The 6 Best Zelda Games, PERIOD: Our Top Picks from the Series

The first in the series, the Legend of Zelda is an action-packed, fantasy and adventure game that was developed in 1986 by Japanese game designers Takashi Tezuka and Shigeru Miyamoto for Nintendo. 18 sequels, some spinoffs, an American animated TV series, and multiple manga adaptations later, the Zelda franchise has gone on to achieve world domination.

The Zelda series is one of Nintendo’s best-known and most successful franchises. Since its launch three decades ago, the franchise had gone on to sell over 75 million copies worldwide, and some entries in the series have received much acclaim as some of the best games video games ever made.

The first game was developed for the Famicom Disk System by developer Shigeru Miyamoto in a bid to create an adventure-worthy world filled with mountains, lakes, and forest that players could easily transverse and be awed. This humble premise developed into a game that made Miyamoto and Nintendo, and went on to redefine gaming as a whole. To date, Nintendo has published versions of the game for every new Nintendo portable or traditional console, keeping the legend alive and available for long-term fans and newer generations, while striving to never fall from its status in the eyes of the public.

With the pedigree of the foundations and legacy set by the first few games, Shigeru Miyamoto has been on the edge of his seat for the last few decades, ensuring the series is kept to the standard set by the original. Also, he had to change with the times, updating the games for changes in technology and consoles from the NES to the 3DS, as well as refreshing the element of the story to keep fans engaged and glued to every new iteration.

The Legend of Zelda: Story and gameplay

The times, the consoles, the controllers, and the technology have all changes, but the Legend remains the same. While the story has been updated to accommodate new characters, worlds, and in-game items, the Legend has continued around the same premise.

The game series centers on an emerald-clad boy; Link, the chief protagonist and the only playable character in the game. You go on a journey as Link, tasked with the goal of rescuing a princess; Zelda, and the kingdom of Hyrule from an evil force; mostly played by Ganon, who is the chief antagonist of the franchise, as wells a host of other antagonists that are special to specific iterations of the game. Across the game series, you play as a different incarnation of Link, and you aim to save Princess Zelda; who across the franchise is one of the descendants of the original Princess Zelda going by the same name.

Also, the game’s plot often incorporates some relics and often recurring important items such as bomb flowers, boomerangs, arrows, bows, magic swords, shields, and keys for locked doors. One of the most prominent and most recurring items is the Triforce, a set of three golden triangles that can grant the wishes of the wielder. According to the legend, the Triforce was created by the three golden goddesses; Din, Farore, and Nayru, who also created the in-game world of Hyrule. However, to protect the Triforce from misuse, the goddess placed it within an alternate world known as “the Golden Land” where only he who is worthy can obtain it.

The games in the Zelda series incorporate a combination of traditional hack and slash, puzzles games, and open-world discovery to create a unique experience. Each game in the main series contains three major gameplay areas; an overworld that allows extensive exploration and multidirectional movement, interaction areas that allow you to gain advice and special items from other characters, and the dungeons, and an underground portion where you face enemies, bosses and discover more items. In the dungeons, you face off against strong bosses which form crucial forward movement points in the games.

Nintendo built The Legend of Zelda series around a combination of puzzles, adventure, action, and open-world exploration. These themes feature prominent and remain ubiquitous throughout the series with specific adjustments and refinements for each new game. In later games, the series has also incorporated newer features including racing-themed mini-games as well as multiple role-playing elements.

Top 6 Best Zelda Games of ALL TIME

The Legend of is hands down one of the greatest video game series of all time. With such a legacy and with every Zelda game being a classic in its right and time, selecting a group of the best Zelda games becomes an intense uphill task.

For about 30 years now, the Legend of Zelda series from Nintendo has managed to stay exciting and interesting, while almost reinventing itself with each entry in the series. The line has some of the most evocative adventure games, creating new standards and revolutionizing video gaming in the process. Each entry follows a similar setup but manages to carve out its place, win over a fan base, and create a feel that is recognizable different from the rest.

With such an impressive, almost perfect track record of always delivering, we can’t help but wonder what the top Zelda games are. Follow us as we go on a quest through the expansive worlds of Hyrule to seek out an answer to this age-old question that plagues all fans of the Zelda series.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

The Legend of Zelda Link’s Awakening

Easily the weirdest game in the series, Link’s Awakening brings a series of extremely strange additions, even for this game series, and incorporates them into an exciting portable package (for the Gameboy) that is sure to leave a lasting memory. The game borrows the basic concepts from arguably the best game in the series, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and throws in a bunch of experimental well-placed features to create one unique experience.

Link’s Awakening begins with Link stranded on the mysterious Koholint Island on a mission to wake up a psychic fish that was building the island from within its dream. True to what you would expect from a dream world, Koholint Island is all shades of weird and looks like a Frankenstein of Zelda worlds. The island is filled with amazing dungeons and crazy brand new monsters, new items such as the Roc’s feather which gave Link the ability to jump, and multiple items and places brought in from previous games in the series.

After some of the most exciting gameplay, the game ends with Link waking up the Wind Fish. Link’s Awakening also scores points for featuring one of the most emotional endings of the entire series.

Link’s Awakening has received praise for its melancholy plot and intricate storytelling in a genre where it is atypical.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

Launched in 2000, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is the sixth main game in the series and the second to use 3D graphics. The First 3D game, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, recorded massive success and acclaim worldwide, and Nintendo needed to come up with a worthy successor.

Built using the same engine as the previous game, Majora’s mask development focused on creating a plot that is markedly different from the Ocarina of Time while achieving a similar level of success.

Easily the grimmest installment in the Zelda franchise, the Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is set in Termina, an alternate world to Hyrule that features a different setting to traditional Zelda worlds, while also sporting the smallest world in the Zelda Universe.

The game begins on Termina, where Skull Kid, the game’s main antagonist, has stolen Majora’s Mask, an extremely powerful ancient artifact that has the power to manipulate the game’s work. Using the power of the Mask, Skull Kid makes the world’s scary-faced moon to fall slowly towards the surface, leading to an almost inevitable crash in three days. To stop the moon crash, Link repeatedly travels back in time to the beginning of the first day in a bid to stop the moon from destroying Termina.

Over the short duration of the game, Link fights against a fast ticking clock while the grim moon looks down threatening his impending doom, creating a grotesque yet extremely engaging world that mimics most of the troubles we face in our lives.

The introduction of time-based gameplay, complex schedules, multiple collectible masks, and the different effects that go with each one, all complement each other to create a Zelda game that is quite different from everyone before. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask retains all the recognizable tidbits of the Zelda Universe; dungeons, fairies, multiple artifacts and collectibles, weapons as well as a water temple. However, the additions and changes in style worked so well that they greatly influenced future games in the series.

15 years later, the Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask still delivers an intricate world that exhibits some of the best assortment of personality and emotional storytelling you can find anywhere.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

The tenth installment in The Legend of Zelda series, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker came out in 2003 bringing with it a new child-like take to The Legend of Zelda. The game brings a whole new candy-coated demeanor and cartoony graphics created through cel shading to give the game a playful look.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is set on a group of islands on a large sea in the Zelda Universe. Link surfaces again and this times he goes on a journey in an attempt to save his sister from Ganon, the sorcerer. Here, the Triforce, the omnipresent group of relics that grants the wishes of the wielder, plays a pivotal part as it becomes a major bone of contention between Link and Ganon.

On this quest, Link gets a great deal of support from unlikely candidates; the pirate captain Tetra and the King of Red Lions, a talking boat. Link explores the islands, the sea, and some dungeons in a bid to acquire the power he needs to defeat the sorcerer. Even Wind (which is an animated character here) comes to Links aid, as he controls it with a magic conduction baton known as the Wind Waker.

At launch, The Wind Waker received widespread negative reviews for its punchy style and deviation from the traditional seriousness of the Zelda series. However, the passing of time has completely overturned these opinions. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker went on to receive unanimous critical acclaim, and is now widely rated as one of the greatest video games ever made.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

First developed for the Nintendo 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is the first Zelda game to make the jump from 2D to 3D. Unlike other games that falter at this juncture, Ocarina of Time managed to keep the Zelda fever going, partly due to its extensive borrowing from the extremely successful third entry in the series; The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

However, the game features its own slew of originality and sets its name in the Zelda universe with additions such as Epona and time travel to the series. As with other Zelda games, the game also has its share of revolutionary introductions to video gaming. The game brings a target lock system and context-sensitive buttons that are now commonplace in most adventure games.

In Ocarina of Time, Link explores the land of Hyrule, setting out to protect the world by preventing Ganondorf, the King of the Gerudo tribe, from getting the Triforce. To guarantee his success, he time travels through various dungeons in the series to awaken the sages, who can lock Ganondorf away forever. The ocarina plays an important role in the gameplay as you must learn to play several songs on the instruments to progress to higher levels.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

To a large percentage of the followers of the Zelda Franchise, this is the ultimate Zelda game, the quintessential representation of all the game stands for and what it aims to accomplish. This position holds some truth this third installment in the series laid the groundwork and set the standard that every Zelda game has followed ever since. Selling over 4 million copies, this piece is not short in the money department as well.

First released in 1991, A link to the Past remains a reference point in video gaming as a masterpiece that excels at just about every aspect and is arguably the most replayable of entries in the series. The Legend Of Zelda: A Link to the Past was the first game to introduce some of the elements that are now ubiquitous in the Zelda universe such as the Master Sword, and parallel worlds.

The story starts off on a stormy night Hyrule where Link’s uncle dies while answering a strange-sounding cry for help. Link then picks up arms and sets out on a journey right this wrong, save the princess and save the world from evil.

With the perfect execution of the 3/4 top-down perspective, unanimous critical acclaim, equally warm reception from the public, and staggering sales, it is hard to contest the statement that The Legend Of Zelda: A Link to the Past is the best Legend of Zelda game of all-time and one of the greatest games ever, despite its antiquated 2D graphics.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

It’s 2017, and the Legend of Zelda series is back again! 30 years and 18 titles from the original, Nintendo aim to continue the Zelda legacy with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The game was released on March 3rd and is available for both the Nintendo Wii U and the new Nintendo switch.

Breath of the Wild features a marked deviation from some of the traditions of the Zelda series. The new game is designed with a detailed physics engine and features an open-world environment. Furthermore, the game’s world allows you to play the dungeons in any other you deem fit. Nintendo has also announced that Breath of the Wild will be the first Zelda game to feature downloadable content for in-game expansion of the game.

Plot-wise, the game retains most of the typical elements of a Zelda story. A princess in distress, our ever-ready hero, Link, and a champion from the dark side. In Breath of the Wild, Our hero Link wakes up to a strange world, having lost all memory of who he is. He quickly learns that he has been in hibernation for 100 years, sealed off in a hidden spot, after a great war with Calamity Ganon, the game’s antagonist, left him for dead, destroying most of the world in the process. Over the course of Link’s 100-year hiatus, Princess Zelda has battled Ganon and kept him in check. However, her power is now greatly weakened, and Ganon plans to take advantage of this by launching a final attack that brings the world completely under his control. We follow Link on a quest to vanquish Calamity Ganon and restore sanity to the world.

As with previous games in the series, Zelda is here again to revolutionize gaming as we know it. In the short time since its launch, the latest game, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has received much praise for its brand new gameplay, outstanding physics engine, and responsive world. Many critics have touted Breath of the Wild to easily top the Zelda series as the best game ever made.

Open-world Gameplay: the game has received much acclaim for its introduction of an open-world dimension that was missing from the Zelda universe in previous games. The game’s expansive world has been hailed for its realism. While every part of the game is immediately accessible from the onset, Nintendo does a great job of engineering the technical aspect of the game to allow for realistic game progression. The game roughly keeps the traditional Zelda order as you have to intricately master the mechanics of the world around you or risk immediate death when you venture into high-profile territory.

The game also features some self-contained puzzle rooms known as Shrines in hidden locations around the world. Once you defeat a particular Shrine, you will be gain a special item that improves your health or stamina, further improving your survivability in the world. Furthermore, you can scale any of the giant towers spread across the game to survey your surroundings and improve your map.

Interactive World and Life-like Physics Engine: The re-imagination of Hyrule is a very interactive and quite realistically logical world. Link can jump and climb almost any surface and can find and use various items in the world. Link can find and use a variety of weapons and the weapons degrade and break with continuous usage. The weapons also serve alternative uses, for example, you could use a tree branch to make fires or use your shields as snowboards. You can also manipulate other items in the world. For example, you can fell a tree by hitting it once to create a bridge over a river or any other use. The game features this type of multiple object application everywhere, making for an exciting world where discoveries abound.

With Breath of the Wild, player engagement is at its peak, as there is something to do or learn at every turn. You never know what to expect and often have to interact with an item or location to know what it can accomplish. While exploring the world, you can trigger voice-acted cut scenes at important moments or locations.

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