It’s not long before the next Zelda game, A Link Between Worlds, is released for the 3DS. I’m sure we’ve all seen the trailer of Link turning into a picture and walking along walls, an ability which will be the main focus of the game. It sounds like a decent ability and could make for some interesting puzzles where you not only have to think about things as you see them but also incorporating the possibilities if things shifted into a 2D plain. We did a couple of posts ages ago regarding the overworld differences between A Link to the Past and A Link Between Worlds but it looks as though there are a few other differences. Find out more after the jump!
Patricia Hernandez from Kotaku was recently able to play a demo of A Link Between Worlds and has talked about three things that make it different to the vast majority of games in the series. Firstly, while all of the dungeons that take place in the game are in Lorule and may seem similar to those found in A Link to the Past, they can be explored in whatever order you desire. Pretty much every Zelda game is fairly linear, requiring you to complete each dungeon in a certain order. Sure, there may be two or three that can be interchanged but this is the first time that you can choose the order you complete every dungeon. The biggest concern I have with this is difficulty level. From what Patricia experienced, the puzzles in each dungeon vary greatly but the enemies you face would need to be fairly similar in difficulty especially in the amount of damage the can cause. If you start the game with three hearts they can’t really put enemies that do five hearts of damage in a dungeon because, if that’s the dungeon you go to first, you aren’t going to stand a chance especially if it’s your first play through. One of the things I like about games is facing harder and harder enemies as I progress but that side of things could be a bit limited.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “If you can choose the order you explore dungeons, what happens if you need an item found in a different dungeon to progress?” Well, that brings us to the second new addition to the game: every item needed can be rented or bought. Yes, apparently things like the boomerang and the bow are available to you, from the sounds of it, fairly early on. If you rent an item but die in a dungeon you lose the item so you may be better off saving up to buy it. Patricia mentions that finding the Hookshot in a dungeon isn’t the same when you could rent it pretty much from the start so I’m assuming they’ve added the rent/buy option so that you can explore without being restricted by certain item requirements which pretty much destroys gradual exploration. It’s one of the issues I had with No More Heroes, if you can explore everywhere right at the start you end up not having anywhere to explore past half way through the game. At the same time, one of the things I love about games like Zelda, Metroid and Muramasa: The Demon Blade is gaining a new item and then being able to access new areas. Granted, in A Link Between Worlds there might be other things preventing certain areas being explored (magic barriers, fire, chasms needing a bridge, etc.) but, for me, it still takes away the excitement of getting a new item and seeing where it can take you.
I’ve been a bit negative about those two additions but the final one I am a bit more hopeful for, even if it was done in A Link to the Past and Skyward Sword; you are able to upgrade your equipment. I love RPG games and, although you can sort of get upgrades like ice/fire/light arrows and tunics/shields/swords with special abilities, it would have been great if you could upgrade your equipment, too. In Skyward Sword you could collect various items like tumbleweed, ornamentals skulls and bird feathers to upgrade some of your equipment. Making shields more durable and increasing pouch sizes was fine but upgrading your bow or slingshot was pretty much purely for its own sake. For the bow, increasing the power is good but there was nothing that required the extra power, like needing the upgraded bow’s power to cut a rope to drop a gate that would uncover a heart piece or something like that. Hopefully in A Link Between Worlds the upgraded items can be put to better use. Try this:
Being able to shoot three arrows at once is great. Whether it’s a bow upgrade or, looking at what Link is holding, something else you can obtain, I don’t mind. There could be situation where two or three switches need to be hit simultaneously in order to have an effect so you need this new ability in order to succeed even if it’s just for a heart piece.
What do you think about these differences? Do you think it they could ruin certain aspects or should I stop being so negative and be happy they’re trying something new? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.