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Best Zelda game for new players to start with? (A brief recommendation guide)


Emancipated Wind Fish
May 11, 2014
United States
To start out with, if you're relatively new to action games:
  • The Wind Waker - An easy accessible (and fun) 3D Zelda game (GCN, 2003)
  • The Minish Cap - An easy accessible (and fun) 2D Zelda game (GBA, 2005)
To start out with, if you're well experienced with action games:
  • A Link to the Past - The most acclaimed 2D Zelda game (SNES, 1991)
  • Ocarina of Time - The most acclaimed 3D Zelda game (N64, 1998)
Games you'd be interested in after you've beaten the above:
  • Majora's Mask - A new different bizarre 3D adventure with many side quests (N64, 2000)
  • Twilight Princess - Similar to Ocarina of Time and good if you want more of that (GCN, 2006)
  • Skyward Sword - A colorful adventure with emphasis on motion sword controls (Wii, 2011)
  • Legend of Zelda - A challenging discovery-filled 2D open world game (NES, 1986)
  • Link's Awakening - 2D Zelda game with atmosphere and storytelling (GBC, 1993)
  • Oracle of Ages - 2D Zelda game with lots of difficult puzzles (GBC, 2001)
  • Oracle of Seasons - 2D Zelda game with lots of difficult action (GBC, 2001)
Games which aren't as essential, but you still may like:
  • Four Swords - Short fun mini game but nothing profound (GBA, 2002)
  • Four Sword Adventures - Good for local multiplayer but that's it (GCN, 2004)
  • Adventure of Link - A very difficult side-scroller RPG (NES, 1988)
  • Phantom Hourglass - Formulaic game criticized for repetitive backtracking (DS, 2007)
  • Spirit Tracks - Somewhat novel game criticized for poor overworld and backtracking (DS, 2009)


Eating Link since 1987
Jul 27, 2010
The Wind Temple
I'd recommend playing Wind Waker, Minish Cap, Ocarina of Time, or even Twilight Princess as your first Zelda game. These games aren't too hard on the combat side of things, and they are decently accessible since they have some nice tutorial sections. I wouldn't recommend starting with A Link to the Past, though, because it can be a very frustrating game; I died at least 50 times during my first playthrough, and I was an experienced Zelda player by that point.


Wake Up!
Nov 13, 2012
A Link to the Past is a difficult game, However, to any Zelda fan, I can not recommend NOT playing it. ALttP is one of the most Defining games of the franchise. It was really the game that made Zelda what it is as far as gameplay, and structure. Not to mention it now has a Sequel. ALttP is my personal favorite, so I am a bit Bias, but that still doesnt change that it is what made Zelda games what they are today. AMAZING GAME!


Hello Sweetie!
Jun 18, 2011
A while back I convinced my niece to actually try and play OoT properly and not just wander around the world in a game save where I had already beaten everything. She did fairly well, and beat the first dungeon without giving me the controller once (but I helped her a little with the puzzles and where to go), which made me a very proud auntie.

This weekend I introduced her to Wind Waker HD and instead of helping her out by pointing where to go (apart from pointing out if she was going back out the door she had come from, and doing the Forsaken Fortress because of the stealth element) I let it more up to her to figure things out, both in the overworld and in the dungeon. And I was happy to see how quickly she adapted to the puzzles in this game, and I think it's a better introduction game than OoT in terms of puzzles, though she did hand me the controls in the middle of the boss fight because she hated even the mini-versions of the boss (but by then she had brought the ceiling down on it several time and all that was left was a couple of smashes to the eye, so all in all she did most of the battle herself).

I could tell she had a lot more fun with Wind Waker, and from my experience with introducing her to the series, Wind Waker really makes for a teriffic introduction game.
Jul 2, 2016
I think Ocarina of Time or Twilight Princess because it shows Hyrule Kingdom in it's natural un-altered state. That way newcomers can get a grasp of Hyrule.


Secretly a cat
Oct 8, 2016
When I started my niece on zelda (she was 8) I started with minish cap because I felt the controls and game style were better suited to her. As she got older she has played pretty much most of them now and she really sucks at them XD. I think it entirely depends on their gaming level in general, my niece was not a gamer so I started her off easy but my bf jumped straight in with OOT because he was used to that style of controls and combat.


~ ZD's Pug Dealer ~
ZD Champion
Jul 6, 2011
Ocarina of Time. It was my first Zelda and it was a great introduction to the world of Hyrule.

Puzzles and enemies are a decent challenge in this game. I dont think you should start out on too easy a game because it can pussify you. Especially if you are a young player a good challenge will build character.

I also think playing a game with older looking graphics will give an appreciation for these classic titles down the line and I would imagine it would be hard for someone who's first game was something very beautiful and shiny to go back and play something that no longer holds up to industry standards.

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