The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a highly-regarded entry in The Legend of Zelda franchise, but fans have a lot of fluff to get through before reaching the good parts, as it has one of the slowest introductions in the series. Some of the best entries in The Legend of Zelda series are the ones that quickly get to the action, as too much setup and pointless running around can kill the momentum of the story.
One entry in the series that suffered from a lengthy intro was Skyward Sword, which was part of a larger problem of the game having too much padding. Skyward Sword HD shortened its intro in order to let the player get to the action more quickly. By contrast, games like A Link to the Past and A Link Between Worlds give Link his sword and his mission straight away, while feeding the player new information as they go along.
Twilight Princess is the biggest offender when it comes to lengthy intros in the series. It’s a wonder anyone got a chance to meet Midna, as there is enough padding, fluff dialogue, and languid minigames to scare off the average player.
The Time-Wasting Puzzles In Twilight Princess
Twilight Princess starts off with several minutes of cutscenes, followed by finding Epona, followed by a cutscene. The player is then given a few screens to see how Epona functions, before another cutscene. They arrive at Ordon Ranch, watch a cutscene, then go through the boring goat-herding minigame. Link then leaves the ranch (another cutscene), returns home, leaves his home (another cutscene), and learns about the Slingshot. He goes to town and visits the store where the slingshot is sold. The shopkeeper won’t sell Link the Slingshot, because her cat has run away.
In order to get the slingshot, Link needs to solve a needlessly difficult “puzzle” to bring the cat home. The cat is sitting by a nearby stream. The obvious answer would be to run and grab the cat, but the game won’t let the player do this even if players catch up to it. Instead, Link has to learn about grass that calls a bird, which can then be aimed like a dart. Link throws the bird at a monkey carrying a baby basket, returns the baby basket to its owner, and is given the fishing rod. At this point Link can acquire a fish, which the cat will – at long last – gratefully take and return home. The chain of events here would have made perfect sense in an early 90s point-and-click adventure game, but they feel strangely foreign in a Legend of Zelda title.
Link’s trials aren’t over just yet, however, as he needs to collect thirty of Zelda’s Rupees in order to buy the aforementioned Slingshot, which involves even more running around the village. Once he acquires it, he can go home, perform a tutorial, go into his room, and finally attain his last reward by collecting the sword. This entire process is slow, dull, and can take 20-30 minutes, assuming the player doesn’t waste too much time trying to catch the cat. It’s one of the most tedious and out-of-place intros in The Legend of Zelda series, and Link’s transformation into a wolf is a blessed relief as a result, as it means the game can finally begin.