The best Zelda games: Eurogamer editors’ choice_213

You have already had your state on the best Zelda games as we observe the series’ 30th anniversary – and you also did a mighty fine job too, even if I’m fairly convinced A Link to the Past goes in the head of some record – so now it’s our turn. We requested the Eurogamer editorial staff to vote for their favorite Zelda games (although Wes abstained because he doesn’t understand what a Nintendo is) and underneath you will discover the complete top ten, together with some of our very own musings. Could we get the matches in their rightful order? Likely not…

10. A Link Between Worlds

How brilliantly contradictory that one of the very best first games on Nintendo’s 3DS is a 2D adventure sport, which one of the most daring Zelda entrances would be the one which closely aped among its predecessors.

It helps, of course, that the template has been raised from a number of the greatest games in the show also, by extension, among the best matches of all time. There’s an endearing breeziness to A Link to the Past, a fleet-footedness that sees the 16-bit experience pass as pleasurably and memorably as a great late summer afternoon.Read more zelda spirit tracks rom At website Articles A Link Between Worlds takes that and also positively sprints together with it, running into the familiar expanse of Hyrule using a new-found freedom.

In giving you the capacity to let any one of Link’s well-established tools from the off, A Link Between Worlds broke free of the linear progress which had reverted past Zelda games; this is a Hyrule which was no longer characterized through an invisible path, but one which offered a feeling of discovery and completely free will that was starting to feel absent from prior entries. The feeling of experience so precious to the show, muffled in the past few years from the ritual of repetition, was well and truly revived. MR

9. Spirit Tracks

A unfortunate side-effect of the fact that more than 1 generation of gamers has risen up with Zelda and refused to go has been an insistence – through the series’ adolescence, at any rate – that it develop them. That resulted in some interesting areas in addition to some ridiculous tussles over the series’ leadership, as we’ll see later in this listing, but at times it threatened to leave Zelda’s unique constituency – that you know, children – supporting.

Thankfully, the portable games are there to take care of younger gamers, along with Spirit Tracks for the DS (currently available on Wii U Virtual Console) is Zelda at its maximum chirpy and adorable. Though superbly designed, it is not a particularly distinguished game, being a comparatively laborious and laborious follow-up to Phantom Hourglass that reproduces its construction and flowing stylus control. However, it has such zest! Connect uses a tiny train to go around and also its puffing and tooting, together with an inspired folk music soundtrack, place a brisk tempo for the experience. Then there is the childish, heavenly delight of driving the train: setting the adjuster, yanking the whistle and scribbling destinations in your map.

Connect must save her entire body, but her soul is using him as a constant companion, occasionally able to possess enemy soldiers and play with the barbarous heavy. Both even enjoy an innocent youth romance, and you’d be hard pressed to consider another game that has captured the teasing, blushing intensity of a reggae beat so well. Inclusive and sweet, Spirit Tracks remembers that kids have feelings too, and also can reveal grownups something or two about love. OW

8. Phantom Hourglass

Inside my head, at least, there’s been a furious debate going on regarding if Link, Hero of Hyrule, is really any good using a boomerang. He has been wielding the loyal, banana-shaped piece of wood since his first experience, but in my experience it has only ever been a pain in the arse to use.

The exception that proves the rule, however, is Phantom Hourglass, where you draw the trail on your boomerang from the hand. Poking the stylus in the touch screen (that, in an equally lovely transfer, is the way you control your own sword), you draw a precise flight map for the boomerang and then it just… goes. No faffing about, no more clanging into columns, only easy, simple, improbably responsive boomerang flight. It was when I used the boomerang in Phantom Hourglass that I realised that this game might just be something special; I quickly fell in love with the rest.

Never mind that many of the puzzles are derived from setting off a change and subsequently getting from Point A to Point B as fast as possible. Never mind that watching some gameplay back to refresh my memory gave me powerful flashbacks into the hours spent huddling over the screen and gripping my DS like I needed to throttle it. Never mind I did need to throttle my DS. The point is that Phantom Hourglass had bits of course that remain – and I will go out on a limb – totally unrivalled in the rest of the Legend of Zelda series. JC

7. Skyward Sword

Skyward Sword is maddeningly close to being good. It bins the recognizable Zelda overworld and set of distinct dungeons by hurling three enormous areas at the participant which are continuously rearranged. It is a gorgeous game – one I’m still hoping will probably be remade in HD – whose watercolour graphics make a shimmering, dream-like haze within its azure skies and brush-daubed foliage. Following the filthy, Lord of this Rings-inspired Twilight Princess, it is the Zelda series re-finding its toes. I can defend many of recognizable criticisms levelled at Skyward Sword, like its overly-knowing nods to the remainder of the series or its slightly forced origin narrative that unnecessarily retcons familiar elements of this franchise. I will even get behind the bigger overall quantity of area to research when the game always revitalises each of its three regions so successfully.

I could not, sadly, ever get along with the game’s Motion Plus controllers, which required one to waggle your Wii Remote to be able to do combat. It turned out the boss battles against the brilliantly bizarre Ghirahim into infuriating fights using technologies. Into baskets which made me rage quit for the rest of the night. On occasion the motion controls functioned – the flying Beetle item pretty much consistently found its mark – but when Nintendo was forcing players to depart the reliability of a control scheme, its replacement had to work 100 per cent of their moment. TP

6. Twilight Princess

When Ocarina of Time came out in November 1998, I was ten years of age. I was pretty awful at Zelda games. I could ditch my way through the Great Deku Tree and the Fire Temple alright but, from the time Link dove headlong to the fantastic Jabu Jabu’s belly, my desire to have fun with Ocarina of Time easily started outstripping the fun I was actually having.

When Twilight Princess wrapped around, I was at university and also something in me – most likely a deep love of procrastination – was prepared to try again. This time, it was worked. I remember day-long moves on the couch, huddling beneath a blanket in my cold flat and just poking out my hands to flap around with the Wii distant during combat. Then there was the glorious morning if my then-girlfriend (now fiancée) awakened me with a gentle shake, then asking’can I see you play with Zelda?’

Twilight Lady is, frankly, attractive. There’s a fantastic, brooding setting; yet the gameplay is hugely diverse; it has got a lovely art design, one I wish they’d kept for just one more game. It has also got some of the best dungeons in the series – I know this because since then I’ve been able to go back and mop the recent titles I overlooked – Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask and Wind Waker – and enjoy myself doing it. That is why I’ll always love Twilight Princess – it is the game that made me click using Zelda. JC


But some of its best moments have come as it stepped out its framework, left Hyrule along with Zelda herself behind, and inquired what Link could do next. It required a much more revolutionary tack: weird, dark, and structurally experimental.

Though there’s loads of comedy and adventure, Majora’s Mask is suffused with despair, regret, and also an off-kilter eeriness. A number of this comes from its true awkward timed arrangement: the moon is falling around the Earth, that the clock is ticking and you also can’t stop it, only rewind and start again, a little stronger and wiser each moment. Some of it stems from the antagonist, the Skull Kid, who’s no villain however an innocent with a gloomy story who has given into the corrupting influence of their titular mask. A number of this stems from Link himselfa child again but with the grown man of Ocarina still somewhere inside himhe bends rootlessly into the land of Termina like he has got no greater place to be, far in the hero of legend.

Largely, it comes from the townsfolk of Termina, whose lifestyles Connect observes moving helplessly towards the close of earth in addition to their appointed paths, over and over again. Despite an unforgettable, surreal decision, Majora’s Mask’s key narrative isn’t among those series’ strongest. However, these bothering Groundhog Day subplots concerning the strain of ordinary life – loss, love, family, work, and passing, constantly passing – locate the series’ writing in its absolute best. It’s a depression, compassionate fairytale of the regular that, using its own ticking clock, wants to remind you that you can’t take it with you personally. OW


If you have had children, you’ll be aware there’s amazingly strange and touching moment if you are doing laundry – stay with me here – and these tiny T-shirts and pants first begin to become on your washingmachine. Someone new has come to reside with you! A person implausibly small.

This is among The Wind-Waker’s greatest tips, I think. Link had been young before, but now, with all the toon-shaded change in art direction, he actually appears youthful: a Schulz toddler, enormous head and little legs, venturing out amongst Moblins and pirates and these mad birds that roost around the clifftops. Link is little and exposed, and thus the adventure surrounding him sounds all the more stirring.

Another great trick has a great deal to do with these pirates. This has been the standard Zelda query because Link to the Past, but with the Wind-Waker, there did not seem to be just one: no alternate measurement, no switching between time-frames. Rather you had a wild and briney sea, reaching out from all directions, an infinite blue, flecked with abstracted breakers. The sea was contentious: so much hurrying back and forth across a massive map, a lot of time spent crossing. But look at what it brings along with it! It attracts pirates and sunken temples and ghost ships. It attracts underwater grottoes along with a castle awaiting you at a bubble of air down on the seabed.

On top of that, it attracts unending sense of discovery and renewal, 1 challenge down along with another awaiting, as you jump from your ship and race up the sand towards the next thing, your miniature legs glancing through the surf, your eyes fixed on the horizon. CD

3. Link’s Awakening

Link’s Awakening is near-enough a perfect Zelda game – it has a vast and secret-laden overworld, sparkling dungeon layout and memorable characters. Additionally, it is a catalyst dream-set side-story with villages of speaking animals, side-scrolling regions starring Mario enemies along with a giant fish who participates the mambo. This was my very first Zelda adventure, my entry point into the series and the game against which I judge every other Zelda name. I totally love it. Not only was it my first Zelda, its greyscale planet was among the first adventure games that I played. I can still visualise much of it today – the cracked floor from that cave at the Lost Woods, the stirring music as you input the Tal Tal Mountains, the shopkeeper electrocuting into an instantaneous death in the event you dared return into his shop after slipping.

No Master Sword. And while it still feels like a Zelda, even after enjoying so many of the other people, its quirks and personalities set it aside. Link’s Awakening packs an astonishing amount onto its little Game Boy capsule (or Game Boy Color, if 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 may turn the tide of a struggle if they contain a potion or even better – a fairy. When I was Ganon, I would postpone the wicked plotting and the measurement rifting, and I would just set a solid fortnight into travelling Hyrule from top to base and smashing any glass bottles I stumbled upon. Following that, my horrible vengeance are even more terrible – and there’d be a sporting chance I may be able to pull it off too.

All of which means that, as Link, a bottle can be a real reward. Real treasure. I think you will find four glass bottles in Link to the Past, each one which makes you that little stronger and that little bolder, buying you confidence from dungeoneering and struck points in the center of a tingling manager encounter. I can’t remember where you receive three of the bottles. But I can remember where you receive the fourth.

It’s Lake Hylia, and when you’re like me, it is late in the game, using the large ticket items accumulated, that lovely, genre-defining second at the peak of the hill – where a single excursion becomes two – cared for, along with handfuls of compact, ingenious, infuriating and educational dungeons raided. Late game Connect to the Past is about looking out every last inch of the map, so working out the way the two similar-but-different versions of Hyrule fit together.

And there is a gap. A gap from Lake Hylia. A gap hidden by means of a bridge. And beneath it, a man blowing smoke rings by a campfire. He feels as though the greatest key in all of Hyrule, along with the prize for uncovering him is a glass boat, ideal for keeping a potion – or even a fairy.

Link to the Past seems like an impossibly clever game, fracturing its map into two dimensions and requesting you to distinguish between them, holding both landscapes super-positioned on mind as you solve a single, huge geographical mystery. In fact, however, somebody could probably copy this design when they had sufficient pencils, sufficient quadrille paper, enough time and energy, and when they were smart and determined enough.

The greatest loss of the electronic age.

But Link to the Past isn’t only the map – it’s the detailing, and the figures. It is Ganon and his evil plot, but it’s also the man camping out beneath the bridge. Perhaps the entire thing is somewhat like a bottle, then: the container is very essential, but what you are really after is the stuff that’s inside . CD


Maybe with the Z-Targeting, a remedy to 3D combat so simple you hardly notice it is there. Or maybe you speak about an open world that is touched by the light and color cast by an internal clock, where villages dance with activity by day before being seized by an eerie lull through the night. How about the expressiveness of the ocarina itself, a delightfully analogue device whose music has been conducted by the control afforded by the N64’s pad, notes flexed wistfully at the push of a stick.

Maybe, though, you just focus in on the second itself, a great snapshot of video games appearing sharply from their own adolescence just as Connect is thrust so suddenly into an adult world. What is most noteworthy about Ocarina of Time is the way it arrived so fully-formed, the 2D adventuring of previous entrances transitioning into three measurements as gracefully as a pop-up novel folding swiftly into existence.

Additional Zeldas may result in a much better play now – there’s something about the 16-bit adventuring of A Link to the Past that stays forever impervious to period – but none could ever claim to be as important as Ocarina. Because of Grezzo’s unique 3DS remake it has retained much of its verve and influence, and even setting aside its technical achievements it is an experience that ranks among the series’ best; psychological and uplifting, it’s touched with the bittersweet melancholy of growing up and leaving the youth behind. From the story’s conclusion Connect’s childhood and innocence – and which of Hyrule – is heroically restored, but after this most revolutionary of reinventions, video games could never be the exact same again.

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