Best Zelda Games Of All Time

Which are the best Zelda games? After decades of adventures for Nintendo consoles, the ranking of the series The Legend of Zelda is a devil of a feat. With a few exceptions, each item is pretty much a classic, and even those “menus” are really pretty good. Many remain fixed as among the best games on the consoles that have parented them, so assembling them in order is no small task.

With a good combination of old-fashioned grit and determination, we did just that, though, and after a lot of discussion and struggles at Nintendo Life Towers, we settled on this order that includes the beautiful remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening for Change. And no, we don’t include those Philips CDs (or DSs) Tingle curiosity), but us to get it included some significant spin-offs, including Hyrule’s cadence and Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.

Don’t you think spin-offs or remakes are included? We have a solution for you: mentally remove offensive games from the list and – that’s it – a spooky, sparkling classification without any of those different pretenders to the Hylian throne.

We have now updated this list, of course, with information on The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD, which at the time of writing has right landed on the Switch. You may also be asking ‘why can’t we have a list based on readers’ votes, like other recent rankings?’ Well, good point, When the dust settles and people have enjoyed a bit of Skyward Sword HD maybe we’ll just …

Meanwhile, we take the Master Sword and our Hylian Shield and go on an adventure. Here is the Legend of Zelda series, ranked in order from best to best …

Link Crossbow Training (Wii)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD

Release Date: 19 Nov 2007 (USA) / December 7, 2007 (United Kingdom / EU)

An introduction to the little-used plastic Wii Zapper peripheral, Link Crossbow Training enter the bottom of the list. It’s a small nine-level shooting game that uses various goods and spaces from Twilight Princess while Link tries to improve his crossbow skills by using the Wii Remote’s pointing functionality.

Like a short side game in the Legend of Zelda-verse, it’s not fun, and you can take the disc for almost anything these days. While there are sections where you can control Link from a first / third person perspective, you should no be confused with a full-fledged Zelda game in any way, shape or form, however. It’s, however, a little fun aside.

The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes (3DS)The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes (3DS)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo

Release Date: 23 Oct 2015 (USA) / 23 Oct 2015 (United Kingdom / EU)

It’s unlikely that any of you will be too shocked to see it Three Force Heroes at this end of the list. While it is not bad game in its own right, pale in comparison to the rest of the Zeldas (and the Four Swords games in particular).

Tri Force Heroes is a multiplayer shooter based on Zelda, and provides a variety of dungeons to battle with two of your 3DS-wielding friends. You can play as Blue, Green and Red Links, and work together to battle bosses, solve puzzles, and collect loot.

The big news was the Totem mechanics, which allowed you to stack three Links on top of each other to solve puzzles and reach higher ground. Unfortunately, it was not enough to raise this voice.

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Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (NES)Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (NES)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD

Release Date: December 1, 1988 (USA) / 26 Sep 1988 (United Kingdom / EU)

À Zelda II: The Adventure of LinkTo his credit, he tried to shake up the formula created by the original by introducing mechanics from other Nintendo franchises at the time, and it was a success. A deeper combat system with RPG leveling elements and side platform lands and dungeons made this a very different game from the original.

It’s just a little too inscrutable, though, sacrificing his sense of adventure and “wonder” to frustration. Its reputation has improved in recent times, no doubt helped by the resurgence of ‘hardcore’ difficulty in modern games such as Dark anime. Now available with a subscription to Nintendo Switch Online, with modern aids like save status, it’s never been more affordable, but you’ll also need a whole collection of historical content to get the most out of it.

Hyrule Warriors: Final Edition (Change)Hyrule Warriors: Final Edition (Change)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Koei Tecmo

Release Date: 18 May 2018 (USA) / 18 May 2018 (United Kingdom / EU)

This pirate and slash adopts the Zelda universe originally released on the Wii U before receiving a 3DS port and eventually the Hyrule Warriors: Final Edition on Switch. Again, you shouldn’t come to this expecting a traditional Zelda, but rather one Dynasty Warriors game that has been rifling in Zelda’s wardrobe.

This makes it sound like an impostor, which is unfair because Omega Force and Team Ninja have done a great job of teasing the game with affectionate nods to the larger series, with characters from all over the franchise and the first (and hopefully not the last) appearance of Linkle, a girl who believes she is the reincarnation of the series ’heroes.

As a crossover entry into Koei Tecmo’s hack and slash series, Hyrule Warriors is one of the most accessible so far and there’s plenty for Zelda fans to enjoy if you like giving a rest to the gray matter and to shake the shoulders of hundreds of moblins at once.

The Legend of Zelda (NES)The Legend of Zelda (NES)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD

Release Date: 22 Aug 1987 (USA) / 15 Nov 1987 (United Kingdom / EU)

Let’s do one direct thing: the fact that it’s original The Legend of Zelda it’s so low on this list it speaks more to the quality of the rest of the series than the negatives of it. In fact, the only real downside is that it doesn’t really age brilliantly.

The Legend of Zelda was a very unique perspective when it was initially launched, offering an unparalleled sense of adventure, intelligent combat mechanics and a mature world for exploration. It was so progressive that even today we see Breath of the Wild taking it freely.

Let’s not even forget the classic line “It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this.” You can easily check the original game out for yourself if you have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, but be aware that much has changed in three and a half decades.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (GBC)The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (GBC)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Admiral

Release Date: May 14, 2001USA) / Oct 5, 2001 (United Kingdom / EU)

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Ages it was Nintendo’s effort to force it Pokémon-style double release on the Zelda franchise. Ultimately, it didn’t work well, but both games remain excellent examples of classic Zelda for themselves.

Developed by the subsidiary of Capcom Flagship and in particular directed by Hidemaro Fujibayashi, director of several subsequent games including Breath of the Wild and his next sequel, Seasons was best known for allowing us to use the Rod of Seasons to change the global climate. This helped you solve a variety of puzzles, from icy lakes to the growth of Deku Flowers. It was an intelligent system that would later be revisited in various other Zelda entries.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (GBC)The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (GBC)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Admiral

Release Date: May 14, 2001USA) / Oct 5, 2001 (United Kingdom / EU)

Oracle of Age, on the other hand, has given you the harp of age, which you can use to travel through time. Again, this was mainly used to solve puzzles, moving a stone in the past to redirect water flow in the future or planting seeds that would grow into trees and vines.

Having both Oracle of Ages and Seasons allowed you to unlock additional content in every game that could not be accessed otherwise. Clean!

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Change)Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Change)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Koei Tecmo

Release Date: 20 Nov 2020 (USA) / 20 Nov 2020 (United Kingdom / EU)

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity adopts the Omega Force Dynasty Warriors format as the team’s first foray into the Zelda universe made, but borrows a layer from the brilliant presentation of Breath of the Wild and the story that elevates it in our eyes. Boasting a large cast of well-known characters – each with their own moves and weapons – gives you the chance to fight the Calamity 100 years before the BOWT events.

Performance could be better in some parts (dramatically better on occasion), but the framerate drops didn’t affect our enjoyment of this Hyrule-based hack-and-slasher. It’s a pleasure to spend some quality time with the Four Champions, and while Age of Calamity is obviously riding on the coats of Breath of the Wild, we certainly enjoyed our time with this prequel adventure.


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