Best and worst games of the Zelda series


New Member
Oct 29, 2012
Most old-school gamers will tell you that Ocarina of Time was the best Zelda game, while my personal choice lies with the Wind Waker. My reasoning is because that's the game I grew up playing and solving in my spare time. I have many fond memories of it.

So, what's your favorite Zelda game, and what are your reasons for it?
My favourite was The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (the newer one that came with four swords on the GBA). It was the only one that managed to grab my attention long enough to beat it; and like you said, I grew up playing it. I guess this counts as technically a separate title, but the four swords that it came with was equally enjoyable, especially with all four players linked up. Incidentally, Wind Waker was my least-favourite one. Normally I adore that graphics style, but it felt entirely too artificial for an immersive RPG... I have difficulty paying attention to an RPG long enough to beat it without it alienating me like that.
Legend of Zelda (NES) and Ocarina of Time are my favorite two Zeldas. Both were amazingly immersive.

Wind Waker was excellent, but the sailing element was so tedious that it killed the game for me.
Same here as Donkey Punch, I absolutely loved Ocarina and the original. Majorah's Mask I never went all the way through (gets confusing, or I overlook something ,then bore and play something else lol), but I would if someone started a play-together of it in the n64 section here.

I loved Link to the Past and Twilight Princess.

As for WindWaker, as Donkey said again, same here, it was awesome, but lacked a quick travel (or waited so long to give it to us, that I never got it)
As someone who's been playing Zelda since he's been old enough to understand the difference between an A and B button, this is a really tough question for me. However, I think I'll have to stick with the crowd and vote for Ocarina of Time. The original Legend of Zelda was a flawed masterpiece. You had secrets everywhere, memorable bosses, and plenty of items at your disposal, but where were you supposed to go with all of it!? I look back on it now and can hardly believe they released this game so many years before GameFAQs. Nintendo Power magazine didn't even exist for another two years!

As always, A Link to the Past deserves honorable mention, if only for the fact that it was the first Zelda game after learning to read. Beyond that, it cemented the idea that we weren't going back to Zelda 2's sidescrolling playstyle any time soon. If I recall correctly, it was also the first game where Link had a cool little sword-spinning move that became an obligatory feature in every subsequent game. There were decently translated NPCs, two rather different worlds to explore, and chickens. Murderous, murderous chickens.

So why do I prefer Ocarina of Time? I love it just a little bit more for the same reason I love A Link to the Past. Whereas Past set some standards, mostly in gameplay and story structure, (sword spin, vengeful chickens, collect some important doodads before you go about collecting triforce pieces, reboot the story every game or two) Ocarina seemed to set ground rules for the setting and mythology of Hyrule. It introduced Gorons and the residents of Death Mountain, it fleshed out Zoras as something other than fin-eared jerks who would inexplicably spit fire at you, it introduced the lasting idea of Hyrule's three goddesses. (Din, Nayru, and Farore are briefly mentioned in Link to the Past's manual, but as gods, not goddesses.) In doing so, it has earned a pivotal place in the series as a whole, and that means something to me.
Zelda games are excellent, one of the best designed games I've ever come across. However, you need to consider the following:

1. It's not strictly an RPG, it's more of a puzzle-solving platformer with a strong storyline.
2. Although the swordplay is 1:1 and uses the Wii Motion+ controller, you're not about to be having epic sword battles. However, you do have to orient and swing the sword correctly to hit opponents weak spots (and make good use of your shield, controlled by the Nunchuck)

Pros: Very well designed. Most are between 70-100 hours of gameplay. (mostly) decent graphics.

Cons: Wii Remote+ sometimes needs re-calibrating- if you don't use normal controller.

Also, there's no spoken dialogue in the game, it's all text. Don't know if you'd consider that a "con" but it's how Zelda has always been and hopefully how it will remain :)
Skylark-Torch said:
Most old-school gamers will tell you that Ocarina of Time was the best Zelda game, while my personal choice lies with the Wind Waker. My reasoning is because that's the game I grew up playing and solving in my spare time. I have many fond memories of it.

So, what's your favorite Zelda game, and what are your reasons for it?
That' totally true cause i grew up on those games too and ocarina of time is the one that stayed with me the most. I have to say though both ocarina of time and majora's mask was one of my personal faves other than twilight princess and wind waker, although wind waker pretty much sums up the whole animation part sense wind waker is close to cartoon link other than the 3D link. All 4 of those games are good cause they always kept me on my feet while playing them till i finish the game. So far none of the new zelda games haven't failed me yet.
Ocarina of Time is and will always be a milestone for the Zelda franchise. It started so many conventions that all the new Zelda games adhere to. Wind Waker always seems to be so polarizing. Either you hate or you love it, there is never an average assessment. I thought Wind Waker was an interesting installment in the Zelda canon, but there are several things I didn't like about. The first being the easy difficulty of everything. The second being all the time just sailing.

I am surprised no one has mentioned Majora's Mask. I think it is the most underrated Zelda game by a mile. It is quite difficult with the three day cycle mechanic and without the use of a guide, I don't know how you can complete it. I only ever played it once completely and I still have memories of certain rooms in certain dungeons. I highly recommend it if you enjoyed Ocarina of Time.

I know this is never going to happen but I would love to see a dark, gritty style of Zelda. Sort of like twilight princess but even darker. And for the game to be very character driven rather than save X by completing Y and defeating Z. Something completely different. Nintendo does reinvent itself, that you can't deny. I would love for them to try this.
Majoras mask is my favorite Zelda game!! It is far darker and creepier then any zelda game, and I dig that vibe. It also had the unquestionably best dungeon in any Zelda ever, Stone Tower Temple. I love the 3 day cycle, and how screwed up Majoras Mask is. I might go play that again!
Hey, since when is Ocarina of Time "old-school"? My first console game was Zelda 2 back in 1988, actually. :p

Actually, Zelda is one of those blessed series that has no 'bad games', though it certainly has some weaker installments. While I insist Link to the Past is the textbook Zelda game all others follow suit with, My personal favorite is the Ocarina/Majora pair. Close second is the Oracle pair, given the strong dungeoneering, and creative design in them.

Weakest I felt was Spirit tracks. Short, boring, overly simple, and the touch controls were not desirable for some mechanics they wanted to use.

Side note, I really disliked how the Shield usage was motion controlled in Skyward Sword. Something as precise as defense should not be tied to such an imprecise technology.
I think it's easy to point out your favourite Zelda game, mine would have to be the Ocarina of time, but it is really difficult to point out the worst game. I think I would have to go with Skyward sword as the worst one even though I still enjoyed it, it had a rather modern approach but I didn't really like the use of the Wii motion sensor in that game.
The worst game is obviously Zelda 2. That game was downright aweful.
My favorite game was Majora's Mask - which should be obvious from my proclaimed love of the horror genre. I liked how creepy it was, I enjoyed the very creepy commercials, I liked being on a time limit/line (kind of like Siren or Sky Flower Rain), and I find it interesting how this entry gets very little love. Honorable mention goes to Skyward Sword for showing how good the Wii can be as well as being a fairly interesting entry into the Zelda mythos. Also puzzles - lots of puzzles.

My least favorite game was I guess was Wind Waker. Backtracking isn't something I enjoy, all the moreso since the advent of fast travel. So having to take forever getting from place to place was a serious black mark against the title. That said it was generally speaking a fairly alright game outside of that and a few other things. That said (dis)honorable mention goes to Zelda 2. That game wasn't very fun, but due to the age of the game I give it a lot more leeway than Wind Waker.
BanjoKazooie said:
The worst game is obviously Zelda 2. That game was downright aweful.
Mind you, that game also gets props for being one of the first Action RPGs in console history, and its still stands as one of the hardest games of all time. So, it gets a lot of respect even if it did not satisfy all palates.
My favorite is Twilight Princess and my least favorites are the two NES installments.
The SNES Zelda is my all time favorite, but the original is close. OOT is probably third. I didn't care for Majora's Mask, and found Zelda 2 only partially acceptable on the NES.
Windwaker has to be one of my favorite Zelda games with Twilight Princess coming in second place. I grew up playing Windwaker, so it’ll definitely hit nostalgia. I admit that the story was obvious like most of The Legend of Zelda franchise, but it’s the characters that really got to me.

The reason why I liked Windwaker more is that this Link in particular actually gets acknowledged for all the things he’s done. When Tetra finally was linked to her past history, she completely evolved into this character that I truly admired just by the fact that she apologizes to link for all the trouble she’s put him through.

And how Link took the response in a “nah, it’s nothing!” manner completely showed how he was vicarious of her position, and didn’t hold any grudges against her. And this all could be deduced from a character that has been silent for decades now.

Now, this isn’t to shun down any other Zeldas, but for Tetra to practice humility to say something like that with her previous demeanor of being rebellious and carefree is what made me respect her. And seeing how the timeline for Windwaker is presumed to have Tetra as the last of the bloodline, there was more attachment to see how things would end off.

The Link in this game actually had something to fight for, which was his sister that was kidnapped. No Triforce of Courage, or anything of that nature that he had to take into consideration beforehand. That guy literally would go to the ends of the earth to see his sister in one piece. The whole hero thing just came onto him, and he just took it like a champ. The characters are often underestimated in this series, and one that comes to my head is Medli.

When you were with her during her realization as a Sage of Earth, it was absolutely fun being able to send her to her journey of fulfilling the role as a Sage. For me, the dungeon in particular gave that sense of creepiness, but there’s something about it that I like that I can’t put my finger on it. And how she always remained kind and generous, despite of the minor conflict she had with Prince Komali who eventually saw the error of his ways and respected her.

It’s characters like that which showed some character development, and the whole series of original sound tracks that plays through in my mind makes this game a win in my book. Not because of stellar graphics, or any trivial thing, but the mere fact that the story of this Zelda being the last of the bloodline is what is always going to be memorable to me.

The moment the King of the Red Lions stated at the end that the future will be theirs is what really hit home to me. I look at the scene, and there’s a series of emotional reflexes streaming through me. The final fight with Ganondorf and how Link jumps up to defy the laws of physics to stab him in the head was crazy. This was the same Hero that was weak and inferior in his first encounter with Ganondorf, and turns into strong and enduring character with a bold and humble princess to help him out.

And when they gave a subjective ending of where they would go to after things were settled, I felt that was a perfect ending for a game like that.

Twilight Princess:

I was all over this game, much more than Windwaker because I fell victim to hype built up so much for this game. I would go to sites and watch E3 videos, and I used to talk so much to my friends about it that I realized some of them were kind of annoyed of my enthusiasm, hahaha. Maybe it’s because they were Sony or Microsoft gamers, but I didn’t care because that game was the one that made me download and draw so many pictures along with Ocarina of Time.

The Link in this one was awesome, and I absolutely loved the relationship between him and Midna. At first I thought Midna would be this diabolical character, but when you see her character develop and revealed more, she had that same humbleness like Tetra in Windwaker did when she was linked to her true nature.

The Zelda in this one was unfortunately the epitome of an Ice Queen, but I could see why she would be portrayed like that. But it just felt to me that she already knew who the Hero will be, and it just became a relationship where it was like they’re just compatible because of their roles. I honestly liked Midna more than the Zelda in this game, and this game in particular continues to show that there could very well be other Princesses in other realities in the Zelda Universe.

Skyward Sword:

I loved the game, and I finished it a few weeks ago, but like some people would complain about is that it was predictable. It was practically spoon-feeding things to you most of the time, and I absolutely hated the constant nagging of Fi. But that’s just the only thing I truly hated about the game, and other than that, it’s okay. I won’t go into detail on this one, because it’s the least preferred Zelda game for me.

For other games like Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask (which I have yet to complete unfortunately), all I will say for this one:

The fact that the whole time paradox, and how this Link would be the one that apparently is seen in Twilight Princess as the Hero’s Shade that teaches you those new sword techniques really augmented the dark themes. If you look at theories on YouTube that analyzed Majora’s Mask, especially the one where it’s presumed that Link is grieving over his death or something like that, it really makes you wonder how Nintendo cleverly hid deep psychological elements to those two games.

And what’s even more mind-blowing is that the Ocarina of Time, which is an instant favorite for most is really a Link that wasn’t able to fulfill his role completely. He would end up being the spiritual embodiment of the regrets of Link in Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. That’s what really creeped me out about those two games. Here we think that despite of Link’s ability to save Zelda and the world from being in control of Ganondorf, he wasn’t able to be perfect like the other Links would.

But the fact that he was able to salvage his dignity by passing on his skill to other Links is what really made me like the character in Twilight Princess.

It's hard finding a Zelda game that was horrible, bad, or a completely mockery of the franchise honestly. It depends on how you're attached to the story, and whether or not childhood nostalgia becomes an overwhelming force in our opinions.
Linkzelda; as the name implies, you are a huge Zelda fan. I enjoy reading your game summaries. Excellent work. What do you feel is "next" for the Zelda franchise?
I’m glad to know that someone enjoys reading my summaries, Thomas Ennis! I honestly feel that at times I’m not able to articulate my thoughts properly since I usually type these things when nostalgia is creeping behind my back. I guess when games in general have become a part of your life, it’s easier to get reflective and use retrospect on what really made them memorable.

To answer your question on what may be next for the Zelda franchise, it’s kind of hard for me to conjecture the future. But what I can tell you is that I know the rudiment behind “reincarnation” and “afterlife” seems to be prevalent in the Legend of Zelda franchise. And if one looks at the timeline for the Zelda franchise, there’s implications of alternate realities. And seeing how Nintendo already has the neutrality for consistency with games that seem to go on forever, hopefully they’ll add some new twist to deviate from the trends done so far.

With Skyward Sword presumably being the first of the timeline, and how Windwaker was apparently the last of the timeline, I have a feeling that they have to update their standards a bit. Because there’s only so many Zelda games that can fit within that time frame from Skyward Sword to Windwaker. I’m mostly fixated on the Zelda game for the Wii U (not Windwaker HD) that will come out in the future. We can see that Link is able to be a mélange of attributes ranging from a sailing through the seas, and soaring through the skies!

And I think that diversity is what enables Nintendo to make Link an overwhelming character at times. And this is what they want to do to derive, or absolve from the main driving themes, and if you look at video found in the link below:

It’s clear that Nintendo is striving to make different standards for the Zelda franchise, and how the Windwaker HD itself was a prototype for things they may want to integrate in the future. I have a feeling that with the graphic capabilities of the Wii U, Nintendo may go for the dark-realism spectrum like they did for Twilight Princess. Except I feel it may be a bit more intense and invigorating. Because games like Skyward Sword offered a lot of action, and was a medium between cartoon and some realism, but was unfortunately a bit shorter and strictly linear to others honestly.

If Nintendo is striving to set a completely different standard, it’s really hard to conjecture what they may do. And I think the reason for me being unable to see beyond that, for the time being, is simply because I’m too used to predicting their trends (but not trying out other approaches). I guess maybe this is a time for me to be less predisposed in thinking the franchise will be saturated too quickly.
I cannot open that video for some reason :wacko: Neverthless, I get the general idea. It's interesting that you mention a "darker" atmosphere to the Zelda games. One thing Zelda always lacked for me, was the element of "seriousness." I could never take the enemies; or main characters, all that serious because of the look.

Nintendo probably does this to maintain a child friendly aura in their games. Perhaps a more adult oriented Zelda could add spice to the market. For example; Sephiroth from FF7. While the graphics from FF7 are primitive by modern standards, the look of Sephiroth is very forbidding. When you see him on the screen, it arouses feelings other then laughter; which is the problem I have with Zelda.