Top 10 Best The Legend of Zelda Games

You've probably played many of The Legend of Zelda games and enjoyed them all. But which ones are your favorite? Pick the greatest Legend of Zelda games!
The Top Ten
1 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

This game was classic and near perfection. The first time seeing Zelda in 3D was a moment I will never forget. The atmosphere, graphics, music, and gameplay were awesome.

The first time riding Epona, the first time visiting the Lost Woods with that catchy music, and this game had some of the best dungeons ever. We can't forget that epic fight with Ganon.

Every Zelda game is different, but this one is what made the franchise great. The gameplay and story of Ocarina are what made this game a hit. This was the first game that brought Link into a 3D environment (no, not the 3D that everyone these days is obsessed with), and Nintendo did a great job in making it.

Because of the gameplay, it is able to offer something that the handheld and all previous Zelda games weren't able to. For the time, this game's graphics were great, but I would really like to see this game remade for something besides the 3DS with HD graphics. I'm sure that the younger generations of Zelda fans would get to enjoy the classic that they weren't able to.

2 The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Initially heralded as one of the best, if not the best, Zelda games of its time, Twilight Princess has paradoxically become an underdog pick over the years - pun intended (because you turn into a dog, get it?). The game offers challenging enemies and puzzles, a touching story, and a large, heavily atmospheric world filled with fantastical characters. Twilight Princess stands tall in the franchise, giving subtle nods to its predecessors while remaining an independent chapter that serves as a precursor to later entries.

Though some find the game's expansive world too large and its missions overly drawn out, this design choice serves a purpose. It allows the dramatic sequences to have a significant impact and gives the impression that Hyrule and its provinces are a truly grand kingdom. Critics argue that the game "tried too hard to be dark," usually referring to its color palette and the use of a "twilight realm." However, it didn't just try. It succeeded in being dark. Fans had called for a darker game after experiencing Wind Waker, so Nintendo's decision-makers made it a reality.

Since there was a clear demand for a darker theme, this request evolved into a full-on artistic direction. As other-dimensional worlds have always existed in Zelda lore, the creation of another, "The Realm of Twilight," felt fitting. Another point of criticism has been the game's lack of innovation. While it's true that there were many new and interesting aspects, this criticism is mostly valid. Twilight Princess wasn't a reinvented Zelda, nor should it have tried to be. What the game lacked in 'newness,' it more than made up for in refinement.

3 The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

This was a great game that went against quite a few classic tropes. While Link was on a quest to save the world, it always felt like you could not save everyone. You were on a time limit, the doomsday clock, which meant that you could not create a happy ending for everyone, just take what you need, reverse time, and stop Majora.

It really gave a foreboding and ominous feeling to the series that had been mostly unexplored. And on the subject of time, this was finally the game where the villain actually enacted his plan. Gone are the times where you could save the world later because you got to fish now. And while you can reverse time, it does it quite well, letting you only keep important items. And after you reversed time, all the good you did is undone, leaving you to shrug your shoulders and carry on without saving them.

4 The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Although every Zelda game is epic in its own way, the one that is too special to me is The Wind Waker. It was my very first Zelda game. Not only is it my favorite game from the series, but it's also my favorite game overall. The world in this game is simply enormous. The characters are very memorable, and the story is deep and emotional. It also had some very funny moments.

The music is just too fantastic, the best one in the series if you ask me. And the graphics, although still criticized, are one of the many things that make the game so epic. The characters, especially Link, were so expressive in this one. It really made you feel part of that world.

There was always something to do in every corner. The dungeons were challenging and fun, and the sailing, although tedious at times, made you feel like you were truly exploring a vast oceanic world. I won't deny that games like Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess were amazing, and that Skyward Sword was a big leap for the series, but this game is still the best.

5 The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

I remember the first moment of this game was awesome. Link waking up in his bed while it was thundering and lightning outside, and you had to make your way to Hyrule Castle. This game grabbed me from the beginning, and by the time the ending credits were rolling, I realized that this game was one of the best games I ever played.

I could have voted for Ocarina of Time or Minish Cap, but if I'm to be totally honest, then I would have to say that this was my favorite Zelda game (not having played Link Between Worlds yet). I love the top-down view gameplay, and for the Zelda series, it just fits perfectly for the level designs and puzzles, the combat, and the cool gadgets.

Gadgets which no other game has been able to match! Don't get me wrong, I won't argue the awesomeness of the newer, prettier Zelda games, but being an original player of the first NES game, I value gameplay above graphics, and adventure equally to both. Therefore, I vote for A Link to the Past as the greatest Zelda game of all time! Which means I'll probably vote for A Link Between Worlds as the greatest as well!

6 The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Skyward Sword was a great step forward for the series and was very innovative. They added a great upgrade system based on things you collect, better shield mechanics (such as new types of shields, durability, fixing shields with potions, or even upgrading them), and the stamina bar which (finally) gives Link the ability to run, jump, and parkour. They added Hero Mode (a mode where you take double damage and heart flowers don't appear as an extra challenge), and a great combat system that wasn't just spamming the "B" button (you have to assess the enemy, find a good way to attack based on how the enemy acts, and execute it). They added immersive 1:1 motion controls. I could go on, but I'll stop there.

Actually, no. They added a lot more than that. With Skyward Sword, they gave the Legend of Zelda series an amazing origin story that served as the prequel to Ocarina of Time. They condensed the overworld, making sure that it was full to the brim with content. They gave the player a good incentive to actually progress through the game. The overworld can also have challenging puzzles, making it feel like an actual world, not just a bunch of levels scattered around. The characters in the game are well thought out and really make the game come to life. This game is awesome. 10/10, hands down.

7 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Easily the best Zelda game, until Tears of the Kingdom came out, and was the best video game of all time, in my opinion. Huge open world, nice story, great characters, beautiful soundtrack, amazing gameplay, spectacular combat system, and stunning abilities. I have no idea why this is number 7. This is one of the few pieces of media that truly makes me feel something.

Link and Zelda's struggle to overcome the guilt of letting Hyrule go to ruin is something I think anyone can relate to. I sure have. But they had to overcome that guilt. And that's what inspires me to get over my guilt. Every champion has a backstory that is explored in the DLC, and it makes their deaths even more tragic.

I used to hate Revali, but now I love him. He just wanted to be special, so he practiced and practiced until he could create his updraft. He just wanted to be known and to feel proud of himself. He was rude to Link because he was insecure. And before he could talk about it, he died. That's just one of the champions.

The music always reflects the mood. Some examples are the Temple of Time, all the champion themes, Rito Village, both Riding Themes, Sidon's Theme, the second phase Dark Beast Ganon Theme, and, of course, the main theme. Overall, a fantastic game.

8 The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

Link's Awakening is the perfect example of early '90s nostalgia in a Zelda game. The remake itself still captures the nostalgia in its graphics and soundtrack, but it's still a very underrated Zelda game. The only gripe I have with this game is finding all the Secret Seashells, as you need about 40 to get the best sword in the game, which is the Koholint Sword.

It's kind of like a parallel world to the Zelda franchise, as you can see Mario and Kirby enemies in this game, which is kind of weird. My favorite dungeon in this game has to be the Face Shrine. It's so complex. The music really helps set the somber atmosphere, as well as a creative use of the block switches. It's an easy game that gets harder as the game progresses, in my opinion.

9 The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

While not my favorite Zelda game, this one is great! The dungeons were all fun and satisfying to go through, and I liked the concept of playing them in any order. While it's nice to have items appear in dungeons, it still worked with the whole renting concept, and it was an innovative idea. The soundtrack is pretty good, and while it's not the best one I've heard, this game has some great songs (mainly Lorule Castle to me).

Also, the story was better than I expected, and the ending was surprising and awesome. I was expecting this game to focus a lot more on gameplay, but it delivered a pretty good story as well. Overall, a great game that every Zelda fan should pick up. I never played A Link to the Past (although I plan to and I think it will be good), but I know that this game pays homage to that game in many ways (it even has mostly the same overworld) and if you were a fan of A Link to the Past, you will certainly feel lots of nostalgia.

10 The Legend of Zelda (1986)

This was the very first Zelda game, as well as the very first video game, I played as a child. I remember my dad installing it on our computer, and although I kept dying because I was so young, being 4 years old at the time, I had a blast! Playing it is one of my favorite childhood memories, and I enjoy revisiting it to this day.

Most of you are probably too young to really appreciate what this game represents. There's a reason it's among the first ten games enshrined into the Video Game Hall of Fame, and they certainly didn't make a mistake with this one. I would rank it #1 on this list, and probably in the same spot on any list of video games.

The Contenders
11 The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

The most underrated Zelda game ever! It's a slight variation on the classic Zelda storyline and is an interesting game overall. The mechanics foster creative thinking and provide awesome gameplay.

If you haven't already played it, join the 50 people who have! We don't fight about Ocarina and Twilight like the rest of the Zelda fans do.

Definitely the best 2D Zelda game. Also, one of the most overlooked games in the franchise. To be honest, I like Vaati much more than Ganon(dorf). Ezlo is also one of the best companions in the franchise. This is certainly my third favorite Zelda game.

Link's Awakening is also really amazing, though.

12 The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

I think this is one of those Zelda games that doesn't get the credit it deserves, as I thoroughly enjoyed it back in the day when it was released. It is a virtual improvement over its predecessor, Phantom Hourglass, with touch controls that have improved, so they're no longer stiff as all hell. However, there were some parts where I found the touch controls to be the bane of my existence, such as the Spirit Flute sections. I actually almost ran out of breath blowing into the DS mic.

But the most fun aspect, I think, is the train. Think about it: other games had horses, boats, birds, etc., but in this game, you're taking the midnight flyer, baby. I still find this game's Zelda to be one of the best incarnations of the character. Seriously, Link and ghost Zelda contribute some of the funniest moments in the game, and her reaction when she finds out her body is going to be possessed is priceless. Despite its flaws, it's another solid Zelda title.

Oh, and the overworld theme, "Full Steam Ahead," is a straight-up jam. If there's one "track" that screams "adventure is out there," it's this one.

13 The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages

These two games were designed to function as one, and when considered from that perspective, they combine to make one of the most substantive games in terms of gameplay and level design. They also tread new ground with the locations and villains, and in the case of Oracle of Seasons, a totally unique mechanic in the Seasons theme.

Add the bonus of linking the two and an extended ending, and it's an immensely satisfying journey.

Huge quest when linked with Seasons, intriguing story, solid gameplay, tons of originality, and potential for sequels... I've played the Oracles more than any other game, and they pack such a punch for the smaller package. So many Zelda titles get stuck in the ruts of tradition, but the Oracles do their own thing, as I wish more Zelda games would do.

14 The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons

My personal favorite of the duo (and therefore one of my favorites in the franchise), it has a less developed world, characters, and story than Oracle of Ages, but it features much more fun items and dungeons. The seasons mechanic is a really cool, original one that I really want to be revisited in a future game!

The season-changing mechanic is original and creative. The sprite work is really pretty. The colors of each season are vibrant. The music is great - duh, it's Zelda. The dungeons are fun. It's just a solid game.

Plus, you get to go on dates with someone who isn't Zelda for once. And you get to name a kid and decide who that kid becomes. (I chose Hero.)

15 The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

This was my first Legend of Zelda game I played and completed the story. It has some cool concepts. For example, one puzzle has you close the system without turning it off and then open it to make a mark on the map.

I didn't like that it was controlled pretty much by stylus the whole time. It led to Link sometimes doing things that were not intended, which can be frustrating. No matter how much people say the Temple of the Ocean King is terrible, there are areas that allow you to fast travel to them, in exchange for time taken, of course, but it isn't that bad. It isn't as terrible as it is made out to be but can be frustrating.

16 The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures

You guys might hate this game, but it still belongs on the list. I mean, come on, you put Crossbow Training before an actual Zelda game? That's just completely ridiculous.

It may not be as popular as Ocarina of Time or Twilight Princess, but it is the best Legend of Zelda game I have ever played. It has a great story, really cool characters, and it's super addicting.

It's good multiplayer fun, but way too much of a hassle to assemble everything for a four-player experience.

17 Hyrule Warriors

Though Hyrule Warriors wasn't a canon Zelda game, it was still pretty solid. I was hyped when Nintendo stated that characters from the series were now in the same era, especially the Twilight Princess, Midna. The gameplay itself is so repetitive yet so fun, you won't even realize you have been pressing the same buttons.

Also, the story was novel and unique. I mean, (SPOILER) who would have guessed Lana was more than a playable character, right? She is the Guardian of Time - the alternate light form. All in all, this game is amazing, and I totally recommend it. I can't wait for Hyrule Warriors: Legends, starring Linkle!

18 Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Okay, why is this below Phantom Hourglass? Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is a good game. It's probably one of the most underrated games I have ever played. If you're a fan of hard games, this game is for you! Whenever you defeat an enemy in this one, it feels like a reward. You feel like you've achieved something.

The only real problem I have with this game is that you have to go back to the place you started if you die three times.

I can't believe you people. You need to stop hating on this game. Yes, it's hard. Yes, it's a side-scroller. Yes, it's frustrating. But it's still a good game. Not as good as the first, but it still had plenty to offer. The final boss was difficult but still cool. And if the AVGN can say that the game is good, then it is. Seriously? Link's Crossbow Training over Zelda II?

19 The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past & Four Swords

Four Swords on the DSi is the perfect example of linear Zelda done right! I liked skipping past the exposition and going straight from dungeon to dungeon, and would love to see that style of gameplay again in future Zelda titles. Not even a Four Swords sequel is necessary, just a linear Mystery Dungeon crawler that plays like this underrated masterpiece!

A remake of A Link to the Past for the Super Nintendo. It also includes a multiplayer game called Four Swords!

Link to the Past gets no love? Shame.

20 The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes

I haven't played this, but it looks pretty fun! The one thing that isn't good is that I don't think you can play the main game with only two people total. I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure you can only play by yourself or with two friends (three people total). That's kind of stupid, but I think the game will be fun to play other than that (although it's not going to be the "masterpiece" type game, just a fun, satisfying game).

Definitely meant to be played with friends. Single player works fine, but misses the essence of Zelda. Not that it's a bad game, by any means, but it was obviously designed around multiplayer, making single player seem like an afterthought.

Multiplayer is great, with playing online being fun and having good connectivity, but it can have long wait times. It tries to alleviate this by putting plenty of things in the waiting room, but these will only hold your attention for a few minutes. Communicating with others is okay. You are given 6-8 buttons on the touch screen to communicate with other players. These work fine, but communication could be much better with a few more options. The lack of text chat is disappointing and could have easily been implemented, but gameplay works fine without it. Voice chat would likely be impossible on the hardware, so it's understandable that it's left out.

Levels are unique, and completing them offers challenges, such as having a time limit, not popping any balloons, not falling, etc. Completing these challenges offers a chance at more rare rewards. Costumes are very clever, with some seeming like a no-brainer, such as not slipping on ice, or increasing the power of your sword. Others are more creative, such as increasing the damage you do when dashing, or making hearts appear more often. All in all, few costumes are completely useless, and all have their situations in which they are helpful.

Planning costumes ahead is great, and can make or break a mission. Levels give you three items, and these items are shown before the mission starts, allowing you to choose wisely instead of blindly. Choosing a level is easy: choose an area, then get paired with teammates, and choose a level. Disputes are settled with a roulette on levels that players chose.

21 Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland
22 The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

This is the best video game. Not just the best Zelda game (though it is that too), but the BEST video game. The story has made me cry multiple times, the characters actually have character, and Zelda isn't just captured by Ganon the whole time. I don't care if it "messes up the timeline" or "is too modern".

This is the best game ever, a game that I can't believe works, considering the Switch's hardware limitations and it's open world while also trying to tell a cohesive story. Just because it wasn't around when all you old people had your N64s and Ocarinas doesn't mean it's not an absolutely gorgeous, groundbreaking game. It deserves every single ten-out-of-ten rating and hardcore fan it has.

23 Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
24 Zelda (Game & Watch)

Often an overlooked game considering its status as a Game & Watch title, but surprisingly, the game is fun, addicting, and challenging. It even has its own story that takes place after Zelda II. It's currently available on the Game and Watch Collection 4 for GBA, so give it a shot if you can!

25 Tingle's Balloon Fight DS

It is so good I was playing for hours on end. It's the best one in the whole series.

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