We had the pleasure of going hands-on with Link’s Awakening for the Nintendo Switch at E3 this year — three times! It was our game of the show. While Pokemon and Luigi’s Mansion were featured more prominently, it was Link’s Awakening which stole the spotlight, and arguably had the longest lines. From the opening cinematic to washing ashore on Koholint Island, the experience was majestic. The music features a brand new arrangement, completely orchestral. The diorama-like graphical style gives the characters an expressiveness they originally lacked and its vividness is a stark contrast to how dark the game actually is. Link’s Awakening is the most underrated Zelda game, and it’s finally getting its moment to shine — with nothing to overshadow it. This is why Link’s Awakening is Nintendo’s surprise game of 2019. Marin in the town square Link’s Awakening is one of the most emotional Zelda games, filled with melancholy, years before Majora’s Mask did the same. It’s somber. And Nintendo is genius for introducing this game to an entirely new generation of Zelda fans, most of whom were not born when the game came out. Nintendo has an incredible lineup for 2019, but Link’s Awakening is the best game they have coming out in 2019, and that says a lot. It’s the most polished. Zelda has arguably become their most prominent franchise and Link’s Awakening will do much better than people think from a monetary standpoint. In a way, it is a placeholder for Breath of the Wild 2, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the game stands on its own. It is a top-five Zelda game and even if it doesn’t outsell Pokemon, which is a longshot, it will be a better, more polished title. Hoot Hoot! While Breath of the Wild was a “breath” of fresh air, Link’s Awakening features a more traditional Zelda experience. For many Switch owners, this will be the first time they experience Zelda dungeons as they were originally envisioned and traditional items. The puzzles are also a completely different animal than those found in Breath of the Wild. This is very smart on Nintendo’s part, because they will be able to garner feedback from newer fans incorporate that feedback into the future direction of the franchise. For a game that came out roughly 16 years ago, it still holds up incredibly well today. It’s also accessible to both old fans and new, bringing back feelings of nostalgia for older fans (along with a new dungeon-building mode) and will be a brand new experience for younger Zelda fans. It’s genius! Link’s Awakening was the perfect 2D Zelda game to bring to the Nintendo Switch. The end of a dream Link’s Awakening is Nintendo’s surprise game of 2019. It’s a melancholic, yet beautiful tale. The diorama-inspired graphics bring the world to life, reminiscent of The Wind Waker cel-shading. This is in direct contrast to how dark the game actually is. It will bring old and new Zelda fans together and is taking advantage of the success of Breath of the Wild, and is a placeholder, if you will, for Breath of the Wild 2. The thing is, it’s so much more to it than that. It’s a traditional Zelda experience, which has been lacking since A Link Between Worlds. Dungeons are back. Items are back. A cohesive narrative is back. This is something old-time Zelda fans have been wanting for quite a while. It will also introduce these elements to new fans of the franchise; it’s a win-win for everyone. Nintendo has some excellent first-party games coming out this year, but Link’s Awakening may not only be their surprise game of the year, but the best game they come out with in 2019.