A Shadow of His Former Self – Shadow Link Figure Review

While I’m always on the fence about giving toy reviews, this one felt important enough to talk about.

Originally, I wasn’t going to bother with getting it. Seeing it in the store wasn’t enough to impress me, and the $20 price tag was a major deterrent. That changed when a local store was clearing everything out at 50% off after the holidays, and I was able to grab it for $10.

Now that I have it, I’m bringing the news to you to ensure you are making a wise purchase.

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==The Pitch==

The figure is a representation of Shadow Link. Need I say more?

==What You Get==

You get a 4″~ish figure in the shape of Link, but all black (except for the red eyes), with a Hylian shield and a Master Sword with scabbard.

==The Good==

It’s Link from Legend of Zelda. That has to be worth something, right?

While the figure is mostly black and grey, the details are rather accurate, such as the folds of the fabric, the bandoleer/belt for the back scabbard, the gloves, etc. There’s some good detail here on the figure proper, but the details REALLY excel with the props.

The Shield had a nice metallic shine to it without being glittery, and the design on it is sharp. I don’t see any color bleeding out, blurred designs, or anything like that. This is probably my favorite part of the figure.

Blurry photo is blurry. Couldn't get a good one.
Blurry photo is blurry. Couldn’t get a good one.

The Master Sword and the scabbard are also well done. While it is, again, just a series of blacks and grays, the straps of the scabbard are well detailed, just as the scabbard itself carries the same embossing detail on the traditional scabbard. While the Master Sword itself is a bit lackluster due to the colors, it does have the Triforce on the blade and has the shape of the Master Sword that we were introduced to back in A Link to the Past. Looking good!

The props aren’t horribly big; in fact the shield is just a bit bigger than a quarter, and everything is pretty well to scale.

==The Bad==

Where to begin. . .

The primary issue is simple: it’s Shadow Link. It’s a dark black figure with some grey tossed in for contrast, and red eyes. It uses a mold similar to the other World of Nintendo Link figures, but just uses the black and grey collection. It’s a cash grab, using old molds with monochromatic coloration, and that alone bothers me, especially since you can purchase the properly colored versions of the figure for the same price (or even cheaper in some cases).

Fear the shadows. FEAR THEM!
Fear the shadows. FEAR THEM!

The pricetag, of course, doesn’t help this point. There’s quite a bit you can buy when it comes to display materials for $20; other World of Nintendo figures can be almost half the price (even at retail), a pair of X-Wing Miniatures (or similar battlegame with well-designed figures) run around the same price, Star Wars Black Series figures are in the same ballpark, and you can get a halfway decent (but small) LEGO set. Full disclosure: as much of a Zelda fan as I am, I was NOT willing to pay full price, and I am elated that I did not.

The quality of the figure and the props is also not that great. For example, the figure’s ability to pose is severely limited to a bit of posturing with arms, but the angles at which you can move said arms is pretty limited. The design made me believe it would have more mobility, but it does not.

The way the shield is held is also an issue. It has a ring to attach to the arm of the figure, as well as a proper grip that should fit in the hand of the figure. . .but you can’t get both easily. If you use the grip, the hook doesn’t connect properly and you’ll get an odd angle. If you use the hook, you’ll be folding Link’s wrist and restricting just how tight of a fit you can get. It’s pretty poorly done.

I’m not sure if it’s just mine, or if it’s the whole line, but the eyes just don’t look right. Images from retailers have the full eye area as red, but this has essentially oversized pupil/iris areas that are solid red with more black for the whites of the eyes. . .and then more black for the face.

Overall, with the figure, you are really relying on the detail for the mold to differentiate different areas because the colors just aren’t going to help.

==The Verdict==

To be perfectly candid, this is NOT worth the $20 price tag. You can get a Star Wars Black Series figure for the same price range and get something with more positioning and often times, more props. Double the price, give or take, and you can get a Link Figma (or the knockoff version of one for the same as you’d pay for this; your mileage may vary on that). Hell, I even bought a Clone Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi “Vintage” series figure for half the price, and it has better articulation.

Height comparison, as well as a range of ability to pose from left to right. Poor Voltron loses pretty badly here.
Height comparison, as well as a range of ability to pose from left to right. Poor Voltron loses pretty badly here.

That said, I’m giving this figure a paltry 1.5 stale buns.

Rating 1.5 Stars

As a long-time Legend of Zelda fan (one of the few things that has rivaled my love of Star Wars growing up), I was disappointed with the figure, especially with such a pricetag (and knowing I can get the Shiek figure  or well-detailed amiibo for about half that, it really hurts).

If you are a completionist and already have a standard Link figure, then by all means, pick this up. Otherwise, give it a pass; it’s just not worthwhile to display it.

These Shadow Link action figures are retailing for $19.99 and are available at online retailers such as Amazon, as well as various brick and mortar stores such as Spencers Gifts.

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