The best Zelda games: Eurogamer editors’ Option

You’ve already had your say on the very best Zelda games as we observe the series’ 30th anniversary – and you did a mighty fine job too, even if I’m pretty convinced A Link to the Past goes in the head of some list – so now it is our turn. We asked the Eurogamer editorial team to vote for their favorite Zelda games (though Wes abstained since he doesn’t understand exactly what a Nintendo is) and below you’ll get the complete top ten, along with some of our very own musings. Could people get the games in their rightful purchase? Likely not…

10. A Link Between Worlds

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

It helps, of course, the template was lifted from one of the best games in the series also, by extension, among the finest games of all time. There is an endearing breeziness to A Link to the Past, a fleet-footedness that sees the 16-bit adventure pass as pleasurably and memorably as a perfect late summer afternoon.follow the link phantom hourglass ds rom At our site A Link Between Worlds takes all that and even positively sprints together with it, running free into the recognizable expanse of Hyrule using a newfound liberty.

In giving you the ability to let any of Link’s well-established tools from the away, A Link Between Worlds broke with the linear progress that had reverted past Zelda games; that was a Hyrule which was no more defined through an invisible path, but one that offered a feeling of discovery and free will that was beginning to feel absent in prior entries. The sense of experience so precious to the show, muffled in the last couple of years by the ritual of repetition, was well and truly revived. MR

9. Spirit Tracks

A unfortunate side-effect of the simple fact that more than one generation of players has grown up with Zelda and refused to go has been an insistence – through the show’ mania, at any rate – it develop them. That resulted in some interesting areas in addition to some silly tussles over the series’ leadership, as we will see later in this listing, but at times it threatened to depart Zelda’s authentic constituency – that you know, children – supporting.

Happily, the portable games happen to be there to take care of younger players, along with Spirit Tracks for the DS (now accessible on Wii U Virtual Console) is Zelda at its most chirpy and adorable. Though beautifully designed, it’s not a particularly distinguished game, being a comparatively hasty and gimmicky follow-up to Phantom Hourglass that reproduces its own structure and flowing stylus control. But it’s such zest! Connect utilizes just a small train to go around and its puffing and tooting, along with an inspired folk music soundtrack, place a lively pace for your experience. Then there is the childish, tactile joy of driving the train: setting the throttle, pulling on the whistle and scribbling destinations on your map.

Best of all is that, for once, Zelda is along for the ride. Link must rescue her body, but her soul is with him as a companion, sometimes able to own enemy soldiers and play with the brutal heavy. Both enjoy an innocent youth love, and you would be hard pushed to consider another game that has caught the teasing, blushing intensity of a preteen crush so well. Inclusive and candy, Spirit Tracks recalls that children have feelings too, and also may show grownups a thing or two about love. OW

8. Ghost Hourglass

In my head, at least, there’s been a furious debate going on as to if Link, Hero of Hyrule, is really any good with a boomerang. He has been wielding the loyal, banana-shaped bit of timber since his first adventure, however in my experience it’s merely been a pain in the arse to work with.

The exception which proves the rule, nevertheless, is Phantom Hourglass, where you draw the trail on your boomerang from the hand. Poking the stylus at the touch screen (that, at an equally beautiful transfer, is how you command your sword), you draw an exact flight map for your boomerang and it just… goes. No more faffing about, no clanging into pillars, just simple, simple, improbably responsive boomerang trip. It had been when I used the boomerang from Phantom Hourglass that I realised that this game might just be something special; I quickly fell in love with all the remainder.

Never mind that viewing a few game back to refresh my memory gave me strong flashbacks into the hours spent huddling on the screen and grasping my DS like that I wanted to throttle it. JC

7. Skyward Sword

Skyward Sword is maddeningly close to being great. It bins the recognizable Zelda overworld and set of distinct dungeons by throwing three enormous areas at the participant which are constantly reworked. It’s a beautiful game – one I am still expecting will probably be remade in HD – whose watercolour visuals leave a shimmering, dream-like haze over its azure skies and brush-daubed foliage. After the grimy, Lord of this Rings-inspired Twilight Princess, this is the Zelda series confidently re-finding its own feet. I am able to shield many of familiar criticisms levelled at Skyward Sword, like its overly-knowing nods to the rest of the show or its marginally forced origin narrative that retcons familiar elements of the franchise. I can even get behind the smaller overall amount of area to explore when the match continually revitalises each of its three regions so ardently.

I could not, unfortunately, ever get in addition to the game’s Motion Plus controllers, which demanded one to waggle your own Wii Remote to be able to do combat. It turned out the boss battles against the brilliantly eccentric Ghirahim into infuriating struggles with technology. I recall one mini-game at the Knight Academy in which you needed to throw something (pumpkins?) Into baskets which made me rage quit for the rest of the night. On occasion the movement controls worked – that the flying Beetle item pretty much constantly found its mark – but if Nintendo was forcing players to leave behind the reliability of a control strategy, its replacement needed to work 100 percent of their moment. TP

6. Twilight Princess

I was pretty bad at Zelda games.

When Twilight Princess wrapped around, I was at college and also something in me – most likely a deep romance – was ready to test again. This time, it really worked. I remember day-long moves on the couch, huddling beneath a blanket in my cold apartment and just poking out my hands to flap about using the Wii distant during battle. Resentful looks were thrown at the pile of books I knew I had to at least skim over the next week. Then there was the glorious morning if my then-girlfriend (now fiancée) woke me up with a gentle shake, so asking’can I watch you play with Zelda?’

Twilight princess is, frankly, attractive. There’s a wonderful, brooding air; yet the gameplay is hugely varied; it’s got a lovely art fashion, one that I wish they’d kept for only one more game. That’s why I’ll always love Twilight Princess – it is the game that made me click using Zelda. JC


Zelda is a succession defined by repetition: the story of this long-eared hero and the queen is passed down from generation to generation, a self-fulfilling prophecy. But some of its best moments have come as it stepped outside its framework, left Hyrule and then Zelda herself behind, and asked what Link might perform next. It took a much more radical tack: weird, dark, and experimental.

Even though there’s loads of humor and experience, Majora’s Mask is suffused with doom, sorrow, and also an off-kilter eeriness. A number of this comes out of its true awkward timed arrangement: the moon is falling around the Earth, that the clock is ticking and you can not stop it, just reposition and start again, somewhat stronger and more threatening each moment. Some of it comes from the antagonist, the Skull Kid, who is no villain however an innocent with a sad story who has given in to the corrupting effect of their titular mask. A number of this stems from Link himself: a kid again but with the grown man of Ocarina still somewhere within himhe rides rootlessly to the land of Termina like he has got no greater place to be, so far in the hero of legend.

Regardless of an unforgettable, most surreal decision, Majora’s Mask’s key narrative isn’t among the series’ strongest. But these bothering Groundhog Day subplots about the strain of regular life – reduction, love, family, work, and death, constantly passing – locate the show’ writing in its absolute finest. It’s a depression, compassionate fairytale of the regular that, using its own ticking clock, wants to remind one that you can not take it with you personally. OW


If you’ve had children, you will know that there’s incredibly unexpected and touching moment when you’re doing laundry – stick with me – and these tiny T-shirts and trousers first start to become in your washingmachine. Someone else has come to live with you! A person implausibly small.

This is one of The Wind-Waker’s best tips, I think. Connect had been young before, but now, with the gloriously toon-shaded change in art management, he really looks young: a Schulz toddler, with enormous head and little legs, venturing out among Moblins and pirates and these mad birds that roost around the clifftops. Connect is tiny and vulnerable, and thus the adventure surrounding him sounds all the more stirring.

The other great tip has a great deal to do with those pirates. “What is the Overworld?” This has become the normal Zelda query because Link to the Past, but with the Wind-Waker, there didn’t seem to be one: no alternate measurement, no switching between time-frames. The sea has been controversial: so much racing back and forth across a massive map, so much time spent crossing. But look at what it brings along with it! It attracts pirates and sunken treasures and ghost ships. It attracts underwater grottoes and a castle awaiting you in a bubble of air down on the seabed.

On top of that, it attracts unending sense of renewal and discovery, one challenge down and another awaiting, as you hop from your ship and race up the sand towards the next thing, your miniature legs glancing through the surf, your eyes already fixed over the horizon. CD

3. Link’s Awakening

Link’s Awakening is near-enough a fantastic Zelda game – it has a huge and secret-laden overworld, sparkling dungeon design and unforgettable characters. Additionally, it is a catalyst dream-set side-story with villages of speaking animals, side-scrolling places starring Mario enemies and a giant fish who sings the mambo. This was my very first Zelda encounter, my entry point into the show and the game where I judge every other Zelda title. I absolutely love it. Not only was it my very first Zelda, its greyscale universe was among the first adventure games I playedwith.

There is no Zelda, no Ganon. No Guru Sword. And while it still feels like a Zelda, even after enjoying many of the other people, its quirks and characters set it aside. Link’s Awakening packs an astonishing amount onto its small Game Boy cartridge (or even Game Boy Color, in the event you played its DX re-release). TP

2. The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past

Bottles are OP in Zelda. Those little glass containers can turn the tide of a conflict when they have a potion or even better – a fairy. If I was Ganon, I would postpone the evil plotting and the dimension rifting, and I would just put a solid fortnight into travelling Hyrule from top to bottom and hammering any glass bottles that I stumbled upon. Following that, my horrible vengeance are even more terrible – and there would be a sporting chance I might have the ability to pull off it too.

All of which means that, as Link, a bottle can be a true reward. Real treasure. I think you will find four glass bottles Link to the Past, each one making you that little stronger and that little bolder, buying you assurance from dungeoneering and strike points at the middle of a tingling boss encounter. I can’t remember where you get three of those bottles. But I can remember where you receive the fourth.

It’s Lake Hylia, and when you’re like me, it’s late in the game, with the large ticket items accumulated, that wonderful, genre-defining minute near the top of the mountain – in which one excursion becomes two – cared for, along with handfuls of streamlined, inventive, infuriating and enlightening dungeons raided. Late match Connect to the Past is all about sounding out every last inch of this map, so working out how both similar-but-different versions of Hyrule fit together.

And there’s a difference. A gap in Lake Hylia. An gap hidden by means of a bridge. And underneath it, a man blowing smoke rings by a campfire. He feels as though the greatest key in all Hyrule, and the prize for discovering him would be a glass vessel, ideal for storing a potion – or even a fairy.

Connect to the Past seems like an impossibly smart match, divides its map into two measurements and requesting you to distinguish between them, holding both landscapes super-positioned in mind as you resolve one, huge geographical mystery. In fact, however, someone could probably copy this design if they had enough pencils, enough quadrille paper, enough time and energy, and if they were determined and smart enough.

The greatest loss of the electronic age.

However, Link to the Past is not just the map – it is the detailing, and the characters. It is Ganon and his wicked plot, but it is also the guy camping out beneath the bridge. Perhaps the whole thing is a bit like a bottle, then: the container is essential, but what you are really after is the stuff that’s inside . CD

1. Ocarina of Time

Where would you start with a game as momentous as Ocarina of Time? Maybe with all the Z-Targeting, a remedy to 3D battle so effortless you barely notice it’s there. Or perhaps you talk about an open world that is touched with the light and shade cast by an inner clock, even where villages dancing with action by day prior to being captured by an eerie lull through the nighttime. How about the expressiveness of that ocarina itself, a superbly analogue device whose music has been conducted with the newest control afforded by the N64’s pad, which notes bent wistfully at the push of a pole.

Maybe, however, you just focus on the moment itself, a perfect picture of video games appearing sharply from their very own adolescence as Connect is throw so suddenly in a grownup world. What’s most remarkable about Ocarina of Time is the way it arrived so fully-formed, the 2D adventuring of past entries transitioning into three measurements as gracefully as a pop-up publication folding quickly into existence.

Additional Zeldas may result in a better play now – there’s something about the 16-bit adventuring of A Link to the Past that remains forever impervious to period – although none could claim to be important as Ocarina. Thanks to Grezzo’s exceptional 3DS remake it has kept much of its verve and influence, as well as setting aside its technical achievements it’s an experience that ranks among the series’ best; emotional and uplifting, it’s touched with all the bittersweet melancholy of growing up and leaving the childhood behind. By the story’s conclusion Connect’s childhood and innocence – and of Hyrule – is heroically restored, but after that most revolutionary of reinventions, video games will not ever be the same again.