The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (2019) Review

The remake of Link’s Awakening is exactly what you would want in a remake of a classic game.

You’ve probably played this before, Link is stranded on a mysterious island and must journey through several dungeons to unlock instruments to help awaken the mysterious Wind Fish. The story is just as good as the original, mainly because it is exactly the same. There were no instances in which I noticed and differences from the original but this is a good thing as the original story is one of the franchises best.

Gameplay is also the same, Link moves and feels the same as before, there are a few quality of life updates such as the ability to move in various directions with the analogue sticks but also now the sword and shield have their own buttons mapped so they don’t take one of the two slots as does the running shoes. This makes moving around Koholint Island much easier as you don’t have to constantly switch out items. The game also feels a bit easier, getting around the island feels more straight forward without the screen switching (which is reserved for inside areas like dungeons) and the map is easier to read so you can determine where you need to go next. There are also a handful more warp points making fast travel extremely useful. I didn’t get the opportunity to play the dungeon creator, which replaces the camera side quests (RIP Gameboy Camera), but I can see how, with a few tweaks, it can become its own game.

The graphics are phenomenal, everything looks beautifully handcrafted out of plastascine or another similar material. The colours are vibrant and varied and make the game a pleasure to look at even if you aren’t the one playing. I was a bit apprehensive about the design at first but the more I played the more I fell in love with the chibi-ness of the art style. There was little difference in graphical quality from docked to handheld, both were incredible and I didn’t experience and framerate dips. The anime style cutscenes used to bookend the game a beautiful and make me wish for an Zelda anime in the future.

The music is what you would expect from a Zelda game with classic and updated versions of the original soundtrack used to create a sense of nostalgia while you play as well as epicness.

Verdict

The remake of Link’s Awakening is what you would hope for in a remake, like Crash and Spyro before, Nintendo have lovingly recrafted this iconic game from the ground up to give us a faithful and current game that can stand shoulder to shoulder with any of todays triple A games.

+ Phenomenal graphics

+ Gameplay improved with quality of life additions

+ Story that is still good 20 years later

10/10

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