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10 Games In The Franchise To Play Before BoTW 2

In March, many fans were disappointed to hear yet again that the Breath of the Wild sequel was delayed, this time pushing the game back to a hitherto undefined date in Spring 2023. Regardless, the hype hasn’t died down, and the delay gives newcomers to the franchise more time to catch up on the story so far.

Breath of the Wild pulled a great deal of inspiration from previous titles in the franchise, and the information and trailers released so far for Breath of the Wild 2 indicate that the same will be true again. While each game can be played as a standalone experience, the characters and narratives become much deeper with an understanding of what’s come before.


A Link to the Past

Link drawing the Master Sword in A Link to the Past.

A Link to the Past is a Zelda classic and a legend all in one. This game is one of the most impactful in the franchise because it introduced fans to many elements that would become reoccurring mainstays throughout the games such as the magical Master Sword.

RELATED: 10 Ways A Link To The Past Influences The Legend Of Zelda Today

When preparing to play any new Zelda title, this game is by far one of the most essential with its enticing story and addictive gameplay. The world is beautifully crafted featuring many similarities to the first game but improved upon. However, there isn’t just one world, but two: The Light World and the Dark World. Link travels between the two of these featuring a peaceful Hyrule versus an evil one corrupted by Ganon. With Zelda games consistently using two worlds to travel in between, it’s possible BotW 2 could do the same.

Ocarina of Time

Link in Ocarina of Time.

Ocarina of Time, one of the best action RPG games of all time, is the first 3D Zelda game and used many of the previous games’ concepts to help improve upon the legendary land of Hyrule. It’s impossible to get the full Zelda experience without playing Ocarina of Time.

The game is essential for open-world video gaming in general and is one of the most revolutionary games of all time, influencing many action/adventure and open-world games such as successful franchises like FromSoftware’s Dark Souls and CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher. Ever since Ocarina of Time, fans have loved what 3D games Zelda brings to the table, like Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and BotW. Like these predecessors, BotW 2 will surely aid in diversifying the world with its unique cultures, combat, and dungeons.

The Legend of Zelda

It's dangerous to go alone - The Legend of Zelda.

The game that began it all, The Legend of Zelda is still one of the best Zelda games despite it being so old. The Legend of Zelda was vital in shaping the world of Hyrule to come and the other games in the franchise haven’t quit borrowing the classic elements in the game.

BotW itself took large chunks of inspiration from the game, even giving fans once again an old man in a cave at the beginning. Though this time around, he didn’t give fans a sword. While BotW didn’t take everything it could from this game, it’s certainly possible that BotW 2 will go much further perhaps returning concepts like Link shooting laser beams from his sword, entering a waterfall to retrieve the Magical Sword, or even discovering various caves with vendors within.

Wind Waker

Link on his boat in Wind Waker.

Wind Waker was a breathtaking experience allowing fans to traverse a seemingly endless ocean by guiding the winds with the legendary wind waker.

RELATED: 9 Ways Wind Waker Is The Best Legend of Zelda Game

Wind Waker helped bring a more colorful and artistic flavor to the game series that it previously didn’t possess. While the game was in essence largely inspired by a cartoonish look it gave a unique layer to the series that just made players feel good. A blend of real-life and cartoon-like this was used in both Skyward Sword and BotW, and it seems the sequel will continue to undergo this. And, maybe BotW 2 will see the return of traversing the ocean on a boat. This would be a great way to add more expansion to Hyrule below the clouds while offering more unique experiences to separate the game from its predecessor.

Majora’s Mask

Official art for Majora's Mask.

The clock ticks. Link struggles to save the world of Termina as the moon threatens to fall within three days’ time. Majora’s Mask is no doubt the most stressful Zelda game to play, but it helped bring a darker and grittier feel to the games that hadn’t occurred much in the past.

Occasionally, Ocarina of Time did have that feel, but Majora’s Mask continues this and runs with it. With the small glimpses fans have seen in the trailers for the BotW sequel, it seems the game will possibly be heading into a darker route, making Majora’s Mask an ideal game to play. On top of this, Majora’s Mask had a unique way of allowing the player to change up gameplay constantly with the various different masks. With Link being able to traverse through walls and possibly fly through skies there could be various new ways to play the game similar to Majora’s Mask.

Twilight Princess

Link in Twilight Princess.

One of the most pivotal games in the franchise and successfully being a true successor to Ocarina of Time. In many ways, this is the ultimate Zelda game.

RELATED: 10 Reasons Why Twilight Princess Is Actually Better Than Breath Of The Wild, According To Reddit

Much like Majora’s Mask, Twilight Princess gave fans a darker and grittier video game. In fact, there likely isn’t a darker game than Twilight Princess in the franchise. While BotW 2 may be tottering a bit more toward a dark game, it will still retain a large majority of the previous bright colors. But any fan who wants a dark fantasy experience should play Twilight Princess and the bosses within are borderline horrifying at times. While fans also do not know yet if Link will have access to more than the Master Sword in BotW 2, it would be enticing to see the return of sword skills featured in Twilight Princess, a mechanic that kept the game fresh as Link learned more along the way.

A Link Between Worlds

A Link Between Worlds official art.

A Link Between Worlds is a sequel to A Link to the Past letting the game be a nostalgic ride as well as improving upon many old concepts from the original game, making it one of the best Legend of Zelda games.

One important mechanic in A Link Between Worlds is how Link is able to turn himself into a painting figure when merging into the walls. In the trailers for BotW 2, fans see a small glimpse of something similar where Link comes sprouting up from underground. It’s possible there will be a similar mechanic to the one in A Link Between Worlds where Link can traverse through solid objects, making A Link Between Worlds a vital game to play beforehand.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Link vs Dark Link in Zelda II.

While certainly not one of the most popular games, it featured a unique playstyle to Zelda almost similar to Pokémon in many ways.

If BotW drew from the first Zelda game the most, then it’s possible BotW 2 will take a great deal from the Adventure of Link. Not many direct sequels exist in the franchise so it could be an important source of inspiration from the game. Hopefully, the recurring Dark Link character will return again, and a clue from the trailer also may have given fans a slight inspiration from Zelda II. In Zelda II, Link’s blood has the ability to bring Ganon back to life. In the first teaser trailer, it seemed as if Ganon was in fact being revived and Link’s hand was glowing. Could this be a possible connection?

Skyward Sword

Link falling in Skyward Sword.

Floating skies and flying on loftwings. Not every fan loved the Wii Motion Control, but Skyward Sword offered many new ideas with vibrant lands and characters.

Skyward Sword is likely one of the most obvious games to play prior to BotW 2 given the floating isles that will be traversed in BotW 2, which is one of the most anticipated things in the game. It’s possible fans could also see the return of loftwings, allowing them to head isle to each isle more easily. While sky lands have existed in other games before like Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword was the most in-depth on this, and BotW 2 is doubtless to take a large chunk of inspiration from this game.

Breath of the Wild

Breath of the Wild is a game that broke many records and offered the very first true open-world experience in the Zelda franchise. In many ways, BotW broke away from old tropes in the Zelda franchise with changes such as the disappearance of classic dungeons with bosses and allowing players to freely roam the world and embark on whatever part of the story they wish.

However, it still retained plenty of important franchise staples like recurring characters and locations. BotW is obviously the most important game to play prior to its sequel for the story but also because BotW is considered by many fans to be the best game in the series. Many have gone as far as to say it’s one of the greatest video games of all time.

NEXT: 10 Best Open World Games On The Nintendo Switch

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