Welcome to a beginner’s guide to the Legend of Zelda. The Legend of Zelda is a franchise that’s spanned decades and charmed gamers of all generations, ages, and backgrounds. It has become one of Nintendo’s most iconic game series, right behind the Mario games. With that comes several games in different styles, gameplay, and consoles.
This series has so many different games. Therefore, someone just coming into the game series may be understandably a little intimidated. So here’s a crash course in Zelda!
The entire canon of Zelda can be a little hard to follow, since it splits into three timelines, but here’s the basic idea behind most of the games. To get a more complete idea of the storyline, check out Hyrule Historia.
In the land of Hyrule, there’s a great power forged by the goddesses of old called the Triforce, which is split into 3 parts: courage, wisdom, and power. Each section then resides in a chosen person who embodies the qualities. Ganondorf, the great villain, holds the Triforce of Power, Zelda, the princess of Hyrule, holds the Triforce of Wisdom, and Link, the protagonist, holds the Triforce of Courage.
In most games, you play as Link and often fight against some dark evil force, usually Ganondorf, who tries to gain access to the power of the Triforce and take over Hyrule. Armed with the Master Sword, the bane of all evil, you as Link must overcome various monsters, dungeons, and trials to help Zelda protect Hyrule against all evil.
Most games follow this kind of narrative to a degree, though there are games that follow different paths and stories. But the basic idea is usually Link, the protagonist, is up against some force of evil that he must overcome to save the world and the people he loves.
As always, check out our timeline for a chronological (sort of) listing of Zelda media.
Where to Start?
Since there are so many different Zelda games on decades worth of consoles, choosing where to start can be a bit tricky. It also depends on whether you want to start with the handheld games or the console games, and if you want to start with some of the original 2D games or go into the more recent ones.
For console games, I think the best game to start is Ocarina of Time: it goes into the mythos behind Zelda, and has a strong story. It’s a great introduction into the Zelda universe, and it’s iconic for being the first 3D Zelda game. The gameplay and controls are also very user-friendly and enjoyable.
From that game, you could go in a few different directions, depending on what you may like. If you’re in the mood for a darker game that’s full of strange visuals and slightly creepy storylines, you could then go onto Majora’s Mask, which has a similar graphic style to Ocarina of Time. If you’re looking for a different style altogether, Wind Waker is a very fun game that continues part of Ocarina of Time. Or if you’re looking for a game that’s like Ocarina of Time in scope, check out Twilight Princess.
If you want to go more into the old-school 2D games, check out the original The Legend of Zelda game that started it all! Or if you want to start at the beginning chronologically, Skyward Sword would be your best bet.
For handheld games, a good one to start would be the Minish Cap, which has a fun story and enjoyable gameplay. From there you could go on to A Link Between Worlds, which plays around with 2D and 3D gameplay. Other fun handheld console games include Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages, which have their own unique storylines.
Here are few facts about the Zelda franchise you may not know about.
- Even though the game titles include Legend of Zelda, you only actually play as Zelda once, which is in Hyrule Warriors.
- Throughout the games, the only time you hear Link speak is in Wind Waker, where he shouts, “Come on!”
- Hyrule Warriors and Breath of the Wild are the only two games to have actual voicing in the dialogue. All the other games are silent and rely on text.
- Ganondorf’s human form only appears in 4 of the Zelda games (Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, Hyrule Warriors), while his monster form and other incarnations appear in most of the Zelda games.
Overall, The Legend of Zelda franchise is a fantastic and extensive series of games. If you’re interested in checking them out, it’s definitely worth your time! And we hope you enjoyed a beginner’s guide to the Legend of Zelda.
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