave differently. For example, Link is no longer electrified when he strikes a Buzz Blob with his sword.

One of the most significant tweaks to the gameplay is the omission of the standard magic meter. Instead of a finite magic reserve that has to be refilled, A Link Between Worlds features a recharging energy meter. In the demo I played, this meter dictated how often I could shoot arrows, swing my hammer, or toss flames from my fire rod.

It also dictated one more key element of the game, which is a completely new addition. Link can now press against walls and become a flat, graffiti-like version of himself. While in this form, he can sneak around in the walls and access areas that would be otherwise unavailable. In the dungeon available in the demo, this ability came in handy several times during some clever puzzle segments involving moving platforms.

At the end of the demo, I once again encountered the worm-like Moldorm from A Link To the Past. The fight played out just as it did in 1992, tasking Link with striking the tail of the wriggling beast until it was destroyed. After a few strikes of my sword and a well-placed arrow, Moldorm exploded and I was rewarded with a heart piece.

I’ve been excited about A Link Between Worlds since its original announcement, but I’m far more confident in this sequel after spending some time with it. It seems to strike all the right nostalgic notes, but new features like the energy bar and 2D wall sections make the action feel fresh. Longtime Zelda fans and younger gamers alike should find plenty to like when this 3DS title releases in November.

Visit our E3 News Headquarters for all the stories from the show. This preview was originally published on June 11, 2013.