Celebrating her 35e anniversary this year, The Legend of Zelda franchise has more than 19 games to date, not counting the 9 remakes / remasters and not less than 17 spin-offs worldwide.
Of course, some games are considered masterpieces, for example Ocarina of Time or Breath of the Wild. However, others received a little less acclaim, among others Tri Force Heroes.
Being a very big fan of the series, I have played this one since I was young. My mother had loved the very first Zelda so much that she took a large cardboard box with a world map on it. On the back, she had drawn the entire map to scale with all the secret passages and access to the dungeons of the first and second world.
Passionate about video games, I still remember the mornings I spent the weekends getting up at 5:30 a.m. to watch the 13 episodes of The Legend of Zelda, by DiC, in 1989.
Unfortunately discontinued very quickly, this series featured our hero, commissioned by the King to protect the Triforce of Wisdom as well as Princess Zelda.
Her biggest dream was to be rewarded by the princess with a simple kiss.
In order to pay tribute to this superb series featuring our Hyrulean hero, I launched a survey of the Jeux.ca team. I wanted to get a feel for the opinion on the best games in the series and here’s what came out of it.
The best franchise game ever
The best game in the starter franchise
The best game of the 3D era
The best game in the Four Swords series
The best game in the Next Gen series
The best game in the Redesigned Conventions series
Which game would you like to have a remaster or a remake?
Here are the Top 10 games in the series, in order of my personal preferences, which marked my youth.
10 – The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Released on the Wii in 2011, Skyward sword allowed the player to use the Nunchuk as well as the WiiMote equipped with the Wii MotionPlus in order to control our hero and his attacks. Using an endurance gauge for one of the first times, it was possible to sprint, climb, and hold heavy objects for a while before being exhausted.
9 – The Legend of Zelda
On February 21, 1986, The Legend of Zelda became the very first console game where it was possible to save our progress directly to the cartridge. Inspired by literary news The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, the game combines a mix of puzzles, action, adventure and exploration. He had known how to charm young and old thanks to his complexity.
8 – The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
When he arrived in 2006, Twilight Princess was supposed to be released only on the GameCube. Nintendo has decided to postpone the launch of it to allow developers to refine it and, thus, also release it on the Wii. Originally the game should have been Wind waker 2 but in view of the weak sales on American soil of the first Wind Waker, the director of Twilight Princess specifically asked Shigeru Miyamoto to change the style of the game to take a more realistic aspect. They were therefore inspired by the films The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien.
7 – The Legend of Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link
The direct sequel to The Legend of Zelda and launched on 1er December 1988 in North America. The Legend of Zelda: The Adventure of Link is the only one in the series to have been developed as platformer with a gigantic world of Hyrule in top view. Combining an RPGesque and Metroidvania side, you will gain experience and levels to add points in attack, magic or life. Including several villages, several dungeons and several secrets, you will have to find swordsman techniques and spells to progress, the fighting style, meanwhile, is reminiscent of the games Castlevania and Castlevania 2 from Konami.
6 – The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap was released in North America on January 10, 2005 on the Game Boy Advance. Thanks to a magic hat, Ezlo, the size of our hero can be reduced to that of a Minish, tiny creatures the size of insects. Using the full capacity of the Game Boy Advance, the camera angle, menus and game details have been significantly improved compared to previous titles in top view mode.
5 – The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages / Seasons
Designed in partnership with Flagship, a Capcom studio, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons were released on May 14, 2001 for the Game Boy Color. Originally, they had to design three separate games that could be intertwined. Considering the complexity of it all, they decided to drop one and design only two. Each game, whose aesthetic sticks to The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, transported Link in Holodrum or Labrynna to defeat the evil Onox and Veran. The even more fun part of it all was that if you had completed one of the two games, you could use a password to transfer your character to the other in order to experience a different ending, the one with Twinrova capturing the princess Zelda.
4 – The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Released in August 1993 on the Game Boy, then in December 1998 on the Game Boy Color, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is the first game in the franchise to land on Nintendo’s handheld console. Based on the concepts of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, he had to juggle the limitations of Nintendo’s monochrome 8-bit console. It’s the first game in the series not to take place in the world of Hyrule, but instead on a lost island, Koholint, guarded by a creature called the Wind Fish. Released a year after A Link to the Past, it has received critical acclaim for its content and grandeur. Nintendo has decided to release a color version and include the color dungeon also to the delight of fans in the version. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX on the Game Boy Color.
3 – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Arrived at the launch of the Nintendo Switch console on March 3, 2017, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild made a huge impression on people with its large open world and colorful graphics. cel shading. Encouraging a non-linear adventure, the game was designed to inspire the player to explore the vast devastated world of Hyrule. Again, the stamina gauge has been included in this game: Link can run, climb, swim and hover depending on his physical abilities. Acclaimed by its very RPGesque style, the negative point most often criticized was the “fragility” side of the usable equipment.
2 – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The very first game in the franchise to be designed entirely in 3D, Ocarina of Time has been able to mark the memory of players thanks to its gigantic environment, its three-dimensional world as well as a superb story propelling our hero seven years into the future through the use of the Temple of Time. Let’s not forget the famous Ocarina of Time which allows the hero to use twelve melodies with magical powers to help him in his adventure. Combining the use of the young Link or the adult Link in different situations, the puzzles of the game will keep you going … especially a certain Water Temple!
1 – The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past
So this is the title that, in my eyes, is the best of the franchise. Released in April 1992 in North America, the game The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past marked my youth enormously and I have lost count of the number of times I have completed it. This game, released for the Super Nintendo, was the first in the series to offer a very large, complex world, complete, with fantastic graphics at the time (a little simplistic in my opinion) and with a well-crafted story. The initial goal is to acquire three pendants to get hold of the Master Sword before being propelled into the Dark World, this world of darkness in which the sorcerer Agahnim is rampant. You will therefore have to defeat the creatures of different dungeons to save the seven wise men in order to break the jump protecting the tower of Ganon.
Why some titles are not there
You will surely notice that some titles, like Wind waker or even Majora’s Mask don’t make it to my Top 10 and there are good reasons for that.
First, I didn’t like Wind waker. Its too “childish cartoon” aspect and its history just did not allow me to hang as it should. I played it, in part, and never finished it.
On the side of Majora’s Mask, I never played it because, when it was released, I felt that Nintendo had simply tried to release a brand new game in the franchise that looked similar, if not identical, to Ocarina of Time given its great popularity and that they would have failed to deliver an interesting story by attempting to come up with a simple sequel or, if you prefer, an “era DLC”. It would seem, however, that Majora’s Mask is better than its predecessor according to many critics for its style “Groundhog Day” and the fact of finding the majority of the characters of the previous title.
And you? What are YOUR favorite games from the franchise? And which one would you like to see return as remaster or from remake?