A Link Between Worlds

Introduction

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is the 17th game to be released in the Legend of Zelda series, and the fourth title in the Downfall Timeline, set six generations after the events of A Link To The Past. The game takes place in the same world as A Link To The Past and serves as a true, but indirect, sequel to the 1991 title.

Originally rumoured to be a remake of the much-loved SNES title, A Link Between Worlds was released exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS system, making perfect use of the 3D screen and touch screen, whilst still being perfectly playable without the 3D effect. It was released to critical acclaim, averaging over 90% via game critic site MetaCritic, with Game Informer giving the game a rare 10/10. Selling 2.51 million copies, A Link Between Worlds is considered a commercial success, second only to the remastered version of Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 3DS system.

Development and Release

Development of a brand-new Zelda title started in 2011, with Shigeru Miyamoto stating in an interview he would like to remake A Link To The Past, as well as debating to remake Majora’s Mask in a similar way Nintendo had done with Ocarina of Time 3D. Series producer Eiji Aonuma stated in an interview that Miyamoto has asked him to remake A Link To The Past but preferred to work on a whole new title, and convinced Miyamoto this was the best direction to go.

Officially unveiled in a Nintendo Direct presentation in April, 2013 the title was missing its official subtitle in European and America broadcasts, and a 3D trailer was released the same day on the Nintendo eShop. A playable demo of the title was made available to the press shortly after the presentation.

The game was confirmed to feature fully orchestrated music, based on the original music from A Link To The Past, and features remixed and re-arranged music from another Zelda title, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link via Streetpass capabilities.

<img class=”alignright size-wcsmall wp-image-1003” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Phantom_Ganon_Ocarina_of_Time1-250x245.png” alt=”Phantom Ganon” />The concept behind Link being able to become flat and merge with a wall came from the Phantom Ganon boss from Ocarina of Time, where he hides in paintings before coming out of another. The development team posed the question that if he could do it, why couldn’t Link.

Early in the A Link Between World’s development, the game was meant to be a sequel to the Nintendo DS games, making it fall in the Adult Timeline under this idea. A concept was even built, showing Toon Link being able to use the flattening ability seen in the final release.

The development team focused on a few targets for the release, which were achieving a frame-rate of 60FPS, which allowed the action on-screen to flow smoother and also allow drag-and-drop item rearrangement on the Touch Screen, use of stereoscopic 3D, and new gameplay elements that built on A Link to the Past.

Released in November 2013 in European and American territories, and a Japanese release in the following December, the game immediately became a critical and commercial success selling 2.18 million copies by the end of the year.

<img class=”alignleft wp-image-1011” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/10848361-1381856135-828210-250x276.jpg” alt=”A Link Between Worlds Limited Edition 3DS XL” width=”150” height=”165” />A Link Between Worlds was released in both physical and digital format, available from the Nintendo eShop, and a Limited Edition was also released, which was a 3DS XL bundle which included a gold and black Zelda-themed console emblazoned with the Triforce on the top and bottom, and an eShop code to download the digital version of the game.<img class=”alignright size-thumbnail wp-image-1012” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/267619_gen_b-150x150.png” alt=”267619_gen_b” />

Exclusive to GAME outlets across Europe, a Collector’s Edition of the game was also released, which contained a physical copy of the game, a Link’s Awakening DX eShop download code, a cartridge holder shaped as Treasure Chest which plays the item get fanfare, and a poster.

Gameplay

A Link Between Worlds uses a style more akin to it’s spiritual prequel, A Link To The Past, and other handheld games than to previous Nintendo DS titles Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks and that seen in the 3D console titles. The games uses top-down graphics to show the player, characters and game world but to make the world seem less “flat”, environmental models were skewed to tilt towards the camera. This lessens the flat effect as seen from top-down, and the effect can be seen in certain circumstances when Link wall-merges.

<img class=”alignright size-medium wp-image-1010” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/link-screen-247x300.jpg” alt=”A Link Between Worlds Screens” />The top screen of the 3DS/3DS XL/2DS shows the main game and the bottom screen shows the map, rupee count, items, inventory and Gear, which is Link’s main items like sword and Pendants. The touch screen can be zoomed in and out of, an enhancement from Ocarina of Time 3D, pins can be placed on the map and the map tracks Link’s current location.

The 3D capabilities of the 3DS/3DS XL system are used to magnificent effect in A Link Between Worlds with real depth appearing within the game. Players ae able to see beyond the current floor they are on, and makes great use of appearing to shoot towards the camera when being flung by a spring.

One of the biggest changes in the game is how the item system works. Previously, players started out with a sword and shield and gained weapons from the dungeons they completed, with the item being found being critical to completing that dungeon. Instead, A Link Between Worlds mixes the formula up a great deal by implementing an item rental system.

Item renting is done via Ravio’s shop – who takes over Link’s house while he’s on his adventure – which carries all of the key items needed in the game, including bombs, arrows, boomerang and hammer along with new items like the Sand Rod and Tornado Rod. Items can be rented for however long the players wants, but upon death, the item is returned to Ravio where the player has to rent the item again. This was decided upon to increase the challenge for players.

<img class=”alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-1009” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Mother_Maiamai-150x150.png” alt=”Mother Maiamai” />Players can also purchase items permanently for a great cost, and further in the game, the player can use an upgrade system to increase the power and functionality of Ravio’s items. This is done by finding hidden Maiamais, which are returned to their mother. For every ten Maiamais found, the player can upgrade an item.

Another change from previous titles is the use of an item magic meter, as opposed to ammunition for arrows and bombs, where the player can use the item until the meter runs out and must wait for it to replenish before using it again.

A Link Between Worlds is far less linear than previous titles due to the item rental system, making the game much more similar to the original Legend of Zelda than other titles. This non-linearity allows players to explore the land of Hyrule however they wish, and choosing which dungeons to complete in any order they choose.

Save points in the game are handled by Weather Vanes, which Link has to activate before they can be used, and a fast-travel system can be used once the player has helped a witch called Irene, transporting them to any activated Weather Vane across the map.

Similar to how A Link To The Past features an other-world, A Link Between Worlds has an alternative world called Lorule. This land is ruled by a princess called Hilda, and is a torn, twisted place. Link can access this world by using the wall-merge feature and finding cracks in walls that lead to the land of Lorule.

Lorule once housed a counterpart to the Triforce of Hyrule, with similar powers and history. However, wars were fought over Lorule’s Triforce, and the people ultimately destroyed it, resulting in Lorule beginning to fall apart.

Trivia and Facts

A Link Between Worlds’s Hero Mode is the only one in the series to include recovery hearts.

Lorule Castle’s music has reversed Hyrule’s Castle music concealed in it, similar to how Ballad of the Goddess has a reversed Zelda’s Lullaby melody present.

A magic chant used by a Lorule shopkeeper, “Ay lliw nihtemos yub”, is the exact reverse of what the original Legend of Zelda shopkeepers say, which is “Buy somethin will ya!”

The song used in the Japanese commercials for the game is a remix of the original song used in the Japanese A Link to the Past commercials.

Using the sand rod on a Geldman in the desert region will cause it to pop out of the sand wearing red speedos and run away.

Majora’s Mask can be seen on the wall of Ravio’s store, which fueled speculation and excitement that the title was in development for the 3DS, which eventually proved true.

Timeline Information

A Link Between Worlds is the seventeenth instalment of the Legend of Zelda franchise, and takes place as an indirect sequel to A Link To The Past, set after the events of the Oracle of Ages and Seasons titles and Link’s Awakening. The title falls in the Downfall or Failure Timeline, where the Hero of Time failed in his quest to stop Ganondorf stealing and using the Triforce.

A Link Between Worlds is set six generations after the events of A Link To The Past where the Royal Family elected to split the Triforce to stop evil from rising again. By doing this, each part was returned to its elected owner. One part returned to the deceased demon king Ganon, one part stayed with the Royal Family, and a third part took its rightful place in the heart of Link and his descendants.

Link, an apprentice blacksmith, awakens, after having an nightmare about facing a dark figure, to the sound of the blacksmith’s son calling for him, Having overslept again, Link follows Gulley to the Blacksmith’s and runs into the departing Captain, who is at the Blacksmith’s to pick up a new sword and shield. However, he forgets the sword and Link is charged to take the sword to the Captain.

<img class=”alignright size-wcsmall wp-image-1007” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/516px-YugaALBW-250x290.png” alt=”Yuga” />As Link arrives at the Sanctuary where the Captain is, he interrupts a conversation between Seres, the Priest’s daughter and the gravedigger, Dampé. As Seres offers to find the Captain for Link, the Sanctuary doors smal shut and Seres screams in terror. Dampé tells Link there’s a secret passage beneath one of the graves and instructs Link to use the Captain’s sword to navigate through and rescue those inside.

As Link enters the Sanctuary, he sees a sorcerer named Yuga casting a spell on Seres, turning her into a portrait, with the Captain suffering a similar fate. As Link charges Yuga, the sorcerer transforms himself into a painting, but keeps his ability to move, Link loses consciousness after hitting the wall, and Yuga escapes with the portrait of Seres.

<img class=”alignleft wp-image-1006 size-medium” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/250px-ALBW_Ravio-213x300.png” alt=”Ravio” width=”213” height=”300” />Upon awakening, Link finds himself in his house, greeted by a strange person in a rabbit hood called Ravio. Ater learning about what happened to Link, Seres and the Captain, Ravio presents Link with an old bracelet, and tells Link that Princess Zelda should know of the recent events. At the castle’s gates, a guard laughs at Link’s story until Impa, Princess Zelda’s attendant, allows him entry and announces him to the Princess.

Princess Zelda recognises Link from her dreams, and presents him with the Pendant of Courage - which Link believes to be a simple good luck charm - and tasks him with finding the Kakariko Village elder, Sahasrahla. Having met with the elder and explaining the chain of events thus far, Sahasrahla urges Link to warn his student, Osfala, in the Eastern Palace, who is also a descendant of the Seven Sages. When Link finds Osfala, he laughs off the threat and doesn’t view Yuga as a problem.

Entering the Eastern Palace, Link witnesses Yuga turn Osfala into a painting like the others, and takes the fight to Yuga. Defeating the sorcerer, Yuga furiously turns Link into a painting and leaves him there. However, due to the power of the bracelet Ravio gifted him, Link is able to break free of the painting and gives him the ability to now do this at will. He finds Sahasrahla at the entrance to the palace, before hearing an earthquake from the direction of Hyrule Castle.

Racing to the castle, Sahasrahla and Link see that Yuga has erected a barrier around the castle, which causes Sahasrahla to be concerned that the Pendant of Courage is inside. Link reveals that it is, in fact, in his possession, and Sahasrahla tasks Link to find the other two Pendants in the House of Gales and Tower of Hera so that he can recover the Master Sword and save Princess Zelda.

After retrieving both of the remaining Pendants, Link explores the deep Lost Woods and pulls the legendary Master Sword from its pedestal and travels to the castle to confront Yuga after destroying the barrier. Near the top of the tower, Yuga turns Zelda into a painting as well, resulting in another battle between he and Link. Link defeats him once again and Yuga escapes through a crack in the wall.

<img class=”alignleft size-full wp-image-1008” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/200px-LoruleCastleALBW.png” alt=”Lorule Castle” />Link gives chase, only to find himself in Lorule, a dimension opposite to Hyrule. Lorule is close to ruin, and is also the home to Yuga. Link chases Yuga to Lorule Castle, where he finds Yuga has resurrected Ganon with the paintings of the Sages, and fuses with him to obtain the Triforce of Power. Yuga becomes a beast, and with Link in desperate peril, Princess Hilda appears and imprisons Yuga. After rescuing Link, Hilda tells him that if he is to save the worlds of Hyrule and Lorule, he must rescue the Sages from their paintings.

<img class=”alignright wp-image-1020 size-wcsmall” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/2585670-hildas-true-colors-250x150.png” alt=”Princess Hilda” width=”250” height=”150” />Link sets about rescuing all seven Sages, and once this task is completed, he presented with the Triforce of Courage. Link returns to Lorule Castle to defeat Yuga once and for all, but is betrayed by Hilda when he arrives. She explains that Lorule once had its own Triforce, but the people destroyed it due to the constant conflicts it causes. While the Lorule Triforce was destroyed with the best intentions in mind, it also had dire consequences on the land of Lorule. Wanting Hyrule’s Triforce to save Lorule, Hilda takes Princess Zelda’s Triforce of Wisdom, and prepares to take Link’s Triforce of Courage too.

Link and Yuga battle once more, and Yuga betrays Hilda, taking the Triforce of Wisdom from her, with two pieces of the Triforce now in his possession, and sets about stealing Link’s Triforce of Courage, with which he wants to remake Lorule in his own image. Princess Zelda grants Link the Bow of Light, with which he can extract Yuga from his painted form and fights him once again. Link finally defeats Yuga after a long battle.

Princess Zelda is freed, however, Princess Hilda is still desperate to save her kingdom of Lorule. Arguing about this, Ravio shows up and reveals himself to be the Lorue version of Link. He explains to Hilda that this sort of chaos was what led to the Triforce of Lorule to be destroyed in the first place, and makes Hilda realise the error of her ways.

Princess Hilda then returns Link and Zelda through the Lorule version of the Sacred Realm, and it is revealed that through a crack, Hilda and Yuga sensed the presence of the Hyrule Triforce and devised a plan to steal it. Ravio, being a coward at heart, was too fearful to confront them directly, and travelled to Hyrule to fin a hero who could. After the departure of Link and Zelda, Lorule grows ever darker, signalling that its end is near.

<img class=”alignright size-wcsmall wp-image-1017” src=”http://zelda-timeline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/maxresdefault-2-250x141.jpg” alt=”Zelda and Link use the Triforce” />Returning home, Link and Princess Zelda find themselves in the Hyrule Sacred Realm, with the fully-formed Triforce ahead. They touch it together, simutaneously, wishing for Lorule to be restored to its former glory after witnessing everything they had seen. The Triforce grants their wish, and Lorule transforms in front of Hilda and Ravio. Equally surprised and grateful, they watch as light shines on Lorule again, saving both worlds in the end.These events usher in the Golden Age of Hyrule, when the Hyrule Royal Family start to use the unified Triforce, and peace was prevalent across Hyrule, having at last learned to respect the power of the Triforce.