Video Games That Ruled – The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

zelda-a-link-between-worlds

“The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds” (ALBW) on Nintendo 3DS is the recently released pseudo-sequel to 1991’s “Triforce of the Gods” on the Super Famicom, localized for North America in 1992 as “A Link to the Past” (ALttP). ALBW takes place in more or less the same Hyrule as ALttP, although there are many new surprises to discover along the way. The overworld is very similar to the original game, but there are several innovations to overall design. Most of these make traveling from one location to another a lot easier. The dungeons and castles, however, are all completely different. Some of them have similar themes and styles, but none of these are the same as in ALttP. A few of them are in completely different locations, and some are complete opposites of their original incarnations. This means that your knowledge of the overworld from the previous game will come in handy at times, but your knowledge of the dungeons will not. This is something that comes from 20+ years of innovations in the Zelda series, although I’ve always been more of a fan of the “classic” style and this is a return to form in the best way.

DISCLAIMER: Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask are excellent games, but I’d rather play the top down style of ALttP or the portable titles like “Link’s Awakening”, the “Oracles” games, and “The Minish Cap”.

One huge innovation is actually a nod to the original Zelda game on the NES. You can go virtually anywhere from the beginning, although you will need certain items to access certain areas. Because of this, I spent the first 2-3 hours simply running around the map to see who/what was retained from ALttP. After this, I tried entering a dungeon, only to find I didn’t have the item I needed to complete it. This is where Ravio comes in. He’s a former traveling salesman who decides to take up residence in your house. He sets up shop and will rent items to you for 50 to 100 rupees, depending on the item. Almost all of these items are really useful in several places, so I rented the hookshot, bombs, and the hammer. This gave me a chance to explore a lot more of the map, and I died the first time exploring a part of Death Mountain I really shouldn’t have been in at the time. I said to myself “well…that’s not happening again”. And again like the NES game, if you explore enough you can find several items and locations before going into any of the dungeons. This can give you quite the edge; I found enough heart pieces to have a decent life bar before going into any of the tougher dungeons.

After you beat a few dungeons, Ravio will begin to give you the option to buy items, but they’re a lot more expensive. If you can rent it for 50 rupees, it’ll probably be around 800 to buy. The difference between renting and buying, other than the massive price difference? If you rent, you lose that item if you die (lose all your hearts). Buying an item gives it to you for the duration of the game. All of your items use the same stamina bar, so you don’t have a limited amount of bombs or arrows. However, a bomb will use a lot of your bar, where firing the hookshot will only use a little. The stamina bar refills on its own, but it’s slow. If you need to use an item multiple times that takes a major part of the bar, you’re going to need to be precise with your actions.

SPOILER: The boomerang and bow are near-useless, and I wouldn’t recommend spending the money on them. There wasn’t a single puzzle where I needed the boomerang. I think you need the bow in 2 places in the games, and Ravio gives it to you as your first item for free.

The music in ALBW is incredible. Almost all of the songs from ALttP make a return in full orchestral glory, or at least a “good enough to my ears not to care” MIDI equivalent. From the second you turn the game on, it sounds like the SNES game, only better. I’m slightly disappointed that my favorite song of all time didn’t return in this game, but I can’t call ALBW flawed at all for that.

OPTIONAL: Check out my 10 favorite songs from classic video games.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BsUvJqx1Hw

These are two of my favorite things music-wise:

1) semi-SPOILER: The overworld music changes as you progress on your journey. When you begin, the music is an acoustic guitar and violin arrangement of the main overworld theme. After you get a little further in the game, it changes to a more familiar arrangement. When you’ve retrieved the Master Sword from the Lost Woods, the arrangement changes again to signify the glorious hero you’ve become.

2) There is a musical duo in the milk bar in Kakariko Town. If you pay them 10 rupees, they’ll play you a guitar and flute arrangement of several songs from the Zelda series, not just ALttP. I spent a lot of money just listening to these guys, they’re really good.

The last thing I’d like to touch on is the “blending into a wall” mechanic. If you were hesitant at first hearing about this as being too gimmicky, it’s not. It’s done like many of your other equippable items, only it has it’s own dedicated button. It can be used to figure out puzzles in dungeons, or to reach areas that were previously unaccessable. The irony to it all? Nintendo’s current “killer IP” on their 3D system heavily uses a mechanic that makes you 2D. Don’t get me wrong, the 3D in this game is actually really good, I just thought it was kind of funny.

“The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds” is a fantastic game. There’s enough nostalgia and innovation to keep you hooked on the game’s familiarities while it keeps you guessing. Don’t expect the items to be acquired in the same order as ALttP, not only because of the item shop, but because you get to to tackle the dungeons in the order you choose. In short, if you loved “A Link to the Past”, you NEED to play this game. Oh, remember when I said earlier that I wasn’t going to die after the first time?

ALBW

The second time was against the last boss.

FINAL SPOILER: I had half a heart left and beat the last boss…only to find that he has a second form that ended up killing me about 4 seconds after the battle began again.

Fyreharticles: Survivor Series 2013 Review

Survivor Series 2013 poster

Well, it’s come and gone so here we go, my review of the 2013 Survivor Series PPV. This is being done as I watch it online by the way. Just thought I’d clarify that. Before I start though, I would like the point out two things. One is that the theme song for this PPV is complete shite. Second, what the hell is up with the Survivor Series logo? It seems like the “VIV” either wouldn’t light up properly or aren’t supposed to. See this is what happens when you do a set up like that WWE. Next time make it the whole thing across, or actually check that shit before the PPV starts.

Can’t entirely blame them for that I guess, but still, it looks like a rundown hotel sign. Anyway, on to the PPV.

Classic 5-on-5 Survivor Series match: Team Racial Equality (Cody Rhodes, Goldust, Jimmy & Jey Uso, and Rey Mysterio) vs. Team Believe In The People/Team Real American Justice (Take your pick) (Shield & Real Americans) – Well, this match definitely didn’t disappoint. Odd that they opened the show with the match most people only wanted to see, but ok. Was kind of annoyed when it got down to 2-on-5 with the heels being down so much, mainly cause I dreaded a clean sweep, but then I realised that was purely to help Roman get over as a monster by destroying most of the face team. I can live with that.

I marked out so hard for most of the Roman eliminations, especially the final elimination where Roman caught Rey with a Spear as he was trying for the 619. That was great because it looked so damn impactful. Helps that Rey ran into it, but regardless it was pretty great. Not much else to say really.

Match rating: Solid A+ – Good way to open the PPV.

Big E. Langston (c) vs. Curtis Axel for the Intercontinental Championship – Not a great match but it was pretty solid. Big E. retains and the Big Ending rings true as Axel will probably not be seen on RAW or SmackDown much from now on, thus ending his “big push”. I like Axel, I really do. He can’t talk his way out of a paper bag but I like him. Probably for the best that his push is over now though, as his best matches are usually on Superstars. Granted this was one of his better matches, but still.

Match rating: Solid C+ – Not a great match, but a pretty good effort from both men regardless.

7-on-7 Survivor Series match: Team Reality Show (Brie & Nikki Bella, Cameron, Naomi, Jojo, Eva Marie and Natalya) vs. Team Everyone Else (AJ lee, Tamina, Kaitlyn, Rosa Mendes, Alicia Fox, Aksana & Summer Rae) – I gave subzero fucks about this match going in, but it honestly wasn’t the train wreck I was expecting. Hell, the “dance off” between Summer Rae and….I’m gonna guess Nikki Bella, was actually kind of funny. Better than Cody & Zeb twerking before the opener (Yes, that actually happened). Natalya wins for the Total Divas team, which is honestly the only way I would’ve accepted that team winning. A funny thing to mention is that both Lillian Garcia and the commentators totally forget Natalya wasn’t the only person left on her team. Nikki tagged out, she wasn’t eliminated. I mean, it shows how little an impact the Bellas have that they forgot, and it is kind of funny, but Nikki has been improving lately and due to Total Divas WWE has a reason to care about her, so it was a bit odd.

I’m hoping this will lead to a Natalya/AJ title match at TLC in any case. And what would be interesting is if WWE actually gave the Divas one of the gimmick matches to work with. Would help it stand out a bit anyway. Not the ladder or TLC match, but the “Chairs” or Tables matches could be interesting to give to the Divas. Since they rarely use weapons anyway the Chairs match would suffice, but either or.

Match rating: Solid C- – Like the match before it, it wasn’t great. But it surprisingly wasn’t shit either, so that’s a plus.

Mark Henry vs. Ryback – Wow. This match came outta nowhere. Totally didn’t call Mark Henry accepting the challenge Ryback randomly threw out, but I should’ve seen it coming. Mark wins in a short match that was honestly forgettable, aside from Mark either attempting a crossbody, or generally hitting Ryback with something that just ended up looking like a botched crossbody.

Match rating: Solid D+ – Point added for Mark Henry’s return, but it was still pretty forgettable. And honestly, forgettable is worse than bad.

Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena (c) for the World Heavyweight Championship – “Cena wins lol” would normally sum it up, but I give Cena credit for this match. He actually sold the arm several times, including after power he powered out of the Cross Armbreaker. It also looked like Alberto had it won several times, so at the very least it was an even match. Cena wins (lol) with an AA in a nice little exchange where him and Alberto reversed each other’s finishers before Cena was finally successful. Pretty good match, though the most memorable part would have to be Cena hitting a Tornado DDT. It’s not the first time he’s done it, but it was still cool to see.

Match rating: Solid B+ – Wouldn’t call it a great match, but it was still pretty good.

The Wyatt Family (Luke Harper & Eric Rowan) vs. Team ROH (Daniel Bryan & CM Punk) – Wait, this is AFTER the Cena match? Holy shit, WWE must have a lot of faith in this match. Pretty damn good match from these four guys. I honestly think it could’ve gone either way. Almost wanted Luke & Eric to win, but it did make sense to have Bryan & Punk win. I hope this feud isn’t over yet though. A TLC or Tables match between The Wyatt Family & Punk/Bryan would be cool to see next month. Punk & Bryan win with Punk hitting Luke with a GTS, and Luke doing one of the better sells for the move by basically crumbling in place.

Match rating: Solid A+ – Easy contender for match of the night.

Big Show vs. Randy Orton (c) for the WWE Championship – Honestly kind of surprised this is the main event of the PPV, but ok. Nice to see Big Show getting to main event a PPV in a singles match. That doesn’t happen much, if it ever has.

*Actually watches the match*

Oh. Well, damn, this should’ve been switched with the WHC match in card order honestly. That match was better by far. Granted there’s a lot more you can do with Cena/Del Rio than Orton/Big Show, so you know. I mean, wow. Not much actually happens and the crowd really doesn’t give too much of a shit. Considering the match this is following I’m not surprised. Orton retains in the biggest “we saw it coming” moment of the night. Hey, WWE, here’s a tip. If you’re gonna have ANY kind of “interference” happen, don’t hype that none will. When you say something won’t happen, we expect the opposite; especially if you bring it up constantly.

Match rating: Solid D- – Yeah, pretty piss poor main event honestly. Sad considering it’s probably the last shot at the WWE Title Big Show will ever get.

Oh, after the main event Cena comes out and they just have him kind of pose in the ring after a brief stare down like he’s just being a dick and stealing Orton’s spotlight, but really it’s just a half-arsed tease for the title unification match that may or may not be happening at WrestleMania XXX, or some time before then, I don’t know. Please WWE, if that happens, don’t have Orton/Cena. We’ve been down that road before multiple times and it didn’t work. Have Orton drop the WWE title to someone else before you do that. Also you do realise you just spoiled the next few months of PPV title matches with that tease if it goes ahead right? Just checking.

Overall PPV rating: Solid C+ – Not an entirely irredeemable PPV, so it’s worth at least one watch. I wouldn’t buy it on DVD when it comes out though.
Match of The Night: Wyatt Family vs. Punk & Bryan – Had two A+ matches, so I just picked one of the two for this. I stand by it and that’s all I really need to say I think.

Final Thoughts:
It was somewhat better than I expected, but it didn’t blow my expectations out of the water or anything. The main event was a total disappointment, especially since I can remember Big Show & Orton having better matches before. Not necessarily great matches, but matches that were better than this one by comparison. The undercard was surprisingly solid however, and I’m still surprised Punk & Bryan’s match with the Wyatt Family was after the World Heavyweight Championship match. Score one for the “vanilla midgets” I guess. Overall, like I said before, this PPV is worth at least one viewing. If you don’t watch the whole show, then I recommend the 5-on-5 match and the Luke & Eric v Punk & Bryan matches as things you should definitely check out.

That’s about all I can think of currently, aside from a few ramble-y thoughts I decided to leave out (Orton kicking out of the most devastating Chokeslam ever, Luke’s big boot not being a finisher, etc.), so I’ll leave it at that and see you guys next time, which won’t be too long this time, for reals.

The Isometric Perspective #32 – Video Game Cover Musicians

Skeletroy, Grant, and JimmyTR talk about some of their favorite musicans and bands who make music based on video games. NOTE: Episodes 30 and 31 were recorded after this one, so any mentions of “the last episode” refer to episode 29.

Check out this episode