The end of this year is rapidly approaching, which means that it’s time for my favorite annual tradition here at Zelda Dungeon: Best. Zelda. Ever!
While no new Zelda games were released this year, we did have some DLC come out for Cadence of Hyrule and we’re looking forward to the upcoming release of a new Hyrule Warriors game: Age of Calamity! The prequel to Breath of the Wild just missed the cut for this year’s list, so you’ll have to wait a year to see where Age of Calamity ends up on our list, but fear not: we have over 10 new writers joining the Zelda Dungeon Writing Team this year, so the list promises to look a little bit different than last year in certain areas. While we wait with bated breath for more information about Breath of the Wild 2, kick back and check out our list!
The rules and premise from last year carry over: all the games from last year’s list will be returning to be ranked by our editors, and the point system stays the same. Games are ranked on a writer’s own personal experience, and we decided to bundle in any games that got the remake treatment (Ocarina of Time 3D, Twilight Princess HD, Link’s Awakening Switch, etc.). The point totaling system stays the same: it’s designed to reward editors that had played more Zelda games. For example, instead of a writer’s favorite Zelda game automatically being awarded 21 points (for 21 games), we started with the least favorite game getting 1 point and worked up. That way, an editor who had only played 10 Zelda games would only be awarding their favorite Zelda game 10 points.
As I say every year, putting together a definitive list like this is tough. There are tons of different personalities that have very different opinions about what the greatest Zelda game ever is, and even more differing opinions about what constitutes a great Zelda game in the first place. Is it the dungeons? Is it the story? Exploration? Music must be a factor. And then there’s nostalgia. Older Zelda fans that grew up in the NES era might look back more fondly on the 8-bit classics, while newer fans whose first exposure to the Zelda franchise came during the Wii days might not view Link’s early adventures as fondly.
Another obstacle to tackle is the ranking of the complete series. Sure, it’s easy enough to say what your favorite games are, but what about after that? Maybe it’s my inner fanboy talking, but there aren’t any bad Zelda games, so ranking one dead last makes you feel a little guilty. What about the ones that we never finished, or haven’t played in years and years? It was with great care that our editors made their lists — some of them taking several weeks to do so — and with even greater care that their picks were averaged out to give you this year’s ranking.
As always, we have a whole host of new writers with different perspectives and different opinions, so this list is shaping up to be a different looking animal than last year’s! Inside, you’ll see insights and excerpts from different editors giving you their thoughts on each game!
Enough talking, let’s get down to it! It’s my pleasure to present Zelda Dungeon’s Best Zelda Ever 2020 Edition List! Let’s start off with…
21. Tri Force Heroes
Highest Rank: 15 | Lowest Rank: 21 | Last Year’s Rank: 20
18/30 Editors had not played Tri Force Heroes and did not rank it
After a brief respite in our list last year, Tri Force Heroes finds itself in a familiar position on our list: dead last. “Tri Force Heroes is so bad that it borders on comical,” Zelda Dungeon Editor-in-Chief Andy Spiteri said. “I’ve picked it up about a dozen times, told myself ‘this time I’ll finish it,’ and then inevitably end up shutting it off in disgust after only a few levels. Objectively, the single player levels control terribly and multiplayer can be finicky at best. Subjectively, I hate the whole costume premise and setting, which makes me dislike it even more.”
“For every positive I could say about Tri Force Heroes, there are just as many negatives,” agreed Editor Ryan Jensen. “Though the music is well done, none of it is particularly memorable except for the main theme. The combat and puzzles start easy but have several sudden jumps in difficulty, while most puzzles borderline require three people being controlled separately to figure out. And even though the game is packed with eight worlds containing four levels each, the content doesn’t manage to stay interesting. Playing with friends is an enjoyable experience for a time, but it’s not enough to fix what is undeniably a boring game.”
“Tri Force Heroes has everything it needs to be a great Zelda game, yet somehow, it just misses that bar entirely. It’s a real shame because the game is full of charm, interesting puzzles and awesome battles. You might ask, why, when this title looks so good on paper, does it feel so bad? My answer is because of the multiplayer aspect of gameplay. What should have been an innovative, exciting way to play became a hulking disappointment, all because there was simply nobody to share the experience with,” added Copy Editor Judy Calder. Judy tried to offer some excuses for the game, however. “I will say that it’s not the game’s fault that it was so difficult to find somebody to play with. I think it’s more so down to the fact that the world wasn’t ready for the technology. Bring Tri Force Heroes to Switch for better accessibility and that’s a recipe for success! Until then, when playing alone, this title remains a long, hard slog.”
Tri Force Heroes was skipped over by more than half of the Writing Team, ranked dead last by five editors, and didn’t crack the top ten of any editor’s lists. “Tri Force Heroes is not a terrible game by any means, but compared to the rest of the Zelda series, this game almost should’ve been branded under an entirely different name because the quality doesn’t compare to even the earliest entries in the series. Relatively enjoyable in small doses, but overall disappointing. You aren’t missing anything by skipping this game,” Ryan added.
Putting a bow on Tri Force Heroes, Andy summarizes, “It’s funny — we have something here at Zelda Dungeon called ‘the Zelda Scale’. This is basically a term we use when we’re critiquing a Zelda game to say that the Zelda series, game by game, even at their worst, are probably all still 8/10 quality games. The Zelda Scale rates games in that 8-10 area. Tri Force Heroes is the only game that I would say doesn’t meet the Zelda Scale requirements. It’s a bad game, and that’s why it’s last on our list.”
20. Four Swords
Highest Rank: 7 | Lowest Rank: 21 | Last Year’s Rank: 21
14/30 Editors had not played Four Swords and did not rank it
Jetting up a spot from last year’s list, Four Swords still finds itself on the lower side of the list, due to a combination of two last place finishes and an abundance of editors who never had the opportunity to play it.
“I’ll be completely upfront on this one: I’m fairly lukewarm on Four Swords,“ Editor Bryan King says. “I had more or less written it off during its initial release as a forgettable inclusion to the GBA packaging of A Link to the Past. I spent months ignoring its existence until I was finally goaded into trying it by a friend of mine. At first, I was pleasantly surprised! The mechanics of Zelda translated fairly well to the structure of Four Swords, and there were several puzzles scattered throughout the adventure that I thought were fairly clever given how they incorporated the aspect of having multiple Links on screen at once. The honeymoon was over quickly though, as I began to lose interest in the world of Four Swords the further we delved into the adventure. The story is definitely not a focal point in this entry, with the only notable addition that Four Swords brings to the Zelda legacy being recurring villain Vaati. I also don’t appreciate the stage-like progression that the game implemented to make it more multiplayer friendly. Personally speaking, if you’re looking for a multiplayer Zelda experience, feel free to skip this installment and head straight for the much better Four Swords Adventures for GameCube.”
The comparison to Four Swords Adventures didn’t do Four Swords any favors with Senior Editor Alexis Anderson either. “After loving Four Swords Adventures all my life, I thought for sure people weren’t giving this game enough credit, but believe the hype. This is a Zelda game you can put low on your priority list. The gameplay (at least playing alone) is pretty basic, if not tedious. And it lacks a story other than ‘Get treasure. Save Zelda.’ The worst of it is that the land is completely barren — it’s all monsters and no people. Some of the most memorable things about Four Swords Adventures were the quirky folks you met in each stage.”
Still, Alexis took some positives away. “I think it’s important to remember that it wasn’t a standalone title, and as an add-on to a re-release of A Link to the Past, I bet it was quite the treat. Playing Zelda co-op with your friend for the first time ever? A pleasure.”
Managing Editor Rod Lloyd agreed, saying that the Anniversary Edition of Four Swords really helped its legacy. “The original Four Swords release is nothing to write home about. A multiplayer-only, bite-sized adventure packed in with a larger release, this title was more of a low-stakes experiment than anything else. Other than the obvious introduction of multiplayer to The Legend of Zelda, the only noteworthy things to come out of Four Swords were its unique rogue-like design — in which stages are randomly interchanged — and the introduction of cult-favorite villain Vaati.
“But 2011’s Four Swords Anniversary Edition added just enough new content to the original formula to make this unique Zelda adventure a worthwhile endeavor. For one, players can now tackle Four Swords‘ interchangeable stages solo, effectively fixing the original release’s biggest flaw. And, beyond the original set of stages, Anniversary includes the ‘Realm of Memories,’ which turns out to be its best aspect. The Realm of Memories, not unlike a polished Zelda ROM hack, makes the most out of the core mechanics of traditional top-down Zelda games in very creative ways. Anniversary Edition therefore features some of the purest Zelda gameplay out there, and it’s inarguably one of the hardest Zelda games too.
“If Four Swords had remained an obscure Zelda game locked to the Game Boy Advance version of A Link to the Past, it would probably deserve its fate as the most frequently cast aside title in the series’ history. But because it escaped its GBA chains to become… an obscure Zelda game locked to the 3DS via a limited-time download, it has become a hidden gem of unique quality to the lucky few who invested in it before it was lost to time.”
19. Cadence of Hyrule
Highest Rank: 7 | Lowest Rank: 21 | Last Year’s Rank: 14
13/30 Editors had not played Cadence of Hyrule and did not rank it
It seemed that many of our writers were not digging the beats laid down by Cadence of Hyrule this year since it took the biggest tumble down our list. Still, despite the sophomore slump, many still had good things to say about Link’s musical adventure.
“There were so many ways this game could have gone wrong,” said Associate Editor Brittany Lindstrom. “Nintendo put the Zelda name in the hands of a relatively unknown development team to, basically, reskin Crypt of the NecroDancer as a Zelda title. That’s no easy task. Any misstep, and we’d be stuck with another CD-i atrocity. But Nintendo knew exactly what they were doing when they placed their faith in Brace Yourself Games. The music slaps, the rhythm mechanics are tight, and the gameplay never feels like ‘just another’ rhythm game. The magic that made Crypt an indie darling is cranked up to 11 in Cadence. Every moment of the game feels like you’re playing a normal Zelda title. Just with a bit more groove. It’s a flash dance exclamation of love to everything we adore about the series.”
Senior Editor Brandon Schmitz agreed. “Cadence of Hyrule is yet another entry in what is slowly but surely becoming a chain of why-didn’t-I-think-of-that Zelda spinoffs. Embracing the series’ musical lineage, its interpretation of Hyrule is among the most refreshing. Its moment-to-moment, rhythm-based combat is addictive, while its randomized world map ensures that no two playthroughs will be the same. Much like the rest of the game, its visual presentation serves as both a callback to 2D Zeldas of yesteryear and a demonstration of just how malleable this franchise is in the hands of other developers.”
As a musician herself, Senior Editor Alexandria Weber had some interesting opinions to share. “Cadence of Hyrule was a game that continuously surprised me all the way from its very first announcement. Blending the Zelda series with the rhythm-based Crypt of the NecroDancer, a game I had not even heard of before, was a mixture that I doubted until it proved a recipe for success.
“As a musician myself, moving to the beat of the masterfully remixed and frankly stellar Zelda music came with ease and fluidity. Although the idea of always moving to the beat seems like it would be a restriction, the mechanic in execution is done very well, implementing a great amount of strategy in interacting with enemies. The gameplay is also varied through acquiring different weapons and encountering new enemies and terrain. Additionally, the title has a great amount of replayability with the randomly-generated map, different screens in different places so that exploring still feels new. All in all, Cadence of Hyrule is a pulsing and driven game that definitely has quite a bit of life in it.”
18. The Adventure of Link
Highest Rank: 12 | Lowest Rank: 21 | Last Year’s Rank: 16
9/30 Editors had not played Adventure of Link and did not rank it
We use the term “black sheep” to describe The Adventure of Link a lot here at Zelda Dungeon, and for good reason. The unconventional nature of the first Zelda sequel earned it the dubious honor of finishing dead last on seven writer’s lists.
“Much like the North American version of Super Mario Bros. 2, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link was not the game that many fans expected from Nintendo,” Associate Editor Sean Gadus says. “The first Zelda sequel eschewed many of the core elements of the original Zelda while introducing a host of new ideas to the fledgling series. Zelda II is a platform-style, side-scrolling adventure, with limited lives, and some intriguing RPG elements. The RPG elements feel light-years ahead of their time, but there are several factors that limit the game’s accessibility to a more modern audience. The game has some nasty difficulty spikes and punishing enemies that take no prisoners.”
“The Adventure of Link isn’t a bad game, per say — far from it, in fact. Yet its rather unapproachable nature given its high and oftentimes unforgiving difficulty detracts from its value quite a bit,” adds Associate Editor John Piland. “Once you get into the gameplay, it’s a blast, and the RPG elements make for a fun and customizable experience, yet even then players can encounter challenges that may tempt them to give up the game midway. For a game with such great music and unique combat, I’d like to give it a high score in my personal rankings, but its main flaws in its approachability and difficulty prevent me from doing that.”
Still, those that like it, like it a lot.
“Honestly, this is an underrated title. So many of the mechanics and use of names referenced in later titles ended up being iconic to the series! The Adventure of Link has the first use of names like Ruto, Darunia, Rauru, and Saria. I love how these things come into play again later in the series, and I love how that possibly plays into the timelines of the series and the fallen hero branch. I personally adore the gameplay, especially the combat. I’ve always really enjoyed this idea of Link having some minor latent magic abilities,” says new Editor Hannah Rogers.
“This game is definitely not easy; there are many points that teeter between challenging and punishing, and that sometimes even feel impossible. It’s not difficult to see why this game is in the top ten most difficult games ever made, but I think in some ways it adds to the charm. For a long time, Nintendo was not particularly concerned with holding the hands of their players and being as family-friendly as we now see. Their games have always been completable, hence why they’ve been a fan favorite for so long, but they definitely didn’t coddle the players. This game shows why that approach was so successful in early video games; the feeling of succeeding is unparalleled. Of course the difficulty can be painful and frustrating, but finally figuring out the esoteric puzzle, or getting that final strike on Carock is so satisfying. The breath of relief, marching out of that palace a wiser and stronger (albeit more worn down) hero and ready to face the next challenge, is a truly special feeling.”
Sean agreed, praising the bravery The Adventure of Link showed when it released.
“Whatever its flaws, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link proved early on that Nintendo is rarely satisfied with making the game fans and critics expect them to make. Instead, Nintendo wants to make weird, interesting, and surprising games that have an equal chance of changing the world or becoming the black sheep of their respective franchise.”
17. Phantom Hourglass
Highest Rank: 8 | Lowest Rank: 20 | Last Year’s Rank: 17
7/30 Editors had not played Phantom Hourglass and did not rank it
Staying anchored at the seventeenth spot is Link’s first adventure on the Nintendo DS. An easy target for criticism due to the unorthodox touch controls, Phantom Hourglasses nevertheless has its share of fans among the Writing Team.
“Despite not being a favorite among many here at Zelda Dungeon, or even amongst the fan base, I find that Phantom Hourglass has brought me numerous hours of pleasure and enjoyment,” writes Editor Samantha Reynolds. “As a sequel to The Wind Waker, I thought that it delivered all that it promised. We were given more sailing, story progression, a beautiful soundtrack, and well designed dungeons. I’ve never been too keen on the Toon Link art style, but I felt that it was in its element for this installment, and that it translated well on the DS. Though the game is repetitive with the Temple of the Ocean King, I’m willing to look past that as there were many other instances of greatness that this game provided. If you’re looking for a 10/10 Zelda game, I can admit that this is definitely not that, as it does have its issues, but I do believe that it brought some additional charm that the series had been lacking, and for that alone, I think it’s worth the playthrough.”
In addition to the controls, it seemed like the other lightning rod for criticism focused on the controversial dungeon that you had to keep coming back to: The Temple of the Ocean King.
“Phantom Hourglass is a game that did a whole lot of good and sullied it all with one stinking dungeon,” said Editor Jacob Thompson. “Nintendo brought Zelda to the DS in fantastic style, that, despite the iffy ocean exploration and the touch screen gameplay, felt genuinely fresh. The plot tried something brand new with a semi-sequel to The Wind Waker, bringing in new lore elements and disregarding Ganondorf entirely. Too bad the Temple of the Ocean King was so utterly boring and lost all of its tension via repetition. Seeing those temple assets over and over again is enough to put me off ever replaying Phantom Hourglass.”
Editor Mike Midwood wasn’t so polite:
“Having trouble sleeping? Nine out of ten doctors recommend The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.
“There’s no single reason that Phantom Hourglass collects dust in the basement of my Zelda rankings, but rather a lack of reasons to slog through one of the dullest entries in the series. Every Zelda game has flaws, sometimes critical flaws that seriously harm the game, but they also offer moments and experiences that make braving the laborious segments worthwhile. As bad as they are, even the CD-i games are good for a few chuckles. Phantom Hourglass doesn’t sink to the lowest lows in the series, but even at its best, the game is milquetoast. It doesn’t offer any true heights to compensate for its repetition and blandness.”
“The Temple of the Ocean King is the definition of monotonous filler busywork. Not that the standard dungeons are much better; filled with mundane, standardized puzzles. Even barebones differentiations like unique music tracks are absent here. While the stylus controls are inoffensive, Phantom Hourglass’ already dubious staying power is dated terribly by DS-era gimmicks. Phantom Hourglass is the only game in the series that would leave me stumped if someone were to ask me why they should play it.”
16. Four Swords Adventures
Highest Rank: 4 | Lowest Rank: 21 | Last Year’s Rank: 18
11/30 Editors had not played Four Swords Adventures and did not rank it
Moving up a couple spots this year was Four Swords Adventures, a game still hurt by its lack of availability but maybe on the upswing among writers.
“I remember playing Four Swords Adventures with my little brother,” recalls Editor Sadko Margolin. “It was one of the few games I enjoyed playing with him. We didn’t always get along well but video games, especially Zelda ones, were one of the few things that could bring us together. What was truly amazing about it to me was how you used the Game Boy Advance to play as a second screen. I was so surprised when they finally made a multiplayer Zelda game, though it would have been cooler if it was its own new adventure, rather than a four player version of A Link to the Past. It had some really cool features and I wish Nintendo could bring back those amazing ideas they once had.”
Still, the multiplayer, multi-Link gimmick wasn’t for everyone.
“If there’s one thing Four Swords Adventures is, it’s ambitious. The idea of Four Swords Adventures was really interesting, but the execution just didn’t work out,” says Editor Emily Curtis. “The gimmick of splitting the Links apart wasn’t used nearly enough besides the oversaturated ‘get into formations to hit these switches!’ or ‘There’s another button 2 feet that way you need to hit!’, and the need to make the game completable as a single player game drastically limited what they could do with the mechanic.
“While I played this game almost exclusively as a single player game, I honestly can’t imagine the multiplayer experience adding much at all to it besides some giggles from messing with each other. The level design is wildly uninspired and reused, puzzles are either boring and simplistic or esoterically ridiculous to the point of being incredibly time consuming without a guide, combat is poorly recycled from A Link to the Past, and the blend of Game Boy Advance and GameCube graphics just absolutely doesn’t work.”
Though often lauded (or criticized) based on its multiplayer focus, Editor-In-Chief Andy Spiteri had a different experience when replaying it.
“I had somewhat of a revelation when I decided to replay Four Swords Adventures this year. I think that almost everyone thinks of this game as one of those offshoot ‘multiplayer Zeldas’ — and it is. The game is a blast with friends, but as we’ve mentioned before, getting the right hardware to play with others was cumbersome and frankly expensive. It’s no wonder so many people passed on it. But when I replayed it, I realized that Four Swords Adventures is also a great single player Zelda game. All the puzzles, the music, the action, the bosses that I would expect from a regular Zelda game were here, and I had an absolute blast. Four Swords Adventures really climbed up my list this year, and I keep hoping and praying for the day that it gets a rerelease so that other people can finally give it a try and see what the diehards have been saying all along — that Four Swords Adventures is one of the most fun titles in the Zelda series.”
15. Hyrule Warriors
Highest Rank: 3 | Lowest Rank: 21 | Last Year’s Rank: 15
9/30 Editors had not played Hyrule Warriors and did not rank it
Hyrule Warriors at one point seemed like a one-off idea that would go down as a fun, if somewhat repetitive, side story in the Zelda series. Of course, with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity on the way, it might not be long until we’re looking at a full blown spinoff series. With that in mind, Editor Mark Pereira recalls his experiences playing the original game.
“Before Hyrule Warriors, I had never played a Musou game in my life. My video game tastes were established early in life and have held through to today, and I rarely stray outside of my comfort zone. Therefore, it speaks a lot to the appeal of the Zelda series that I will play any game that fits in with the world I have known and loved since I was a child. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t love Hyrule Warriors — it felt too much, too different, too… not Zelda for me to really get invested in it. But the sheer audacity of the game keeps drawing me back every once in a while to see how my favorite characters are doing and to enjoy some mindless action for a bit between larger, more story-driven games.”
Editor Sadko Margolin agreed, praising the multiplayer and the fan service. “I actually bought Hyrule Warriors the day it came out. I say this because it was weird for me to do so, as this was the first time I had ever bought a game for a system that I didn’t currently own. I didn’t end up getting a Wii U for a few months after getting the game, and once I did get one, it was the only thing I played for a few months. It being a multiplayer game was awesome, because it meant my wife and I could enjoy a new Zelda game together.”
“We loved being able to play as so many different characters, slaughtering massive hordes of enemies. It was so cool to explore multiple timelines and watch as my wife got to experience many of them for the first time. We have both been longtime Zelda fans, but I have played way more than she has. So getting to share a whole new experience, together, made the game really close to my heart.”
In the end, despite remaining in the same place on our list this year as last year, Hyrule Warriors seems to be on the upswing.
“Hyrule Warriors is childlike wish fulfillment incarnate,” exclaims Associate Editor Brandon Schmitz. “It’s the sort of bonkers, over-the-top concept that sounds too cool to ever get made into an officially licensed video game. Indeed, years before it was even announced, I often thought about what a final, ultimate Zelda title would look like. My daydreams would always turn toward a massive, multi-timeline-spanning epic starring fan-favorite characters from across the series’ rich history. That said, I had resigned myself to the belief that such a game was too ‘fan-fictiony’ to ever come to fruition. As we’ve learned time and time again, though, nothing is impossible with this series. Looking beyond Hyrule Warriors‘ premise, this game served as my introduction to the Musou genre — a genre that has since claimed hundreds of hours of my life. Its repetitive gameplay loop certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, the robust and varied roster always keeps the experience fresh.
“To this day, each play session is a celebration that reminds me why I love The Legend of Zelda.”
14. Spirit Tracks
Highest Rank: 8 | Lowest Rank: 19 | Last Year’s Rank: 19
6/30 Editors had not played Spirit Tracks and did not rank it
Spirit Tracks had the biggest turnaround this year on our list, rising up a 2020-high five spots. While many fans often lump the two Zelda games on the Nintendo DS together, Spirit Tracks was able to break away this year.
“Spirit Tracks is extremely underrated, in my opinion, and it surprises me to see that most people prefer Phantom Hourglass, which was the only Zelda game to make me cry as a child because I was having so little fun,” laughs Editor Hannah Rogers. “I’ve seen the complaints people have, such as Epona being missed, and the closed map, but honestly I didn’t feel that these things were a major drawback for the game. Using the chains that bind the main antagonist, Maladus, as train tracks was such a fun idea and I thought it was a great way to stick with a classic fantasy feel, but bring some light modernism into the game.
“This game is also very unique in that we are accompanied by Princess Zelda herself the entire time. Although Toon Zelda is a bit more outgoing and child-like than most other classic iterations of Zelda, I loved having her join me on my adventure. We also see a great deal of new characters, such as Byrne and Chancellor Cole, who are a bit predictable, but still manage to win you over with that Zelda charm. Although the plot wasn’t as emotionally charged as The Wind Waker, I still felt it had a decent scoop of emotional moments, and it’s easy to see how these characters are reincarnations of Tetra, Toon Link, and the people who knew them in ages past.”
Senior Editor Alexis Anderson agreed. “Spirit Tracks gets unfairly lumped in with Phantom Hourglass as a bad Zelda game. It’s not perfect, but it’s a really fun ride. I love that it takes place in a new land, as well as introduces a new antagonist and race. The world itself is fascinating — Link wants to be a train conductor?! A crazy concept. But, it gives us a whole new take on Link and honestly gives him more personality than most of his other incarnations. We also spend a lot more time with Zelda in this game, which I welcomed.”
Despite her kind words, and Spirit Tracks‘ jump up our list, Alexis did offer some criticism. “Despite this unique wrapping, its gameplay is somewhat run-of-the-mill. The trains (while I liked conducting them) are a boat proxy and the pan flute is yet another musical instrument. So, the gameplay leaves a little something to be desired, particularly if use of the stylus and microphone are not one’s cup of tea.”
Associate Editor David Lasby agreed, and offered an expansion on the critiques. “This one is a challenge for me. I love all things Zelda, so even with my frustrations with this game, I would choose it over most non-Zelda games. That being said, it’s one of the most un-Zelda-like of any game in the franchise. Traveling the overworld by train eliminates one of the defining traits of the series, which has made me a life-long fan: the freedom to explore. It was hard for me to get over that, and I found myself wanting to go back to other Zelda games. While I did eventually adjust, the stylus controls also created a barrier for me and prevented me from feeling a sense that Link was my true avatar.
“On the other hand, Spirit Tracks does some things very well. It has outstanding music, the storytelling is beautiful and imaginative (I actually love Link as an engineer!), and it gave us an out-of-the-box way of experiencing Zelda. I will say one thing for the stylus controls; they allow for some incredible puzzles. Being able to take notes and use my mind more thoroughly really helped me feel like I was on an adventure, exploring dungeons and solving problems as I would in real life. While I prefer traditional controls, the stylus based puzzles are something I love about Spirit Tracks. I also appreciate that it built upon the storylines of The Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass. We have so many tales in traditional Hyrule, and this ‘trilogy’ offers some fresh takes on the classic story. Unfortunately, what the game does poorly doesn’t outweigh its successes, and for that reason, it’s near the bottom of my list for Best Zelda Ever.”
13. The Legend of Zelda
Highest Rank: 10 | Lowest Rank: 20 | Last Year’s Rank: 11
5/30 Editors had not played Legend of Zelda and did not rank it
The granddaddy of them all! Despite celebrating an incredible 35th anniversary this upcoming year, the original Legend of Zelda title finds itself down a couple spots on our list this year. Still, our writers were all eager to pay homage to the first Zelda.
“The game that started it all, and our introduction to Link, Zelda, Ganon, and the land of Hyrule itself — the original Legend of Zelda absolutely deserves respect,” says Senior Editor Adam Barham. “The series probably wouldn’t even exist without it. With that being said, this classic hasn’t exactly aged well. Its difficulty level is far above most of the other Zelda games, and with its minimalistic story, the only driving force for progressing through it is the player’s curiosity. The game is also incredibly cryptic. Many of the secrets of the game are only found either by complete accident or by discovering other secrets that point to it! Good luck completing this one without a guide and a LOT of trial, error, and death.”
Senior Editor Charles Xavier agreed, adding, “The Legend of Zelda was the fifth Zelda game I experienced in my childhood. I didn’t appreciate it back then, but a replay as an adult really put the game in perspective. Later games would expand and improve the Zelda formula, but that all wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the foundation of the original. It’s influence is absolutely astounding, even to this day; not just within the context of the series, but gaming as a whole. It’s semi-opened world that provides clues through exploration was revolutionary for its time, and molded game design for years to come. Although simple in comparison to a game like A Link to the Past, The Legend of Zelda still deserves a modest spot among other games in the series. It has some interesting navigational puzzles, a nice utilization of Link’s inventory to try solving them, and a nice collection of dungeons climaxing to Death Mountain, which is still one of the most difficult dungeons for me in the series. Overall, Zelda‘s first showing was extremely strong, which is why there are many games I’d rank lower than it.”
Though it seems more and more quaint with each passing year, and though younger fans of the Zelda series may not have the same nostalgic feelings for it older fans of the series do, The Legend of Zelda still earns its keep by virtue of its influence and pedigree.
“When The Legend of Zelda came out in 1986, it was a game that was as innovative and inventive for its time as Breath of the Wild has been for our current gaming generation,” summarizes Associate Editor Sean Gadus. “The first Zelda game captured an immense sense of adventure by providing a massive open world for the player to delve into; Hyrule was a world brimming with powerful enemies and clever secrets. While many modern players may find The Legend of Zelda abstruse, the designers’ willingness to let the player get lost is still commendable, especially when compared to later Zelda titles that are littered with excessive hand-holding and tutorials. The Second Quest, a game mode that scrambled the dungeon’s locations and added a new degree of difficulty, was a brilliant design idea that Nintendo would borrow from for Ocarina of Time’s Master Quest.
“In short, The Legend of Zelda provided the earliest blueprint for one of the greatest series in gaming, and fans owe it a debt that can never truly be repaid.”
12. Oracle of Ages
Highest Rank: 3 | Lowest Rank: 14 | Last Year’s Rank: 13
12/30 Editors had not played Oracle of Ages and did not rank it
Both Oracle games climbed up our list this year, but once again, Ages fell just short of Seasons. Significantly less writers had played Oracle of Ages versus its sister game, to be fair, but as always, the ones that had played the puzzle-centric Oracle game fiercely sung its praises.
“Between the two Oracle games, I’ve always preferred Oracle of Ages,” says Associate Editor Michaela El-Ters. “Some of my favorite fiction involves time travel of some kind, and here is no exception. It’s like a more extreme version of Ocarina of Time: instead of jumping seven years into the past or present and changing things, Link can impact hundreds of years worth of history in Labrynna. The puzzles are both challenging and rewarding, and the companions are delightful while having great utility. I hope Nintendo considers remaking the Oracle games for the Switch because these games deserve a glow up. Given the success of Link’s Awakening, I’d have to think it will happen.”
Associate Editor David Wayne Nystrom agreed. “Oracle of Ages is one of those games that is often overlooked. I remember first seeing the advertisement for it in the movie theaters and immediately wanting it. I love its puzzles especially, which is what the emphasis was on with this entry. Between traveling time, I also fell in love with the characters, especially Ralph. Be it his pointy hat, or the fact that he acted as a bit of a rival to Link, he really helped to make the world feel alive to me. Similarly, I’ve always had a soft spot for the music of the game. Although it’s mostly in remakes and covers that I’ve heard it, ‘Nayru’s Song’ is one of my favorite Zelda tracks of all time. Between the characters, the music, and the fact that it reminded me of the original Link’s Awakening in its style, Oracle of Ages was, and is, one of the greater handheld Zelda games.”
The biggest thing seemingly holding Oracle of Ages from ascending higher up our list is the general lack of availability. Here’s hoping a remake can help propel both Ages and Seasons up the ranks in the coming years. In the meantime, Editor Bryan King had these parting thoughts.
“I fell in love with the Oracle games quickly when they were first released back in 2001. Link’s Awakening is one of my all-time favorite entries in the franchise, so giving me more experiences in the vein of that was perfectly fine with me. With that said, the Oracle games are a completely different beast from Link’s Awakening, as their focus on a title-specific gimmick of manipulating their worlds allowed for more depth in its puzzles and approach over the more traditional structure of Link’s Awakening.
“The story is surprisingly endearing, the soundtrack is incredible, and I thought that Labrynna was a charming setting for the adventure. Fans of Ocarina of Time are bound to enjoy the time manipulation mechanics that are utilized here, and I still consider Veran to be one of the better villains we’ve received in the franchise. Having recently replayed Oracle of Ages on 3DS, I can say that it’s definitely stood the test of time… no pun intended.”
11. Oracles of Seasons
Highest Rank: 4 | Lowest Rank: 14 | Last Year’s Rank: 12
8/30 Editors had not played Oracle of Seasons and did not rank it
Like its predecessor, Oracle of Seasons found itself climbing up our list, but never really coming close to cracking the top ten. While it seems that there’s a clear divide between the top ten Zelda games in the series and everything below it, Oracle of Seasons at least provided Editor Andrew Millard with some special moments.
“My youngest daughter once randomly scrounged up a copy of a choose-your-own-adventure style chapter book based on The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons on the free shelf at our library. She devoured that book, finding every page branch, and asking me questions about the characters. We had no way to play the game at that time. I’d played it on Gameboy Color way back when it was new, but never it’s partner, Oracle of Ages. So, it’s maybe unique to me that my love of Seasons is wrapped up in a reading experience with my child that stirred up a nostalgia for one half of a dual experience.”
Once Andrew got the game again he was impressed. “Eventually playing the game as a reissue on my 3DS and with access to both sides of the Oracles’ coin, I realized how ambitious it was. Presentation-wise it takes no chances, using the evergreen style of A Link to The Past. The risks it took were with its core mechanics: manipulate time a la Ocarina of Time, but do so on two very different scales, then hardlock the whole experience by spreading it across two carts a la Pokemon. With that big swing, Capcom smartly hedged their bets by modeling the game’s mechanics after the series’ strongest mobile outing, Link’s Awakening. Though all the fun to be had is bifurcated, anyone with fondness for Link’s Awakening should find a real treat in Oracle of Seasons and its sister.”
Associate Editor Brittany Lindstrom also had a lasting impression with Seasons that began in a book — or rather, a magazine. “Oracle of Seasons was probably my first non-3D-rendered Zelda. I had devoured Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, and Twilight Princess long before I found a copy to play around with on my Game Boy. I was easily in my 20’s before I tracked a copy down. What drew me in wasn’t the hope of another epic fantasy. It wasn’t the thought of delving into a bit of Zelda history, or flexing some gamer muscles. It entirely came down to the fact that middle-school me had clipped out and saved dozens of illustrations of Din and the Oracle games from old Nintendo Powers. I used those precious magazine clippings to collage my sketchbooks and journals. Thankfully, the games are as lovely as I had hoped. Seasons always edged out Ages for me, simply because I like the theme, characters, and mechanics a bit more.”
“I first played Oracle of Seasons back in 2001 on my Game Boy Color,” says Associate Editor Alison Brunyee. “I found that the mechanic of changing the seasons had been really thought through and was introduced in a gentle way. Beginning with puzzles that require the power of winter, but a lot more trial and error is involved when you eventually receive the power of all four. The plot is a lot simpler than in Ages and there are tougher enemies to fight from the start. Seasons has been described as more ‘action orientated’ but there were enough puzzle elements here to keep me happy.
“I quite liked the progression of dungeons from Gnarled Root with its simple blade traps, to the Sword and Shield Dungeon with a full cast of enemies and icy floors that made navigating a challenge. Hiding from Rosa reminded me of past Zelda games which is a nice touch. The Subrosian dance game, however, is a rhythmic headache I could do without!”
10. The Minish Cap
Highest Rank: 3 | Lowest Rank: 21 | Last Year’s Rank: 10
5/30 Editors had not played The Minish Cap and did not rank it
Link’s Game Boy Advance adventure finds itself remaining in the same spot this year, on somewhat of an island; comfortably ahead of the number 11 game, but not really challenging for the number 9 spot. For as many editors that hold The Minish Cap near and dear to their heart, there are just as many writers like Editor Michael Workman who felt like the game just didn’t make an impression.
“I’m sorry to say, but The Minish Cap never really resonated with me on the same level as other titles. I do have a bit of a negative bias towards handheld games for some reason, but this one really just did not impress me. Most, if not all Zelda games rely on some form of gimmick and they tend to lean on it pretty heavily. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, and for me, this case falls into the latter. Being able to change size was creative but not uniquely executed and I believe they could have had so much more fun with going back and forth between normal and small. I often found myself bored by repetition and annoyed by Ezlo the bird hat. I definitely wouldn’t call this game terrible but I would call it forgettable.”
Copy Editor Judy Calder disagrees, calling The Minish Cap a charming callback to the Zelda’s of yesterday. “The Minish Cap is such a great game, especially if you are looking for that classic overhead Zelda experience. The world is full of interesting areas so there is plenty of adventure to be had. I particularly enjoyed the NPC’s in this title. When all was said and done, I loved Ezlo as a companion, and I found Vaati to be a compelling villain. The story itself is so charming as well, and the introduction of the Picori was a whimsical addition to Zelda lore. The main quest of The Minish Cap is short in comparison to other titles but that takes nothing away from the gameplay; the puzzles are interesting and the battles are exciting! There is also plenty to do as an optional side when you discover the effects of the game’s famous Kinstones. All in all, The Minish Cap is a well-presented and entertaining title that is certainly worthy of its place among Zelda’s best.”
Ultimately, just like with other handheld titles, the lack of exposure is something that prevents The Minish Cap from ascending higher up our list, but Editor Andrew Millard is hopeful that one day, the Cap gets its due.
“The Minish Cap is a fantastic game! It breaks top 5 Zelda games for me personally and is my GBA GOAT. With its connections to Four Swords, I know it has its critics. In my opinion though, The Minish Cap is the perfect blend of The Wind Waker and A Link to The Past. The Wind Waker-style visuals have aged beautifully. Ezlo is an entertaining guide, winning me over more than Navi, Fi, or even The King of Red Lions ever did. The Minish/Picori pop with life, and the game’s villain Vaati has hung in fan memory. Capcom’s Flagship did a great job taking the reins from in-house Nintendo development. Just as they had with the Oracle games, the pinch hitters made a top down, sprite-based game feel essential when the world was otherwise clamoring for the next 3D outing. I would love to see The Minish Cap upscaled or remastered for play on large screens today!”
9. Skyward Sword
Highest Rank: 1 | Lowest Rank: 19 | Last Year’s Rank: 9
3/30 Editors had not played Skyward Sword and did not rank it
Always the biggest point of contention on our list is The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. This is a game that in years past has ranked almost exclusively in either the top 5 or bottom 5 of writer’s list, with very little exceptions, so it makes sense that it finds itself once again in the middle of the pack.
“While Skyward Sword boasts solid characters, a charming visual design, and other standout positives, it is bereft in many of the core qualities I value in the Zelda series,” says Managing Editor Rod Lloyd. “Exploration is sorely lacking, with the Sky environment largely empty of worthwhile content and the surface world existing essentially as constrained obstacle courses. Pacing and game progression are hindered by an overreliance on hand-holding and by the shameless, lazy re-use of old enemies / environments to pad out the game’s second half. And, on top of all that, combat and other basic aspects of player control — the way Link moves should be one of the first priorities of a Zelda game — are forever tied to the Wii’s clunky, inconsistent motion controls.
“Skyward Sword is the straw that broke the camel’s back in terms of The Legend of Zelda‘s design philosophy post-A Link to the Past, a philosophy that had become fairly stale and dusty by the time 2011 rolled around. There’s a reason the pendulum swung so far in the other direction with Breath of the Wild; it’s because Skyward Sword misjudged the direction in which the series should go and thus failed to innovate in the right ways, especially in the face of a growing industry shift back to gameplay-over-spectacle design philosophies.”
Rod’s opinion is one shared by many, yet for others, the storytelling, cinematics, and characters of Skyward Sword more than make up for any flaws.
“Skyward Sword is essentially a love story between the characters of Link and Zelda, yet it doesn’t betray other characters within that strong foundation,” writes Senior Editor Alexandria Weber. “Rival Groose gets a complete character arc, by the end becoming just as heroic and helpful as Link and Zelda themselves, and even Ghirahim was a fresh villain in comparison to the ever-recycled Ganon from previous Zelda titles. Dungeons are intricately designed and the puzzles within them are just the right amount of clever. The fully orchestrated music accompanies the story gorgeously and the attention given to the characters is truly remarkable, especially since this incarnation of Link is arguably on par with The Wind Waker Link in terms of facial expression.
“Skyward Sword is often bashed for its supposedly glaring linearity and untamable motion controls, yet I simply never had a problem with either, finding the linearity comforting and the motion controls a functional part of the video game. Although the game has its drawbacks, namely the oft-repeated fight with the Imprisoned, I am easily able to look past it for the lovely story, characters, dungeons, environments, and music. To me, it is an experience truly deserving of the five iconic red letters of the series it belongs to.”
Copy Editor and Champions’ Cast Co-Host Alasyn Eletha has long been a champion for Skyward Sword, consistently ranking it as her favorite Zelda game.
“What more could I say about this game that I haven’t already said? Amazing story, enchanting music, charming art style and world. I can understand how the motion controls have turned a lot of people away from the game, but I sincerely believe those people are missing out! When you push through the initial discomfort of those motion controls, you get to experience some of the franchise’s best dungeons, and watch the most compelling character arcs of the entire series!”
8. Link’s Awakening
Highest Rank: 3 | Lowest Rank: 12 | Last Year’s Rank: 7
2/30 Editors had not played Link’s Awakening and did not rank it
This one was a bit surprising. Despite a remake with enhanced visuals, gameplay, and music coming out, and despite more than enough time for everyone to get around to playing it, Link’s Awakening fell down a spot on our list this year instead of rising. Despite reaching that whole new audience, Editor Sadko Margolin offers an explanation to maybe why the game didn’t perform up to expectations.
“I honestly didn’t enjoy this game a whole lot, and even more honestly, I think I recall only playing both original versions, the Game Boy and then the DX version, because I had forgotten I even played it at all! My biggest issue with the game was that there was no princess to rescue. Not to mention there was no Triforce either. It seemed like they were straying from the whole point of the games, Link saves Zelda to keep the Triforce away from Ganon; almost all of that was missing from this game. I felt a lack of need for Link to even be there and oddly, that made me feel like I didn’t need to be a hero in this game.”
Even though it didn’t ascend up our list, Link’s first portable adventure remains a beloved game to many of our writers, no matter which version we’re talking about.
“Having played both versions of Link’s Awakening, I couldn’t help but make comparisons between the two,” says Associate Editor Alison Brunyee. “Music wise, hearing the theme of the Wind Fish with a full orchestra gave me chills in a good way. The graphics are great, but the dip in frame rates at times not so much. My mind was blown whilst playing through the Eagle’s Tower. This dungeon has always stood out for me, and I was intrigued at how it would translate with the new graphics style.
“I found the 2019 version sweet, charming, and fun. The improvements to the map such as being able to mark items or places for later exploration is very handy. Making use of all the Switch’s buttons means less time swapping between items on the main screen, which was tiresome in the original. My time on Koholint did seem a lot easier this time around, and whilst DLC such as Dark Link is welcome, some of the boss fights are still a bit lackluster.”
Senior Editor Heather Beard offered her two cents, noting how she was inspired to play the original game after the remake was announced.
“Link’s Awakening holds a very special place in my heart. I never played the game when it first released so when a remake was announced I had to play the original. Thankfully virtual console exists and I was able to enjoy Koholinit before it was reimagined for a new age. That being said, the original and the remake are solid! The remake holds true to the original’s charm with some quality of life upgrades. Link’s Awakening boasts an amazing story that is also filled with fun and memorable dungeons. The soundtrack is another one for the books too.
“The game may not be as lengthy as other Zelda titles, but it is one that can be enjoyed over and over again. The story of Link washing up on the island of Koholint feels like it came right from a fairy tale. The adventure to wake the Wind Fish and dispel all the nightmares is a perfect adventure for players of all ages. I only wish that the adventure lasted a little bit longer. At least there are multiple platforms to enjoy such a great Zelda game on!”
7. A Link to the Past
Highest Rank: 1 | Lowest Rank: 18 | Last Year’s Rank: 5
6/30 Editors had not played A Link to the Past and did not rank it
In another surprising move, perennial Top 5 game A Link to the Past took a little bit of a tumble on our list this year, recording its lowest spot on the list since its inception back in 2017.
“I used to rank this game so much higher,” admits Copy Editor Alasyn Eletha. “It will always hold a place in my heart as my first Zelda game, and I’ll forever remember the fond memories I made playing it with my brothers. However, as the years went by and I replayed this game I thought I loved so much, I realized that it was the nostalgia I loved, and not the game itself. Don’t get me wrong. A Link to the Past is a fantastic, iconic Zelda game. It has such great music, and the overall look and feel of it is charming and memorable. And perhaps somewhere in the back of my mind, I really hyped up the first time that I’d played it. But playing it again, it just didn’t have the same spark. It doesn’t appeal to me on the same level as some of my more favorite Zelda games. But the good memories remain.”
Still, much as is the case with the original Legend of Zelda on the NES, the Zelda franchise owes so much to A Link to the Past that it was hard for many to rank it among the best due to respect.
“Without A Link to the Past, we may never have had the Zelda franchise that we have today; it was the game that redeemed a series that had lost its way in the side-scrolling abyss of The Adventure of Link,” writes Associate Editor David Lasby. The SNES classic achieved perfect score reviews upon release and is considered one of the greatest video games of all time. Restoring the spirit of exploration and adventure put forth in the original NES classic, A Link to the Past inspired a generation of Zelda fans, and continues to be a source of influence today. As a seven year old, the game blew my mind, pushed me toward a lifetime of creativity, and made me fall in love with the Legend of Zelda franchise.
“Beyond my personal love of the game, A Link to the Past defined what top-down, 2D Zelda games look and play like. It also contributed many staples for the series’ lore. It’s the first game in which the Master Sword appears and can be drawn from its pedestal; it’s the first time a dual world mechanic is introduced; it’s the first title to introduce the idea of the seven Sages; it’s the first to introduce iconic items such as the Hookshot, Pegasus Boots, usable Bottles, and Bug Net; it’s also the first to introduce the Zora as a functioning society and not merely animals. Some of the most iconic songs, such as ‘Zelda’s Lullaby’ began here as well. Finally, though he only appears in his boar form, this is the first game in which players learn of Ganondorf the man. Even the classic ‘tennis match’ battle style with bosses originated with the SNES classic, specifically in Link’s battles with Agahnim. The game is a must play for Zelda fans and certainly belongs near the top of the list for Best Zelda Ever”
Artists of Legend Host Adam Barham has a more personal connection with A Link to the Past just beyond respecting the foundations it laid out.
“Some of my favorite memories involve my parents and me sitting around the TV, taking turns playing it. While we had a couple of other games for the Super Nintendo, A Link to the Past always stood out to me. I’ve always found it to have some sort of charm, although I still can’t put my finger on exactly what it is that makes it one of my favorite video games. I remember that time and time again as a silly little kid, I’d make it through the entire Light World and the first or second Dark World dungeon before completely resetting my save file because I couldn’t remember how the game started or wanted to experience the beginning again.
“Years later, I was finally able to actually make the effort to beat the game. I remember the nostalgia as I went through the Light World once again; the excitement when I finally crossed the figurative and literal river that was the boundary of how far I had previously gone in the game; the frustration at the confusing maze that was the Ice Palace; the feeling of triumph as I finally defeated Ganon, as I had seen my father do years before. I was ecstatic, melancholy, and nostalgic as I watched the credits roll. And yet, as soon as the credits finished, I picked up the controller and began a new save file, instantly starting the game over again from the beginning.
“This game is a classic that still holds up as a great video game today, even if some other Zelda games overshadow it. One cannot deny the significance it had on establishing critical lore and even a large chunk of the formula for future games in the series. I absolutely have nostalgia for this title, and I absolutely love it and will return to it time and time and time again.”
6. A Link Between Worlds
Highest Rank: 1 | Lowest Rank: 11 | Last Year’s Rank: 8
3/30 Editors had not played A Link Between Worlds and did not rank it
In another surprising move, the student surpassed the master on our list this year, as the sequel to A Link to the Past climbed over it and reached the highest position it’s ever had on our list by quite a bit. Though it might be fair to say that the initial idea of a direct sequel set in the same exact world seemed odd at first, A Link Between Worlds has certainly risen up to meet the lofty standards set by its predecessor.
“‘A sequel to A Link to the Past?’ I remember thinking to myself,” recalls Editor Michael Workman. “I was confused, and moreover bothered by the point, or the lack thereof, of making a sequel, spiritual or otherwise, to one of the best Zelda games of all time this far down the line. Then I played it. Let me say I was never so happy to be proven wrong. I loved the feelings of nostalgia that it lovingly used, but never abused. It made me feel like I was a child again, but it never relied on that feeling to be good. The visuals were stunning, and the ability to tackle dungeons in basically whatever order you want made for a fun and unique experience, even with Ravio being a nuisance for about 90% of the game. I was also a huge fan of Lorule as a concept and thought that the mirror story of Hilda and Yuga was incredibly interesting.”
Senior Editor Charles Xavier agreed. “I’ll never forget this game’s release in 2013 – it came from left field! There was really no reason to make a spiritual sequel to A Link to the Past, but Nintendo did it, and the result is one of my favorite Zelda games to date. Each time I replay this game I enjoy it more and more. It isn’t simply a play on nostalgia – it has enough unique aspects to stand on its own. The item rental system was a great concept, allowing for a lot of explorative freedom. The save points scattered around Hyrule serving as fast travel points was greatly appreciated. It’s wall-merging mechanic was overall a nice addition to solve puzzles both in dungeons, and in the overworld.”
Playing A Link Between Worlds for the first time this year, Associate Editor Alison Brunyee echoed the sentiment of the sequel winning her over.
“Last year, I think A Link Between Worlds and I got off on the wrong foot. I hated Ravio’s rental system and the lack of a linear advancement through the game. After watching the Zelda Dungeon mini marathon, I was inspired to give this game another chance. My second play through focused more on the dungeons themselves and appreciating how creative the puzzles actually are. Having never played A Link to the Past, the nostalgia element that other fans rave about is sadly lost on me, but the story is certainly an intriguing one. One aspect I can appreciate in A Link Between Worlds is that you are just left to get on with things. There was an obsession in other Zelda games to spoon feed me on what to do next. Guiding sidekicks such as Navi and Midna could be irritating rather than helpful. Adapting to the freedom A Link Between Worlds offers has taken a bit of getting used to, but I’ll admit to liking it a little bit more. Who knows? Perhaps if I do play A Link to the Past, it could become my favorite!”
One thing that often gets overlooked about A Link Between Worlds is, despite being a sequel, it offers an incredible story with memorable characters.
“What really makes A Link Between Worlds stand out is its story. It is one of the best that the series has to offer,” summarizes Charles. “The idea that there is a parallel world to Hyrule that is remarkably similar, but with a slightly different history that had unfortunate results regarding the Triforce, is intriguing. Hilda, Yuga, and Ravio turning out to be counterparts to Zelda, Ganon, and Link respectively was a cool implication and Hilda in particular is one of the best characters in the series. Although her goals were immoral, it’s hard not to sympathize with the reasoning for her actions. Ultimately, she chooses not to go through with them because she is a good person deep down. This is some very rare quality character writing from a series that has a reputation for prioritizing gameplay over narrative.”
5. Majora’s Mask
Highest Rank: 1 | Lowest Rank: 16 | Last Year’s Rank: 3
2/30 Editors had not played Majora’s Mask and did not rank it
A former #1 overall pick on our Best Zelda Ever list back in 2017, Majora’s Mask has seen itself slide down the rankings little by little in years since, being usurped by more traditional Zelda experiences. Perhaps that’s appropriate that among our writers, Majora’s Mask‘s boldness in being completely different from its iconic predecessor is both its biggest strength and a fatal flaw, especially for Associate Editor Brandon Schmitz, who ranked it as his least favorite Zelda game.
“Having completed all but a couple entries in this series, I don’t yet think there’s such a thing as a bad Zelda game. Even my least favorite installments have plenty to love within them. Majora’s Mask, for instance, boasts a hauntingly surreal atmosphere, some memorable characters, and one of the series’ most infectious musical scores. However, it also lacks much of what I’m looking for in a Zelda game. As someone who values dungeon design more than any other series staple, I find Majora’s Mask‘s four temples to be among the franchise’s weakest. Placing one’s priorities elsewhere isn’t inherently a bad thing, so long as what’s in its place makes up for that — just look at Breath of the Wild! That said, even the side quests — with a few exceptions — boil down to being little more than tedious busywork. It’s a shame, too, as I desperately want to love Majora’s Mask each time I revisit it.”
Editor Michael Workman took the opposite approach, claiming that the decidedly un-Zelda like tone and atmosphere is what really sells the Majora’s Mask experience for him. “The way this game used dark and surreal themes to underline a mostly upbeat surface level is what really grabbed my attention. Majora’s Mask tackles you with many concepts such as death and fear and sadness, and even time being finite, but does so with the grace that we’ve come to expect from The Legend of Zelda.
“I really loved that this game gave you extra depths to puzzle solving. Majora’s Mask wasn’t satisfied with simply giving you hard dungeons; it also gave you time as a tool for solving issues and fixing problems. Playing it as a child, I could never fully appreciate what Majora’s Mask offered, but I know I’ll never forget the first time I saw Link put on a mask and change, because man, did that scare me. Ocarina of Time may have set the stage, but Majora’s Mask was the true star of the show, and it will always be my favorite.”
Maybe we’re seeing that a Zelda title like Majora’s Mask will always fall short of the traditional adventures, but its willingness to throw out the established formula is what makes it a winner to Associate Editor John Piland.
“What’s there to praise about Majora’s Mask that hasn’t been praised already? It’s an absolutely solid game. Though it only has four dungeons, they’re each masterpieces with their own themes, mechanics, and aesthetics. What’s more, the lost fairies in each dungeon add a fun amount of optional content that results in helpful upgrades upon completion. The player can quickly access most areas of the game, making exploration and questing a blast. The atmosphere and story are executed and blend together very well. Forcing characters to do time management is a great addition to a video game.
“But why is it special to me? The music, characters, aesthetic, theme, tone, and world all stuck with me. What’s more, the combat and controls feel so fluid, and the extra content offers such an entertaining challenge and great rewards that they kept me playing until I was victorious. Yet most of all, I loved my first and second playthroughs simply because they created fond memories. In that sense, and in all others, this game is victorious.”
4. The Wind Waker
Highest Rank: 1 | Lowest Rank: 12 | Last Year’s Rank: 6
0/30 Editors had not played The Wind Waker and did not rank it
The winds of fortune blew The Wind Waker’s way, as it jumped up our list to enter the Top 5 for the first time — no easy task when perennial favorites like Majora’s Mask and A Link to the Past stand in your way. With new writers joining the team each year, however, brings a new set of experiences, which meant The Wind Waker was able to reach new heights.
“The Wind Waker, despite the thoughts of childhood me, is by far one of the greatest Zelda games and stories ever,” says Editor David Wayne Nystrom. “I’ll admit, I still wish it had a different art style, but I’m also willing to forgive it because of how important it has become to the Zelda franchise. Art aside, the story is one unlike any other in the series. A young boy on a quest to save his sister, only to get wrapped up in something so grand that it takes him to a forgotten kingdom and the most epic duel atop Ganon’s Tower. With improvements to the sailing and the Triforce quest made in the HD remake, it’s an adventure every person should behold. The gameplay is fun, the characters are tremendous, and the story is arguably one of the most intriguing. There is so much adventure waiting for players in and on the Great Sea, The Wind Waker is without a doubt one of the best Zelda experiences ever.”
Ironically, while David loved the game but took issue with The Wind Waker’s art style, Editor Mike Midwood went the opposite direction, praising the visuals but lamenting the gameplay itself.
“Even seventeen years later, I consider The Wind Waker to be unrivaled as the gold standard for audiovisual presentation in video games. It wasn’t the first game to base its visuals around cel shading, but no prior example had given the style such utility. This stylistic approach was not pulled from a hat; it had real goals to accomplish for the game. Simplified visuals led to impressive draw distances, giving the Great Sea a true sense of vastness. Character models were made incredibly expressive, resulting in possibly the best iterations of series mainstays like Link and Ganondorf, while iconizing newcomers such as Tetra and Beedle. Throw in perhaps the finest soundtrack in the series and this oceanic voyage breathes beauty from the islands on the surface to Hyrule in the sea’s depths.
“However… The Wind Waker is, ironically, probably the shallowest gameplay experience in the Zelda series. Difficulty does not equate to quality, but the complete absence of challenge throughout the game makes reaping any sense of satisfaction virtually impossible. Combat, puzzles, and progression are simplified to such an outrageous degree that the game feels designed specifically for young children or people completely unfamiliar with how video games work. Dungeon design in particular suffers massively, resulting in one of the weakest collections of dungeons in the series. The Wind Waker epitomizes the unfortunate “style over substance” paradigm the series briefly fell into. It often feels more like a guided tour than an adventure; the surface gloss frequently eliciting “oohs” and “aahs”, but when the luster fades there just isn’t much underneath.”
Though much of the talk around The Wind Waker will inevitably lead back to its art style — still a lightning rod for debate among Zelda faithful — for some writers, the only quality that really matters is the game’s timelessness.
“The Wind Waker is near and dear to my heart, and the older I get, the more things I love about it,” writes Associate Editor Michaela El-Ters. “When I was a kid, I played it for the adventure, sailing across the seas and encountering the colorful cast of characters. When I replayed it, I was blown away by how beautiful the cel shading continued to look so many years after it came out. Now, I appreciate the incredibly mature and dark implications of the story and worldbuilding. I find something new to love every time I revisit it, and I think that’s a testament to how good a game is, when fans can revisit it countless times and find something new. The Wind Waker continues to have some of my favorite combat in the series (parrying my foes with the accompanying flourish of music has never felt so satisfying), I think the music will stay with me for the rest of my days, it’s so beautiful, and the exploration is fun and satisfying. The Wind Waker HD‘s quality-of-life upgrades streamline the Triforce Hunt and other aspects of the game, resulting in an incredibly polished experience.
“The Wind Waker is an amazing game that gets better with time.”
3. Twilight Princess
Highest Rank: 1 | Lowest Rank: 17 | Last Year’s Rank: 4
2/30 Editors had not played Twilight Princess and did not rank it
Twilight Princess keeps climbing higher and higher up our Best Zelda Ever lists, finally cracking the Top 3 this year. Ranked as their favorite Zelda game by 6/30 writers participating, the dark and edgy tone struck a chord with the Zelda audience yearning for something a little more mature, and will likely keep rising up the list as more and more younger fans who were first exposed to Zelda on the massively successful Wii join the writing team’s ranks.
“Twilight Princess was an entry point to the series for many people, but even though it wasn’t my first Zelda game, it was the game that made me infatuated with the series,” recalls Editor Samantha Reynolds. “I thought that the storyline, soundtrack, and art style were ingenious, along with it having other amazing features. From hidden skills to inventive minigames, I felt as though there was always something new to do. I think the art style is so magnificent. There is some complaint of the colors associated with the game, but I think that that adds to the overall mood that the developers were trying to establish. The soundtrack is another component that contributes to the amazingness of this game. It modifies older themes into something even more beautiful, which I thought was impossible, and introduced new themes with incredible arrangements. ‘Midna’s Theme’ still haunts me to this day.
“And what would this game be without its storyline? The themes of selflessness, loss, grief, and sacrifice all contribute to the depressing yet hope-filling story, complete with some amazing character arcs. Midna is a wonderful companion with incredible character development, and is definitely the star of the game in my opinion. I’ll admit that some of the characters lack some, well, character, but I think there is a delicate balance that the game has and any changes would upset that.
“To me, every moment, every mechanic, every feature feels purposeful, and I think that’s the beauty of Twilight Princess. Love it or hate it, this game is one that I find myself playing at least once a year, and it will probably fill my number one spot until there is another equally beautiful and compelling addition to the series.”
As Samantha points out, however, there have been critics of Twilight Princess, perhaps most notable by the Host of the Champions’ Cast Andy Spiteri.
“Oh boy. I always get myself into trouble when I talk about Twilight Princess. It’s kind of a paradox to me — Twilight Princess has some of the best dungeons, boss fights, and items of any entry while simultaneously being one of my least favorite Zelda games. I know a lot of people love it, but it just didn’t connect with me. The drab pallet of the game feels charmless and dour; Midna is a constant grating presence who I find highly unlikeable, right up until the end; the opening portion of the game drags on forever and kills any momentum it had going; and frankly, there are too many dungeons — and yes, you can have too many dungeons.
The thing about Twilight Princess that just turns me off so much is how hard it tries to be ‘edgy’ or ‘dark’. It’s kind of a running joke here at Zelda Dungeon that I think Twilight Princess is ugly, but I honestly do, and it’s only partially to do with the visuals. Twilight Princess lacks the charm of The Wind Waker, the whimsy of Ocarina of Time, the nostalgia of A Link to the Past, and the artistic beauty of Skyward Sword. While it has great dungeons, epic boss fights, and fun items, I find the overall package is, well, ugly.”
Editor Jacob Thompson completely disagrees, stating the grandiosity of Twilight Princess carries the day.
“Twilight Princess capitalized on the enchanting dark side of Zelda in such a unique way that I can’t help but give it all my love. The rustic folklore opening, the gritty style of an aged-up Link, the somber world and epic set pieces; this game brought everything I’d dreamed of as a young Zelda fan to fruition. The fight against King Bulblin on the Bridge of Eldin, the brutal execution of Ganondorf, the rousing soundtrack of Hyrule Field as Epona’s hooves pound across the vast open space — here was a real epic, with horseback combat, huge dungeon bosses, and a brilliant (if un-orchestrated) soundtrack.
“Midna is a fantastic companion character and the bittersweet end to her story adds so much depth to the finale. Yes, the tears of light quests were awful, and much more could have been done with Princess Zelda and certain plot elements — but there are just so many great moments, from the Resistance’s armed assault at Hyrule Castle to the chilling corruption of Yeta, to the horrifying introduction of the Dark Interlopers. And who could forget Ganondorf and Link’s deadly clash on darkling Hyrule Field — killing blow and all. This was the first time Zelda was truly epic — and such thrilling story beats haven’t been replicated in a Zelda title since. Boo to the nay-sayers, viva la resistance!”
“Twilight Princess takes what the previous 3D Zeldas did well, and took it to the next level,” sums up Associate Editor John Piland. “It’s a near-rock-solid experience, with its balance of story and exploration. What’s more, it isn’t just fun to play — it feels great to control; the story is engaging from start to finish, with a sense of urgency perhaps matched only by Majora’s Mask — though unlike in that game, if Link messes up, he doesn’t have the option to go back and start over.
“For me personally, Twilight Princess defines a summer from my youth, getting it during final exams and playing it all the way up until my first day of school. Every day, that game was the highlight. The laughs, the cringes, the cheers, the tears — all of it, of which there were many, made my Twilight Princess experience. Entering Hyrule Field for the first time and hearing the greatest overworld theme in all of Zelda history hit like an exciting battle theme is something I’ll never forget, and something I tried so dearly to recreate when playing through the HD remake. Twilight Princess is, and I believe always will be, one of my favorite games ever.”
2. Breath of the Wild
Highest Rank: 1 | Lowest Rank: 20 | Last Year’s Rank: 2
0/30 Editors had not played Breath of the Wild and did not rank it
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Unquestionably the most relevant and topical game in the Zelda series, even almost four years after its release. Probably the most crucial Zelda game released since the days of the Nintendo 64. Maybe the most important video game Nintendo released ever, given the state of the company after the Wii U. Breath of the Wild truly was an event that we as Zelda fans are unlikely to see again for a long, long time. Maybe it’s this mystique that has helped Breath of the Wild once again claim the 2nd overall spot on our list.
“Breath of the Wild gave me the same feelings that my very first Zelda game gave me years and years ago when I was a kid,” writes Editor Ryan Jenson. “It filled me with a sense of wonder at every corner, gave me a new world full of secrets to discover, and made me feel like I was on an incredible adventure. It is a game I can come back to multiple times a year, even to a previous save where I’ve done everything there is to be done, and still find myself aimlessly exploring the world for hours. Every time I try to sit down and think about what I didn’t like about the game, I find that I’m only nitpicking and can’t find a single thing that feels like a true flaw.
“It did break away from several standards such as how the dungeons were structured, how the combat played, and how the story was introduced, but it showed that Nintendo wasn’t afraid to try new things with their most beloved properties. Everything Breath of the Wild did right, it did fantastically. Everything that was a misstep is just something Nintendo can improve on in future games and didn’t take away from what is truly a masterpiece. There are few games that can live up to the quality that this game brought, even in the rest of the Zelda series.”
Senior Editor Heather Beard agreed, giving Breath of the Wild credit for sparking back her interest in the Zelda series.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Breath of the Wild is a breath of fresh air for The Legend of Zelda as a whole. The game reimagined Zelda and brought the series into the open world. It is one of the few games that I can pick up and find something new to see or do. I have a very hard time finding any fault with such an awesome title, though I have minor complaints. There are times where I miss traditional dungeons, and other times I love that they are absent. I hope that the sequel expounds upon those “missing” things that fans were hoping for. The game’s story was original and has so many fun throwbacks to previous Zelda games. The way you played became your “own” and that’s another thing that I loved. Everyone had a different way to play. Breath of the Wild was the game that brought me back to the Zelda series after a few years away. The game brought me “home” to a community of amazing people, and for that it continues to be one of my favorites.”
While no one would argue that Breath of the Wild was a radical departure for the series, there are some who would argue that it was a departure for the worse — perhaps the one thing holding it back from claiming the first overall spot on our list for the second year in a row.
“This comes as a surprise to nearly everyone who knows me, but I did not enjoy Breath of the Wild,” boldly proclaims Editor Hannah Rogers. “I personally think this is actually one of the weakest games in the series, and has some of the lowest replay value. Although I appreciate what Nintendo was doing by making this game more open-ended, they strayed away from some of the core concepts that make the Legend of Zelda series so much fun. Even the soundtrack didn’t impress me, honestly. Most scores from The Legend of Zelda are fun and adventurous, with a sense of whimsy and melancholy. The Breath of the Wild soundtrack was sparse, emotionless, and overall not memorable.
“However, one thing that I dislike more than any lack of features or deviation from the formula is the characterization of Link and Zelda. In the early games in the series, we see Zelda as a damsel in distress and Link as a hero, and neither have any real personality traits. However, we see their personalities grow with each game, and by Ocarina of Time, we see a somewhat vague, but solid foundation for a personality. Breath of the Wild completely destroys that. No longer do we see a mature, confident woman, but a clumsy girl seemingly designed to win over the attention of anime fans. Link on the other hand is somehow even more stone-faced than his previous incarnations, and is lacking severely in a sense of bravery or relatability that is so vital for his character to succeed. Breath of the Wild not only fails to do that, but completely changed his iconic design that made him so visually memorable. Without catching the eye and being relatable to the audience, what do we have left to say if he’s the same character at all?
“The whole thing feels like a talented designer who never played a Zelda game was given a list of names from the series but none of the internal notes from Nintendo, and asked to make the next mainline Zelda game. It’s a beautiful and good video game, but it’s not a good Zelda game.”
While the characterization of Link and Zelda may not have won Hannah over, it was their connection in Breath of the Wild that made Senior Editor Alexandria Weber resonate so much with them.
“A gorgeous adventure like no other, Breath of the Wild earns my top spot for another year running. Ever since its release in 2017 I feel it surpassed all that came before and yet did not ignore prior Zelda games in the slightest, culminating the highlights of the series without copy-pasting them and breathing new life into brave additions. Embracing freedom of exploration when it comes to both the overworld and the story was a masterful decision considering the protagonist starts off with amnesia. The player is in Link’s curious and ignorant shoes upon their first playthrough, gaining new understandings and skills as well as reclaiming a strength and a courage that has been dormant within a slumbering Link for a hundred years.
“Two criticisms I often hear of Breath of the Wild is its music and its story, how the main instrument of piano is weak in comparison to the grandiose orchestrations of games like Skyward Sword and the story is too disjunct and thin to be worth anything. However, I disagree with these points strongly. Breath of the Wild is a game set a hundred years after complete disaster, where the type of Hyrule we are used to that is full and rich with life has been reduced to ruins and, with Calamity Ganon continuously causing Blood Moons, there is no hope for rebuilding until Link finally helps Zelda defeat him. The music is meant to reflect these ruins, as if music is a sense of identity that has also crumbled into remnants of what once was. Until bigger moments like freeing the Divine Beasts when Link’s courage and his interactions with the champions are familiar, the music is a part of Hyrule’s ruin. Link is caught in his own broken identity and in Hyrule’s broken identity, which is also a reason why the story also works well for the situation. Link is not only recovering from amnesia, but also recovering memories of a past that was traumatic and thus perhaps oppressed in his mind. Thus, they may come out of order, triggered by different things. Link must make sense of them like a puzzle and thus, so must the player.
“Breath of the Wild is a perfect instance of unique storytelling and, mixed with fluid gameplay and a vast overworld, is my pick for Best Zelda Ever.”
1. Ocarina of Time
Highest Rank: 1 | Lowest Rank: 7 | Last Year’s Rank: 1
0/30 Editors had not played Ocarina of Time and did not rank it
Ten first places finishes amongst our writers. Eighteen top three finishes out of thirty contributors. The best reviewed game of all time for a reason.
For the third year in a row, Zelda Dungeon is proud to award The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time the title of Best Zelda Ever.
“Boy, howdy. How sappy am I allowed to get here? This is the game that taught me what the medium of gaming can do for storytelling. The one that saved me from crippling childhood depression. And the one that pushed me to dream of becoming a professional illustrator. How can one game do all those things?” asks Associate Editor Brittany Lindstrom.
“What can I say about Ocarina of Time that hasn’t already been said in the years since its revolutionary release? The game is a groundbreaking and imperfectly perfect game,” agrees Editor Mark Pereira.
“Ocarina of Time created the mold for generations of video games to come, not just future Zelda titles,” added Associate Editor David Lasby.
As the game that defined Zelda for generations, its importance can’t be overstated, and its contributions to the Zelda series in particular resonated with David.
“The game took the idea of an explorable world and brought it into a mind-blowing three-dimensional adventure, forcing players to solve puzzles in space, liberating the curious to plunge below lakes and ascend mountains, and thrilling fans with sunset rides on horseback across Hyrule Field. It did what few had thought possible and did it magnificently. Its impact on gaming as a whole makes it deserving of a high rating; the fact that it tells an incredible story with timeless gameplay mechanics puts it at the top of most folks’ list.
“In addition to defining the genre of 3D adventure games, Ocarina of Time is a gravitational force in Zelda lore. The game literally defines the series’ timeline, splitting it into three paths. Without this Nintendo 64 classic, we wouldn’t have iconic characters like Epona, Sheik, Skull Kid, the entire notion of companions, and perhaps most significant, a fully fleshed Ganondorf. It’s also the first time we meet the Gorons and Gerudo. Finally, it gifted fans with the Ocarina and so many important songs that are inseparable from the Zelda series. Though it probably gets an unfair boost from nostalgia with a certain generation of Zelda fans, it without question belongs near the top of the Best Zelda Ever list.”
What makes Ocarina of Time so revered is how its so special to everyone for their own reasons.
“This was my first Zelda game, and probably the second video game I ever completed on my own,” recalls Brittany. “Having grown up with a father who read me The Lord of the Rings nightly, I had some pretty lofty expectations of my fantasy. I never wanted just another story, I wanted a world that felt real. Ocarina’s Hyrule is just that — living, breathing, filled with cultures and history. Every race has a story, and something that grounds them to the world. There are even written languages and art history.
“Unlike The Lord of the Rings, I was an integral part of this story. Without me and my bravery, Hyrule would perish. And once I put the controller down, there was even more of the game’s world I could explore. Lore and theories I could sink myself into. Most importantly, as certain events soured my childhood years, it was a haven. A living world where I could pick up the sword and once again delve into vast horizons.”
Still, even the best games will have their critics, and as we asked more writers to write about not only their favorite Zelda games, but also their least favorite ones, Editor Emily Curtis offers a different perspective.
“Ocarina of Time is a game that always strikes a bit of a sour chord for me. I don’t deny the game is a classic and did incredible things to revolutionize the approach we take to game experiences, but it’s a tired old game. The story was basic and cliche even when it was new, the gameplay is clunky and broken due to the N64’s awful camera controls and item management in the later parts of the game will always drive me insane. Ultimately I just don’t even bother replaying it anymore.
“Still, I consider it to be a good Zelda game and I had a lot of great times with it growing up. It’s a game that has done well to live rent-free in the minds of many who were blown away at the prospect of games being three-dimensional and lives on as the ultimate nostalgia piece. Even with all my criticisms, I still remember the game incredibly fondly, and it’s hard, if not impossible, to deny it revolutionized the Zelda series and remains the flagship title that laid the foundation for the series to enter the third dimension.”
Despite some valid criticisms, Emily definitely finds herself in the minority among our writers. To reiterate, a staggering one third of our writers ranked Ocarina of Time as their favorite Zelda game, many saying it was their favorite video game period. The one common denominator in our writers’ response when asked why they felt so strongly about Ocarina of Time is how the game changed what video games could be in their eyes.
“This is the game, for me, that elevated video games from mindless fun to thought-provoking and emotional art that you can actually interact with,” says Brittany. “Not to mention the gameplay mechanics that have since become standard in every single 3D game that has released since. Yes, there are issues with this game, but they pale in comparison to the sheer joy that comes from the very moment you wake up in Link’s bed and is palpable all the way through to the story’s end.”
“You can’t remove Ocarina of Time from the time in which it was released,” echoes Mark. “You have to remember that this game came out before the internet was what it is today. This game forced me to find other people like me who were playing it and have countless hours-long conversations about where to go next or how to get Jabu-Jabu to open his mouth. In my opinion, this game legitimized the video game industry and sparked the imagination and creativity of an entire generation. That is no small feat for a mere video game.
“There is a reason this game is constantly at the top — or very near the top — of every ‘Best Zelda Ever’ list. This is Nintendo at its very best — taking what you know and pushing it in a direction that you never expected to deliver something truly magical.”
Zelda Dungeon Editor-in-Chief Andy Spiteri had some final thoughts for Ocarina of Time to bring this year’s list to a close.
“I said it last year. I’ll say it this year. I’ll say it every year that we discuss this game. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is three things: Timeless. Flawless. Legendary.”
And so, there it is! That brings to a close this year’s edition of the Best Zelda Ever List. Putting together this list was exhaustive, but immensely rewarding. As new games come out, new editors come on board, and Zelda continues to evolve, it’ll be interesting to again see where this legendary series takes us, and how that reflects the other games’ legacies. From everyone at Zelda Dungeon, thank you for reading!
All quotes obtained firsthand. Make sure to let us know what your Best Zelda Ever is in the comments below! Make sure to follow the Zelda Dungeon team on Twitter. Contributing to this article was: