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Link Between Worlds ramble. We done with this marathon!

Feel like I raced through this one. Not that's a bad thing or anything. The "too long, didn't read"; This is a solid Zelda games that tried to do things a little differently and is kinda uneven in the way they handled certain parts. Still enjoyed myself quite a bit.

Beginning of the game has Link waking up from bed as someone comes in telling him he's late and has to get moving. Link is shown to be an apprentice blacksmith and the blacksmith's son was the one that came to wake Link up. Link goes to to his mentor and sees that the captain of the Royal is there to pick up a shield. He then leaves, forgetting his sword behind. Link is then told to go and return the Captain's sword to him. Link goes to Hyrule castle and see the knights are busy cleaning up graffiti off the stone walls. The knight guarding the entrance says the captain hasn't returned and probably went to a place called Sanctuary. Link goes to Sanctuary and meets Seres, a nun and daughter of the Priest of Sanctuary and Dampe the gravekeeper. Seres says the captain is inside and goes to get the captain. Few moments later, screaming is heard and the door is locked. Link sneaks into Sanctuary through a hidden entrance in a gravestone and meets the villain of the game, Yuga. Yuga has turned the captain into a painting on the wall and Seres into a portrait. Link tries to fight and is knocked out. Link then goes to the castle to warn Zelda of the threat and is sent off to an old man to help try to find 3 pendants, once of which is given to him by Zelda right then and there. And the story pretty much begins there.

It's a light story, like a lot of the hand-held Zeldas tend to be. And this particular game takes a lot from Link to the Past since it's a direct spiritual sequel to the game. A lot of the pathways and secrets are in the same exact areas and even the whole "going to an alternate version of Hyrule" is recreated here. Link doesn't spend to much time with any of the characters so a lot of them feel one note and it works alright for what the game is trying to do but it's a bit hard to get too attached to anyone. There are some moments that could make you feel bad for the character's struggles. For example, you meet a witch named Irene who will act as your teleport ability and she mentions multiple times she's trying to take care of her grandmother who is also a witch that will sell you potions. At some point in the game, Irene will stop meeting you but her broom will continue to come and whisk Link away. It wasn't until later I found out she was a Sage and was captured. After saving her, one of the first things she worries about is her grandmother and that got to me a bit. It was a nice touch and was a good reason to try to save Hyrule so Irene can go back to her grandmother. But, it isn't a massive motivation and I can see it not affecting other players like it did for me. Probably the biggest disappointment was the alternate world called Lorule. There wasn't really anything to get attached to in that land since it was already a disaster from the conflict that spilled over into Hyrule. Any person you meet will probably be wearing a mask and be very standoffish to Link. Lorule feels like a place that just doesn't care about anything other than itself and it shows. So it was difficult to feel motivated to help the people of Lorule and that's a bit of a shame. I kept wishing there was a sidequest that had Link maybe restore some sliver of hope or good nature in the population. You do get one with Lorule's blacksmith and it was okay to see that the blacksmith got motivated to help and create again. It even showed on the blacksmith's wife and apprentice, as their dialog also reflected a slight change in demeanor. But this is the one exception for Lorule.

The first main gimmick you find is that Link will gain the ability to merge into walls, becoming a moving painting. As long as he has magic and isn't obstructed, he can walk forward and backwards as far as he likes. This allows Link to cross to areas he couldn't because there's no floor, or it's blocked off by bars or a wall with a crack in it and it's a clever mechanic used well to help solve puzzles. The ability can also help you avoid damage and enemy attacks, so you sometimes want to keep a wall nearby at all times to stay safe. The other mechanic is the item rental. Unlike it every other Zelda game, many of Link's core items can be rented from a person in a mask named Ravio (he moves into Link's house after a bit.) The fee is usually 80 rupees and you can keep the items for as long as you want and you can rent as many of the items as you can afford. However, once you die, Ravio's pet creature thing will come to Link and take the rented items, forcing Link to rent the items again. Eventually, you will get the chance to buy and keep the items for a way greater price, making rupees a bit more important in this game. The idea is interesting but the rules regarding the rentals are a bit too loose. it could be interesting to force a player to use different items because "I don't have enough to rent all of them at once" but rupees are pretty easy to find with multiple mini-games and multiple 100 rupee chests in each temple/dungeon. Also, enemy rupee drops are plentiful as well and there are multiple ways to gain a lot of rupees through mini games and treasure caves. I died a few times and easily rented back all the items so it never really felt like I had to make a hard choice. Since the possibility exists that the player might not have certain items, the world overall is pretty easy to navigate. So, the idea is interesting but never really used to it's fullest potential. Perhaps on Hero Mode?

Game looks really nice. The style they used for the 3D environments and characters work really well. I image it would look much better on a 3DS(edit for the future goes here), but it didn't look too bad with how I played it. Every character feels distinct enough for you to remember who they are or where you find them. But still it's a 3DS game so this isn't HD by any stretch of the imagination.

Game feels very responsive. I kept being amazing with how quickly Link could move with his idle walk. I found myself rarely using the Pegasus Boots (tho they are still nice to have). Link's sword also feels like it has a bit more range on it than in Link to the Past. Items felt fun to use, especially after you upgrade them. Still, I found myself using only a few items unless forced otherwise. Upgrade the Master Sword will be the biggest benefit to the player and I'd recommend doing it as soon as possible. Also, through upgrading the items, you will encounter Mother Miaimai. Find her babies as soon as possible to get the Great Spin Slash. GAME CHANGER. Being able to hit nearly everything on screen with the Spin Slash and a fully upgraded Master Sword feels so satisfying. My favorite upgrade in the game. Also, there are a ton of side ways

The music is very strong. Everything has an orchestra, making every piece grand. Also, music will change for familar areas, depending on how you've progressed in the story and it's very welcomed to mix things up. The final dungeon music does the smart thing of adding more to the track as you progress further into the requirements to advance. Reminded me of the tower in Spirit Tracks and I loved it then. I want to own this soundtrack.

There is a lot to love in this game. Moving through Hyrule and Lorule never felt like a drag. Dungeons are clever with how to solve them and advance. Enemies can prove to be challenging if caught in a group of them, music works so well, items are good, I have little to really hate on this game outside of how easy it is and how unattached you feel to the characters outside of a select few. I wish the rental system was used a bit better, since I never really felt like I was making any hard choices. Overall, the game is good to really good. I want to collect everything in it on Hero Mode at some point.

Well, I guess I've played most of the Zelda's. Didn't really feel like I should play Four Sword, Four Swords Adventure or Tri-Force heroes without friends there to help out to get the full experience out of those games. So, yeah. Finally played all of the big Zelda games. I can finally go back into Breath of the Wild and really understand what it took to get to this point in the franchise's history. I really enjoy this franchise and this feeling only got reinforced with each entry. I'll probably have a write up later for my impressions of Breath of the Wild and the franchise as a whole later. Might take a break tho. New games out. Holiday rush, here we go!

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