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A Link Between Worlds All Killer, No Filler


Jun 22, 2011
I've played through the game nearly twice now, and I think I'm beginning to understand what makes it so different. Nintendo really focused on the core gameplay and left everything else behind. The end result is a game that is relatively short but at the same time feels like the most polished game in the series. There is virtually nothing to complain about in this game because you just go from dungeon to dungeon with little of the distractions that have made up the majority of games recently. Anything that isn't a dungeon is optional with some brief exceptions like rescuing the turtles before Turtle Rock. For some perspective, I think one tears of light quest from Twilight Princess was about the same length as a bunch of the required pre-dungeon quests from A Link Between Worlds combined. This is a good thing imo because dungeons are a thousand times better than little fetch quests designed to just eat up gameplay time.

Obviously I love this switch to a game focused on core gameplay. I appreciate the minimal story, ability to go straight from dungeon to dungeon, and large amount of the game left as optional content. Like I said this felt like the most polished Zelda game ever to me. I have to really look to find anything I'd change. Besides my usual wish for more dungeons, the only little flaw I encountered was how combat on stairs or inclines was a little messed up (I commonly felt like the game's hit detection was off in this situation). I could see how someone misses a more expansive story, but for me ALBW had a story that was easy to follow and very enjoyable. I thought the optional content was very excellent. I loved the treasure areas which could have challenging puzzles without excluding anyone because they were totally optional. This game cut out filler or left it optional, and this is why the game is so great. However, I can see some things that people would miss. Is ALBW a little too gameplay focused for any of you?


Mad haters lmao
May 26, 2010
Hylian Champion
I agree completely with the OP and with the general style of ALBW. It's essentially like Legend of Zelda with just a tiny bit of story added into the mix. I have no real complaints besides "make it longer".

EDIT: I do understand the complaint about ALBW's story in that it was practically nonexistent and what little there was wasn't exactly powerful, but I do attribute that mostly to its presentation and not necessarily the writing (or lack thereof?). However, I do not think that Zelda is grounded in story; it's always been a gameplay series to me, and that is primarily why I love ALBW so much.
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Angel of Darkness
Staff member
ZD Legend
Jan 31, 2010
Yahtzee, Supernatural
Angel of Darkness
This game to me has everything I want in a game. I love everything about it. Not too many time consuming sidequests and you are free to choose the way you want to go. I love it. I love the soundtracks and the storyline. I also like this villain Yuga. The game should have been a bit longer and that's my only complain
I think A Link Between Worlds has the best main quest formula, and I'd like to see this "no beef" approach repeated in future installment; however, there wasn't a lot to do outside completing dungeons besides finding the Maimai, bottles, heart pieces, master ore, and upgrading items. Ocarina of Time is still my template for what sidequests should be in a Zelda game. They don't intrude on the plot, and they're all fairly long and rewarding.


May 18, 2013
This game is a lot like the first four Zelda games and OoT to some extent. There's very little in the game that I dread when I play the game again.

The rest of the Zelda series, there's always some major part of the game that I don't like but I have to do whenever I replay the game, ALBW on the other hand, I wouldn't change anything in it. (except for the save system :rolleyes:)

Sir Quaffler

May we meet again
This being the first old-school Zelda game since Link's Awakening, I have to think about it in different terms than what I've come to expect from the series as of late. I'm not gonna say I want this kind of formula repeated for all future titles since that's not really true; I want the main console games to be more like Ocarina of Time and/or Skyward Sword, with tons of stuff to do on the side and well-told stories to keep me enthralled on top of the stellar gameplay. However, for handheld games that are meant to be played in shorter time periods, this formula works really well. No needing to wait til later to get all the cool toys, you get most of them almost right off the bat and are basically left to your own devices as to how to progress through the game.

While I do wish there was a little more to the main plot, it doesn't really impede on my fun; for handheld games, it turns out all I really need for motivation are "Some guy turns people into paintings and wants to take over the world. Now take these cool toys and go have fun smashing stuff."

That's all for the main quest; I wouldn't change a thing about it for that. However, I'm really disappointed in the lack of sidequests and interesting characters. They're how I'm able to connect with the world more, and here it feels like it doesn't really matter. It's one really cool sandbox to play in, but no characters to interact with inside that sandbox.


Jul 1, 2012
I thoroughly agree with you.

Even though I have yet to complete the game I still have a grasp for how it works and what it is. Here you have a very simplistic Zelda game. It isn't trying to do too much it's simply trying to capture what Zelda is or "was". Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this game "played it safe" because it did take risks (open overworld, rental system, nonlinearity); however, it was just about playing it's as simple as that.

I rate this game very highly so far and it's on course to become my 3rd favourite Zelda game for the simple fact that it's damn fun to play. I generally think this is all for gameplay it's not trying to pad out the game with cut scenes and plot twists - the game instead says "here you are; go and play". That's certainly what I got from this game.

I like the sheer openness of it and the way it doesn't hold your hand through every moment - that's what I've wanted for awhile. However, for how fun and enjoyable A Link Between Worlds is, I don't want the next installment to necessarily be the same. I do like story and emphasis on character building as well as good pacing. Although, take nothing away from this game it was so fresh to have this sort of freedom and I would love to see this again in the future.


Hello Sweetie!
Jun 18, 2011
What primarily made the game stand out to me was how it combines so very perfectly the open, non-linear gameplay with giving players just the right incentive to want to do everything. Before this game I viewed the concept of 100% completing a game to be tedious and a waste of time, but this game made all of it fun. I actually enjoyed tracking down every single Maiamai, I was thrilled to find new stuff, beating side-challenges. This game made me really, really love exploring the land just for the sake of exploring. I went over every little nook and cranny that I could find, and I loved doing it. Before this game, I didn't really think much of top-down Zelda titles. I found LoZ dull, AoL to be to impossibly hard right of the bat to even form a proper opinion about the game itself, LA to be cute, but nowhere close to what I loved about the franchise. Now I've seen what kind of game I could get out of this particular perspective and I absolutely love it. Enough to challenge my love for the 3D titles.


Hero of the Stars
Nov 10, 2011
Lost Woods
I agree very much. Though I don't see why some people are complaining about the story of ALBW. When you think about it, there was a backstory, the murals in the castle, Yuga's rants, and Hilda's little intermissions between dungeons. I will agree that the revelation of the story prior to the end is rather cryptic, but I think they intentionally wanted to give that mysterious effect of- Oh whats really going on here I'm very curious. And then of course once you reach the boss room of Lorule castle, from then on out the story is fully revealed. I feel the story is super strong in this portion.

As for the pre-dungeon stuff, I honestly wouldn't mind more of it, I just feel that the examples we see in TP and SS are terrible because they are very boring and tedious (especially in SS) and are mainly fetch quests. ALBW handled this much better with the saving of the turtles, bombing the wall of the water dungeon, the little singing puzzle for thieves' town, the stealth area for the dark palace, and traveling between Lorule and Hyrule to get to the Desert Palace. If pre-dungeon stuff was more like in this game, we would never have an issue


Darkest of all Dark Links
Oct 28, 2012
It had a nice amount of dungeons, but it felt like a complete dungeon hop and nothing else. Sometimes filler sucks and is unneeded, but usually it's my favorite part of the game. I enjoy dungeons too, but it can get repetitive and lifeless at times. I enjoy things like helping the four areas of Termina, the Twilight realms, saving Colin/Ralis/Ilia, doing the silent realms, finding the dragons. Actually...being in the world, doing my quest in the actual game world, interacting with characters and the story, etc.
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Firice da Vinci

Distinct lack of Leonardo
Jun 15, 2010
Renaissance Italy
I also feel that Zelda games have gotten a a bit boring as far as optional content is concerned. While playing Skyward Sword, the completionist in me desired to get every little sidequest, collectible, and upgrade in the game that I could find on a blind, "guideless" run. After a dungeon, I would walk and fly around Skyloft looking for those is need of help. My concern is that I regretted spending my time trying to pinpoint a treasure chest that magically appeared from a Goddess Cube, or frustratingly jumping off a cliff for something as trivial as a rattle. The dungeons and event leading to them were the only addicting parts of the game. I can barely bring myself to complete the Silent Realm, when I could skip it and continue to progress in my experience.

A Link Between Worlds was different and refreshing. Mimicking classics--and my personal favorites--like Link's Awakening and the slightly newer The Minish Cap, the game let go of all the extraneous fluff. You have but a single mission: move on. Move on through the puzzles and battle, enjoying whatever optional content is along the way. I still need to start the final dungeon (curse the infamous Master Ore in Dark Palace), yet I know the time I spent was not a waste. There were moments the installment was so enticing, I began to "speedrun" and get my adrenaline pumping, whereas I might be standing in a field for three minutes in Twilight Princess just for a Poe at night. Do not get me wrong, Majora's Mask and, in my opinion, The Wind Waker had a great sense of attractive quests; just not the majority of the series.


~ It's me, Dio!~
Jul 6, 2011
Absolute unit
Nah ALBW is not to gameplay focussed for me. It's a handheld title. I really don't want to be playing a long really story driven type of game on a 3DS. I want that kind of thing for my Wii U and my XBOX. I find handheld games are great for just taking with you anywhere and for that reason they need to be fast paced because I want to actually get playing.
ALBW had the perfect formula for a handheld. Probably the best game for the 3DS.
Jul 22, 2011
Please enlighten us with it's meaning then.

It's hard to label something as "filler" in a video game, considering everything could theoretically be labeled as such. Typically, filler pertains to something that's story driven, where the plot doesn't move forward, Zelda on the other hand has never been story driven. So what's filler from a gameplay perspective? Technically none of these dungeons or overworld activities HAVE to exist, so are they filler?

I guess you could define gameplay "filler" as performing a task that you've done before without any variation, and contrary to popular belief, none of the so called "filler" in games such as Skyward Sword fit this definition.

In Skyward Sword, the Kikwi, Key, and Generator hunting segments bring you to new areas, rooms, and puzzles. The Silent Realms, leading Scrapper, and Song of the Hero segments are also all new spins on old areas, are perfectly well-designed, enjoyable, and not "filler". The only thing that can be considered filler is the return to Skyview, which is only 5 minutes so it hardly matters in the grand scheme of the game.

Gameplay that doesn't revolve around trudging through a dungeon is not filler, nor is gameplay that returns you to a previous area as long as there is a new task/content to go along with it.

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