The Legend of Zelda is a widely popular franchise, having sold over 108 million copies since the release of the original “Legend of Zelda” title on the Nintendo Entertainment System. It is one of the best selling franchises in the world, and for a good reason. In today’s article, I would like to go over the top five Legend of Zelda games, in my opinion, and why they are so good.
Number 5) A Link to the Past
Link to The Past was many people’s first Zelda game, and by many people I mean it was my first Zelda. I have good memories of picking up the Gameboy when I was young and playing Link to the Past on it. Sure, I had no idea what I was doing but I had fun! Link to the Past, having released in 1991 and although its original release may not have aged to well, it is still a good game.
Number 4) TloZ: Twilight Princess
Twilight Princess is the first Zelda in the series to be rated T. In that regard, it is also one of the darker Zeldas, making for an emotional and intense ride through the game.
Story aside, the gameplay is quite wonderful. It IS a Zelda game, after all. There is a mostly linear open world you are allowed to explore, allowing for the player to get lost fairly easily if they do not have a clear idea of where they are supposed to head. However, this is not a bad thing, as galloping through Hyrule Field as the games orchestral soundtrack blares is a great experience in and of itself! The combat of Twilight Princess is more akin to a tighter Breath of the Wild, in my experience, as you mostly use the Z-targeting feature to lock onto enemies and strike them down with Link’s various tools, ranging from his sword to his bow, to even a boomerang.
During the lifespan of the game, it saw multiple re-releases on many consoles. It was released originally in 2006 on the Gamecube and Wii, and again in 2016 in HD on the Wii U. Twilight Princess was one of the best selling Zelda games to ever be released, only being overtaken by 2017’s “Breath of the Wild.”
Twilight Princess’s unique story, fun boss fights, and wonderful music make this a Zelda you really shouldn’t miss!
Number 3) TloZ: Wind Waker
Wind Waker released on the Nintendo Gamecube in 2002. Wind Waker received its HD version for the Wii U in 2013.
Both versions of the game are perfectly well and good, with the Wii U version of the game featuring updated graphics and game mechanics, and the original not. The original not including these features does not make the original a bad version of the game, however. Wind Waker, regardless of the version you choose to play, is a wonderful Zelda game. A gripping story and soundtrack, a unique and time-withstanding cel-shaded art style, and the ability to sail the open seas in your own boat make this a Zelda you shouldn’t miss.
Number 2) TloZ: Ocarina of Time
Ocarina of Time is a game that many, many people speak fondly about. Some people consider it to be one of the best games ever made, some people consider it to be the best Zelda ever made, and some people downright hate it, calling it overrated. Regardless of where you stand, at the time of its release in 1998, the game was incredible. Featuring an almost completely open world, something near unheard of for older games, and still to this day beautiful graphics, Ocarina of Time made its mark for sure in video game history. Much like Twilight Princess and Wind Waker, OOT also saw a few re-releases, being released first on N64 in 1998, then on the Gamecube, Wii Virtual Console, 3DS and finally Wii U virtual console in 2002, 2007, 2011, and 2015 respectively. Some of the re-releases were simple ports, whereas some were remastered (Ocarina of Time 3D was graphically upgraded)
Ocarina of Time, regardless of if you have played it and loved it, played it and disliked it, or have not played it at all, is a good Zelda game.
Number 1) TloZ: Breath of the Wild
2017’s Breath of the Wild took the Zelda franchise to places never before thought possible. The game featured a massive, fully free to explore world, where anything you saw you could, quite literally, climb. Link had multiple tools of traversal at his exposal in this title, ranging from a Paraglider that allowed him to get down from high up areas safely, to his own hands and feet. You could even hop on your shield and “shield-surf” around, should the landscape be appropriate. There was, however, a stamina mechanic that players had to keep an eye on. If Link ran out of stamina while scaling a cliff, he would fall. This could result in the player taking a large amount of damage, or possibly even dying, resulting in a game over depending on the distance fallen. If there was a lightning storm, for instance, the lightning would be attracted to Link’s metal weaponry and would seemingly target him until the player removed all metal gear.
Combat in Breath of the Wild was also drastically different from any other Zelda game, as Link was able to wield a multitude of different weaponry, ranging from spears and axes to swords and bows. These weapons, however, could all break, meaning the player would have to constantly come up with creative ways to handle each combat situation. The Master Sword, however, is the only weapon in the game that can not break. Instead, when it runs out of uses it has a short recharge period where the player can not use it. Many players were glad that the Master Sword was unable to break, and honestly, if it could it wouldn’t make any sense. It would be unbefitting if the legendary Master Sword was able to break.
The game featured outstanding visuals, an immersive soundtrack, and a great story. It certainly brought a lot to the Legend of Zelda series table, and now it is expected that we will see a sequel to Breath of the Wild, sometime in 2020–2021. Breath of The Wild is a gorgeous game that nobody should miss, and it is personally one of my favorite games of all time.
In conclusion, The Legend of Zelda series has many great games, all for different reasons. What are your personal favorites? Leave a comment below and let me know!