The Top Ten Legend of Zelda Games (That NEED to Be Played)
I've always been a huge, huge, huge Legend of Zelda fan practically from the time I could hold a video game controller. Before anyone holds up their arms in protest, the goal of this list is not so much to be the usual least favorite to highest favorite LoZ game.
I simply want to share my opinion of which Zelda games I thought held the most impact on me, even now years later.
On the off chance that you haven't beaten the games listed, spoiler warning!
The Minish Cap
Release date: January 10, 2005 NA
The Minish Cap has always been a favorite handheld game of mine. I enjoyed that we had a different villian from the usual Gannondorf/Ganon final bosses. The Minish are also one of the cutest Zelda races to date.
Minish Cap had uniqe ideas and dungeons as well as useable items. The concept of shrinking may seem odd at first, but in brings in creative ways to solve dungeons. I'm hoping Nintendo will consider making a Minish Cap remake.
A Link Between Worlds
Release date: November 22, 2013 NA
I am very conflicted about A Link Between Worlds. It was so awesome to see an older game world get updated with new graphics, a new plot, and playable on the 3ds system. This game is a sequel to A Link to the Past and it's definitely visible in the layout of the kingdom.
The only complaint I have about this game is the not so lengthy amount of time I completed it. I finished the main storyline of A Link Between Worlds just over 14 hours. Regardless, the ending had a few plot twists I enjoyed and I still recommend it for any LoZ fan and anyone who owns a 3ds.
A Link to the Past
Release date: April 13, 1992 NA
This game has been a huge fan favorite and it's not too hard to see why. For me persoanlly, I always enjoyed the Dark World aspect. A Link to the Past is also of the few Zelda games you can actually obtain the Triforce in game. To this day I remember the impending feeling of how much the whole kingdom of Hyrule depended on you to stop Agahnim.
Not to mention how creeped out I was of the game over screen.
Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons
Release date: May 14, 2001 NA
To be honest, Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons may seem like two different games and shouldn't get the same spot, but they really aren't. Let it be mentioned that both games are needed to link to one another to unlock the true ending of both games. But even so, you don't necessarily have to play them both.
Oracle of Ages relies more on puzzles where as Oracle of Seasons is more action based in gameplay. I recommend them because of the two different gameplay styles as well as how different they are compared to most LoZ games.
Release date: August 1993- Game Boy, December 1, 1998- Game Boy Color NA
Link's Awakening left me with a bittersweet feeling after I completed the game. I was proud that I defeated the final boss and helped awaken the Wind Fish. At the same time, I was saddened by learning that the whole island that the game took place on wasn't even real. All the people that you helped during quests didn't exist anymore.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that the game represents the importance of a journey over the destination itself.
The music of the game was beautiful, the characters were unique and the underlying themes of Link's Awakening definitely leaves it as a must play.
Release date: November 19, 2006- Wii, December 11, 2006- GameCube NA
Twilight Princess is one of the weirder LoZ games, but that isn't a bad thing in this case. Many fans critcize it for straying from the normal path for most Zelda games. It's not everyday you get a protagonist who turns into a wolf as a main plot point. I never played the Wii version of Twilight Princess, but the only difference between the GameCube version and the Wii is the fact that one is mirrored to the other, e.g. Link is left handed on the GameCube version, but is right handed on the Wii.
The themes of Twilight Princess are much darker than previous games. The game relied on colors to convey emotions at many points during the game and it really paid off. The dungeons were creative and the game made to sure to balance when you needed to change into Link's wolf form or stay as a human. The characters, music, and plot were enjoyable as well.
The Wind Waker
Release date: March 24, 2003- GameCube, September 20, 2013 - WiiU NA
This game will forever hold a special place in my heart. Many people give it a cold shoulder because of the kiddy looking graphics. I say that those people should stop being so shallow and dwell into the wonderful story this game has. Wind Waker is the few games that doesn't take place in Hyrule for a majority of the game. Instead of riding on a horse or flying through the sky, you get to sail on open waters to explore the islands scattered throughout the oceans.
This game is special for so many reasons and everytime I replay it, I love it more and more. The music is wonderful, the dungeons are so creative, and the characers are so likeable and enjoyable to watch.
Release date: November 20, 2011 NA
Skyward Sword is one of my personal favorites of the newer Zelda games. It was hyped the whole year before its inital release and it definitely did not disappoint. The plot was complex, the Wii-motion plus controls amplified the gameplay, and I really loved the graphics of the game.
This was the first Zelda where the world felt huge to me and left so much room for exploration. There were many sidequests to do and I adored flying around on Link's Loftwing.
Skyward Sword was established to take place in the very beginning of the entire timeline for all of the Legend of Zelda games and it was wonderful to see so many nods to previous games. The ending of the game left so many twist, my jaw dropped from sheer shock and amazement at how well thought out the ending was.
The music is beautiful, the gameplay was really fun, and it's a must play.
And yes. I liked Fi too.
Release date: October 26, 2000 NA
Few games can match the dark themes and symbolism found in Majora's Mask. As a kid, it really scared me and most of the meaning flew over my head. I saw it scary dungeons and monsters, but now that I'm older I realize that the game represents more of traits that many people have themselves. Pride, compassion, depression, sadness, loss, uncertainty, fear, regret.
It's a game that treats the players intelligently, even if they are too young to understand it yet. Majora's Mask is a game that needs multiple playthroughs to grasp the maturity it holds.
And even if you aren't the type of player to examine a game for more than its face value, this game is still enjoyable to deserve a playthrough.
Ocarina of Time
Release date: November 23, 1998- N64, June 19, 2011-3DS NA
Ocarina of Time is my all time favorite game, but it's not just the nostalgia goggles talking here. It was the game that introduced me into the Zelda world. The plot was amazing to my young mind and over the years, I've beaten the game countless times. I may know the plot twists and dungeons like the back of my hand now, but it will never get old or boring to me.
Ocarina of Time's world layout felt endless when I first played it. Some of the monsters and dungeons frightened me as a kid, but it didn't deter me from finishing. I was amazed by the time I beat the final dungeon. I didn't understand why I felt so sad when Link gave the Ocarina to Zelda in the final cutscene or why Navi flew away, but its moments like those that made a special place in my heart for the Legend of Zelda franchise.
I believe it's nearly impossible to pick out a single Zelda game and say it's superior than all of the other games. Every game is special in its own way and fans love the franchise for it. With that said, go play some Zelda and have an adventure of your own.
Shigeru Miyamoto, the god of Zelda.