The best Zelda games: Eurogamer editors’ choice_678

You’ve already had your state on the absolute best Zelda games since we observe the series’ 30th anniversary – and you also did a mighty good job also, even if I’m fairly convinced A Link to the Past goes at the head of some record – so now it’s our turn. We asked the Eurogamer editorial team to vote for their favourite Zelda games (though Wes abstained since he still doesn’t know exactly what a Nintendo is) and below you’ll discover the whole top ten, along with some of our very own musings. Can people get the matches in their rightful order? Probably not…


How brilliantly contradictory that among the greatest original games on Nintendo’s 3DS would be a 2D adventure game, which among the most daring Zelda entries are the one that closely aped among its predecessors.

It helps, of course, the template has been raised from a number of the best games in the series also, by extension, among the finest games of all time. A Link Between Worlds takes that and also positively sprints together with it, running free into the recognizable expanse of Hyrule with a newfound liberty.

In providing you the capacity to let any one of Link’s well-established tools from the off, A Link Between Worlds broke with this linear progression which had shackled previous Zelda games; it has been a Hyrule which was no more characterized by an invisible path, but one which provided a sense of discovery and free will that was beginning to feel absent in prior entries.Read about At website The feeling of adventure so precious to the series, muffled in the past few years from the ritual of repetition, was well and truly restored. MR

9. Spirit Tracks

A unfortunate side-effect of the simple fact that more than 1 generation of players has increased up with Zelda and refused to let go has been an insistence – through the series’ sin, at any rate – that it develop them. That led to some fascinating places in addition to some absurd tussles within the series’ leadership, as we will see later in this list, but sometimes it threatened to leave Zelda’s unique constituency – that you know, children – behind.

Thankfully, the portable games happen to be there to take care of younger players, and Spirit Tracks for its DS (now accessible on Wii U Virtual Console) is Zelda in its maximum chirpy and adorable. Though beautifully designed, it is not a particularly distinguished game, being a comparatively laborious and laborious followup to Phantom Hourglass that reproduces its construction and flowing stylus controller. But it’s such zest! Connect employs a tiny train to go around and its puffing and tooting, along with an inspired folk music soundtrack, place a brisk pace for your experience. Then there is the childish, tactile joy of driving that the train: placing the throttle, yanking the whistle and scribbling destinations on your map.

Most importantly is that, for once, Zelda is along for the ride. Connect must save her body, but her soul is with him as a constant companion, sometimes able to possess enemy soldiers and perform the barbarous heavy. The two enjoy an innocent childhood love, and you’d be hard pushed to consider another game that has captured the teasing, blushing intensity of a preteen crush so well. Inclusive and sweet, Spirit Tracks remembers that kids have feelings too, and may show grownups a thing or two about love. OW

8. Phantom Hourglass

Inside my head, at least, there has long been a raging debate going on regarding whether Link, Hero of Hyrule, is actually any good with a boomerang. He has been wielding the faithful, banana-shaped bit of timber since his first adventure, but in my experience it’s simply been a pain in the arse to use.

The exception that proves the rule, however, is Phantom Hourglass, where you draw on the route on your boomerang through the hand. Poking the stylus in the touch display (that, in an equally beautiful transfer, is the way you control your own sword), you draw a precise flight map for your boomerang and then it just… goes. No more faffing about, no more clanging into pillars, only simple, simple, improbably responsive boomerang trip. It was when I first used the boomerang in Phantom Hourglass that I realised this game could just be something special; I quickly fell in love with the remainder.

Never mind that so many of the puzzles are based on setting off a change and then getting from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. Never mind that viewing a few gameplay back to refresh my memory lent me powerful flashbacks to the hours spent huddling over the screen and gripping my DS like that I needed to throttle it. Never mind I did want to throttle my DS. The purpose is that Phantom Hourglass had touches of class that remain – and I’m going to head out on a limb here – totally unrivalled in the rest of the Legend of Zelda series. JC

7. Skyward Sword

Skyward Sword is maddeningly close to being great. It bins the familiar Zelda overworld and set of discrete dungeons by throwing three enormous areas at the player that are constantly reworked. It’s a gorgeous game – one I am still expecting will soon be remade in HD – whose watercolour visuals make a shimmering, dream-like haze within its blue heavens and brush-daubed foliage. After the grimy, Lord of this Rings-inspired Twilight Princess, this is the Zelda series re-finding its toes. I can shield many of recognizable criticisms levelled at Skyward Sword, such as its overly-knowing nods to the rest of the series or its marginally forced origin story that unnecessarily retcons familiar elements of this franchise. I can even get behind the smaller general quantity of place to research when the match always revitalises all its three areas so successfully.

I couldn’t, unfortunately, ever get along with the match’s Motion Plus controls, which required you to waggle your own Wii Remote in order to do battle. It turned out the boss battles against the brilliantly bizarre Ghirahim into infuriating fights using technologies. I recall one mini-game in the Knight Academy in which you needed to throw something (pumpkins?) Into baskets which made me anger stop for the rest of the night. Sometimes the movement controls functioned – the flying Beetle thing pretty much always found its mark but when Nintendo was forcing players to depart the reliability of a control scheme, its replacement had to work 100 per cent of the moment. TP

6. Twilight Princess

I was also pretty awful at Zelda games.

When Twilight Princess wrapped around, I had been at college and something in me – most likely a profound romance – was prepared to test again. I recall day-long moves on the sofa, huddling underneath a blanket in my cold apartment and only poking my hands out to flap around using the Wii distant during combat. Resentful seems were thrown at the pile of books I knew I had to skim over the next week. Then there was the magnificent dawn if my then-girlfriend (now fiancée) awakened me with a gentle shake, then asking’can I watch you play with Zelda?’

Twilight princess is, honestly, attractive. There is a fantastic, brooding feeling; yet the gameplay is hugely varied; it’s got a lovely art design, one I wish they’d kept for just one more game. That’s why I’ll always adore Twilight Princess – it’s the sport that made me click with Zelda. JC


But some of its best moments have come when it turned outside its framework, left Hyrule and Zelda herself and inquired what Link may do next. It required a much more radical tack: weird, dark, and structurally experimental.

Though there’s tons of comedy and experience, Majora’s Mask is suffused with despair, regret, and an off-kilter eeriness. A number of this comes from its admittedly awkward timed structure: that the moon is falling on the world, the clock is ticking and you can not stop that, only rewind and begin, a little stronger and wiser each moment. Some of it stems in the antagonist, the Skull Kid, who is no villain but an innocent having a gloomy story who has given into the corrupting influence of the titular mask. Some of this comes from Link himself: a kid again but with the increased man of Ocarina still somewhere inside himhe bends rootlessly into the land of Termina like he’s got no better place to be, so far from the hero of legend.

Regardless of an unforgettable, most surreal finish, Majora’s Mask’s primary narrative is not one of the series’ strongest. But these poignant Groundhog Day subplots about the strain of normal life – reduction, love, family, work, and passing, constantly passing – locate the show’ writing at its absolute best. It is a melancholy, compassionate fairytale of this regular which, using its own ticking clock, wants to remind one that you can not take it with you. OW

4. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

If you’ve had kids, you will be aware there’s incredibly strange and touching moment if you’re doing laundry – stick with me here – and those small T-shirts and pants first begin to turn up in your washing. Someone new has come to dwell with you! A person implausibly small.

This is one of The Wind-Waker’s best tricks, I think. Connect was young before, but today, with all the toon-shaded change in art management, he really appears young: a Schulz toddler, with huge head and small legs, venturing out among Moblins and pirates and these mad birds that roost across the clifftops. Connect is little and vulnerable, and so the experience surrounding him sounds all the more stirring.

The other fantastic trick has a lot to do with those pirates. “What is the Overworld?” This has been the normal Zelda query because Link to the Past, however with all the Wind-Waker, there did not appear to be just one: no alternate dimension, no shifting between time-frames. The sea was contentious: a lot of hurrying back and forth over a enormous map, a lot of time spent crossing. But consider what it brings with it! It brings pirates and sunken temples and ghost ships. It brings underwater grottoes along with a castle waiting for you in a bubble of air down on the seabed.

On top of that, it brings unending sense of discovery and renewal, 1 challenge down and another awaiting, as you jump from your boat and race up the sand towards another thing, your tiny legs swinging through the surf, and your huge eyes already fixed on the horizon. CD


Link’s Awakening has been near-enough that a excellent Zelda game – it has a vast and secret-laden overworld, sparkling dungeon layout and memorable characters. It’s also a catalyst dream-set side-story with villages of talking animals, side-scrolling areas starring Mario enemies along with also a giant fish that sings the mambo. It was my very first Zelda encounter, my entry point into the show and the game where I judge every other Zelda title. I totally adore it. Not only was it my first Zelda, its own greyscale universe was one of the very first adventure games I truly played.

There’s no Zelda, no Ganon. No Guru Sword. And while it feels like a Zelda, even after playing so many of the other people, its quirks and personalities set it aside. Link’s Awakening packs an astounding amount onto its Game Boy capsule (or even Game Boy Color, in case you played its DX re-release). TP


Bottles are OP at Zelda. These little glass containers can reverse the tide of a conflict when they have a potion or even better – a fairy. When I was Ganon, I’d postpone the evil plotting and also the dimension rifting, and I’d just set a good fortnight into traveling Hyrule from top to bottom and smashing any glass bottles I stumbled upon. Following that, my dreadful vengeance are all the more terrible – and there’d be a sporting chance that I may be able to pull it off too.

All of that suggests, as Link, a jar can be a true benefit. Real treasure. Something to put in your watch by. I think you will find four glass bottles in Link to the Past, every one which makes you that bit more powerful and that bit bolder, purchasing you confidence from dungeoneering and struck points in the middle of a tingling boss encounter. I can’t recall where you get three of those bottles. But I can remember where you receive the fourth.

It is Lake Hylia, and when you are like me, it is late in the match, with all the major ticket items collected, that wonderful, genre-defining second near the peak of the hill – in which one map becomes two – taken care of, and handfuls of compact, inventive, infuriating and educational dungeons raided. Late game Link to the Past is about looking out every last inch of this map, which means working out the way both similar-but-different versions of Hyrule fit together.

And there is a gap. A gap in Lake Hylia. An gap hidden by a bridge. And underneath it, a guy blowing smoke rings with a campfire. He feels just like the greatest secret in all Hyrule, along with the prize for uncovering him is a glass vessel, ideal for storing a potion – or a fairy.

Connect to the Past feels to be an impossibly clever match, divides its map to two dimensions and asking you to distinguish between them, holding both landscapes super-positioned on mind as you resolve one, enormous geographical mystery. In truth, however, someone could probably replicate this design when they had sufficient pens, enough quadrille paper, enough energy and time, and if they had been smart and determined enough.

The greatest loss of the digital age.

However, Link to the Past isn’t only the map – it is the detailing, as well as the figures. It is Ganon and his evil plot, but it’s also the man camping out under the bridge. Maybe the entire thing is a bit like a jar, then: that the container is very critical, but what you are really after is that the stuff that is inside it. CD

1. Ocarina of Time

Where would you begin with a match as momentous as Ocarina of Time? Maybe with the Z-Targeting, a solution to 3D combat so simple you hardly notice it is there. Or perhaps you speak about a open world that’s touched by the light and color cast by an inner clock, where villages dance with activity by day prior to being seized by an eerie lull through the nighttime. How about the expressiveness of that ocarina itself, an delightfully analogue device whose music was conducted with the newest control afforded by the N64’s pad, which notes bent wistfully at the push of a pole.

Maybe, however, you just focus on the instant itself, a great photo of video games emerging aggressively from their very own adolescence just as Link is thrust so abruptly into a grownup world. What is most notable about Ocarina of Time is how it arrived accordingly fully-formed, the 2D adventuring of past entrances transitioning into three measurements as gracefully as a pop-up book folding quickly into life.

Because of Grezzo’s exceptional 3DS remake it’s kept much of its verve and effect, as well as setting aside its technical achievements it is an adventure that still ranks among the series’ best; psychological and uplifting, it’s touched with all the bittersweet melancholy of growing up and leaving the youth behind. From the story’s end Link’s youth and innocence – and which of Hyrule – is heroically revived, but once this most radical of reinventions, video games would not ever be the exact same again.