Posted on September 12 2018 by Brandon Schmitz
For better or worse, the opening hours of virtually any single-player video game can help set the tone for the rest of the adventure. Some games hook the player from the get-go, while others take a while to endear themselves. The latter approach is by no means a deal breaker, but it does run the risk of losing the player before they even get to the good stuff.
The Legend of Zelda games in particular have kicked off in a variety of ways throughout the decades, with the original NES title, A Link to the Past, and Breath of the Wild being the go-to examples in terms of throwing Link right into the action. Within the first few minutes of each of these games, the Hylian Hero is already either fighting baddies or exploring the overworld.
That said, during the GameCube and Wii eras, the series became progressively more enthusiastic about the idea of the “slow burn.” Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword centered on the Hylian’s humble beginnings prior to setting off on a grand adventure. Visiting Link’s grandma, fishing to feed his neighbor’s cat, and rescuing his giant pet bird may sound comparatively lame, but what I love about these openings is that they provide greater context than their to-the-point brethren. Experiencing a slice of Link’s mundane existence at the outset really puts things into perspective — this is a kid who has been suddenly thrown into a world of monsters and apocalyptic stakes.
Both approaches compliment their respective games. I can’t imagine a version of A Link to the Past that doesn’t begin with Link immediately storming Hyrule Castle on a rainy night, just as I can’t imagine a version of Twilight Princess that doesn’t begin with our hero-to-be herding goats. As a result, I’m somewhat torn as to which style I prefer. Although Twilight Princess’ opening is my favorite of any video game, I’d ever-so-slightly say that I generally lean toward just hopping in and “playing the game.”
How do you prefer to start your Zelda games, though? Do you usually like to leap straight into the adventure, or are you more about the calm before the storm? Let us know in the comments below!