Friday 16 September 2016

Toybox REVIEW: Figma A Link Between Worlds Link DX Edition

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild may be drawing ever closer, but thanks to the slow process that is figure manufacturing Figma’s latest entry from the prolific franchise takes us back to 2013 and the release of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds on the 3DS. Previewed at Wonderfests for years but only now finally seeing release, Figma A Link Between Worlds Link is the second Link from Max Factory and the fourth from Good Smile Company as a whole. This figure had the particular honour of being released in two different formats – in addition to a general release version a “DX Edition” with more accessories was also made available via the GSC Online Store as well as any of the brand’s partner stores across the globe.

Using the special “EX-032” numbering (the standard version is numbered 284), DX ALBW Link comes packaged in the larger square variety of Figma’s standard packaging – taking on a green and black colourscheme for this release. Though perhaps a bit plain on the whole, one really nice touch with this box is that the black also has reflective Triforce symbols printed on it. The back features the usual array of stock images, while the contents are spread across a clear plastic tray and a number of separate bags (one of which is taped behind the backing card).

The immediate thing to note about this figure that, true to the games, this Link is a bit on the short side. Together with the likes of Nagisa from Madoka Magica and Shinobu from the Monogatari series, ALBW Link is one of the shortest Figma Max Factory have produced – only slightly taller than your average Nendoroid/half the height of a standard Figma. What this Link lacks in height however, he certainly makes up for in personality. As a spiritual successor to A Link to the Past and the other NES/SNES era Zelda games, this Link sports a very retro look akin to the promotional art for said games. The detailing on the body may be simple but the colours are bright and lively, together with an excellent face sculpt which captures the youthful energy of this version of the character.

Articulation is pretty great too, with Link sporting the usual variety of joints you'd find on a Figma figure along with a cut, soft plastic skirt to make sure leg articulation isn't hindered too much by the costume. As is the case with all GSC Link figures (be it Figma or Nendoroid) the hat has a swivel joint running through the middle to allow the tip to be pointed both upwards and downwards. Thanks to Link's cartoonishly large feet and short stature balancing the figure is also incredibly easy, so those poses the figure is capable of can be done without the worry of Link falling off the shelf at a moment's notice.

Undoubtedly the biggest complaint about the Figma Skyward Sword Link was its lack of accessories, opting for a sword and shield only while ignoring the plethora of other weapons/items Link uses in the game. With so many on offer it would have been impossible to please everyone, but nevertheless something a bit more substantial was needed. The DX version of ALBW Link shows Max Factory have learnt from this, offering a much bigger arsenal to those prepared to pay the extra cost. On top of the obligatory Master Sword and Hylian Shield and shield there is also a bomb, the Hookshot (with both retracted and extended hook pieces) and the Tornado Rod. In addition to this there are also a number of alternate hands (the DX version including a unique pair that the bomb can peg onto), and an alternate concentrating faceplate. The weapons all feature removable parts/handles in order to fit into the hands snugly without breaking them, which was a real problem with the initial release of Skyward Sword Link (this was fixed on later reissues). The Tornado Rod also comes with a plastic disc which can be attached to display as though it were in use.

However weapons aren’t all that this Link comes packed with! Also included are a number of items and collectibles – some specific to A Link Between Worlds and others perfect for any Zelda figure. These accessories include a pot, green rupee, a tiny Maiamai figurine and plastic cut-out of Link’s 2D wall-merged form from the game. The rupee comes with its own small stand to be placed on, however with careful balancing can also be pegged onto Link’s bomb-holding hands. Similarly the 2D Link also has its own stand piece, which can also be plugged into a standard Figma display stand. 

However if it was the standard version of the figure you opted for all you’ll be getting is the sword, the shield, the alternate face and the 2D Link cut out. That’s a pretty pathetic accessory count in comparison, and one that brings the figure right back down to level of the Skyward Sword release again.

Between the various Figma and Nendoroid figures Good Smile have slowly improved their Legend of Zelda line with every release, and as far as quality goes the DX A Link Between Worlds Link seems like the best offering so far. Despite its small size, this Link is a wonderfully expressive toy that’s both brightly coloured and oozing in retro charm. The accessory count is truly wonderful – the first decently articulated Link toy that offers more than just the standard variety of “sword and shield” poses, with a good array of both weapons and items included. The big kicker is that this should have never been a GSC Store (plus partner stores) exclusive in the first place. There was absolutely no reason to sell two different versions of this figure other than greed, especially when GSC/Max Factory have shown their quite happy to release Figma bundled with VEHICLES at retail. If you live in a country where customs fees are in place, the price tag is an even bigger issue. However the sad likelihood is that the sales of this figure will have been just what they wanted, and I fully expect GSC to pull the same stunt when the forthcoming Twilight Princess Link Figma rolls around.

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