Game Review

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Martin Watts

A classic series gets a fresh new coat of paint

Much like everyone's favourite green-garbed hero Link, Eiji Aonuma, current producer of The Legend of Zelda series, is also on a quest of his own. However, Aonuma-san isn't tasked with saving Hyrule, nor is he desperately searching for the sacred Triforce; in fact, his personal mission isn't nearly as grandiose as Link’s own adventures. What he's trying to do is of great personal importance to himself, and funnily enough it also has positive connotations for us players: he wants to make the perfect Zelda game.

It’s a little strange to read that the person who currently oversees one of the most established and critically acclaimed video game series of all time is desperately striving for perfection. After all, while 1998’s The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time may not have been a title he was personally responsible for, he did nevertheless work on it, and that outing is still widely considered to be the greatest video game ever made. However, despite this former glory, it’s fair to say that the Zelda series has become a little stagnant in recent times, even if it has managed to maintain its revered status. And no one knows this better than Aonuma, who has openly admitted that change and even a break from the series’ formulaic conventions are required if Zelda is to continue wowing audiences for years to come.

We've already seen a hint of what Nintendo has been planning in this regard. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, which released on Wii U earlier this year, saw a classic instalment revitalised with a number of key improvements to the overall pacing of its gameplay. Now, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is almost finally upon us, an entirely new title (bar its partly-borrowed game world) which features a number of significant gameplay changes. Of course, what we've all been waiting to find out is whether or not Aonuma & Co. have made the right choices when it came to modifying the Zelda experience, and if so, do these changes make for a better game?

To put it rather bluntly, the answer is a resounding yes. Let there be no doubt; The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is nothing short of an absolute triumph in game design. Nintendo has taken one of its flagship franchises — which up until now had started to feel predictable and safe — and has breathed brand new life into it. It has managed this while still striking a careful balance with all the elements that make Zelda the legendary franchise that it is: its first-class action/puzzle oriented gameplay and the wonderful sense of adventure it evokes. In fact, even these core attributes have been greatly enhanced, making A Link Between Worlds one of the finest entries in the series to date.

This new instalment marks the glorious return of the Hyrule that we first saw in the beloved SNES masterpiece, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Set a few hundred years after the events of that game, this new adventure sees a different Link — generations after his predecessor left an impressive legacy — defending Hyrule from Yuga, a new antagonist who has the ability to turn people into paintings. And it's not just anyone who'll make for a fine bit of art — the legendary Seven Sages unfortunately find themselves at the centre of this artistic nightmare. While Yuga’s intentions aren't immediately clear (nor do we wish to spoil them), it’s safe to say that their far-reaching and catastrophic consequences only serve to make this quest a rather epic and expansive one. As hinted at in the game’s title, Link travels between two worlds: Hyrule and Lorule, the latter of which is eerily similar to The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask’s Termina, in that it’s a parallel world of the kingdom we all know and love. The fates of both kingdoms are intertwined, and only by carrying out his heroic duties in each will Link be able to thwart Yuga’s evil plans.

Travelling between these two worlds requires an unusual new ability which allows Link to transform into a painting. In this form, Link can walk along walls, slip between cracks and avoid ordinary dangers and hazards, however, its most important function is that it enables travel between the two realms. That’s because not all areas are instantly and easily accessible to you; if you want to reach some corners of the map, you’ll need to discover a path which constantly goes between the two worlds. It demands that the player explores the vibrant world that Nintendo has recreated and traverse it in ways which previously would never have been possible.

In this regard, the painting transformation mechanic truly is the game’s biggest success. Never mind Nintendo shaking things up; it has taken convention and simply thrown it out the window. By being able to attach Link to walls, platforms and various other objects, the world of Hyrule has never felt so large — which is impressive when you consider that it’s largely the same one you saw in A Link to the Past. In addition to exploring the overworld of Hyrule, Link’s new ability is also the key to solving many of the puzzles that exist within the dungeons, and is even used to clever effect in some of the boss battles. It’s ironic to think that by reducing Link to a mere painting which can only move horizontally, Nintendo actually managed to add a completely new dimension to the game. Many of the dungeons require 'out of the box' thinking as a result of this intelligent design, which at times will leave you scratching your head in pure bewilderment. At the same time, it never feels too complex either; if anything, you only really get stuck because you've already been conditioned by the series’ formulaic and rather predictable structure up until this point. This is truly masterful game design and the way in which it permeates the entire experience in so many fun and engaging ways is quite simply astonishing.

The other reason why you may get stuck at times is because this Legend of Zelda game doesn’t go out of its way to help you. If there’s one thing that recent games in the series have been guilty of, it was an excessive focus on hand-holding, spoon-feeding and storytelling (we’re looking at you, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword). With regards to the latter point, it’s fair to say that storytelling has never been the series’ strongest asset just by itself, and rather what it truly excels at is progressing the gameplay and creating fun player experiences that work within the confines of the series' renowned settings and themes. This is very much true of A Link Between Worlds, which does away with long-winded cutscenes and tutorials, instead dressing up objectives in light storytelling and simply setting you on your way. This improved pace — which fittingly enough is reminiscent of A Link to the Past and older titles within the series — allows you to get to the action much quicker than ever before, and although there are still plenty of hints along the way, it’s not always immediately apparent what you need to do. Moreover, the game offers you a fair trade-off for when you really do get stuck; pay the fortune teller a set amount and he’ll tell you in plain English what to do next. With varying, yet optional levels of support available, the general difficulty of the gameplay is superbly scaled to accommodate for players with differing levels of experience.

Nevertheless, this only really applies when working out what it is you have to do next, for when it comes to the in-game combat, A Link Between Worlds is one surprisingly tough cookie. Despite being a relatively simplistic top-down gameplay experience, battling enemies actually seems more difficult than it does in other 3D Zelda titles. There are many factors at play here: lots of enemies are heavily armoured and/or take quite a few hits to take down, while the omission of Z-targeting — which isn't a bad thing as it isn't needed — means you often have to work harder in battle, as you don’t have the luxury of the camera automatically ensuring that Link is always facing in the right direction.

Nowhere is this more apparent than fighting some of the bosses, many of which are fast, have very specific weak spots and don’t necessarily fight fair either; there’s one in particular that simply comes straight at you and constantly attempts to push you off the edge of the platform you’re standing on. Yes, this style of gameplay is more or less the same as it was in A Link to the Past — although you can now move in full 3D — but it works so well because it once again makes combat a much more prominent and challenging aspect of the Zelda experience. In our playthrough of the game, we saw the Game Over screen a few times, and we would have likely seen it even more if it weren't for the fact that we made sure to keep stocking up on fairies as we went along.

But not only is it much easier to die in A Link Between Worlds, it also carries pretty disastrous consequences, too. That’s because for the majority of the game, it’s not actually possible to own any of the items you use during your adventure. Instead, you rent these from a mysterious character called Ravio. The affordable rates and indefinite rental times make this service seem like it's too good to be true. But as is the case with all shifty salespeople, there's a pretty big catch: if you fall in battle, he reclaims everything. This can prove rather expensive and even frustrating if it happens at an inopportune moment, but thankfully there are plenty of rupees to be found throughout both Hyrule and Lorule to help recuperate any losses. The option to purchase objects comes later in the game, but it’s worth noting that it isn't cheap; depending on how good you are at the game it may make more sense to try your luck and keep on renting indefinitely.

There's a wealth of items on offer to help you in your quest to save the land of Hyrule, many of which are brand new to the series. For example, the Sand Rod enables you to create temporary giant pillars of sand, allowing you to reach otherwise inaccessible areas. One of the best things about this is that you can also merge Link into the side of these pillars, which in itself opens up a even more new and engaging puzzle-solving opportunities. As is the case with the merge ability, the game forces you to approach the use of items in rather unconventional ways; while the Ice Rod is used to freeze molten lava and thus create platforms for Link to walk on, it can also be used to affect objects that are out of reach. This — combined with the painting transformation — makes for a really inventive and refreshing experience from start to finish.

Furthermore, this open-ended approach to items allows for far more flexibility when it comes to your adventure. Dungeons can be completed in practically any order you wish, and you don’t have to traipse back and forth across Hyrule frantically trying to work out where you need to go in order to find the item you need. Although dungeons no longer revolve around specific items, that’s not to say that you still don’t need to use a particular item at a certain point. Instead, you simply kit yourself out with what you need beforehand, and if you’re not sure what you need, there's a rather handy instant travel system, which allows you to quickly move between various save points across the map. This streamlining of the items system works so well because it places the emphasis back on the most exciting element of any Zelda game: exploring the dungeons, solving puzzles and besting the bosses that lurk at the end of each one.

That’s not to say that there isn't plenty of other stuff within both Hyrule and Lorule to distract yourself with should you fancy a minor deviation from saving the world every now and again. A whole host of new mini-games — ranging from dodging chickens to a baseball-inspired activity — provide entertaining ways in which to boost your rupee balance, while true explorers can unearth secret areas, hunt for heart pieces and search for small creatures which can then be exchanged for very useful weapon upgrades. These side quests aren't complex in any way, but they're worth doing as they can really help you out with the main adventure.

With so many different things to do, you might assume that this Legend of Zelda title will set you back quite a few hours. However, this adventure only clocks in at around the twenty hour mark for a first playthrough, and we imagine it’d be much quicker a second time through. With that said, it’s important to bear in mind that the main reason why it seems shorter is partly because of how much Nintendo has streamlined the experience. If you compare it to Skyward Sword — which was notoriously padded out with an unnecessarily drawn-out introduction, tons of back-tracking, collect-a-thon quests and a boss battle which just didn't want to end — A Link Between Worlds is actually a much leaner product that’s been trimmed of all the unnecessary fat, and one which allows you to just enjoy all the really good stuff. Moreover, you unlock Hero Mode once you've beaten the game, which provides a very stiff but rewarding challenge, should you choose to replay it at a later date.

What’s more, this epic new quest looks and feels gloriously at home on the 3DS. Despite the fact that you are mostly restricted to a top-down view for the majority of the game, everything you see is rendered in full polygonal 3D, and it runs at a silky-smooth 60 frames per second — even in 3D. In terms of art style, it’s undeniably evocative of A Link to the Past, and this further bolstered by a booming, nostalgia-inducing soundtrack. Triumphant horns blares out the classic Hyrule overworld, while the Lorule rendition provides a stark contrast with its softer strings. There are plenty of classic tunes to be heard — not all of which originate from the SNES game — and it’s impressive how full-bodied the soundtrack is for a mere 3DS game. The game uses the 3DS's touch screen as you would expect: it displays a map, provides information on collectibles and gear and, of course, allows for more streamlined item management. Nintendo has actually made a subtle improvement in this area, adding the option to quick equip items. To be honest, the standard way of choose your items would have been fine by itself, but with quick equip you can at least sort out your magic satchel while you're on the move to your next destination.


Without a doubt, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is currently the greatest game you can experience on the 3DS. Much like the legendary Master Sword that features throughout the series, this game is beautifully crafted and offers a superbly streamlined and timeless gameplay experience. Through Link’s new transformation ability Nintendo has instilled a magical amount of innovation into the dungeons, boss battles and even the wider exploration of both Hyrule and Lorule; it’s a small feature which makes a world of difference and continuously wows you throughout the entirety of your playthrough. In other areas, Nintendo has made all the right changes to the gameplay formula, resulting in a game that is always incredibly good fun to play. Long-time fans will certainly get a kick out of its nostalgic presentation, while all players will appreciate its impeccable design and superb usage of the 3DS's touch screen.

Eiji Aonuma and his team at Nintendo set themselves the unenviable challenge of creating the perfect Legend of Zelda game; with A Link Between Worlds, they may well have achieved just that.

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User Comments (266)



Kirbybrawl said:

Ever since the zelda 25th nintendo has been going all out with the series. A must pick up for me



sevex said:

Wow, unbelievable score. I was skeptical about this one while I waited for the reviews, but maybe I don't have to worry.



XFsWorld said:

Shooooott! I don't even like 2D Zelda games.....but imma have to pick this up!!



GuSolarFlare said:

now I know for sure what to get for christmas! one of the few games I read the whole review!
my hype for this game loses only to my hype to Kirby 3DS!!!!!!!!!!



Rezalack said:

IGN gave it a 9.4 and amazingly enough, Gamespot gave it a 9.. wow. I don't really care about ratings to begin with, but holy crap. This has me REALLY hyped for the game now. The 22nd needs to get here.. STAT!



Auracle said:

ALttP was already one of my favorite (if not my absolute favorite) Zelda games. The fact that it gets a beautiful sequel like this is just breathtaking.

Waiting for Christmas is going to be hard.



AdanVC said:

HYPE LEVELS REACHING DANGEROUS LEVELS!!!!!!!! A 10!!! OMGGG. The greatest videogame franchise of all time does it again! I love you Nintendo.



ricklongo said:

Oh, man. Is this Nintendo Life's first 10/10 for the 3DS? History in the making, folks.

Super excited to get this, but I gotta admit I am a little worried about the aparent lack of items to be found in dungeons. Those were some of the most exciting moments of every Zelda game pretty much ever. Didn't the reviewer miss that feeling?



Dark-Luigi said:

Whoa! 10/10?!?! Come on christmas! Or sooner. Sorry Mario Party, your going to have to wait, probably.



MF_MaxiMillion said:

"There's a wealth of items on offer to help you in your quest to save the land of Hyrule, many of which are brand new to the series. For example, the Sand Rod enables you to create temporary giant pillars of sand, allowing you to reach otherwise inaccessible areas." Pretty sure the Sand Rod was in the past DS games, either Spirit Tracks or Phantom Hourglass.

Also, it's good to know the game feels just like A Link to the Past, but I wouldn't have given it a 10/10 just for that reason. Also, the Zelda games with cutscenes and storytelling in them aren't as bad as you say, for Ocarina of Time and Majoras Mask were inarguably one of the best games in the series.



ljb88 said:

What is the 3d effect like? Feel like it's a fairly important feature and didn't see it mentioned in the review



rjejr said:

Wow, a 10 for a sequel. That's impressive.

Nintendo is doomed. (sorry, couldn't help myself )



WiiLovePeace said:

From a new game in the Legend of Zelda series, I wouldn't have expected any less than a 10/10 Awesome! I just preordered it yesterday too, so excited!



Geonjaha said:

Better than Fire Emblem: Awakening? I somehow doubt it, but I'm picking this up no-question.
Also, correction: The Sand Rod isnt new to the series. It was actually introduced in Spirit Tracks.



fluggy said:

Wow!!! Better than OoT 3d .... That's a bold claim!!! Can't wait! Part of me wishes they released this on both 3ds and Wii U. A Wii U version could've really improved U sales leading up to Xmas ... what, with Mario 3D World being the ONLY game I would buy for Wii U!



JadedGamer said:

This is going on the xmas list along with dream team and maybe batman..3ds has an impressive library.



jrob23 said:

this really has me excited. It bodes well for the Wii U. It seems like Nintendo has shown they can take 3D Land and up the ante with 3D World so I expect the same for the next Zelda game on the Wii U.



Guybrush_Threepwood said:

No storytelling!? No cutscenes!? Finished in just 20 hours!? I'm not really hyped about this.

PS: 'A Link to the Past' is my favourite Zelda game and second favourite videogame of all time.



citizenerased said:

Odd, other reviews mentioned there aren't enough new items. From what I've seen, I'm inclined to agree with them.



soma said:

I'm glad it's not a long game, I rather have a short game that I can play over and over, than a long game that I may play once or twice and never touch again.



ThePirateCaptain said:

@Thats-what-she I don't think link was a blonde until Ocarina of Time.

I have to admit, I was skeptical of this game at first. As we saw more and more of it, It looked better and better, but I never would have guessed that it would turn out this good.



DerpSandwich said:

These scores are driving me insane. Do I seriously have to wait until Christmas? I've been waiting for a more traditional "2D" Zelda game since Minish Cap.



Peach64 said:

Got an 8 with Edge, which is a very high score. Going to wait for the Eurogamer review before deciding wether to get this on release or wait for it to get cheap.



Megumi said:

...A boss battle that didn't just want to end? Which one you talking about? Loved most of the bosses in that game. o.o



Volmun said:

Wow nice to see it get a good score! iv already pre-ordred it (the GAME exclusive Colectors Edition) + seeing the 3D screens on the E'Shop was nice i was curious on haw the 3D Was going to look



unrandomsam said:

Yet again most reviewers don't see too easy or too short as a problem. (Unlike too hard).

Maybe the hero mode might be ok but the story will be spoilt by then. (Don't see what they lose by letting me use that mode from the start).



Dpullam said:

This game looks incredible and I can't wait to explore the brand new Lorule. I hope to be playing it pretty soon, but I think I'll end up buying Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon first. I have been wanting to play it for a very long time.



JebbyDeringer said:

Sounds way better than I expected. Still the art style is SO poor so I'd never be able to rate this higher than a 9. Most people seem to be very forgiving of the graphics though.



Jayvir said:

Wow, this is one of the first 10/10 I've seen in a while from NL. GLad to see this game didn't disappoint



CanisWolfred said:

My only question after reading the review is how difficult the dungeons are. Are they all relatively the same level of challenge? Are some easier than others? Do they get easier as you get stronger? I just would've liked to have known that.



SkywardLink98 said:

Dang, I half expected this game to tank (c'mon, with so much nostalgia involved at least one reviewer is gonna tank it). For someone with no nostalgia for ALttP is this still 10/10 material or will that lower the quality of the game for me?



idork99 said:

@JebbyDeringer What I have come to learn with portable Nintendo games it's that it's never fair to compare screenshots from a website/magazine to the actual screen of the system. Although the art style may seem poor from various pics, I'll reserve my judgement until having this game in my hand and seeing the actual gameplay from the 3DS' screen(s).

November 22nd is going to be a legendary day!



Senario said:

A good review. It seems the consensus is 9 or above in general. Minus Dtoid who ended up rating it a 6.5. Click bait and a crazy reviewer.



CanisWolfred said:

@SkywardLink98 It might be easier to find that out if you, you know, read the review. I'm someone who nostalgia actually works against (I'd be too quick to make comparisons and find faults), and it still sounds great to me. Maybe not 10/10, I could see where some problems lie (having to go back when stuck you're in a dungeon just because you brought the wrong weapon doesn't sound like that great of an idea, fast travel or no fast-travel. Plus, losing all your rupees and stuff whenever you die got old fast in Majora's Mask, it sounds like it'd be even worse here), but still great enough that I'd probably enjoy it for the most part.



Hunter-D said:

"Without a doubt, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is currently the greatest game you can experience on the 3DS."




ricklongo said:

By the way, I wonder how aware Aonuma's team was that Lowrule is a lost city in The Wonderful 101 (and vice-versa).



daveh30 said:

Got mine pre-ordered, can't wait for the 22nd! Only question is will I play this first, or Super Mario 3D World... oh the decisions!



Bliquid said:

Could it be it is finally time for OoT to get a rest?
Excellent review, btw. Very thorough.



SpookyMeths said:

Another masterpiece from Aonuma. Not surprised. Best working developer there is in the industry.

I am curious though how dungeons work exactly. I hope that they scale in difficulty the more you beat.

Poor Destructoid though. Not hugged enough as children. Very sad.



FriedSquid said:

10/10, really? Huh. I wasn't really all that interested in this at first but I might just give it a shot sometime soon. Maybe I could get it for Christmas...



Emblem said:

I'm glad its excellent, i canceled my pre-order as Wind Walker HD reminded me how much i hate puzzles, even easy ones . I may pick it up after i have finished my current 3DS hitlist of SMT4,EO4 & Bravely Default.

Can't wait to see the sales numbers on this baby, 2013 has truly been the year of the 3DS .



armoredghor said:

well after reading the review I can tell you that the sand wand is old (Spirit tracks). I've never seen the targeting system in a 2d Zelda and the painting seems predictable. I'll give it an 8.



feelthesarcasm said:

This game got a perfect score from 5 review sites so I don't think anyone can just call this reviewer's bias.

And just in case other people wanna check the other sites out
IGN gave it a 9.4 and Gametrailer a 9.8. The only review that seems TOTALLY off is Destructoid who gave it a 6.5 and they got torn apart for it.

I'm looking forward to this so much. I'll be broke, but I'll be happy.



luckybreak said:

Why does nintendo hide how awesome their games are? This and super mario 3d world looked like crap at first.



CanisWolfred said:

@feelthesarcasm Actually, Destructoid's review makes a few fair points, at least to an extent. I know I play Zelda for their interesting worlds and sense of charm, which at least Chris Carter felt was mostly absent. It's mostly a world we've visited before, with items we've seen before, and It sounds like it's more focused on its gameplay than building an interesting world and atmosphere. But who knows. People said Twilight Princess lacked personality and heart, and I still disagree with that after all these years. I just can't wait to play the game and find out for myself how much I'll enjoy it.



Holly said:

Paying an extra 4 bucks to get one-day shipping on this. Aaaaah, the wait!



chiefeagle02 said:

RSVP'd this for my birthday! I'm really excited. Playing through Majora's Mask, A Link To The Past, and Skyward Sword to get ready for this one.



Nintonic said:

Too many LoZ titles get 10/10. I personally don't usually like them THAT much. Every game has its flaw.

Edit: Of course that doesn't mean I don't want to pick up a copy though



Gioku said:

First 10/10 I've seen since Ocarina of Time 3D! Zelda on 3DS is amazing without exception, apparently!



pukka-pie said:

@Nintonic I agree, I think OoT is... i'm going to say it... overrated! I mean it's good... it is very good... but is it really... THAT good...? The same with A Link To The Past, and both of these games represent absolute nostalgia for me.
Funnily enough Twilight Princess is my favorite.



mudmask said:

Nice... I feel great about the reviews I'm reading. Even IGN gave it what should've been a 10.. haha



citizenerased said:

From what I've read between the lines on all reviews, this is simply a masterful puzzle game rather than an unforgettable Zelda adventure with fantastic new items and a unique world. I'd rather have the latter.

I'll still pick it up, of course.



Jeremyx7 said:

Very very interesting changes to the Zelda structure for this game! I wonder if this is a taste of things to come on how Zelda Wii U will approach world exploration, item management, and more flexible gameplay mechanics!!



feelthesarcasm said:

@CanisWolfred Definitely not going out and saying he's totally wrong like some of the hardcore people out there. It really comes down to whether the things he pointed out are important to you. I've seen reviewers take points off of games for music which has never meant anything to me really. I had already made up my mind about getting this game. I really wish all games would come out with demos though, because then everyone could form their own opinion on it before buying.



Weird said:

next highscore i read today xD
i start to get reaaaaaaally excited about this game -



pukka-pie said:

@CanisWolfred You know 'gamers' are a feeble bunch. Absolutely no self expression, no opinions. The critics say OoT is the best. So it is objectively the best. Nobody can think otherwise. It cannot be. Gaming; such a petulant environment that needs to grow up.



MJKOP said:

Yes, have this preordered, was not expecting a 10 but delighted to see it! Can't wait



nasachi said:

10/10 as expected

Sounds like being One of Those Games i love Nintendo for, with unique Nintendo-Magic and unrivalled attention to detail



NintyMan said:

A top Christmas gift for sure. This game looks and sounds great, and as someone who only played a few Zelda games over recent years, this could be a candidate for my favorite so far.



Giygas_95 said:

So glad I pre-ordered this! I'm gonna get it during Thanksgiving break! Great review too!

"The other reason why you may get stuck at times is because this Legend of Zelda game doesn't go out of its way to help you."

Good. I love games like this and Sticker Star that let you figure things out for yourself. Then there are games like Dream Team that treat you like an idiot...

Edit: Whoa, why is Japan getting this so much later than NA and EU? That's not usually the way it goes.



Ralizah said:

Not sure when I'll get to this. Still have those Oracle Zeldas to beat, after all. Glad to hear it's s quality game, though.



Klimbatize said:

Wow, pleasantly surprised. Was going to get it anyway but now it's right at the top of the list of anticipated games.



HandheldGuru97 said:

Wow, I knew it was gonna be good, but this???!??!?!?!??!?!? I did not see coming!!!!!!!!!!! My Birthday (November 22) can't come faster!!!!!!!



27ShowStopper said:

Cant wait to play this game! I really hope the Majoras Mask rumors are true. I would love to see the origin of the mask. Or even an update on that world.



Porky said:

To those saying you can't wait, you all have to wait! Wish the review explained the streetpass or spotpass features. Good, long review nevertheless.



jasonbra said:

Getting amazing reviews across the board. Cant wait to get this. Been wanting to upgrade my 3ds to an XL, so might just have to get the zelda xl one.
Cant wait for the 22nd! This, new XL and Cat Mario!!!!



ModernMARVEL said:

I don't usually let reviews decide wheter I get a game or not, but this has made me pretty hyped. This game'll be excellent, though I like the long story-telling in Skyward Sword. Also, one thing I MUST know. Do we go back to the save anywhere system?



TheLilK98 said:

Another masterpiece. As expected. Luckily its US release is right on top of my birthday.



uximal said:

My wallet will hurt this holiday season, Zelda:Link btw worlds then shortly after Bravely default.......



Traxx said:

Don't know about this game. It seems very puzzle heavy, no world exploration (hence the streamline you praise), no storytelling. Everything screams generic, especially the art style.



Morpheel said:

I was not impressed or hyped when the game got announced but... Wow!

By the way.... The sand rod is not a new item! It was in Spirit Tracks!



ducktrapper said:

'it’s fair to say that the Zelda series has become a little stagnant in recent times'. Sorry, I stopped reading at this point. I appreciate the 10/10 and that is all I need to know, but the Zelda series has been brushing against perfection for a long, long time. Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess on the Wii, for example, are video games so good they are worth buying a console for. How many games make you feel that way?



CanisWolfred said:

@pukka-pie Huh? What's with the little rant? I wasn't being sarcastic. It's very rare that I see people call Twilight Princess their favorite, but honestly, I think it is bar-none the best Zelda game out there. It's one of only 4 games in the series even I still like anymore, judging from what I've replayed over the last few years.



JaxonH said:

I heard that! Oh what a day Nov 22nd will be- TWO perfect games: Zelda Link Between Worlds and Super Mario 3D World. The day President Kennedy was assassinated has been totally redeemed.



element187 said:

I didn't know if I was going to get this, but "and it runs at a silky-smooth 60 frames per second — even in 3D". SOLD!! The 3D effect looks fantastic at 60fps.

I'll ask my wife for it for Xmas.... I'll be fine playing SM3DW from. Nov 22nd til Xmas.



Aqueous said:

@Martin Watts - The Sand Rod sounds like what we had in Spirit Tracks for raising pillars of sand, not all that new.
Nice review. The score shocked me.



1upsuper said:

I highly doubt it's the best 3DS game, considering Etrian Odyssey IV, Untold, and Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry's Wonderland 3D exist, but I'm looking forward to it nonetheless.



okamiki said:

@JebbyDeringer reviewer said that the game is full on details and was impressive on how they managed to get the game with such great visuals. So I don't think the graphics are that bad.... gave it an 9



Nico85 said:

@idork99 100% with you on this one, nintendo 3ds screenshots and videos are a poor representation of what games actually look like when you play them



MrWalkieTalkie said:


Great now I HAVE to get this with Super Mario 3D World. $100, where are you when I need you?



mr570 said:

10/10??? Oh my. Another Must buy game. The 3DS is swimming in quality software!!!



Squashy said:

Wow, I'm so happy to hear that A Link Between Worlds is a truly worthy sequel to the magnificent A Link To The Past. What a special release this is for Nintendo, and for everybody who loves 'em!

@Hunter-D That GIF is exactly how I felt when I read that bit! They're the kind of words in game reviews that you don't forget. Properly spine tingling stuff!



Dark_Link said:

I have not had a Nintendo handheld since the Gameboy. Well, it looks like I will be getting the 3DS for this game!!! Zelda yeahhhh!!!!



WaveGhoul said:

10? Go figure, i didn't expect anything less from a new Zelda. You guys will be playing this while i play Zelda ALTTP.



WaveGhoul said:


This must be the first 'Nintendo' 3DS game to run in 60fps, and it looks absolutely beautiful to boot. Far more impressive than it's debut trailer which looked as if this were suffering from the bare bones 'n clean minamilistic NSMB syndrome. But as always, Nintendo blows it out of the park with their newer and improved trailers ala' Super Mario 3D World ect. Fido dido would be proud! zoink!



Kirk said:

I am so very happy to see this game has actually delivered and lived up to the legacy of the truly classic original. The game looks brilliant.

Now for my one slightly big criticism...

It's only the visual style that slightly disappoints me. There's places where the artists appear to have captured the very clean, sharp, bold and vibrant look and feel of the 2D art almost perfectly in 3D, which is great (I wish they would have done that across the entire game), and at the same time some parts just look cheap and plasticky with a dated rendered look that you might have seen in badly textured 3D games from the 90s. Outside of some dodgy fugly artwork/textures the game looks brilliant though, so that's awesome.

So happy to see this game actually deliver.

Also, that leaked IGN super Mario 3D World score!



QuickSilver88 said:

I am happy they made a return to a more old school Zelda as the two DS games just didn't do much for me. This reminds me a bit of Minish Cap with camera and art style.



larry_koopa said:

Well done, Nintendo. I have never been a big Zelda fan, but as a life-long Nintendo supporter I am happy that so many people are going to enjoy this game. The 3DS really is one of the best systems out there.



QuickSilver88 said:


Really now is the time to jump in as the library is unreal and the XL is so much of an upgrade over the original. Prices are great in the US as Meijer currently has it for $180 and target is going to be doing the new black XL for $150 in an upcoming sale. If you are an RPG fan this is the best system to own and lots of other stuff as well....sports and racing are the only genres lacking on 3DS.



MAB said:

So what you're trying to tell me is there's a good game for me to buy on 3DS... Finally! it has been a year and a half since I actually bought a cartridge for that mofo



BenAV said:

Still not too excited for this for whatever reason, despite being a big Zelda fan.
I'll pick it up at launch and give it a go, but expecting something good but not amazing.



blinkpunk02 said:

The guy that reviewed it on claimed to not have died once in the entire game. I obviously haven't played it yet but I call b.s.



Ren said:

Ok, I may usually be an old hater but... I'm freaking out right now.



Lunapplebloom said:

@CanisWolfred I'm with you there. Twilight Princess is to me the greatest Zelda ever, and I've played them all (except those terrible CDI games... Shudder).

@Aqueous This really surprised me as well. I was half expecting an 8, but a 10 is excellent. Definitely on my to get ASAP list now.

Great review Martin.



SageWaterDragon said:

@Senario A 6.5 on Destructoid is an above-average score. They actually take advantage of their numbers, which is similar to PC Gamer. Unfortunately, Metacritic takes everything on the same scale.



SageWaterDragon said:

@daveh30 Other than, you know, everything Nintendo. The IGN Nintendo team is actually one of the most biased reviewing squads out there; but you gotta love 'em.



grimbldoo said:

@MF_MaxiMillion #18
Agreed, games without any story or narration cannot reach the same level as games with even minimal but properly executed story. That's not to say that games without story are bad, being able to pick them up and put them down at any time is a major plus, but you just can't get as connected to them as you could with a game that has story.

@Geonjaha #24
Fire Emblem and Zelda are incomparable, they are two completely different types of games.

@Thats-what-she #29
Sonny, it's time to educate yourself a little on LoZ's history.

@Guybrush_Threepwood #31
Well, it is a handheld after all. It's rather nice to have a game that can be picked up and put down at any moment's notice.

@startropicike #176
Do this
{url=}except the ones that shall not be named{/url}
except change the curly brackets for regular brackets.
You get this, except the ones that shall not be named



grimbldoo said:

@startopickie #176
Or better yet, do this {img}{/img}
You get this Untitled



HaNks said:

nice review and can't wait to get the game. the soundtrack alone makes my ears melt, considering the original is one of the greatest scores in gaming history. btw grammatical error near the end choose > choosing.

gonna be a long week.



grumblegrumble said:

One question: How much is this gonna set us back when its released on the e-shop? I'll buy it anyway, of course, but any guesses?



startropicike said:

grumblegrumble if you mean cash i think it is around 40 bucks fisical copy give or take on the digital one, I think its $30 or $35(I think im not sure,and if it is the gig zize it was already told here if im not mistaken,think is around a gig or 2,dont remember.



andreoni79 said:

This can wait because:
1) Mario 3D World come first
2) I still have to finish another 10/10 Zelda, the dear old Skyward...



marck13 said:

Wow, must have it! I am very much hyped for the Wii U Zelda already and I am sure Nintendo saved some of that "perfection" for it too



Expa0 said:

The overall review score has probably been escalated somewhat just because it's Zelda, but considering LttP is one the two Zelda games which I would classify as above average I might give it a chance if I find cheaply enough sometime.



Finntendo said:

Ah, LTTP being my all time favourite, I've waited this so long..since we saw the first bits, My husband promised it for me as a Xmas present

My Zeldasense never failing, we were at Berlin, some electronics store, gamingsection, music loud and somewhere...somewhere I heard that theme song. "WAIT, WAIT...THERE'S ZELDAMUSIC COMING FROM SOMEWHERE!!!" so there it was, screen where the N trailers run (he didn't even let me watch it, something about "let's move on, you've seen those online" )



FritzFrapp said:

A week ago it was all Nintendo going 3rd party for the billionth time. Now with a double whammy of Zelda 3DS and Mario Wii U stellar reviews, how much crow is getting eaten.



ReigningSemtex said:

Zelda is my favourite game series I can't wait to pick this up on the 22nd of November. 1 week to go people!



MAB said:

But at the end of the day I won't worry about getting this because it looks too childish and very easy... Same with SM3DW so it is a pass



Marshi said:

Hmmm you say the story isnt what people play zelda for? WRONG! The Zelda series,tp and ss especially have incredible stories,atmospheres and settings. If your say a link between worlds dosnt have that same epicness then that really puts me off the game



MegaWatts said:

@Marshi At no point in the review did I say that. What I said was:

"’s fair to say that storytelling has never been the series’ strongest asset just by itself, and rather what it truly excels at is progressing the gameplay and creating fun player experiences that work within the confines of the series' renowned settings and themes."

I accept that people play Zelda for the story, even I like to follow the story. What I'm saying is that I don't believe the stories are the strongest element; in my view they're actually quite basic, but are perfectly suited for the style of gameplay and progression that Nintendo always aims for with Zelda games.



elstif said:

I haven´t read the review (dont want any more spoilers) just scrolled down and so a 10 and that´s all I need to know

I cant wait for this, it is gonna be a long week waiting
Pre-orders get sent in advance so you get it the release day the latest. hopefully I´m lucky and I might even get mine a day or 2 earlier.



Handy_Man said:

@ricklongo Nope, the first 10/10 3DS game was Ocarina of Time 3D. Regardless, only Zelda games have gotten a 10/10 on the 3DS, so I guess that counts for something.



G0dlike said:

Can not wait for this. Have wanted to upgrade my Zelda OOT 3DS for a while now, nearly got the blue pokemon X/Y model, so glad I didn't



DarkCoolEdge said:

I have it preordered because of that wonderful chest it comes with. I'm glad the game delivers the goods. I never thought it wouldn't but you never know...

@armoredghor You rate a game you haven't played...
Ok, here we have the winner for "most stupid comment on the thread".



aaronsullivan said:

@QuickSilver88 Yes, the target deal is the one I have my eye on. I just have the problem of wanting to share the game experience with my kids and it's hard on the dinky screen. It's alienating. Wish there was a way to stream it to a big screen or play on the Wii U, or something.



DualWielding said:


I would say call of duty is the most overbought series of all time, no doubt about that, but not necessarily the most overrated since it doesn't get that much critical praise..... Zelda on the other hand it always get critics gushing about it and I just don't see what's so great about it



JuanitoShet said:

I'll get this game someday. It's one of those rare diamonds, it seems; it's not often here in NintendoLife that a 10/10 is handed out. :B



Marshi said:

@ferthepoet Well its purely subjective ofcourse but I have to disagree. Cod has never recieved less than an 8 as far as critics go,and on some websites is deemed the best fps franchise ever. Where as zelda has always been a devisive series. Eg, magoras mask best zelda ever, "are you kidding?! Its the worst tp is the best" "well I think lttp is best" etc etc



1upsuper said:

@Luigifan141 Virtue's Last Reward also received the 10/10 it deserved, if only for some fleeting moments. But I'd rather not go there, as I've had enough of my posts deleted because of that fiasco for my liking.



QuickSilver88 said:


Yeh I was wishing Nintendo would make a 3DS emulator for WiiU using the TV as top screen and gamepad as bottom screen. As it looks like they are heading towards a unified account system then they could allow to download your 3DS eShop purchases to WiiU and play them on that system. I think it would really help to boost WiiU sales as it would entice many 3DS owners to finally make the jump into a WiiU and would also encourage more digital sales as people would want the digital versions over carts if they could play them on both the handheld and console. I still have the GBA player they made for GC and that was a cool idea letting you play GBA/GB games on your tv thru the cube. Nintendo usually gets around to stuff like this in the life of the system so here is hoping we get more cool stuff like this on WiiU in the coming years.....GC virtual console is my biggest wish as I would really love to be able to play GC greats on the gamepad



Doma said:

"Without a doubt, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is currently the greatest game you can experience on the 3DS."

Wow, you couldn't over-hype this hard enough...



AJWolfTill said:

I think your right but then for some reason people intervened and marked it down :S

I actually don't think they pressed the story far enough in Skyward Sword. It started off so well for me but then just disappeared for about 5 hours or so.



Dpishere said:

Yep, this will make one mighty fine Christmas present. Can't wait! Nintendo just isn't capable of making a bad Zelda game, and this continues that tradition.



grimbldoo said:

@Thats-what-she #234
The style of the cover art for The Legend of Zelda has remained consistent throughout the games. Just take a look at this (small) history posterUntitledIt's not like other game covers such as, say, Mega Man, so you cannot simply dismiss it as just an artist taking creative liberties. The way that Link is drawn for the promotional material, game cover, etc. is what he looks like in "real life," for lack of a better term. The reason that his hair was pink was because of a limited pallet
I told you to educate yourself, it was only a few clicks away.



Henmii said:

Nice review and nice score! It seems the reviewers rank it much higher then I did expect!

By the way: The sand rod isn't new! It was already in Spirit tracks!!



FabioSMASH said:

Alright. Enough with the patronizing, friend. I've seen hundreds of representations of Link over the past, nearly 3-decades. I'm not talking about cover art or instruction booklet art or promotional art. I'm talking about actual art within the game. And, no, it had nothing to do with a limited color palette. Not on the SNES, which had more than enough colors per sprite to render an auburn shade of hair. No, the more likely answer is that it was pink due to artistic decision simply based on the fact that it just looked better that way. Why are you unable to understand that? That's what my initial comment was referring to... as a joke, mind you. And regardless of the real reason for the pink hair, who cares?? It's done. It's history. That's how it will always be in LTTP, no matter how many drawings of Link you insist on showing me.



grimbldoo said:

@Thats-what-she #237
Please, dear sir, for the love of education, go and look up why Link had pink hair. As advanced as the SNES was, it could only hold 15 colors per palette and they had one color too many, there was auburn for his hair and pink for the bunny. Since his hair was so minimal, they opted to use pink.



FabioSMASH said:

Then for the sake of education, please, illuminate us with your source directly from Miyamoto or anyone at Nintendo of Japan (and not some forum or public wiki or the like) stating that the reason for Link's pink hair was due to hardware limitations.
Your theory is pure conjecture. There are many guesses as to the true reason for Link's pink hair but an official admission has never been presented. Nevertheless, his hair remains pink. Like it or not.
Also, I can't believe how much time I've wasted today arguing about pink pixels.



Jaing said:

Absolutely wonderful review!! I love the way you started your conclusion, "Without a doubt, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is currently the greatest game you can experience on the 3DS." Thanks for such a comprehensive review, I can't wait to play the game. Next Friday can't come soon enough!



JebbyDeringer said:

People here are so friendly, I'm sometimes kind of a troll but usually everyone responds so open minded even when I'm really negative. I appreciate it and it actually makes me re-think my views. Thanks.



Stubborn_Monkey said:

This game looks outstanding; while I wouldn't say it might be the best Zelda game to date (that's a pretty big title to claim) it sure feels like a strong contender for best handheld Zelda so far (and I hold Link's Awakening in very high regard, it is perhaps my favourite in the series.).

By the way, every time I read the word "Ravio" the cover image of Ironsword: Wizards and Warriors II flashes in my mind. Dunno why.



zipmon said:

HNNNG. Thanks for the awesome review, @MegaWatts!! Looks like I've got another top-notch 3DS game to add to the list before the year's up!



ShikabaneHime13 said:

If anyone in the US is interested in the XL bundle for this game, Walmart will have it on sale this Friday for $199.96



Godlike_Virus said:

Excitement, pure and simple. This Friday might be the release of the XBox One, but Nintendo is going to shine bright with this release and Super Mario 3D World simultaneously. A good year to be a Nintendo fan(boy), however you see it. m/



AlexSora89 said:

I'd still hold out for a demo. Don't get me wrong, I don't doubt the game's quality - but I can't afford to tackle another Zelda game: on my 3DS, I still have to beat the Master Quest in OoT 3D, Link's Awakening, both Oracle games, the two NES titles, Minish Cap, and the Hero's Trial in Four Swords Anniversary. That's a lot.



Falco63 said:

Not to be a buzz kill but I want to see it on my big screen TV not some wimpy hand held device!



Mainer82 said:

@ShikabaneHime13 Ugh, I already pre-ordered mine @ Gamestop and put some money towards it. I'm sure that I can cancel it though and I think that I will to save $20.



grumblegrumble said:

Can't wait! But I'll be buying the cartridge version, this has got to take up some crazy 3DS HD space! Does anyone know how big the file will be if someone downloads it? I prefer to own the manuals and box, anyway. I'm old skool like that.



ShikabaneHime13 said:


I know what you mean. I was considering doing the same myself, but since I have already paid it off at the Gamestop I work at, I just decided to keep my reserve in place (also beats getting up in the early morning on Friday to be at a Walmart to purchase the bundle since I'm sure there will be scalpers at the ready to buy as much stock as possible). At least my boss told me I can come in at the midnight launch for the xbox 1 tonight and pick up my Zelda stuff (bundle, physical game and the collector's edition guide) since it is technically the release date come midnight. And, being an employee, i get a discount on the physical copy of the game.



baconcow said:


The review is not entirely correct. You can purchase or rent from nearly the beginning of the game. Purchasing weapons is necessary if you ever want to upgrade them. Purchasing happens almost at the same point you rent. Not sure why they said the majority of the game you cannot purchase. I had all the weapons purchased (except one) by the end of my 2nd dungeon (not including the dungeons from before weapons could be rented).



Yanni said:

Great game indeed! The first one I play with the 3D turned on the whole time - it is gorgeous! And so much fun to play...



JebbyDeringer said:

60fps is more important than art style? I'll gladly make you a game that runs at 1000fps but lacks any graphics at all =p



biomadd said:

PERFECT SCORE!? DANG! I had no idea it was THAT good. I need to stop overlooking things.



0utburst said:

I don't have a 3DS yet but I saw this go on sale for 10 euros along with Animal Crossing New Leaf. I bought them still even though I am going full digital (on Zelda, Mario and FE) when II'll get a 3DS..

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