My Reasoning Behind A Link Between Worlds' Perfect Score
Back in December, I gave The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds the high honor of getting a perfect score. While I have stated before that I don't believe in absolute perfect games, I do confess to certain titles coming close to the threshold. A Link Between Worlds is one of those titles brought to us by Nintendo. The following article is my explanation as to why I believe my score is just and will be done so in a fashionable manner.
Weeks after my completion of ALBW's review and beating the game itself, I came across some complaints about the gameplay mechanics or the experience overall. One of these complaints stood out like a sore thumb because not only did I have friends who complained, but some forums also took note.
- "Renting items is so stupid." A friend of mine told me this when I stopped over his place and saw him playing ALBW. I told him he could buy items at one point but he complained about how much buying cost. My reasoning for not considering the renting/buying aspect to be a flaw is because it isn't. Players lose all rented items if Link loses all his hearts. In my mind, this reinforces the urge to do whatever possible to avoid losing all hearts. A lot of games nowadays don't have major penalties for dying besides restarting at the nearest checkpoint. Losing items and having to spend hard earned rupees on an item already obtained is rough, but further solidifies the purpose of not getting Link killed. This is no Ninja Gaiden or Dark Souls; ALBW can easily be beaten without ever seeing the "Continue?" screen. I enjoyed the way renting/buying works here because it added a challenge for me. A challenge I saw through to the end. As for the second part of the complaint, it's rather simple really. The more exploring one does through Hyrule and Lorule, the more rupees that can be scavenged until voila!... you've found more than enough for the much needed items. One of the big draws to Zelda titles is the exploration of fields and dungeons. If you're not going to explore as much as possible in the world then what's the point?
- "Nintendo is just running victory laps around mechanics they perfected decades ago." (Martin Gaston, GameSpot) There are certain times where I would agree with the above statement. As of late, these times often occur whenever a new Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed title is revealed not even a year after its release. Annual releases tend to sour games for me because they always feel too similar to the predecessor and released too soon for my tastes. The last time I played a Zelda game that felt similar to ALBW was A Link To The Past for the SNES and this was some years ago. Nintendo may be using familiar mechanics from previous titles, but each game has a feel to it that is unique only to itself. To deviate from the path could be disastrous to a franchise that has constantly looked to its past to advance forward. As long as Zelda continues to offer a vast world, creative gameplay and lovable characters, I'll constantly return to Hyrule.
- Visual style is divisive." (Keza MacDonald, IGN) Divisive by definition means: "tending to cause disagreement or hostility between people." Not once during my time with ALBW did I feel any sort of disagreement, hostility or even separation towards the artistic style Nintendo went with. In fact, I felt quite the opposite! The visual style was its own and fit well with the timeline. This is the era where Link failed to defeat Ganon in Ocarina of Time, so A Link to the Past, Oracle of Seasons & Oracle of Ages, Link's Awakening and a few others happen. Basically, I totally disagree with the issue of the art style being divisive in any way. The colors are vibrant, characters and enemies fit right in with the era... I don't believe "divisive" is a correct way to describe the visual style.
Just to be completely crystal clear, I'm not saying my explanations are law but merely expressing my opinions as to why these issues aren't considered issues to me. For everyone that found a problem with ALBW is right to stick with their beliefs; I'm just sticking with mine because of my convictions. A Link Between Worlds was my Game of the Year in '13 and for plenty of good reasons. I look forward to any future installments coming from the Zelda franchise.