Nintendo had quite the showing at NY Comic Con this year, with a great deal of titles on display. Many swarmed around the The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds 3DS exhibits, eager to see the mix of Hyrules coming together, and certainly were not disappointed. A Link Between Worlds blends the best that Zelda has to offer, while remaining in the world of one of the most iconic titles in the series.
The demo had both overworld and dungeon levels, with the classic SNES Hyrule being transformed and updated with superb visuals, and each dungeon is completely new. I was instantly impressed by the Wind Waker-inspired graphics, as the cel-shaded goodness exploding off the screen with vibrant colors and great lighting effects, bringing the cartoon style to life.
Link and his enemies move fluidly and hold the detailed cartoon style that rivals the recent Wind Waker's makeover. The transition from normal Link to drawing Link is seamless, and when flat against the wall, Link takes on a very unique hieroglyphic look that many will remember from the Wind Waker scrolls. The 3D effects work very well, and actually serve a bit of a purpose, as some enemies that jump can be run under, and when the 3D is on, it makes it easier to see how high they've jumped.
The gameplay is still very much like its DS predecessors, using the classic top-down perspective and Link's typical arsenal of weapons and tools, but with a twist. Instead of having to collect and make sure you have enough bombs or arrows, a meter is now used for all of Links abilities, be it his special weapons, tools, or his new drawing ability. While it changes the traditional make up of Zelda, the ever recharging meter is a welcome change, and adds a bit of strategy to the mix as well.
Attaching to the wall to become a drawing adds a whole new layer of puzzle gameplay to the mix, as Link will now have to squeeze his way through pillars and walk over large gaps while attached to the wall. You can wrap around corners and pillars blocking your way to reach once inaccessible areas, creating an even more open world feel than previous games in the series.
The magic meter will constantly drain, meaning you better know where you're going before you attempt a puzzle unless you want to get stuck and have to start over or drop down from a large height because the meter ran out. It's simple yet intuitive, and fits Zelda just perfectly. Other puzzles see Link using his hammer to crush down a pillar and then run on top of it to be blasted off to the next floor or across the room.
In just the small amount of time I had with the demo, I was able to find a good amount of secret passages, heart pieces, and fairies, so it's safe to say that A Link Between Worlds will be flush with secrets to find. Many required the use of Link's wall drawing ability, and attaching yourself to any wall around Hyrule will most likely prove to be a rewarding venture. It adds a whole new level of exploration, as well as allowing for new areas and secrets to be created in this classic Super Nintendo Hyrule.
While the first DS title, The Phantom Hourglass, saw nearly universal praise, reception to the sequel, Spirit Tracks, was much more divided. The third iteration of the dual screen portable era, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, proves to be incredibly fun and ingenious, with a great mix of new and old abilities, areas, and equipment, and is shaping up to be one of the long running series' best. Look for it come November 22nd.