The Legend of Zelda is simply one of the most beloved video game franchises for any console to date. This is especially true for myself, having grown up with the NES and all its classic titles. After wrapping up Breath of the Wild, which was absolutely brilliant, it left us wondering what is the greatest Zelda game of all time? There are so many contenders to consider. While everyone has their favorites entries in this amazing series, here is our personal Top 5 Zelda games of all time.
5. The Legend of Zelda
Where would Nintendo be without Zelda? It’s pretty hard to imagine. Without this first vision, the world of Hyrule and our hero Link wouldn’t exist. That first golden cartridge gave a subtle hint to me as a kid, that something very unique and special was waiting to be played on my Nintendo Entertainment System. The Legend of Zelda on the NES gave gamers a mix of adventure, action and puzzle solving to the likes they have never seen. It encouraged players to explore and find what was beyond the next screen. The dungeons introduced fear and excitement, especially one’s that put gamers in complete darkness. Players were left only to swing wildly at any nearby enemies and hope they survive long enough to find the exit. Even with the limited capability of the NES, the graphics and music score were phenomenal for the time. These now classic melodies can be found in downloadable ringtones and even high quality music remixes created by music artists on the web. I wonder if Shigeru Miyamoto had any idea how this first game would later spawn close to 20 more games based off this franchise and later become one of the most well known video game series of all time.
4. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Wind Waker is one of the more unique Zelda games to date. It’s a gorgeous title where Link and the world around him come to life in what looks like a high quality animated film. Your adventure starts on an island and you must sail to different locations to complete your quest. Link is once again going after Gannon, but also on a mission to find his sister Aryll. For this venture, players learn new skills such as the ability to parry and counter enemies making combat more engaging. There are close to 50 sections to explore in Wind Waker with the typical dungeons to discover and bosses to defeat. Characters, Link and the world itself are wildly expressive making it one of the most engrossing entries in the series.
3. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of the finest games on the Nintendo 64 and without a doubt one of the best action adventures to date. For the first time, gamers were able to experience the rich world of Hyrule in glorious 3D. Traveling across the rolling green hills and vast countryside via your trusty horse Epona was a game changing experience for that era. The music scores have always played a huge part of any Zelda game and Ocarina of Time was no exception. Gamers would unlock and perform certain actions by playing specific melodies. Present now in all Zelda games is the target lock mechanic that helps Link in one-on-one combat situations. The game struck a special place in many gamers hearts resulting in multiple remakes and re-releases of this timeless classic.
2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild took this series to the largest open world environment it has ever seen. It is full of life, inquisitive enemies, impressive weather effects and it’s chock full of side quests and temples to keep you gaming for hundreds of hours. It also brought something new to the table we have never had with a console version of Zelda, which is portability. Gamers can take the full experience of the vast open world of Breath of the Wild on the go. This changed everything and the impact was even more clear when it officially became one the highest rated video games in history. The Nintendo Switch has proven that a hybrid console is not only a great idea, but it has a huge market and demand for this experience with the right games. Link has an epic world to explore and climb, enemies to outsmart and bosses to defeat in Breath of the Wild; and now this can all be achieved while on the move thanks to the innovation and vision implemented by Nintendo with the Switch. Fighting Calamity Gannon is not a bad way to spend your lunch break.
1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was released in 1991 on one of Nintendo’s finest consoles to date, the Super Nintendo. Gamers once again are tasked with defeating not only Gannon, but also an evil wizard named Agahnim and ultimately saving Hyrule from total destruction. This entry used the 3/4 top down perspective as a throwback to the original Zelda. It introduced alternate dimensions and the now legendary Master Sword and Hookshot. The beautiful color, interesting characters and innovative elements made this not only my favorite entry in the series, but one of the greatest games of all time in my book. It holds up incredibly well to this day and still has all the charm and fun from when it was first released on the SNES.