So, I think by this point just about everyone knows that I’m a huge fan of the Legend of Zelda video game series by Nintendo. I mean, come on — one look through my past profile pictures on Facebook will tell anyone that. There are many reasons why I enjoy them so much: an excellent balance of combat, exploration, and puzzle-solving; a variety of graphical styles across the series; wonderful music; themes of heroism and courage; etc. So, I thought I’d make my first real post on my blog a list of my top 5 favorite games in the Zelda series.
I’ve played many of the games, but there are still a few titles that I haven’t gotten to yet, and I’m also currently in the middle of one. Thus, this list may change in time. For now, though, my current top five favorite Zelda games!
5. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1992, SNES)
I just recently played and beat this one for the first time not too long ago. It was the third entry in the series, and one that set the groundwork for every Zelda game that would come after it. It’s quite a challenging game in more ways than one, but the difficulty is perfectly balanced, so you almost never feel like throwing your controller down in rage — instead, you grit your teeth and try, try again until you finally succeed, and it makes you feel completely awesometastic. I’m very glad to have had the privilege of playing it, even more than twenty years after its original release. Ah, the wonders of technology.
4. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (2000, N64)
Confession time: I absolutely hated this game when I first started playing it. Well, not immediately — the first couple of hours or so were quite compelling. But after that, I was almost forcing myself to keep playing. In the game, Link’s mission was to save Clock Town from being flattened by the quickly sinking moon within three days. So, for the first time in a Zelda game, the player was under the constraint of a time limit. I was not used to this, and I hadn’t yet discovered every way to manipulate the limit… so I cheated and looked a few things up on the Internet. This helped a lot, though, and once I’d gotten used to the rhythms of the game I was really drawn in. Many consider Majora’s Mask to be the best of the series, and while I don’t agree, it’s pretty high up on my list. Fantastic game.
3. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (2002, Gamecube)
When this game was first released, many criticized it for its bright, cartoony art style which deviated from every Zelda game before it. In doing so, they overlooked one of the very best games in the series. I happen to love the art style, and the game itself is spectacular: the story, the music, the secrets — everything! This time, the kingdom of Hyrule was covered by a vast sea dotted with many islands to explore, and so a sailing element became a big part of the adventure, and quite a welcome one in my book. I look forward to playing the HD re-release of this one once I get a Wii U.
2. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2006, Wii/Gamecube)
I still clearly remember the first time I played this game — it was with a great friend of mine at a sleepover, and it was a completely new game to both of us (it was also my friend’s first Zelda game, while I had already played two or three of the games before). We were hooked from just about the very beginning, drawn into the world that was being covered in the dark curtain of twilight and compelled to do everything in our power to save it. Hyrule is huge in this entry, and packed with things to do and discover. At the same time, the main quest is wonderfully absorbing, fascinating, and challenging. It’s no wonder many people call this one their favorite Zelda game.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (2011, Wii)
This game floored me. The visual style, the 1:1 motion controls, the fully orchestrated music, the amazing dungeon designs, the boss fights, the story — this game was close to perfect in my book. The ending was so exciting that I actually jumped up off the couch and swung the Wii remote and nunchuck down for the final blow to the final boss. While this game is both praised and criticized by the Zelda fanbase pretty equally, it is hands-down my favorite title thus far. I can’t wait to play it again.
Well, there you have it! If you haven’t played a Zelda game before or you just haven’t gotten around to some of the titles on this list, I urge you to check them out!