This weekend, I started making good on my decision to play the Legend of Zelda series throughout 2016. As I noted, I began with the 3DS game A Link Between Worlds… since at the time, I thought it was the first to come chronologically of the games I own. Only, that wasn’t the case.
As soon as I popped it in and started playing it, I realized this wasn’t the game I thought it was going to be at all. Here, I had the impression that it was an updated version of Link to the Past with some new mechanics and maybe updated graphics. Instead, I got a whole new game that’s based loosely on the Link to the Past map.
At first, I felt just a tiny bit disappointed, because I had settled down for some old-skool fun in my mind. But as I started playing it, I’ve really started enjoying it for the game it is, and I don’t feel bad in the least. It feels a little easier and more forgiving than Link to the Past did, at least, in the early stages. I’m sure it’ll probably get just as tricky with puzzles and bosses. Now that I’ve gotten used to the graphics style and accepted the story for what it is – it’s quite a fun romp.
While it’s not the old-skool game, it does hint at some familiar story elements (the boy in the haunted grove), and many locations feel similar, though I can’t say if they are exactly the same. It’s been a while since I’ve played the original. Puzzles are certainly new, though, especially with the ability to turn into a painting and scale walls (which I really like).
I also like that there’s a bit more to the story in the way of characterization of NPCs. Some of the characters seem geared towards younger players, but given it’s a Nintendo game, that’s forgiven. I’ve played a little over 2 hours now, and the game has been pretty generous in handing out new mechanics – I already even have the ability to instant transport from weather vane to weather vane this early in (surprising, but helpful for when I get myself stuck).
I still have the itch to play Link to the Past, however. So, I’m eyeing it on Wii U Virtual Console, and will probably pick it up just to compare the differences sometime. But, until then, I’ll enjoy A Link Between Worlds for what it is – a solid, new LoZ adventure in a familiar world.