Nintendo marks the newest entry for the tunic-wearing, sword-wielding Link in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds on 3DS. The replay value hits a high point for players as the developers intended the game to have mostly free reign over exploration.
A direct sequel to the Super Nintendo 1991 release of A Link to the Past (ALttP), A Link Between Worlds (ALBW) revisits Hyrule with familiar terrain that has transformed slightly between the games.
The game may not seem difficult to veterans of the overhead Zelda games, but the first run of the game will have players familiar with where to go and transverse through dungeons in sequential plays. I am currently on my second play through the game on a higher difficulty, as the more difficult mode is only unlocked after the initial game it completed.
Soon after beginning the game, Link is given a bracelet which will later allow him to merge to walls and slip through cracks. This element adds more depth to the Eastern Temple compared to the SNES game. Link is now able to slip through a crack to explore the outside of the temple as well, which comes into play in several levels.
Lorule, as the other world in the game, is similar to the Dark World from ALttP. Layouts and dungeons seem to be familiar, but the most noticeable changes are Turtle Rock is now in the southeast and an ice cavern is in the mountains. Although the levels can be played in almost any order, difficulty varies between each stage.
The nonlinear style allows players to change how they want to play the game, whether it is to beat the hardest dungeons first, choosing not to buy or upgrade items, or even passing up heart containers. Self-imposed challenges are not the only replay options, as the Street Pass feature allows Link to square off against other players to earn bounties and bragging rights.
Overall, the game is a great revisit to what made the original Legend of Zelda so great. With free exploration with limited forced linear storytelling, the game really shines to let the player discover the world rather than to follow non-playable characters telling the next location to visit.