Coming in last on my list for 2013 is a last minute entry. After receiving money for Christmas, I promptly decided to spend it on eShop currency to download the newest addition of Zelda onto my 3DS.
Everyone at some point knows what to expect from a Zelda game. You progress through a series of dungeons, collect relevant equipment to gain more diversity and strength, occasionally go on a sub-quest, and fight a great evil. And yet as I've found in LBW, the entire package is altogether more cohesive and efficient. You're fighting stuff in 5 minutes flat, everyone you meet has a point where you connect with them, and the dungeon design is amazing. The 3D is used well without being detrimental on something like the 2DS and the world is just fun and easy to move around in. 10 minutes in you receive your fast travel method.
Story has never exactly been something you praise in Zelda and yet LBW has subtle flashes of charm and interest. And most of all, it's also probably the most enjoyably challenging Zelda ever with its approach in item management. You can undertake the main quest in any order you want by renting important equipment from Ravio the rabbitman. And if you get a game over, alll rented equipment gets returned and you have to re-rent what you've lost. And believe me, the game ups the challenge in order to make the stakes matter. At the same time, this makes money actually matter for the first time in a longtime and creates a Zelda economy that's fun to engage.
Link Between Worlds is fun. It isn't simply fun because it's a Zelda. It's fun without the flash or fluff. It's a Zelda game that respects your time and legitimately fun while still being an epic quest tale. Every little thing, every mechanic, every layer of level design is made to be accessibly fun without any overbearing design flaws.
- Show me your moves
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