GameSpot’s Martin Gaston has recently had the pleasure of playing through the first two hours of A Link Between Worlds and has divulged some interesting details about the game’s first couple of hours, along with his own impressions of what he was able to play. He has some positive things to say, some negative, but there are a lot of very interesting pieces of information revealed from his playthrough.
The following is fairly spoiler-heavy for the first few hours of the game, so please read at your own risk!
Mr. Gaston’s playthrough begins at the start of the game; Link wakes up, akin to the beginning of almost every Zelda game. In typical Zelda fashion, Link is late to work. In this title, as has already been revealed, Link is a blacksmith’s apprentice. He is tasked with delivering a sword to Hyrule Castle. While he is turned away from the castle gates, Link receives the Lantern (also the very first item received in A Link to the Past), and uses it to navigate through a mini-dungeon in the graveyard in order to enter the Sanctuary–the same place Link led Princess Zelda to for safety in the beginning of the original title. Once the player enters the Sanctuary, they’re introduced to the new villain of the game: Yuga. After a short encounter, Link passes out and wakes up to find himself in his home, where Ravio has already set up shop. Ravio reveals that Yuga is planning to capture the descendants of the first game’s Seven Sages and seal them inside of paintings, sending Link on a journey to warn Princess Zelda.
This eventually brings the player to the first dungeon of the game, the Eastern Palace. In order to enter the Eastern Palace, Link needs to rent the Bow and Arrow from Ravio. On this first occasion, it is free of cost, but going forward throughout the game, renting items costs rupees, which makes them much more indispensable in this game than any other Zelda title in recent memory. Leading up to the Eastern Palace, the overworld will be extremely familiar for anyone who has played A Link to the Past, as it is almost an exact replica of the overworld from the original up to this point in the game. The Eastern Palace, however, has changed quite a bit. It is filled with vertically moving platforms, forcing the player to hit switches at both the right angle and level to progress throughout the dungeon, making use of the 3D capabilities of the 3DS. At the climax of the dungeon, Yuga shows up yet again, and once the boss is defeated, Link gains the ability to turn into a painting at will. With the Eastern Palace cleared, Link then discovers his next objective: obtain the three Pendants of Virtue and claim the Master Sword.
It is at this point that GameSpot’s playthrough ends. One thing that really stands out to me is the character of Ravio. He seems to know exactly what is going on, Yuga’s motives, and knows enough to tell Link to go warn Princess Zelda. Who exactly is he? I think he will have a much larger part in the game rather than turning out to be a mere shopkeeper, although this is just mere conjecture on my part. His costume is reminiscent of the pink bunny Link turned into when he first entered the Dark World in A Link to the Past, which is an interesting design choice on the part of the creators, and I’m curious if it is intentional or not.
While Mr. Gaston was left with a feeling that Nintendo was retreading old waters a little bit too much with the nostalgia factor, he was also hopeful that underneath it all is a deeper, more original adventure. Considering he only played the first two hours of the game and only cleared one dungeon, this is very likely to be the case. Nintendo has been very mum on details concerning A Link Between Worlds, and much of the plot, including how Lorule fits into the game, is still a mystery at this point.
Do you agree with Mr. Gaston’s assessment that the game doesn’t seem original enough, or is he jumping the gun just a little too soon? Let us know in the comment section!