In Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening you control a hero, Link, in a quest across the fantasy world of Hyrule. During the game, Link can progressively acquire several weapons and armors, but also many other items and a wide array of spells.
Link's Awakening is an action-adventure video game, but it's often considered also a role-playing video game. Specifically, it belongs to the sub-genre of action-RPVGs.
Three aspects that can define the genre of RPGs are listed here, and they apply to Link's Awakening as well:
- Text is an essential part of the game, and the characters have to talk and interact with non-evil characters to proceed in the adventure;
- There are permanent upgrades, in the form of enhancements of the various attributes of the characters (attack, strength, magic etc.);
- There is freedom of exploration, all the areas are connected by an "overworld", and areas that have been previously cleared can usually be re-visited; in other words, the game is non-linear.
Japanese-style RPVGs (focused more on the plot) and American-style RPVGs (focused more on exploration and "body-building" of the characters) feature turn-based battles, while the slightly more recent action-RPVGs like Link's Awakening feature a continuous flow action between exploration and battle. Nevertheless, all three aspects listed above are present in every RPG.