Confession time- Outside of a few minutes at the beginning, I've never played A Link to the Past.
Now that I have your attention, let me explain. I got into Zelda during the pre-release hype for Twilight Princess, and as a result I've always been more into the 3D Zeldas than the top-down ones. That’s not to say that I didn't enjoy them- the Nintendo DS Zelda games, Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, remain two of my favorite games from the past generation- but the reason I was excited for A Link Between Worlds was more for the prospect of playing a brand-new handheld Zelda game than it was to revisit a classic.
Still, after my initial hours with Link’s latest adventure, the drive to go back and see what I've been missing out on is stronger than ever. The newest Zelda game seems poised to address many of the criticisms longtime fans have had for the more recent entries. Link’s adventure starts out humble, but within the first ten minutes he is given a sword and thrown into the introductory dungeon, a far cry from the notoriously lengthy prologue of, say, Twilight Princess. New items are acquired, monsters are slain, and before long Link is on a quest to track down a sinister man who is trapping the descendants of the Seven Sages inside paintings. The pacing, so far, is much faster.
I’m a big fan of the game’s presentation as well. The more cartoony visuals aren't quite as expressive as a game like The Wind Waker, but they do a good job of portraying the retro aesthetics of the world while still having the game feel new and fresh. The core gameplay is less touch-screen oriented than the DS entries, but items and gear can be seen and equipped on the bottom screen, along with a map where important locations can be marked down at the player’s discretion. Rupees aren't in short supply, either- as opposed to the limited wallets of other games in the series, I've scrounged up over 700 rupees as of the first real dungeon.
I’m only a few hours into A Link Between Worlds, and suffice it to say that this retro throwback has gotten it’s hooks into me. If I wasn't a huge fan of old-school Zelda before, I might very well be on my way to becoming one. Stay tuned for the full review!