The title of Nintendo’s newest Zelda game describes much of its charm and ingenuity. This entry stands as a link between two design philosophies: the old, much beloved Zelda formula perfected by A Link to the Past, and the new, more freeing, exploratory format that gives players what they want as soon as they want it. A Link Between Worlds stands at the crossroads of these two different game types, melding them seamlessly. It shows Nintendo isn’t afraid to adapt and try new things in an effort to spice up the Zelda formula before it runs out of steam.
In my last writing in this space, a year’s end retrospective of the best games of 1992, I hailed The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past as both the best game ever produced in its series, and as the single greatest game ever produced for the Super Nintendo. For me, that wasn’t a terribly difficult choice — it’s the rare game that defies the aging process to near mastery, wholly, competently confident in its design.
2011 marks the end of the Wii’s lifespan. Since its launch in 2006, gamers have been clamoring for something to play, something that makes motion controls worthwhile. After five years of Wii shovel ware, Just Dance, a Motion Plus peripheral, and the announcement of a Wii successor, gamers finally have their answer. The swan song of the Wii is to the tune of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, the latest iteration of one of Nintendo’s flagship franchises.