For over 35 years, The Legend of Zelda has been Nintendo’s second biggest IP behind Super Mario. The Legend of Zelda has been a staple across all Nintendo platforms since its inception in 1986, bringing over two dozen iconic games to gamers worldwide. Some are regarded as the greatest video games ever created. To date, The Legend of Zelda franchise has sold over 125 million copies worldwide, showing no sign of slowing down, with the next entry, Tears of the Kingdom, will be released in 2023. But for now, let’s look at the best of the best; if you haven’t played any of these games, make sure to add them to your list immediately. These are the top five best The Legend of Zelda games.
5. Twilight Princess
As many fans will be aware, Ocarina of Time caused the timeline to split into three alternate timelines. This was so that Nintendo could tie the unrelated stories and games together to make it cohesive. Twilight Princess is a sequel to the child timeline of Ocarina of Time as well as Majora’s Mask and sees a new Link 100 years in the future explore the ruins of the once vibrant Hyrule. All the iconic locations are in the exact locations, and it is enjoyable to see what became of them. Twilight Princess is a much darker game than Ocarina of Time and helped showcase the power of both the Gamecube and Wii, released on both systems. An updated HD port was later released on the Wii U, becoming the definitive way to play the game if you were among the few that purchased the console.
4. A Link Between Worlds
Making a sequel to one of the most adored games of all time is risky, but A Link Between Worlds is unquestionably the best 2D Zelda game ever created that isn’t A Link to the Past. Although it is a sequel, A Link Between Worlds is anything but a carbon copy of A Link to the Past, and it effectively turns many of the conventional Zelda traditions on their head. The plot takes place in the well-known Hyrule (Light World) and Lorule (Dark World), expanding upon the unique feature of A Link to the Past. Unfortunately, quite a lot of Zelda fans missed this game due to it being a 3DS exclusive, but it is one you owe it to yourself to go back and play.
3. Breath Of The Wild
After three decades of The Legend of Zelda following a similar style, Nintendo completely reworked everything that you know about the series for Breath of the Wild. It completely strays from the overworld/dungeon format established from the first game, instead letting you loose in an unpredictable, untamed environment. Crafting weapons and items is a first for the series, and it takes a lot of inspiration from many other RPG and survival games. It will be interesting to see where the series goes from here, whether it will stay on this path or revert to the tried and tested format that saw the series through three decades of success.
2. A Link To The Past
A Link to the Past ushered the series into the 16-bit era, being the first and only entry to release on the Super Nintendo. The game quickly established the standards by which all subsequent 2D entries in the series would be judged, much like other 16-bit Nintendo masterpieces, including Super Mario World and Super Metroid. Many elements of the lore and gameplay would be introduced in A Link to the Past and become staples of the franchise, including iconic songs and weapons. It is hard to overstate just how vital A Link to the Past was for the Zelda franchise, with this game and the number one entry on this list often trading the top spot position depending on who you ask.
1. Ocarina Of Time
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was the first 3D entry in the series, launching in 1998 on the N64, and it quickly became one of the greatest and most influential games in history. Although it might seem dated by today’s standards, Ocarina of Time set the standard for many gameplay mechanics, such as Z-targeting, camera control, and world structure, that it’s easy to take for granted today. Despite being released almost 25 years ago, Ocarina of Time remains a beloved game that many fans still go back to regularly. The game is currently the highest-rated game of all time on Metacritic. In addition, the game saw a remaster on the 3DS, and a recent original port was included on Nintendo Switch Online, making it accessible to both old and new gamers.
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