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10 Years Ago, An Underrated Zelda Game Paved The Way For Tears Of The Kingdom

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The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is often heralded as one of the best adventure games of the past 25 years. With the nefarious Ganon once again scheming to conquer the land, it’s up to Link to traverse through time, space, and yet another aggravating water temple to save the Kingdom of Hyrule. While the epic for the N64 is celebrating a major birthday this year, inspiring tribute mash-up videos and social media celebrations, another classic Zelda title is quietly celebrating a major milestone of its own.

In November 2013, A Link Between Worlds made its way onto the Nintendo 3DS, reimagining what a 2D Zelda title could be. It follows many of the same tropes as most games in Nintendo’s storied RPG series, embracing the intense dungeon-crawling and puzzle-solving of its spiritual predecessor, 1992’s A Link to the Past for the Super Nintendo. But it stands the test of time because it embraces the experimental nature of the series, offering a plethora of gimmicks and mechanics were early forerunners of the innovations seen in Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom so amazing.

The story has all the familiar Zelda elements, with a welcome splash of oddness. The sorcerer Yuga seeks to revive the series-staple villain Ganon, kidnapping Zelda and the Seven Sages to get the ritual going. To keep Link from foiling her plans, she imprisons him in a painting—except Link manages to get his hands on a magic bracelet that allows him to move through walls to get to previously unreachable spots. In retrospect, it feels like an early version of the ascend ability in Tears of the Kingdom, but instead of going up you move horizontally. That item adds surprising depth to the trials Link needs to complete, forcing you to scout every vantage point and possible interaction you can with the cliffs and walls littering Hyrule.





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