Over this past year on this blog, I have written a lot about Zelda. In fact, I had an entire week dedicated to the franchise, along with a couple of other games that didn't fall into the Zelda week. I've always thought extremely highly of the series, and I did my very best to fully express that during the course of My Year of Gaming. Well, since December is upon us and the final stretch of the marathon has turned into a sprint to the finish line, I want to give The Legend of Zelda one last hoorah before my final send off.
And what a fitting game to write about than this game, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. I wrote about the newly released Wind Waker HD game, and while that is an astonishingly beautiful game, it was also a great game many years ago with a new, fresh coat of polish on it.. Skyward Sword, which came out a couple of years ago, was the freshest take on the series in a long time, and while that game had some amazing charm, it was pretty true to the classic format fans were already familiar with. Not that it was a bad thing, because as they say, why fix what ins't broke?
Well, sometimes you have to revisit the past in order to realize that you can always improve on something, even if it isn't broke inthe first place.
As I wrote about before, during my week of Zelda, A Link to the Past is my all-time favorite Zelda game, hands down. In fact, it is one of my favorite games of all the games ever, and if I could only play one game for the rest of my life, it would be a strong contender for the one to choose. It is a game that first got me thinking about the development of video games, way back as a kid. The creativity that the game brought out of me would go on to guide my interest and intrigue in the behind the scenes aspect of video games.
Quite frankly, I never thought I needed more from A Link To The Past. Sure, a remake would have been awesome, but I never sat there and wanted a sequel to it. As I heard on a podcast earlier last week, no one has ever looked at the Mona Lisa painting and thought, "Sure, this is an amazing painting, but I can't wait to see the sequel!" There have been many, many Zelda games since LTTP, but none of them ever tried to recreate, emulate or replicate the formula of that classic game.
That is, until now.
Nintendo and the Zelda team went back to the universe of A Link To The Past, and created another game, A Link Between Worlds. It isn't merely trying to make the same game, but rather add to the story and the world that was created all those years ago. The map is familiar, the enemies are all back from the first one, and the game just takes you back to what you know and love. This time around, however, they have added a new dimension to the game, and I'm not just talking about the 3D effects that work perfectly, even with the slider on the 3DS all the way turned up. No, what I'm talking about it is the painting effect that is introduced early on in the game, where Link can transform himself into a painting on the wall and move about along the walls, slipping in between cracks and experience new sights and perspectives on the world never before seen.
So far from what I have played, the idea works perfectly, and is executed to its fullest extent of potential. Another fascinating twist on the Zelda formula that they decided to add to the game is the ability to go to any dungeon you want at any time, not having to stick to a linear path of progression as you do in pretty much ever other Zelda game. If a dungeon is too hard or you are ill-equipped for it, just leave and go somewhere else. It's that simple. It's a great way to make a non-open world game feel more open and gives the players options rarely found in Zelda titles.
This game is making me fall in love with the Legend of Zelda all over again, which I already thought wasn't in question in the first place. It's taking me back to my childhood gaming, but also reminding me of how great video games are now today. Also, you may not have to fix something that isn't broke, but there is no harm in reinventing the wheel, as long as it is done r