Ranking Zelda Games

Tier the Zelda games you’ve played? Which ones did you enjoy at least a little/think are good games?

I think I’d rank Zelda 1 as the best zelda game hands down, but from there it’s a bit harder.

Next best I think is Oracle of Seasons, which was largely built as a remake of Zelda 1, with a similar map structure and all. I haven’t beaten or even played very much of Link’s Awakening, but reputation indicates that it might go here as well.

I’m not totally sure where to put Adventure of Link, it’s hard to compare to the rest, but I think it’s very good overall, except for the enemies that can stab high or low. There’s no animation telegraphing this, so it can come across as rather random. It has nice jumping, nice enemy designs, and nice moves like the down stab, up stab, spells, and others.

I’m not sure whether to put Link to the Past or A Link Between Worlds higher. It’s been a very long time since I played Link to the Past, and I enjoyed ALBW a bit. ALBW has a lot of depth in the form of tricks and occasionally good enemy designs, but it’s also a very easy game, both in terms of enemies not dealing many hearts of damage, and not being very aggressive.

Beyond this point I wouldn’t consider Zelda games outright good.

I didn’t enjoy Oracle of Ages or Minish Cap as much, they focused on a more modern puzzle-like approach, even if they were 2d. I played 5 minutes of phantom hourglass before deciding it was a terrible idea.

And now we have the 3d zeldas, I don’t really like any of them, I’m not totally sure how to rank them because I feel different things on each of them.

I think I’d rank Twilight Princess as best 3d zelda. It had a lot of moves that could be used in combat. The overworld was huge, enemy arrangements weren’t bad, it had the cave of ordeals with additional combat challenges. It had meh bosses. It has an alright speedrun thanks primarily to the master sword skip, gale boomerang super jump exploiting, and a couple other small tricks.

Next best I think I’d award to Ocarina of Time, primarily because it has a pretty crazy game structure overall and a lot of things you can do with items. Also it has the best speedruns, no doubt. The number of tricks is off the wall.

After that I’d go with Wind Waker, because It had a few dynamic challenges here and there with enemies and other things. It has the next best speedrun thanks to super swimming, storage and a ton of assorted additional tricks (they just found barrier skip in WWHD, after all these years).

Then I’d go with Majora’s mask, because I hated its structure. I hate all the sidequests. I hate the enemy designs, I don’t like the dungeons. The overworld has a workable structure. About the only thing that I found remotely interesting was the boss designs, and some minigames. The speedrun is crazy like ocarina, but I’ve never found it as entertaining as OoT or WW.

Skyward Sword is easily the worst zelda game. It has the most rote combat, the most linear progression, the most puzzle-like bosses. I don’t think there’s a single redeeming thing about this game.

3 thoughts on “Ranking Zelda Games

  1. Rin June 25, 2017 / 6:02 am

    So it seems like you prefer to play
    First Zelda game, Oracle Seasons, Link to the past, and Link Between Worlds.
    But not oracles Ages and Minish cap. Which I can understand that.
    However, I have a question for you. What do you mean by “Modern-Puzzle Like Approach”?
    Like could you explain that to me more specifically? I am assuming that you probably not enjoying 3D Zelda because of that “Modern Puzzle” like approach. Right?
    So what I am exactly asking is.. what is the actual difference between “Classic Puzzle” like approach(?) versus “Modern Puzzle” like approach?


    • Chris Wagar June 25, 2017 / 6:28 am

      The classic puzzle approach was that there were no puzzles.

      Eiji Aonuma added puzzles to the games when he was in charge of dungeon design in Ocarina of Time. There were some light puzzles at points in previous games, but they were extremely rare and very small (like pushing a block to make stairs appear in the original, lighting a torch in LttP).

      What happened to the series is that, once Eiji Aonuma was brought on board, the series revolved around puzzles instead of combat. He was also in charge of enemy design in OoT, so combat too became more puzzle-like.

      And I’m dissatisfied with the puzzles because they range from easy to patronizing. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/416986/webm/tww%20zelda%20puzzle.webm


      • RIN July 1, 2017 / 2:56 am

        Ahhh now I understand what is up. Cause I did played all of those classic Zelda games, and I really could not explain myself why I did enjoyed more 2D Zelda games over 3D ones.
        And your post makes a lot of sense to me now.
        I also recently tried to revist 3D Zelda game, I really could not get into it.
        I realized the way that they do the boss battle feels more like scripted puzzle battle(So you are restricted to use certain key item during the boss battle otherwise it will not damage the boss)
        instead of actually using some kind of strategy. I know I am not the best person to explain stuff like this.. but you get the idea.


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