After the first five hours of gameplay, Kotaku give their initial thoughts on A Link Between Worlds. Spoilers ahead, so read at your own discretion!
We’ve known about the rental option at Ravio’s shop, but just how does that affect the overall gameplay? According to Kotaku:
“The item rental option is the best change to the Zelda formula in a generation… this is a way to finally—FINALLY—give experienced Zelda players a way to dig into one of these games more aggressively without handholding.”
Unlike previous games, bombs, arrows and other tools are all available for rent or purchase at the beginning of the game. Link’s wallet is limited only to the amount of Rupees he can find. You could potentially spend the beginning of the game cutting grass and smashing pots, earning enough Rupees to obtain every item, and enter the first dungeon fully equipped for anything that may lie ahead.
In a previous post, we learned that if you die while carrying rented items, Ravio taks everything back. This could be frustrating for beginning players, but part of the fun for Zelda veterans. Kotaku writes:
“Ravio takes them back if you die. That’s a fair trade-off. I’m no Zelda novice, so I’ve been opting to rent a lot of items on the assumption I won’t die. That strategy has mostly worked. It has allowed me to beat more enemies, earn more money and find more hidden stuff. I have died once or twice and seen all my rented items taken away. That has stung more than the average death in one of these games, but I enjoy playing Zelda in this riskier, optional way.”
If you recall in previous installments, the player would often have to revisit a location after finding a new item in order to access certain areas. With the non-linear gameplay of ALBW, the entire world becomes open for exploration, so you get to choose where to go next.
While it is very much a stand alone game, ALBW brings back memories of it’s predecessor, A Link to the Past. “The music, much of which consists of remixes of A Link To The Past, is Soundtrack of The Year material,” Kotaku says.
“There is a lot of rehashing of the overall flow of A Link To The Past (which was then used in many of the sequels)… A few dungeons. The castle. Then the big reveal of the real scope of the game. Your mileage will vary on how wonderfully nostalgic this is vs. how been-there-done-that this feels.”
If you’re like me and usually play with the 3D turned off, Kotaku advises making an exception for this game.
“The 3D effect accentuates the depths and heights of the world. That much I expected. What has surprised me is how well various pop-out effects are being used. For example, when you shoot an arrow into a stone wall, it doesn’t ricochet back so much as it also ricochets a bit up, seemingly out of your 3DS screen. It’s not distracting. It looks cool.”
Another similarity ALBW has to early Zelda games is the map layout. Kotaku explains that this installment avoids the constant hand-holding in recent games that “pretty much walk you up to them, tell you where to dig and practically open the treasure chest for you.”
Based on Kotaku’s five hours of gaming, it sounds like A Link Between Worlds should be on everyone’s wishlist this year!