Video Games

Readers Choice – Top 10 The Legend of Zelda Games

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All week we’ve been celebrating the 30th Anniversary of The Legend of Zelda. We’ve covered quite a bit, but so have you. All week, The Escapist‘s readers have been voting for their favorite The Legend of Zelda game – and from those votes, we’ve compiled a Top 10 Reader’s Choice list. Since they’re your votes, we plucked quotes from the comment sections of our articles in order to explain why these games made the cut! Disagree with the ranking? Sound off in the comments!


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10. The Minish Cap

“If Minish Cap has a weakness, it’s its length. But I do feel that Minish Cap does succeed A Link to the Past, taking the best elements of its gameplay, while also being strong in plot and taking elements that began in Ocarina of Time (e.g. the dungeon theme idea). Finally, there’s the game’s theme. Every game on this list from now will have a theme ascribed to it, and this is one of the series’s greatest strengths. For MC, the theme is “kindness is its own reward.” A very basic theme, but it does shine through, from the picori to Ezlo, to arguably even Link. Vaati is selfish, and both he and the world pay for that. The Lorerunner has elaborated on the themes of Zelda better than I ever could, but at the end of the day, MC is a solid, and, IMO, underlooked entry in the series.”

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9/8. TIE: Oracle of Seasons/Oracle of Ages and The Legend of Zelda

“I loved the Oracle games, makes me wish they would remake them and make the planned third they were going to make.
Labryna and Holodrim were both great places to explore. Every item has a purpose, right up to the end.”

“My vote is the original The Legend of Zelda…that was when I fell in love with video games.”

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7. A Link Between Worlds

“This game reminds me of Super Mario Galaxy 2: Pure, unadulterated fun. It had its flaws. It was too short. It was too easy. The map was recycled. But none of that mattered while I was playing it. This game is much the opposite of MM. It’s not a game you play for the characters, the sidequests, or the story. Heck, the story is barely even there (though somehow still more fleshed out than OoT’s empty husk of a story). But the moment-to-moment gameplay was so joyful I can’t possibly give the number one spot to any other game. Every single thing about this game is fun. The puzzles, the combat, even just basic travel. It’s one of the most polished games in the series, with every technical aspect being virtually perfect in terms of fun-ness. It’s the only Zelda game I’ve 100%’ed, and one of the only games period I’ve 100%’ed, and I kinda wanna do it again right now. I just love this game too much.”

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6. Link’s Awakening

“Your first Zelda will always be the best. I have too many fond memories of playing “Link’s Awakening” to not vote for it.”

“Maybe it’s a bit of an odd choice, but Link’s Awakening, by far. Naturally it lacked the gameplay and mechanics of later and even earlier games, but it just struck me as being rather profound. And somehow darker than Majora’s Mask, in some ways.”

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5. The Wind Waker

“The best Legend of Zelda game ever made. For me, personally, the best game of all time. Go figure that when it came out I was put off by the toon Link, played it for a bit (up to the forest temple), then gave up. A few years ago, I went back. And didn’t stop until the end.”

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4. Twilight Princess

“Twilight Princess doesn’t have the same thematic depth as Ocarina of Time, nor is it as open to exploration. However, its combat, characters, overall tone, and writing, do make it the superior game in my eyes.”

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3. A Link to the Past

“It was really magical, I was only maybe 12 or so and it might have been just 5 hours or so of playing start to finish but damn it if I didn’t feel like I’d played longer. I had a few days left on the rental so I played through again and again. To this day, despite knowing the map and boss fights by rote memory, I can still play A Link to the Past and enjoy myself for a few hours, transporting myself back to that place in my mind where I adventure with the dude in green tights to the Dark World and back.”

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2. Majora’s Mask

Majora’s Mask takes the top spot for me. No other Zelda game, and very few games in general, have ever managed such an effective atmosphere and sense of discovery. It really felt like I was exploring a world, one that was slowly falling apart as the prospect of destruction literally loomed over it. We are often told to save the world in video games, but this one makes you want to save it more than almost any other game, and not only save it but fix what is wrong. I know I am not the only one who made sure to get as close as possible to a perfect time loop before finally defeating Majora.”

“Majora’s Mask had the most personality and so it holds the top place in my heart, I actually felt invested in the lives of the NPCs, very few games can accomplish such a thing. It’s also the creepiest in terms of atmosphere and strays from the series formula of rescuing Zelda and fighting Ganon.”

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1. Ocarina of Time

“While Majora’s Mask is my favorite and A Link Between Worlds I find to be the most fun, I’d have to say Ocarina of Time displays the best of what the Zelda series has to offer.”

“As it’s been noted, it’s not very strong in the story and character department, but the level design and atmosphere is still some of the best in the entire series, and it still has some of the most awesome boss fights.”

“Ocarina of Time, the best game ever for me.”

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