The best Zelda games: Eurogamer editors’ choice_768

You’ve already had your state on the very best Zelda games as we observe the series’ 30th anniversary – and you also did a mighty good job also, even if I am fairly certain A Link to the Past belongs in the head of some list – so now it’s our turn. We asked the Eurogamer editorial staff to vote for their favourite Zelda games (though Wes abstained because he still doesn’t understand exactly what a Nintendo is) and underneath you will discover the whole top ten, along with some of our own musings. Can people get the matches in their real order? Probably not…


How brilliantly contradictory that among the best original games on Nintendo’s 3DS is a 2D adventure game, which one of the most adventurous Zelda entries are the one which closely aped among its predecessors.

It really helps, of course, that the template has been lifted from one of the best games in the series and, by extension, one of the finest games of all time. A Link Between Worlds takes that and even positively sprints with it, running into the recognizable expanse of Hyrule using a newfound liberty.

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

9. Spirit Tracks

A unfortunate side-effect of this fact that more than one generation of players has risen up with Zelda and refused to let go has become an insistence – throughout the series’ sin, at any rate – that it grow up with them. That resulted in some fascinating areas in addition to some ridiculous tussles over the series’ direction, as we’ll see later in this listing, but at times it threatened to depart Zelda’s original constituency – that you know, kids – behind.

Happily, the mobile games are there to look after younger gamers, and Spirit Tracks for its DS (now accessible on Wii U Virtual Console) is now Zelda at its most chirpy and adorable. Though superbly designed, it is not an especially distinguished match, being a comparatively laborious and laborious follow-up to Phantom Hourglass that copies its construction and flowing stylus controller. However, it has such zest! Link employs just a tiny train to go around and its puffing and tooting, together with an inspired folk music soundtrack, set a brisk pace for your adventure. Then there’s the childish, tactile delight of driving that the train: placing the adjuster, pulling on the whistle and scribbling destinations in your own map.

Link must rescue her body, but her spirit is using him as a companion, sometimes able to possess enemy soldiers and play with the brutal heavy. The two enjoy an innocent youth love, and you would be hard pressed to think of another game that has captured the teasing, blushing strength of a reggae beat so well. Inclusive and candy, Spirit Tracks remembers that children have feelings too, and can reveal grownups something or two about love. OW

8. Phantom Hourglass

Inside my head, at least, there’s long been a furious debate going on regarding whether Link, Hero of Hyrule, is really any good with a boomerang. He’s been wielding the loyal, banana-shaped piece of timber since his first experience, however in my experience it has only ever been a pain in the arse to work with.

The exception which proves the rule, nevertheless, is Phantom Hourglass, in which you draw on the trail on your boomerang by hand. Poking the stylus in the touch screen (that, at an equally lovely move, is the way you control your own sword), you draw an exact flight map for your boomerang and it just… goes. No more faffing about, no more clanging into pillars, only simple, straightforward, improbably responsive boomerang trip. It was when I first used the boomerang in Phantom Hourglass I realised that this game might just be something particular; I immediately fell in love with all the rest.

Never mind that viewing some gameplay back to refresh my memory lent me powerful flashbacks to the hours spent huddling over the display and gripping my DS like that I needed to throttle it. Never mind I did need to throttle my DS. JC

7. Skyward Sword

It bins the recognizable Zelda overworld and pair of distinct dungeons by hurling three huge areas at the player that are constantly reworked. It is a gorgeous game – one I’m still hoping will be remade in HD – whose watercolour visuals make a glistening, dream-like haze over its blue heavens and brush-daubed foliage. Following the filthy, Lord of this Rings-inspired Twilight Princess, it was the Zelda series confidently re-finding its own feet. I can defend many of recognizable criticisms levelled at Skyward Sword, for example its overly-knowing nods to the remainder of the show or its marginally forced origin narrative that unnecessarily retcons recognizable elements of this franchise. I can also get behind the smaller overall quantity of area to research when the sport continually revitalises each of its three areas so successfully.

I could not, unfortunately, ever get along with the match’s Motion Plus controllers, which demanded one to waggle your Wii Remote to be able to do battle. It turned out the boss battles against the brilliantly eccentric Ghirahim into infuriating fights with technologies. Into baskets that made me anger stop for the rest of the night. At times the motion controls functioned – the flying Beetle thing pretty much consistently found its mark but when Nintendo was forcing players to depart the reliability of a well-worn control strategy, its replacement had to work 100 per cent of the moment. TP

6. Twilight Princess

I was pretty bad at Zelda games. I really could throw my way through the Great Deku Tree and the Fire Temple fine but, from the time Connect dove headlong to the Great Jabu Jabu’s belly, my desire to have fun together with Ocarina of Time easily started outstripping the fun I was really having.

When Twilight Princess wrapped around, I was at university and also something in me – most likely a profound love of procrastination – was ready to test again. I recall day-long stretches on the couch, huddling under a blanket in my chilly flat and only poking my hands out to flap around with the Wii remote during battle. Subsequently there was the magnificent dawn if my then-girlfriend (now fiancée) woke me up with a gentle shake, so asking’can I watch you play with Zelda?’

Twilight princess is, honestly, attractive. There is a wonderful, brooding air; yet the gameplay is enormously varied; it has got a lovely art fashion, one I wish they had kept for just one more game. That is why I’ll always love Twilight Princess – it is the game that made me click with Zelda. JC


Zelda is a succession characterized by repetition: the narrative of the long-eared hero and the princess is handed down from generation to generation, a self-fulfilling prophecy. But some of its greatest moments have come when it stepped out its own framework, left Hyrule and then Zelda herself behind, and asked what Link could perform next. It took a much more revolutionary tack: weird, dark, and structurally experimental.

Although there’s lots of humor and experience, Majora’s Mask is suffused with doom, regret, and also an off-kilter eeriness. A number of this stems out of its admittedly awkward timed structure: that the moon is falling around the world, that the clock is ticking and you can’t stop that, just reposition and start again, somewhat stronger and wiser each moment. Some of it stems from the antagonist, the Skull Kid, who’s no villain however an innocent with a gloomy story who has contributed in to the corrupting influence of the titular mask. Some of this stems from Link himself: a kid again but with the grown man of Ocarina still somewhere inside himhe rides rootlessly into the land of Termina like he has got no better place to be, so far in the hero of legend.

Mostly, it comes from the townsfolk of Termina, whose lives Link observes moving towards the end of the world together their appointed paths, over and over again. Regardless of an unforgettable, most surreal decision, Majora’s Mask’s most important narrative isn’t among the series’ most powerful. But these poignant Groundhog Day subplots concerning the stress of ordinary life – reduction, love, family, job, and death, always passing – find the series’ writing at its absolute best. It is a depression, compassionate fairytale of the everyday that, with its ticking clock, wants to remind you that you simply can not take it with you. OW


If you’ve had kids, you’ll be aware there’s amazingly strange and touching moment if you are doing laundry – stay with me here – and those little T-shirts and trousers first begin to turn up on your washing. Someone new has come to reside with you! Someone implausibly small.

This is among The Wind-Waker’s greatest tricks, I think. Connect had been young before, but today, with all the toon-shaded change in art direction, he really appears young: a Schulz toddler, enormous head and tiny legs, venturing out amongst Moblins and pirates and these crazy birds that roost round the clifftops. Link is tiny and vulnerable, and thus the experience surrounding him sounds all the more stirring.

The other great tip has a great deal to do with those pirates. “What is the Overworld?” This has been the normal Zelda question since Link to the Past, but with all the Wind-Waker, there did not seem to be just one: no alternate measurement, no switching between time-frames. Rather , you had a wild and briney sea, reaching out from all directions, an endless blue, flecked with abstracted breakers. The sea was contentious: a lot of hurrying back and forth across a massive map, so much time spent in crossing. But consider what it brings along with it! It attracts pirates and sunken temples and ghost ships. It brings underwater grottoes and a castle waiting for you at a bubble of air down on the seabed.

Best of all, it brings unending sense of discovery and renewal, one challenge down along with another anticipating, as you hop from your ship and race the sand up towards the next thing, your miniature legs popping through the surf, and your eyes already fixed over the horizon. CD

3. Link’s Awakening

Link’s Awakening has been near-enough that a perfect Zelda game – it has a huge and secret-laden overworld, sparkling dungeon layout and memorable characters. It’s also a fever dream-set side-story with villages of talking animals, side-scrolling regions starring Mario enemies along with also a giant fish that participates the mambo. This was my very first Zelda experience, my entry point into the series and the game against which I judge every other Zelda title. I totally adore it. Not only was it my first Zelda, its greyscale universe was one of the very first adventure games that I playedwith. I can still visualise much of it today – the cracked flooring in that cave from the Lost Woods, the stirring music because you input the Tal Tal Mountains, the shopkeeper electrocuting to an immediate death if you dared return to his store after slipping.

There’s no Zelda, no Ganon. No Guru Sword. And while it feels like a Zelda, even after enjoying many of the others, its own quirks and personalities set it aside. Link’s Awakening packs an astounding amount onto its small Game Boy capsule (or even Game Boy Color, in the event that you played with its DX re-release). It is an essential experience for any Zelda fan. TP


Bottles are OP in Zelda. Those humble glass containers can turn the tide of a conflict when they contain a potion or – even better – a fairy. When I had been Ganon, I’d postpone the evil plotting and also the measurement rifting, and I’d just put a good fortnight into traveling Hyrule from top to bottom and smashing any glass bottles I came across. After that, my horrible vengeance are all the more dreadful – and there would be a sporting chance that I might have the ability to pull off it also.

All of that suggests, as Link, a bottle may be true reward. Real treasure. Some thing to put in your watch by. I think you will find four glass bottles in Link to the Past, each one which makes you that bit stronger and that little bolder, purchasing you confidence from dungeoneering and struck points at the center of a tingling manager experience. I can’t remember where you receive three of the bottles. But I can recall where you get the fourth.

It’s Lake Hylia, and when you’re like me, it is late in the match, with the big ticket items accumulated, that lovely, genre-defining minute at the top of the mountain – where one map becomes two – taken care of, along with handfuls of compact, ingenious, infuriating and educational dungeons raided. Late match Connect to the Past is about looking out every last inch of the map, so working out the way the two similar-but-different variations of Hyrule fit together.

And there’s a gap. An gap in Lake Hylia. An gap hidden by a bridge. And underneath it, a man blowing smoke rings by a campfire. He feels as though the greatest key in all of Hyrule, along with the prize for discovering him is a glass vessel, ideal for keeping a potion – along with a fairy.

Link to the Past feels like an impossibly smart game, fracturing its map into two dimensions and requesting you to distinguish between them, holding both arenas super-positioned in your mind as you resolve a single, huge geographical puzzle. In truth, however, someone could probably copy this layout when they had sufficient pens, sufficient quadrille paper, sufficient time and energy, and when they had been determined and smart enough.

The greatest loss of the digital era.

However, Link to the Past isn’t simply the map – it is the detailing, as well as the figures. It is Ganon and his evil plot, but it is also the man camping out beneath the bridge. Maybe the whole thing’s somewhat like a bottle, then: the container is essential, but what you’re really after is that the stuff that’s inside . CD

1. Ocarina of Time

Where do you begin with a match since momentous as Ocarina of Time? Perhaps with the Z-Targeting, a solution to 3D battle so simple you barely notice it’s there. Or maybe you speak about an open world that’s touched by the light and color cast by an inner clock, even where villages dancing with activity by day before being captured by an eerie lull through the nighttime. Think about the expressiveness of the ocarina itself, a delightfully analogue device whose music has been conducted by the newest control afforded by the N64’s pad, notes bent wistfully at the push of a stick.

Maybe, however, you simply focus on the second itself, a perfect snapshot of video games appearing aggressively from their very own adolescence just as Connect is throw so abruptly in a grownup world. What’s most noteworthy about Ocarina of Time is how it arrived so fully-formed, the 2D adventuring of past entries transitioning into three measurements as gracefully as a pop-up novel folding quickly into existence.

Thanks to Grezzo’s unique 3DS remake it’s retained much of its verve and impact, as well as setting aside its technical accomplishments it is an adventure that still ranks among the series’ best; emotional and uplifting, it has touched with the bittersweet melancholy of climbing up and leaving the youth behind. From the story’s conclusion Link’s childhood and innocence – and of Hyrule – is heroically restored, but after this most radical of reinventions, video games will never be the same again.

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