On Introductions

HanyouOctober 19th, 2012 by Hanyou

A Link to the Past arguably had the best opening sequence not just of any Zelda game, but of any video game. It introduces the player to the controls, the lore, the world, and the level design, and does so seamlessly while pushing Link forward through a rapidly-progressing story. Several pivotal things happen in succession, but they all make sense and set the tone for what’s to come.

It’s the fastest-moving section of the game, and not only did it do a good job of setting things up, but it was a precursor to modern action games which start in medias res. Like Star Wars, it thrust its main character into the middle of a story that was much larger than he was — but it did so artfully.

It was the first Zelda game with a real introduction, and it started things off with a bang. Subsequent Zelda games would have wildly different beginnings, from the mostly docile Link’s Awakening to the bizarre Majora’s Mask to the (sometimes painstakingly slow) Skyward Sword, but none would ever reach for the frantic, quick, perfect pacing of A Link to the Past. No Zelda game since lacked a lengthy introduction sequence. The formula was in place, but there was plenty of room for variety within that formula.

What makes A Link to the Past’s opening so iconic is in large part its progression, pacing, and variety. At first, it provides backstory in a conventional literary format, with scrolling text and a slide show. Immediately, we’re dropped into the setting of Link in his home — but unlike subsequent games, there is absolutely no opportunity for him to rest. He’s immediately contacted by Zelda, his uncle immediately leaves, and not a word is wasted between the characters.

This vital beginning part of the introduction is the first thing a player sees in a game, and in subsequent entries the developers almost always opted to keep things calm. Ocarina of Time might be the quintessential example, and it’s handled well there. The beginning is ominous and properly sets the stage, and once again not a word is wasted between characters. We’re given a preview of events to come and the Deku Tree explains the stakes. This segment ends when Link leaves his house and enters Kokiri forest, a comfortable environment full of optional tutorials. The Wind Waker sets up its premise with text and a slide show which are less ominous and more grandiose, capitalizing on the mystery of Hyrule’s past. Majora’s Mask, like A Link to the Past, doesn’t feel safe at the beginning; the player is pushed forward through an uncomfortable series of events in which he or she actively participates before plunging into a real tutorial section.

Some games either seem to lack this type of prologue entirely, or else it is hard to draw a distinct line between the prologue and the introduction proper. Twilight Princess simply drops us into Ordon with no real stakes set up. Skyward Sword’s prologue is on its title screen, so you could play the entire game without once seeing it. This is the same approach taken by The Legend of Zelda, but as we will see later in this article, it has different results. This setup is important if you care about the world, but the choice to leave it out is an artistic choice and it is entirely nonessential to the gamer’s experience. It is cinematic, which is never a bad thing unless it is taken too far.

The tutorial section follows the prologue. Once again, A Link to the Past provides some insight into how this is properly accomplished. By interacting with the overworld and the first dungeon, the player is forced along a linear path, but the experience feels very organic. We’re encouraged to respond directly to the game’s environments, and it helps that Nintendo crafted them to be as interesting as possible. The castle proper is an intimidating maze of twisting corridors filled with dangerous enemies. If you act carelessly, you will die. It is also so varied that it test’s the gamer’s skill level in several different situations, with different types of puzzles and action brought to the fore. There are choices to make in how you approach different situations, with stealth remaining optional but combat forced on the player at some key points. It is impossible to leave the first dungeon without at least rudimentary knowledge of how the game operates. You’ve learned by rote — by repeating things over and over — but thanks to good design, it was fun and rarely repetitive. Furthermore, the story was always present, capitalizing on the initial setup. By the time Link finally arrives in the Sanctuary, the game has explained itself sufficiently.

The point is, while this is brilliant as a tutorial, it’s also fantastic as part of the game. After my first playthrough, I never once felt like I was playing through a tutorial, even as the game was functionally re-explaining itself to me. It’s artfully crafted and completely tasteful. In this age of lengthy, obvious tutorial sections for games, it’s a strong example of how to avoid the obvious approach while still delivering important lessons about controls and gameplay.

Ocarina of Time is equally good, but in different ways. The tutorial starts right as you leave your house, and divides itself between overworld interaction — things like collecting rupees, talking to people, and simply navigating the intimidating locations — and dungeon-crawling. It contains more obvious explanations than A Link to the Past, like signs and NPCs that tell you what to press in what situations, but it still plunges you right into the game. Most of the literal tutorials are purely optional, so you never have to “relearn” something you have no interest in, but almost everyone and everything in Kokiri Forest has some role to play in explaining the game to you.

Once you finally have a sword and shield, you make it to the Deku Tree. As with A Link to the Past, it is both the first dungeon and a tutorial dungeon. Unlike A Link to the Past, this dungeon is fully fleshed-out, with its own boss and a full set of dungeon items and puzzles. This works because of Navi, who points out the obvious to people who have already played the game, but helps new players along and fortunately isn’t too intrusive in either case. As a whole, the whole tutorial section is slower than A Link to the Past’s, but is just as artfully constructed.

The Wind Waker operates in a similar fashion, with much of Outset serving to introduce you to the mechanics. However, the tutorial portion is much longer, arguably lasting through the entire first dungeon, well into the meat of the game. This does make it more of a chore and less of an engaging experience than it could be, but like Ocarina of Time and A Link to the Past, a good portion of it is legitimate gameplay. Going over the nuances would take too long, but each section of the tutorial introduces different aspects of the gameplay. This does not make it unique, but its approach is particularly lengthy, perhaps the longest of any Zelda title.

Majora’s Mask is perhaps the most challenging, the most odd, and to some, may be the most rewarding. You’re left to figure things out for yourself by a certain deadline, and failure to meet that deadline results in the worst possible ending. This is true of the game as a whole, but not having the ability to properly save your progress adds an additional element of fear to this portion of the game. As with A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time, it introduces you to the underlying mechanics.

Finally, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword share similar approaches, and they are the weakest. A bit of hand-holding took place in The Wind Waker, but at least the mechanics weren’t explained painstaking detail by painstaking detail as you were ferried from one location to another. As with A Link to the Past, you learn by rote in all the tutorials, but that approach is taken quite literally by Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess, forcing the gamer to do meager tasks that gets the game off to a slow start. Some of these tasks can even be frustrating, like fishing with the Wiimote or parachuting right into the center of a circle, and they are nothing but busywork. Worse, the reward for completing these tasks isn’t proper gameplay, but more text. You’re led through the twisting corridors of unnecessarily slow-moving stories, and it takes a good amount of time before free navigation even feels like an option.

The tutorial section of Zelda games has gotten increasingly tedious in recent years, which is especially confusing since A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, and Majora’s Mask executed it so skillfully. It’s gone from taking only a few minutes, to taking an hour, to taking much longer. The tasks have gone from intuitive, natural, and partly optional, to mandatory and obnoxious. While recent Zelda introductions serve to create atmosphere and set up the story, and in Skyward Sword’s case are successful on a first playthrough, they could stand to learn from previous tutorial sections.

Finally, the introduction usually has some sort of coda, or concluding event. In A Link to the Past, it’s clear when you arrive in the Sanctuary with Zelda and are informed of the stakes for the last time that you’re ready to be sent into the much larger world of Hyrule. Ocarina of Time is almost identical in its approach, with the Great Deku Tree giving Link a cinematic sendoff and dying, and Link saying farewell to Saria before entering the much more open Hyrule Field. Majora’s Mask sees Link bestowed with the Ocarina before a preliminary showdown with the Skull Kid.

In more recent games, it’s hard to identify a “coda” because it isn’t as clear quite where the tutorial ends and the game begins. In The Wind Waker, it’s probably around the time you get the game’s namesake and set sail from Dragon Roost. In Twilight Princess, it’s probably around the time you make it to the first dungeon, which isn’t a tutorial dungeon like its predecessors. In Skyward Sword, it probably hits around the time you get to the surface.

The introduction is one of the most important sections of any game, and it’s been particularly important to the Zelda franchise since A Link to the Past. It helps set a tone for what follows, explain the story, and most importantly, establish the gameplay mechanics. While each introduction has something to offer, it’s the more concise ones, or at least the ones that serve to plunge you right into the gameplay proper, that have more lasting charm.

Author: Hanyou

Hanyou has worked for the article staff, both as a writer and as an editor, for over a year. He has also been an active member of the Zelda Dungeon forums since 2008 and an avid fan of the Zelda franchise since 1998. He has degrees in writing.

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  • JuicieJ

    I would actually argue that Skyward Sword has a relatively strong opening. Almost every tutorial is optional and the cinematic approach sets up the rest of the game quite nicely. Seeing that Skyward Sword was a prequel to the entire series, I’d say that’s a pretty important task. There’s also the cave portion that teaches you the ropes hands-on by presenting enemies and obstacles in a controlled environment. It has some issues to be sure, but it’d easily be in my top five list for the best openings in Zelda, especially when you add in the Faron Woods and Skyview Temple.

    Anyway, while A Link to the Past has an incredible opening, I wouldn’t say it has the best in Zelda. That honor would go to Majora’s Mask if you ask me. It does everything that could possibly be done right the way it should be done. An opening cutscene provides a sense of wonder, a moment of running and jumping introduces you to the controls, being turned into a Deku Scrub provides an incentive to keep going, a moment with the Happy Mask Salesman gives you a taste of what is going on, interacting with townspeople gets you acquainted with them, and going back in time to regain your human form leads to the revelation of what is really happening and what you need to do to stop it. It’s sheer excellence in every way possible, and I dare say it’s flawless. A Link to the Past would probably come right after that, though.

    Great read, by the way, Hanyou.

    • hobusu

      Besides, the original SNES version of ALttP presented the back story the same way that Zelda 1 did — by leaving the title screen running. This article seems to be based on the GBA version instead.

      • Zelda is the Bomb!!!

        Ive played the GBA version a bit Link was more annoying when he died after he falls he makes this pathetic sort of gasp. Plus when he grunts from being hit by and attack its more annoying and everytime he slashes he makes a similar noise. augh! I prefer his silence in the SNES version. Well I know he does make noise when is hit but its not annoying like in the GBA version

        • JuicieJ

          Yeah, the GBA version took the sounds from Ocarina of Time that kid Link makes and used them.

        • http://medlismessages.blogspot.com/ Heroine of Time

          Agreed. I played the Virtual Console version initially, which does not have the voice acting, and then tried the GBA version, and I can’t stand it. XD His voice annoys me. He shouldn’t sound like OoT Link.

        • Guest

          Hm, I must be the only one who wasn’t very annoyed by the extra sounds in the GBA version. I do prefer the original SNES version, but Link’s grunts and yells didn’t bother me much.

      • JuicieJ

        He explicitly mentioned the title screen. He didn’t use that actual term, but he very clearly described it.

    • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

      I would agree with you about Skyward Sword’s opening if it didn’t take so long to get into the core game structure. But it takes a really long time.

      • JuicieJ

        Which is why it’s not at the top of my list. Being a prequel and introducing a new control scheme, I can forgive a bit of length, but I can only forgive so much. It spent a little too long having us chase things down rather than exploring Skyloft and whatnot like Majora’s Mask had us do with Clock Town, which is pretty much what I meant by it having some issues. Nevertheless, it’s still a great opening.

    • Chris

      I’d argue that Majora’s Mask’s introduction was too lengthy. And before one could get comfortable with the controls, the player is turned into a deku scrub with a new set of controls that creates a sense of discomfort and disorientation. The linearity of the maps generate a feel of blinding moving forward without any regard to the player’s comfort of controls and mechanics. So many key moments and control changes strung so closely together before allowing the player to decide what to do next is hard to follow when first starting out. And when the moment comes for the player to decide what to do next, it’s like being pushed out of the nest as the player for so long having been guided through everything now has no guidance whatsoever.

    • http://www.facebook.com/taran.todd Taran Todd

      The unfortunate part, for me, in skyward sword, was that the introduction to the surface started with the awesome Sealed Grounds, and in my opinion, the rest of the overworld was underwhelming compared to that huge, ominous hole in the ground. Not to put down the rest of the game, but I felt that since the game was so very linear, the beginning’s relative freedom was the best.

      • JuicieJ

        The beginning of the game is the most linear part.

      • Guest

        I mostly agree with you, but I thought Lanayru was a pretty impressive area, probably the most non-linear in the game. Faron Woods and Eldin Volcano, however, are painfully more linear than I would have liked.

    • Jam9t3

      I agree, i just loved the majoras mask opening, it was epic!

  • Draco

    Actually, in Skyward Sword, you can’t go the entire game without seeing the prologue because it appears whenever you begin playing a new file.

    • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

      No it doesn’t.

      • You-Know-Who

        Just make a new file, it’ll pop up!

        • Linkfan99

          No, the prologue is when it shows the drawing-like painting thingy of Hylia ascending skyloft into the sky and when it shows the evil demon things in painting-style. What you’re thinking of is when it shows The Imprisoned roaring and stuff like that. That’s not the prologue.

      • Zelda is the Bomb!!!

        Quite true. the first time you ever pop in the disc into the Wii the prolouge shows up.

        • http://axlethebeast.com/ Axle the Beast

          Yup. The prologue story plays when you first start the game… and then never again (unless you wait on the title screen), no matter how many new games you start (the claim I was saying was false).

      • Draco

        Oops, sorry. It’s been a while since I’ve last played Skyward sword, and I must have forgotten a few details

    • True dat.

      True dat.

      • Zelda is the Bomb!!!

        No it doesnt the first time you ever pop in the disc into the Wii the prolouge shows up.

    • H37I

      that’s not the prolouge. that’s where the story actually begins.
      the prolouge is the explanation of how hylia fought off demise and ascended skyloft.

    • Zelda is the Bomb!!!

      Nuh uh! the first time you ever pop in the disc into the Wii the prolouge shows up. and im sure thats the only time Ive even waited on the title screen for awhile for something to happen and I got nada

    • Dark Majora

      does it look like i care

  • MiniJen

    Twilight Princess’s open (which I consider to be everything from the very beggining to the point where the monsters invade Ordon Spring) is INCREDIBLY slow moving. I mean yeah it does provide a pretty good tutorial section and introduce a few key characters, but other then that, I feel like the actual plot comes right out of nowhere with little to no foreshadowing.

    Skyward Sword, on the other hand, though it didn’t immediately throw you into to the action, had a decent opening. The tutorial section was OK and the introduction to key characters was fine, but what was really great was the foreshadowing that occurs throughout the opening, which gradually introduces several plot elements in a unique way.

    But I’d have to say that Majora’s Mask had the best opening by far, simply because of how you are just thrown into the middle of everything and it really helps you learn the controls and structure of the game.

  • You-Know-Who

    I love long intros. Its what builds up the story from normal life to complete craziness. Im not sure what Link in ALttP and OoT used to do for a living before Ganondorf, but in TP and SS I had an idea of who Link was. If Nintendo wants us to feel a connection with Link, then we better know his past and present before we are sent to the future. I find story as important as gameplay, sometimes even more.

    • Zelda is the Bomb!!!

      We know that Link lives with his uncle in ALttP which obviously means his parents are dead.

  • Blakenator

    Interesting read. I loved the Latin phrase at the beginning. I, being a Latin student, enjoy it when people go out of their way to insert intelligent literary quips from the antique language.

    Anyway.

    I’m surprised that you didn’t mention the handheld games (besides LA), focusing mainly on console titles. Both Oracle games start relatively quickly, initiated by Onox’s and Veran’s capturing of Din and Nayru. The player learns the ins and outs of how to use their sword and rings while the story progresses simultaneously with each land showing the negative effect the new rulers have on them. The Minish Cap progresses quite impressively. Story and gameplay are interwoven efficiently without consuming too much time. The player is taught how to use their sword and shield in clever ways that use little text. Phantom Hourglass’s tutorial segment was actually very well presented. Implementing the new stylus mechanics, the player solves puzzles and controls Link’s movements smoothly. The story was kicked off with a simple, yet good opening cinematic that reintroduces you to The Wind Waker’s cast. As for Spirit Tracks, the introduction in that game has to be the longest one of all handheld Zeldas. With story taking front and center this time around, the world and its characters are fleshed out superbly. Gameplay is introduced at a much slower pace than the others because of the prominent story, having a lengthy train section and other tutorials such as drawing paths for Zelda or learning to use the sword being more distant from each other.

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to ramble. I would love to see a separate article for handhelds in the future if possible. Great article on console titles, though.

    • The Hylian Monolith

      …Sorry if this sounds really obnoxious, but are you for or against ST? Sorry, but I just…tahnks fr putting taht whole thing dimplomatically. I see what you mean.
      However, I fail to agree on the PH thing. The introduction to the characters(like Oshus and Ciela) is slow, the gameplay is pretty much “Go here. Come talk to Oshus. Now go there-oops, go back, talk to Oshus”. It only really perks up and gets fun when you meet Linebeck(my favorite character in PH, but I give no spoilers)and slows again almost instantly on the Isle of Ember and the Fire Temple. I’m sorry if you loved PH, but I didn’t like most of it.

      I said most. I did enjoy the last visit to the Temple of the Ocean King, most of the minigames, including the salvaging(but not the shooting range, sorry Salvatore) and meeting new people on ships taht could be friendly or hostile, and of course the Ice Temple: The only one I got stuck on. Go Gleeok, I can’t believe you killed me 14 times before I figured it out. The plot was okay, but…it just wasn’t my favorite.

      On the note of agreeing with you(most of that was irrelevant, I ranted a bit)I totally agree with you on WW, OoS and OoA, and MC. ST I’m actually starting to agree with now taht I’ve got PH off my chest. And I’d love to see a separete article on handheld games, to support my favorite handhelds(as in, Minish Cap and Spirit Tracks).
      Oh, adn to Hanyou: Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess were great. I’ve never ahd an issue with long cutscenes and lots of text-I mean, people TALK, so Zelda can use text, no?-and Twilight Princess’s long start made Ordon seem like home. OoT’s just
      made me feel lost. I’m not resistant to becoming a Stalfos, I’m just a Hylian…

      My goodness, I have to scroll down to fit in this comment as I type it. Thanks for hanging in there for the longest comment I’ve ever made on ZeldaDungeon(or is my ST Defense thing longer? Can’t remember the article).

      • Blakenator

        I’m not against ST at all. In fact, I loved ST and liked it more than PH. It was a great game. The story was on par for a regular Zelda. As for PH, I believe the story wasn’t all that good, but was paced accordingly. I was just stating my perspective.

  • YeahYeah

    I think Majora’s Mask has the best introduction and Twilight Princess the worst.

  • iKhan

    I strongly disagree. While I agree ALttP probably has one of the better openings, Twilight Princess also had a very strong opening. Yes, it was long and there were a few meager tasks, but they made you feel like you were part of Ordon Village AND it really helped you build a relationship with Ilia, Rusl, and the children. ALttP’s intro was good because it also did this but did it in a few seconds. I hated OoT’s intro on the other hand. The great Deku Tree was a fine dungeon, but the beginning part in which you just wandered the Kokiri Forest was annoying in that there was no motive except to move forward. In ALttP, you go forward to find your uncle, and in TP, you go forward in order to help people. In OoT, you just search around for the things you need, not to help anyone.

    Skyward Sword’s plot was similar to TP’s in length, and that’s it. While TP’s intro built your relationship with Rusl, Colin, and Talo, SS’s built a relationship with your loftwing, a relationship that was never utilized in the game. It also served as the container for all the crap they TELL (not show through game events, TELL) you about Link’s relationship w/ Zelda.

    • JuicieJ

      Twilight Princess’s opening is relatively unimportant to the rest of the plot. It asks you to roam around and do some random tasks and then randomly thrusts you into the game. It’s awkward and clunky at best.

      • iKhan

        Saving the children (who motivate a large portion of the plot) from Ganondorf’s monsters is unimportant? I suppose the chores you do in Ordon aren’t really too important, but I found most of the minigames fun anyway. It did a great job of making you feel like Ordon was a real town with people with real problems too. SS’s intro shut you off from half of Skyloft to start with.

    • Ninty

      I never felt close to those people in Ordon, or with my Loftwing. The games rarely touch on these characters during the rest of the game.

      • iKhan

        Well, then I’m guessing you didn’t like TP then, because the relationships with Talo, Colin, Rusl, and Ilia motivate most of the plot.

        SS tells you that you and your loftwing were destined for one another, then you go on an entire mission to save your loftwing. You are also told that your loftwing is extremely unique to you. The game pretty much does everything possible to show you how important your loftwing is, and then it completely drops the ball.

        • Ninty

          I like the game, I just wasn’t moved by most of what was supposed to be personal moments with those characters. With Ilia, I was supposed to care about her at least as a friend, but there was barely a reason to as the player imo. The times I interact with her she’s mainly a plot device to move the game forward, built around the game. I like her character, but I never thought “my friend needs me” as I went through the dungeons leading to the quest where her memory is restored. I certainly have good memories with these characters, I just didn’t feel that close to them. I was more concerned with reaching the next dungeon.

          • iKhan

            I don’t like Ilia much either. What motivated me to go on with the story was Colin and Talo. At that point point at which they were found, I had gotten hooked on the story, and that drove me through the rest of the game.

            I agree with you that it is hard to care much about Ilia as a player, but I’d argue that they use the exact same characterization pattern, albeit on a bit larger scale, for characterizing Skyward Sword Zelda (who I also don’t like). TP and SS pretty much tell you to like Ilia and Zelda, and then run with it by having the characters yell at you or call you names. I get that its playful, but it wasn’t a good way of getting me to like the characters. I like characters like Colin and Rusl, who encourage and laud you as you are going on the journey.

          • http://twitter.com/ThePyroWall ThePyroWall

            Easily my favorite part of TP is when King Bulblin attacks Kakariko. Watching Colin save Beth’s life only to end up getting captured and used as bait for Link. Then riding through the new area above Kakariko while trying to save Colin from the army of bulbin firing at you atop their bublos, having the jousting match against the king, Link and Epona doing that epic pose after defeating him. And then returning to Kakariko to see the kids have already warmed up to Colin because of the brave thing he did by saving Beth. He then goes on to tell you that he now understands that his father wanted him to be brave like Link, not physically strong, And he then encourages you to go help the Gorons for him. I just love this part and I feel that is becomes great motivation for the climb of Death Mountain and even the rest of the game, saving Hyrule for the kids and all the other Hylians. Just another reason why TP is my favorite.

  • Affliliant

    I enjoy long openings. (Although, usulally with Zelda I’m just so hyped up for the game that Il take whatever it throws at me with glee).
    Long openings let me immerse myself into the story much more than most Games with short openings do.
    Skyward Sword did this particularly well. The storytelling aspects were so well done that The entire introduction was very vibrant.

  • baileygirl99

    Does anyone know whatever happened to the A Link to the Past anime? Did they just quit doing it?

  • Neutopia

    I completely agree with your article, the newest Zelda releases have pretty much explained every little detail in painstakingly boring tutorials through most of the few hours of the game, I wish they would go back to A Link To The Past style games where they just throw you in.

  • Dark Majora

    (ignoring the large text) :p

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Best/100003863840372 James Best

    I agree, A Link to the Past had one of the best expositions in a video game. It set the atmosphere perfectly without impeding on the player’s freedom. If I were to make a Zelda game, that’s the sort of opening that I would use.

  • The Wanderer

    I haven’t played A Link to the Past yet, but reading about its opening bit makes me eager to experience it all the more. Sounds like one heck of a game.

    I agree that Twilight Princess had perhaps the weakest opening of any Zelda game – was learning how to fish in Ordon Village really necessary? Considering you only need to use it once in the game? You were then forcefully thrown from human Link’s controls to the totally foreign set of controls of Wolf Link for a fairly long time, which probably wasn’t the best way to introduce that experience either. The game really picked up for me after gaining the Hero’s Clothes, but the opening segment is pretty poorly handled.

    As I recall, after Skyward Sword was released, Shigeru Miyamoto talked once about how tutorials could be implemented in future Zelda games and mentioned the Message Boxes from Super Mario World – completely optional, but abundant and effective. I think it would be an excellent idea if the next Zelda game took a similar approach and eased you directly into the game – not the tutorial, the game itself – with supplementary tutorial signs or boxes to help you understand each concept.

    • Ninty

      When I played TP for the first time, I was actually just fascinated with the wolf Link part in the beginning. It was a whole new dimension that had this unique aesthetic that I enjoyed enough to not be bothered by the segment, though I didn’t really feel like I was doing much when Z-targeting Midna to jump far distances above the castle.

      Interesting idea about the signs. If they can’t really figure out how to keep future intros/tutorials more concise, then this could be a quick fix. Plus, sign posts are common in the Zelda games, anyway. It wouldn’t feel out of place. Now, the rest depends on what innovations in gameplay they’re trying to bring to the Wii U title. I had no issues with Skyward Sword’s controls but many still did even after the long intro. Hopefully whatever innovative controls the new game brings will be easy for everyone to figure out.

  • Ventus

    Games should get short, concise openings. Return to the days of ALttP and OoT!

  • Roth

    I hated TP for its mandatory sword training. Sure, WW had it too, but here there was 200% more characters talking to get in the way. Aaaaagh!

  • En_annan_Martin

    Something I felt was missing tutorial-wise in TP came as you were thrown into a cell as a wolf.
    Moments earlier I had given away my sword, thus being without a way to attack in human form. As a wolf I was able to bite stuff and dash, and so I spent ten minutes trying to dash into the box (and every single spot of wall), trying to make something happen. I had to go to a walkthrough to find out that you have a spin attack in wolf form.
    Sure, it’s in the instruction booklet, but whet you have played that long it shouldn’t be needed.
    Also, the hand holding isn’t quite over yet, either, so why not mention this as you are just getting familiar with the wolf mechanics?

  • Omega

    I don’t think TP and Skyward Sword have a weak beginning, you just miss the point, the player mustn’t miss the aspect that appears in the game, you may misss the whole thing around fishing and get stuck with the game SPOILER WARNING and not get a reekfish, being unable to continue SPOILER END HERE and it’s a must to know the fatal blow for Skyward Sword because again SPOILER WARNING you need to know it to kill Demise SPOILER ENDS

  • Sir Quaffler

    I actually like games that have openings that build up the characters and foreshadow what will happen later on, something that Skyward Sword did a fantastic job of. That being said, going back and replaying it I wish there wasn’t as much handholding. Like, they should have put some feature on there that determines if you’ve already played before and cuts out the handholding and jumps straight to the character development. Still a fantastic opening though.

    But it’s not my favorite game opening. No, that honor goes to Metroid Prime. I love how atmospheric the space frigate is, the tutorials are introduced pretty seamlessly, it builds up action as you go down further, then has you facing off against a boss within like 10 minutes of booting up the game. Then, and this is my favorite part, it goes into overdrive mode and forces you to run like hell outta the place, all while dealing with lots of space pirates. Extremely adrenaline-pumping. Then you fly out just as it’s blowing up, chase after a space dragon, and land on a lush green field. Then that’s it, you’re free to explore the world as you please. Absolutely love it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/SpiritReika Scott Reika Ripberger

      Absolutely agree with your MP opinion. Near perfection; and I kinda wish Zelda would try something like that if only once…

      It would be interesting to have some of Link’s key arsenal items from the start only to have them break or get stolen. Later Link would either find them again or find/create upgraded versions….something like that.

      Interesting idea or am I a lunatic?

      • Sir Quaffler

        Well it worked for Samus and Alucard, I don’t see why we can’t start a Zelda game where Link’s already a badass mofo, then has them taken away and has to find them again. Could be very interesting indeed.

        • KingRuff

          I could see this idea working for like a sequel to TP. I would honestly like playing as an established “Hero” Link again. That was one of the main things that got me into MM. I was excited to play as this link that I already knew was a badass because I played the game and made him one.

          • Sir Quaffler

            Exactly. This idea has more potential the more I think about it.

          • http://www.facebook.com/SpiritReika Scott Reika Ripberger

            Yeah, and I remember thinking, “…wait…where’s all his stuff?!” in Majora’s Mask. They kinda had a golden opportunity there…

  • tru7h10

    Probably because it was my first Zelda, but how epic was OoT’s intro? Link asleep, shivering while he has that ominous dream that foreshadows his destiny with Zelda and Ganondorf. Its just so epic.

  • zeldaguest

    another good intro that was left off here was the Oracle games. Given a brief cutscene that tells you that something bigger is happening, meeting characters and coming face to face with the villain, and then (in Seasons) immediately learning about the core gameplay.

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