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a link between worlds

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is the seventeenth official Zelda title, developed specifically for the Nintendo 3DS. It’s an indirect sequel to A Link to the Past, featuring a similar overworld, gameplay, and music. This title marks a deliberate return to the series’ 2D roots. It was released on November of 2013 in everywhere but Japan, where it was released in December of 2013, and Korea, where it premiered in June of 2014.

Pendants of Virtue

After having a nightmare involving facing down a dark and shadowy figure, Link awakens to the sound of Gulley, the Blacksmith’s son, calling for him. Having overslept again and shirked responsibilities to his master, Link follows Gulley to the Blacksmith’s shop where he runs into the departing Captain. As the Captain thanks the Blacksmith for the new shield and sword, the Blacksmith’s wife quickly realizes that he has forgotten his sword, tasking Link with returning it to him. A guard at Hyrule Castle’s front gate reveals that he had intended on visiting the Sanctuary prior to returning to his duties.

As Link arrives at the Sanctuary, he walks in on a conversation between the Priest’s daughter, Seres, and the gravedigger Dampé. Seres offers to retrieve the Captain from inside the as Dampé continues talking to Link, before the Sanctuary doors slam shut and Seres can be heard screaming from inside. Dampé informs Link of a secret passage to the Sanctuary beneath one of the gravestones, urging Link to use the Captain’s sword to navigate the passage and rescue those inside. As Link arrives, he witnesses a strange sorcerer named Yuga cast a spell on Seres and transform her into a painting. The Captain suffered a similar fate, being plastered on the walls of the Sanctuary. As Link charges in to confront Yuga, he sorcerer turns himself into a painting, spiriting into a wall and retaining his mobility, sliding out of Link’s grasp. Link loses consciousness upon hitting the wall, and Yuga escapes with Seres’ portrait.

Link awakens in his home with a strange person wearing a rabbit hood greeting him as he regains consciousness. The person introduces himself as Ravio, gifting Link with a musty old bracelet after learning what had happened at the Sanctuary, urging Link to tell Princess Zelda about it. Link gives Ravio permission to stay in his home and heads out to Hyrule Castle. He explains the situation to a guard, who laughs at him, until Impa, Princess Zelda’s attendant ushers Link inside to speak with her.

Princess Zelda recognizes Link from her dreams, giving him the Pendant of Courage, which Link thinks to be a simple good luck charm. He is tasked with reaching out to Sahasrahla, the elder of Kakariko Village. Upon meeting him in his home, he urges Link to warn his student Osfala of Yuga at the Eastern Palace, since he is also a descendant of the Seven Sages and most likely in immediate danger. Link finds him at the entrance, but Osfala doesn’t see Yuga as a threat.

After navigating the palace, Link sees Osfala meet the same fate as Seres. Yuga then engages Link in battle, and after Link gets the upper hand, Yuga turns him into a painting as well in a fit of rage. Leaving him there, Link is freed by Ravio’s bracelet as it glows and he is pulled out of the wall. This gives him the ability to merge freely into walls, and he uses this to make his way out of the palace. He finds Sahasrahla at the entrance of the palace shortly before hearing an earthquake near Hyrule Castle.

The pair see that Yuga has put up a barrier around the castle, much to Sahasrahla’s dismay, who believes that the Pendant of Courage is still inside. He is very surprised when Link pulls out the pendant; the hero is then tasked with finding the other two pendants in the House of Gales and the Tower of Hera in order to obtain the Master Sword and rescue Zelda.

Link makes his way through these obstacles and obtains all three Pendants of Virtue, and heads deep into the Lost Woods, pulling the Master Sword from its pedestal. Returning to Hyrule Castle, Sahasrahla tells Link to destroy the barrier and save the sages. Link confronts Yuga, then, near the top of the highest tower, Yuga turns Zelda into a painting as well. Link and Yuga battle once again, and Yuga flees through a crack in the wall.

A Parallel Kingdom

Link pursues him, only to end up in Lorule, a dimension opposite to Hyrule and one that is on the verge of ruin. In the throne room of Lorule Castle, Yuga revives Ganon with the paintings and fuses with him to obtain his Triforce of Power. Link is almost doomed until Princess Hilda appears and imprisons Yuga. She implores Link to save the Seven Sages if he wishes to save their world from the threat that Yuga presents.

Link toils through Lorule to rescue the Seven Sages, and he is rewarded with the Triforce of Courage. He returns to Lorule Castle in an attempt to confront Yuga, only to have Princess Hilda end up betraying him after explaining the fate of the Triforce of Lorule; it was destroyed due to the conflict it caused. While this was done with good intentions, it had terrible consequences. Wanting Hyrule’s Triforce to save their own world, Hilda takes Zelda’s Triforce of Wisdom, and is ready to take Link’s Triforce of Courage for her own as well.

Link and Yuga battle once again, and Yuga betrays Hilda, taking the Triforce of Wisdom from her; he is planning on taking the Triforce of Courage to remake Lorule in his image, now holding two of the three pieces. He and Link have one final battle; Zelda grants Link the Bow of Light, which he can use to pull Yuga from his painted form. After a long battle, Yuga is finally defeated once and for all.

Zelda is freed but Hilda is still desperate to save her kingdom. After an argument between the two, Ravio reveals himself to be Link’s Lorule counterpart, imploring Hilda to see reason; he explains that this kind of chaos is exactly what led to their own Triforce being destroyed in the first place. Realizing the error of her ways, Hilda sends Link and Zelda home through Lorule’s version of the Sacred Realm; it is revealed that through the crack on the large slab, Yuga and Hilda first felt the presence of another Triforce, and devised a plan to steal it. Ravio overheard this but was too scared to confront them, being a coward at heart, and he instead came to Hyrule to find a hero to stop them. After Link and Zelda’s departure, Lorule grows dark, showing that it is finally at its end.

Returning home, Link and Zelda find themselves in Hyrule’s Sacred Realm, with the completed Triforce up ahead. They both touch it, making a wish to restore Lorule’s Triforce. This wish is granted, and it then reforms in front of Hilda and Ravio. Light shines in Lorule once again, saving both it and Hyrule.

Gameplay

A Link Between Worlds uses the same traditional 2D gameplay as the early Zelda games, unlike its DS predecessors. The main game is on the top screen, while the bottom one shows all the subscreens, such as the map, Rupee count, inventory, and the ‘Gear’ screen which shows items like the Pendants and sword. The touch screen is comparable to Ocarina of Time’s 3DS release with quite a few enhancements. Pins can be used to mark locations and the map tracks Link real-time.

There are the standard controls with A being the action button, B is the sword, and X and Y serve for the item buttons. R raises the shield, and the D-pad shifts the camera. The 3D capabilities also add to the game experience as well, such as allowing the player to see beyond the current floor that they are on in some dungeons. This game also features an Energy Gauge, which is used for every item in the game, replacing both any magic meter and the need to purchase expendable inventory, like bombs or arrows.

One feature that is markedly different is how non-linear A Link Between Worlds is, especially when compared to other titles in the series. Link is allowed freedom in dungeons and areas to explore; this was accomplished in the creation of an item rental system, which allows Link to obtain any item in the game at any time, provided he has the rupees. Item renting is done through Ravio’s Shop, which all key items – none are obtained in dungeons. They can either be rented or purchased; renting is far cheaper, but if Link falls in battle, any items he has will be taken from him, forcing him to go back and pay to rent them again.

A new thing that is very integral to the game – both in terms of play and plot – is the ability for Link to transform himself into a painting. It’s used to cling to and move along walls, fit through cracks, and access Lorule, among other things. Other characters turn into paintings as well during the story, but most of them do not retain the ability to move freely, save for the game’s main antagonist, Yuga.

The game takes place in both Hyrule from a Link to the Past and an alternate, corrupted version of Hyrule called Lorule. Lorule once housed a counterpart to the Triforce, however, it was ultimately destroyed due to the conflict caused by it; this is what resulted in Lorule’s corruption. Being a direct counterpart to Hyrule, Lorule features many citizens that are counterparts to Hyrule’s people, such as Princess Hilda to Princess Zelda.

Reception

The game featured a special limited edition 3DS XL bundle, including a gold and black Zelda-themed console that featured the Triforce on top and bottom, and an e-shop code to download the digital version of the game. It retailed for $219.99 in the United Stated. There was also a collector’s edition that was released exclusively to GAME, a European retailer. It had a physical copy of the game, an e-shop download code for Link’s Awakening DX, a poster, and a treasure chest shaped cartridge holder that plays the ‘item get’ fanfare. It was a commercial success, selling 2.51 million copies worldwide as of March 31st, 2014.

Trivia

1. All non-environmental models are skewed in their placement, being on the map at a slight angle, so as to make the top-down view more interesting.
2. A Link Between World’s Hero Mode is the only one to include recovery hearts.
3. This is the first installment in the series where the highlighted text is blue, as opposed to red.
4. Bosses in this game flash red when they are low on health to indicate that they are close to defeat. Big Moldorm actually gradually turns red as he takes damage.
5. The Japanese Zelda rap for A Link to the Past was remade for a new commercial.