- "They say that players who select the "HOLD" option for "Z TARGETING" are real "Zelda players!""
- — Gossip Stone
Z-targeting, also known as L-targeting, is a recurring skill in the Legend of Zelda series. Z-targeting is the system of "locking on" to enemies, characters, and objects using a specific button; Z, L or ZL, depending on the game. This is used to interact with them in an easier fashion, or from a distance. When Z-targeting an enemy and attacking, all of Link's attacks will be directed towards the enemy. When Link is targeting an enemy, character, or object, the camera remains focused on that target, and Link can freely strafe around the target, so he can face the target continuously. Also, the camera creates a letterbox, or widescreen, view to confirm that Z-targeting is being used. Some techniques, such as thrusting or the Jump Attack, as well as backflips and sidestep hops, can only be completed while Z-targeting. If Link Z-targets when no enemy, character, and/or object is in front of him, the camera will remain fixed behind Link until the button is released.
There are two settings for Z-targeting, which can be selected on the Name Registration screen: "SWITCH" and "HOLD." "SWITCH" causes the target to stay locked onto after the Z-button is released, and pressing the Z-button a second time will change the target, or exit targeting if no other target is present. To remove targeting when others are present, Link must pull away from the enemy. "HOLD" requires the player to hold down the Z-button to target an enemy; releasing the button will disengage the lock. These settings can be reached by going to the option menu on the main menu. L-targeting supports the same settings, and functions the same way.
Z-targeting is performed with the help of Link's fairy companion; Navi and Tatl in Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, respectively. It is necessary for performing the Jump Attack, among other techniques. Link cannot Z-target Ganondorf as Navi is unable to approach his overwhelming evil aura, until Link stuns Ganondorf with a Light Arrow. Twinmold can not be Z-targeted while Link is using the Giant's Mask, as Tatl does not grow along with Link. When wearing the Fierce Deity's Mask, Link can fire Sword Beams only while Z-targeting.
L-targeting can be performed from the very beginning of the game, with no requirements. It is necessary for performing the Parry and Jump Attacks.
L-targeting, known as Z-targeting in the Wii version, can be performed without any prerequisites right from the beginning of the game. Since there is no button for simply raising the Shield, it is automatically raised whenever Link uses L-targeting. L-Targeting is also necessary for performing most of the Hidden Skills, the exceptions being the Mortal Draw and Great Spin Attack.
Z-targeting is performed with the Z button on the Nunchuk. Unlike in previous games, Z-targeting will not automatically aim Link's projectile weapons at the target; they must instead be aimed manually using the Wii Remote. Z-targeting is required to perform the Ending Blow. Z-targeting an enemy and pressing the down button on the Wii Remote will summon Fi, followed by her telling Link things about the targeted enemy, as well as how many of said enemy Link has defeated and rating his battle performance with that enemy. If Link has not yet defeated more than two of the selected enemy, Fi will be unable to rate his battle performance due to insignificant data. Fi can be summoned using this method at any point. While Z-targeting, Link cannot walk off the edge of any ground that he is on without jumping. He can, however, slide off if the edge of the ground gradually slants downwards. The player can Z-target while Link is holding objects.
In addition to enemies, Link can also have Fi analyze and provide information on any person or object he can Z-Target. When the Bug-Catching Net is in use, it allows Link to Z-target catchable Bugs, fairies, and small birds allowing Fi to analyze them and provide Link with information such as how sensitive they are to human presence and hints on how to best capture them. However they can only be Z-Targeted when the Bug Net is being used and he cannot Z-Target Tumbleweeds .
- "When facing an enemy in combat... always focus in on them. That's the most basic of the basics as far as good offense goes."
- — Steen
In Breath of the Wild, Z-targeting is known as Focus or Lock on in-game. Link can target enemies, people, and certain objects like Signs by pressing and holding the ZL button. Signs can only be ZL-targeted when viewed from the front. Link is unable to ZL-target wildlife even if they are hostile like bears and wolves. When ZL-targeting Talus or Hinox mini-bosses, Link will ZL-target their weak points (Ore Deposits and eye respectively).
Targeting (also known as Locking On) also appears in Hyrule Warriors and Hyrule Warriors Legend. It allows the player to lock on to powerful enemies (such as enemy characters and strong regular enemies) and giant bosses.