Nintendo has taken a unique approach with The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. The Zelda series has always had a rough line of continuity. Linking the games together was near impossible and, even with the release of a timeline, details were often sketchy. Thankfully, A Link Between Worlds is easy to place, being a direct sequel to the Super Nintendo classic, A Link to the Past. A Link Between Worlds will not only be a direct chronological sequel, but it will also maintain a lot of the classic graphical style, share the same overworld, and maintain a lot of its predecessor's themes.
As of now little is known about the story behind A Link Between Worlds. The 2 demos at E3 were devoid of any plot or context for the game. At the time, we do know that Link will be returning to the same Hyrule from A Link to the Past, and the Dark World will be making a return. This fact is interesting since Link wished it away at the end of A Link to the Past. The game takes place in a Hyrule that is almost identical to its predecessor, down to Link's house, Hyrule Castle, and some dungeon locations. There are a few minor changes, made to take advantage of the new gameplay features, but they are mostly minimal.
The E3 demo takes Link into the game's first dungeon. The location is the same as in A Link to the Past, but the inside of the dungeon could not be more different. Things like this really differentiate this game. There are also some great gameplay elements that really makes this game stand out. For instance, Link moves a lot faster than he used to, but one of the most notable changes is the ways items are used. Using your arrows, the hammer, Fire Wand, bombs, and so on, will use a part of your energy meter. The meter will gradually refill on its own, but using items too often will cause it to drain, and require you to wait for it to recharge. This feature is very similar to the energy meter in Skyward Sword.
Another, and highly notable feature, is Link's ability to imprint himself into and walk on walls. See some treasure on a faraway ledge? Simply climb into the wall and work your way over. During the dungeon demo there were several instances of using this ability, many of which were very creative. Nintendo really worked their magic on this feature. Walking in walls also requires energy, so be careful!
A Link Between Worlds manages to capture the beauty of A Link to the Past, while also updating the graphics and character models. The game is not the prettiest on the market, but it has a quaint level of appeal that will bring a smile to all who fondly remember A Link to the Past. The 3D effects are alright, but like the majority of 3DS games, not really necessary and the effect does little to add value to the title.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is a fantastic throwback to one of the Zelda series' best entries. With that in mind, the game offers plenty of new gameplay features to keep the series fresh and maintain a level of advancement. The game comes out November of this year, and should be on every Zelda fan's must-buy list.