The best Zelda games: Eurogamer editors’ choice_280

You’ve already had your state on the very best Zelda games because we observe the series’ 30th anniversary – and you did a mighty fine job also, even if I’m fairly certain A Link to the Past goes at the head of any record – so now it is our turn. We asked the Eurogamer editorial team to vote for their favorite Zelda games (although Wes abstained because he doesn’t understand exactly what a Nintendo is) and underneath you will discover the full top ten, along with a number of our own musings. Could people get the games in their rightful order? Likely not…

10. A Link Between Worlds

How brightly contradictory that one of the greatest original games on Nintendo’s 3DS is a 2D adventure game, and that among the most daring Zelda entries would be the one that so closely aped one of its predecessors.

It helps, of course, that the template was raised from one of the greatest games in the show and, by extension, one of the finest games of all time. A Link Between Worlds takes that and also positively sprints together with it, running into the recognizable expanse of Hyrule with a new-found link website

In giving you the ability to let any of Link’s well-established applications in the off, A Link Between Worlds broke with this linear progression which had shackled previous Zelda games; this is a Hyrule which was no more characterized by an invisible route, but one which provided a sense of discovery and completely free will that was starting to feel absent from previous entries. The feeling of experience so dear to the show, muffled in the past few years from the ritual of repetition, was well and truly restored. MR

9. Spirit Tracks

An unfortunate side-effect of this fact that more than one generation of gamers has grown up with Zelda and refused to go has become an insistence – through the show’ mania, at any rate – it develop them. That led to some fascinating places as well as some silly tussles over the series’ direction, as we’ll see later on this listing, but sometimes it threatened to leave Zelda’s unique constituency – that you know, children – supporting.

Happily, the mobile games are there to look after younger players, and Spirit Tracks for the DS (now available on Wii U Virtual Console) is Zelda at its 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 construction and flowing stylus controller. But it has such zest! Connect utilizes a tiny train to go around and its puffing and tooting, together with an inspired folk music soundtrack, set a brisk tempo for the adventure. Then there is the childish, tactile pleasure of driving that the train: placing the adjuster, pulling on the whistle and scribbling destinations on your own map.

Connect has to rescue her entire body, but her spirit is with him as a companion, sometimes able to possess enemy soldiers and play the barbarous heavy. Both enjoy an innocent childhood love, and you’d be hard pushed to think of another game which has caught the teasing, blushing strength of a preteen crush so well. Inclusive and sweet, Spirit Tracks remembers 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 has been a furious debate going on regarding if Link, Hero of Hyrule, is actually any good with a boomerang. He has been wielding the faithful, banana-shaped bit of wood since his very first experience, but in my experience it has merely been a pain in the arse to work with.

The exception that proves the rule, however, is Phantom Hourglass, where you draw on the route for your boomerang through the hand. Poking the stylus in the touch screen (which, at an equally lovely move, is how you control your own sword), you draw a precise flight map to your boomerang and then it just… goes. No faffing about, no more clanging into pillars, only simple, straightforward, improbably responsive boomerang trip. It had been when I first used the boomerang in Phantom Hourglass that I realised that this game could just be something particular; I immediately fell in love with the remainder.

Never mind that so many of the puzzles are derived from setting off a switch and then getting from Point A to Point B as soon as possible. Never mind that watching some gameplay back to refresh my memory lent me powerful flashbacks into the hours spent huddling over the display and grasping my DS like that I needed to throttle it. JC

7. Skyward Sword

It bins the recognizable Zelda overworld and pair of discrete dungeons by hurling three enormous areas at the player which are continuously rearranged. It’s a gorgeous game – one I am still expecting will be remade in HD – whose watercolour visuals make a glistening, dream-like haze over its blue heavens and brush-daubed foliage. Following the grimy, Lord of the Rings-inspired Twilight Princess, it was the Zelda series re-finding its toes. I can defend many of familiar criticisms levelled at Skyward Sword, like its overly-knowing nods to the remainder of the series or its marginally forced origin narrative that unnecessarily retcons familiar elements of the franchise. I can also get behind the smaller general quantity of area to explore when the sport continually revitalises each of its three regions so ardently.

I could not, sadly, ever get along with the game’s Motion Plus controllers, which demanded you to waggle your Wii Remote to be able to do combat. It turned out the boss battles against the brilliantly eccentric Ghirahim into infuriating struggles using technologies. Into baskets which made me rage quit for the rest of the night. On occasion the motion controls worked – that the flying Beetle thing 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 time. TP

6. Twilight Princess

I was pretty bad in Zelda games.

When Twilight Princess wrapped around, I was at college and also something in me most likely a deep love of procrastination – was prepared to test again. I remember day-long stretches on the sofa, huddling beneath a blanket in my chilly flat and just poking my hands out to flap around using the Wii distant during battle. Resentful seems were thrown at the pile of books I knew I had to skim over the next week. Then there was the magnificent dawn when my then-girlfriend (now fiancée) woke me up with a gentle shake, so asking’can I see you play Zelda?’

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


However, some of its greatest moments have come as it turned outside its framework, left Hyrule and Zelda herself behind, and asked what Link may perform next. It required an even more revolutionary tack: bizarre, dark, and structurally experimental.

Although there’s plenty of humor and adventure, Majora’s Mask is suffused with doom, sorrow, and an off-kilter eeriness. Some of this stems out of its true awkward timed arrangement: that the moon is falling around the planet, the clock is ticking and you can’t stop it, only rewind and begin, a little stronger and more threatening each time. Some of it stems in the antagonist, the Skull Kid, who is no villain but an innocent having a gloomy story who has given into the corrupting effect of their titular mask. A number of this comes from Link himselfa kid again but with the increased man of Ocarina still somewhere within himhe rides rootlessly to the land of Termina like he has got no better place to be, far in the hero of legend.

Regardless of an unforgettable, surreal finish, Majora’s Mask’s key narrative isn’t among those series’ most powerful. However, these poignant Groundhog Day subplots concerning the stress of regular life – reduction, love, family, job, and death, always passing – locate the show’ writing at its absolute finest. It is a depression, compassionate fairytale of the everyday which, using its own ticking clock, wants to remind you that you simply can not take it with you personally. OW


If you have had kids, you will be aware that there’s incredibly unexpected and touching moment when you’re doing laundry – stay with me – and those tiny T-shirts and pants first start to become in your washing. Someone new has come to live with you! A person implausibly small.

This is among The Wind-Waker’s best tricks, I think. Link had been young before, but now, with all the gloriously toon-shaded change in art management, he actually appears youthful: a Schulz toddler, huge head and tiny legs, venturing out among Moblins and pirates as well as these crazy birds that roost across the clifftops. Link is tiny and vulnerable, and thus the adventure surrounding him seems all the more stirring.

Another fantastic trick has a lot to do with those pirates. This has been the standard Zelda query since Link to the Past, however with the Wind-Waker, there did not seem to be just one: no alternate dimension, no shifting between time-frames. The sea has been contentious: a lot of hurrying back and forth throughout a massive map, so much time spent crossing. But consider what it brings with it! It brings pirates and sunken temples and ghost ships. It attracts underwater grottoes along with a castle waiting for you at a bubble of air back on the seabed.

Best of all, it brings that unending sense of renewal and discovery, one challenge down along with another anticipating, as you hop from your ship and race the sand up towards another thing, your legs glancing through the surf, your enormous eyes already fixed over the horizon. CD


Link’s Awakening has been near-enough that a perfect Zelda game – it’s a vast and secret-laden overworld, sparkling dungeon layout and unforgettable characters. In addition, it is a catalyst dream-set side-story with villages of talking animals, side-scrolling regions starring Mario enemies and a giant fish who sings the mambo. This was my first Zelda encounter, my entry point to the show and the match against which I judge every other Zelda name. I absolutely love it. Not only was it my very first Zelda, its greyscale world was one of the very first adventure games I truly playedwith.

No Guru Sword. And while it feels just like a Zelda, even after playing so many of the others, its own quirks and personalities set it apart. Link’s Awakening packs an astonishing amount onto its small Game Boy cartridge (or even Game Boy Color, in the event that you played its DX re-release). It is a vital experience for any Zelda fan. TP

2. The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past

Bottles are OP in Zelda. Those little glass containers may reverse the tide of a battle when they contain a potion or even better – a fairy. If I was Ganon, I’d postpone the evil plotting and also the dimension rifting, and I would just set a solid fortnight into travelling Hyrule from top to base and smashing any glass bottles I’ve came across. Following that, my terrible vengeance would be even more dreadful – and there would be a sporting chance I may have the ability to pull off it too.

All of that suggests, as Link, a bottle can be a true benefit. Real treasure. I believe you will find four glass bottles in Link to the Past, each one making you that bit more powerful and that bit bolder, purchasing you assurance from dungeoneering and struck points in the middle of a tingling boss encounter. I can not remember where you receive three of those bottles. But I can recall where you receive the fourth.

It is Lake Hylia, and when you’re like me, it’s late in the match, with the big ticket items collected, that wonderful, genre-defining minute at the peak of the hill – in which one excursion becomes two – taken care of, along with handfuls of compact, inventive, infuriating and educational dungeons raided. Late match Connect to the Past is about sounding out every last inch of this map, so working out the way the two similar-but-different variations of Hyrule fit together.

And there’s a difference. A gap in Lake Hylia. A gap hidden by a bridge. And under it, a guy blowing smoke rings by a campfire. He feels as though the greatest key in all of Hyrule, along with the prize for discovering him would be a glass vessel, perfect for storing a potion – along with even a fairy.

Connect to the Past seems like an impossibly clever match, divides its map to two measurements and requesting you to flit between them, holding both landscapes super-positioned in mind as you resolve one, enormous geographical mystery. In truth, however, somebody could probably replicate this layout when they had enough pencils, enough quadrille paper, sufficient time and energy, and if they were determined and smart enough.

The best reduction of the electronic era.

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


Where do you start with a match since momentous as Ocarina of Time? Perhaps with the Z-Targeting, a solution to 3D battle so effortless you barely notice it’s there. Or perhaps you speak about an open world that is touched by the light and color cast by an inner clock, where villages dance with activity by day prior to being seized by an eerie lull through the night. How about the expressiveness of the ocarina itself, a superbly analogue instrument whose music was conducted by the control afforded by the N64’s pad, which notes flexed wistfully at the push of a pole.

Maybe, though, you simply focus in on the instant itself, a perfect photo of video games appearing sharply from their own adolescence just as Link is thrust so abruptly in a grownup world. What is most impressive about Ocarina of Time is the way that it came thus fully-formed, the 2D adventuring of past entrances transitioning into three dimensions as gracefully as a pop-up book folding swiftly into life.

Thanks to Grezzo’s exceptional 3DS remake it has retained much of its verve and effect, as well as putting aside its technical accomplishments it is an adventure that ranks among the series’ best; emotional and uplifting, it is touched with all the bittersweet melancholy of climbing up and leaving the youth behind. From the story’s end Connect’s youth and innocence – and of Hyrule – is heroically restored, but after this most radical of reinventions, video games would not ever be the exact same again.

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