“Link’s Awakening” for the Third Time

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“The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening,” the 26-year-old action, adventure RPG from everyone’s favorite, family-friendly game company, Nintendo, has gotten a brand-new look. The old title’s remaster released on Sept. 20, 2019 for the Nintendo Switch, featuring enhanced graphics, remixed music, and new functionality on top of the old dungeon-crawling, top-down Zelda of yesteryear. The locations, plot, and enemies have not changed much since their appearance in the first iteration, but the 2019 release adds new non-player characters, enemies, and puzzle elements. The game welcomes old players into a wonderful embrace of nostalgia and child-like wonder, and new players into an exciting story, an unraveling mystery, and a pantheon of dangerous foes. 

The story of the game sees little change: series protagonist, Link, ends up on the shore of Koholint Island, after his ship meets an untimely fate at the harsh waters of a raging storm. Upon waking up, the player is introduced to the denizens of Mabe Village, functioning as the starting area. After a quick conversation with the kind souls who rescued him and some of his equipment, Link travels down to the beach to find his missing sword. When the green-garbed hero goes to collect his weapon, a kindly owl descends to inform Link of his task: if he wants to get home, he’ll need to wake the Wind Fish, an enigmatic creature that slumbers in an egg at the top of the game’s highest peak. The owl tells Link to meet him in the Mysterious Forest for more information. This being a video game, Link follows the instructions of the wizened, talking owl he only just met because he asked so nicely. This is not to say there is nothing better to do, though. In true RPG fashion, Link can choose to bury his nose in other people’s business from the moment he steps outside. There are fetch-quests, trade-quests, and plenty of dungeons to distract the player from their critical mission of returning home. 

Newer features include the obvious graphical and musical upgrades, as well as quality-of-life changes in the form of new button layouts. One change that has fans elated, however, is the new Chamber Dungeon mode. This mode allows players to construct dungeons with any chamber they have come across in their own game, and then share it with others. Another feature is compatibility with Nintendo’s popular collectible line: amiibo. Scanning in certain Zelda amiibo will grant access to five special Chambers in a random order. Still more fun inclusions are the new puzzle and enemy elements: some that players might recognize from another popular Nintendo franchise, starring a mustachioed Italian plumber. 

“The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” is an excellent example of a stroll down memory lane, if the lane was seen through a cutesy, colorful, high-definition filter. A polished retelling of a classic story with new bits and pieces, and a much larger screen, this two-and-a-half-decade-old adventure will bring joy to fans and newcomers alike. 

Story summary courtesy of official “Link’s Awakening” Website: https://www.zelda.com/links-awakening/ and Outside Xtra. (2019, September 20). Link's Awakening Switch Gameplay: Link's Awakening with Producer Jon – Yoshi Toy Claw Grab [Video File]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxTqHw9CfGw.  

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