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I’ve been talking with friends recently and the topic came up about which game would be considered the best introduction to a franchise/series and how that might not always be the “best” game in a series.

So, in our friend circle we have about 5 big Zelda fans with myself and my buddy Nate being the biggest. I think I'm the only one that has played every Zelda game. Our friend Hannah wants to check the series out, and she plays some games but not a lot. That discussion turned to us recommending and arguing about which is the "best" (entirely subjective I know) Zelda game to recommend to someone new. Here's where's we're at so far and I wanted to see what others thought of their favorite franchises. Which single games do you feel is the best both introductory experience as well as representative of your favorite franchise as a whole, is that the same game that you'd consider the best in your favorite franchise, and if not, why not?

For me my favorite series is Zelda, and our conversation made me really think about what I'd consider the best starter Zelda game. Right now I lean to to Link's Awakening, but I recognize that it's not representative of modern Zelda games as much, I just think it's a bit of an easier and shorter introduction than Ocarina of Time/Wind Waker.

The Legend of Zelda: 1 recommender. This is obviously the first Zelda game and is an og treasure. It's available on modern nintendo systems with the Switch having rewind capability. It's recommended by one of the friend circle since it's the "first".

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Pros: 1st game, with some context it's super impressive what the game was able to do on an NES.

Cons: Not the most beginner friendly game, not much of a story or characters to meet compared to other Zelda games

Link to the Past: This game really defined what Zelda would be for a very long time, up until basically BoTW. All 2D Zeldas following this emulated the design philosophies of this with small tweaks, and many 3D ones.

Pros: Great game, 2D, still looks good

Cons: No real strong cons to this, it just doesn't happen to be anyone in our circle's FAVORITE/First/perosonally important Zelda game, don't know where we'd play this, except an emulator

Link's Awakening: 1 recommender. Great Zelda, nice and short game and got a remake recently, very cute and very fun.

Pros: The Switch game is super pretty, it's my pick because Link's Awakening was my first Zelda game, I like that it's shorter to get through and the top down gameplay I think is pretty beginner friendly.

Cons: A lot of the Zelda "staples" are missing, it doesn't take place in Hyrule, great game but doesn't get the "epic" scope of other Zelda games.

Ocarina of Time: 1 recommender. This is the big one, we all know it.

Pros: It's freaking Ocarina of Time. I still have the 3DS version so she can play it easy enough. I can't really argue with my buddy Nate when he recommends it, it's arguably had the biggest influence on the franchise to day.

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Cons: It is a 3D game, and she's not 100% comfortable with those. It's on the 3DS and she'd prefer to play on console if possible.

Majora's Mask: 1 recommender. TMay be my favorite Zelda game.

Pros: So unique in terms of the time loop, so many wonderful characters and Termina is such a great world to explore. Got it on 3DS

Cons: It really feels like a companion piece to OoT, I'd recommend Ocarina of Time first and then Majora's Mask after.

Wind Waker: Right up there with Majora's mask as one of my favorites, just amazing.

Pros: I got it on WiiU, gorgeous, fun, funny, exploring the ocean is so zen.

Cons: To me it's a big game, and I wonder if (based on past experience) it might be a bit too big as an introduction to Zelda.

Skyward Sword: First in the timeline. I actually really liked it on the Wii.

Pros: It's first in timeline order.

Cons: I think it's appreciated more as a prequel than a game in its own right. Seeing Hyrule before Hyrule and meeting original versions of characters is awesome, but without knowing what Hyrule and Zelda are, or knowing the importance of the Mastersword, might just be a bit meh. I know I'm in the minority in terms of liking the game as much as I do and the motion controls.

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BoTW: Just a masterpiece

Pros: Amazing experience to just explore

Cons: Massive game, starting out it feels like the hardest experience, not representative of the franchise as a whole.

Well, I ended up typing more than I thought, but I'd love to hear other thoughts and opinions about your particular favorite franchises.


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