Breath of the Wild has been experiencing a lot of success in the past year, which is good news to me since I’m an avid LoZ fan. If you don’t have a Switch, don’t worry–you can run it on the CEMU emulator for PC and experience it for yourself.
Still, Breath of the Wild isn’t the only Zelda game out there. And sometimes new installations of the series create more questions than they answer. For example: who are Link and Zelda? Are they soulmates? What’s the chronological order of all these darn games? Only one thing’s for sure: the LoZ franchise has some of the best games ever created. Let’s look at some of the best.
#1 Twilight Princess
Twilight Princess was released for the Wii and has the distinction of being the very first game I ever played all the way through. It was immersive and enjoyable, and I enjoyed the graphics a lot. Skyward Sword, which we also played on the Wii, wasn’t as enjoyable as TP in my opinion for some reason. I think they went overboard with all the controls, and the run limitation was also pretty frustrating. No more endless barrel rolls? Nah, not for me. I loved Twilight Princess’s strong female characters (Midna and Zelda were both awesome!), and the ability explore the TP world. The story was relatable, and the art was absolutely enchanting. It was nice to see a darker twist on a Zelda game.
#2 Ocarina of Time
Released in 1998, this is the legendary game that solidified the Zelda franchise as one that would stand the test of time. It was the first game to feature 3D graphics and time travel, and at the time it was the largest game ever produced by Nintendo. Even when playing it as a girl I identified with Link’s journey from home and spent countless hours trying to catch Poe Souls. The game has a perfect score from IGN and a 99% on Metacritic, and honestly, I think it’s the greatest game ever created. What do you say? You haven’t experienced video games until you’ve tried this game at least once.
#3 Breath of the Wild
A lot of critics weren’t expecting much from Breath of the Wild, and in fact, I remember reading a bunch of angry comments saying that BOTW was going to be awful and that we never needed an open world game from the Zelda universe. But BOTW’s stellar reviews and high sales have quickly proved those comments wrong.
It is the best-selling game on the Nintendo Switch, and for the first time ever there’s actual voice acting. You can run, climb, swim, and even paraglide. Though its ratings aren’t as amazing as Ocarina of Time, it still received a whopping 97/100 on Metacritic. All of its other scores by other magazines and publications have consistently been above 90%. To tell you the truth, I’d buy the Switch just to get a chance to play this game.
#4 Wind Waker
Don’t overlook Wind Waker when trying out Zelda games to play! It’s set in an ocean with lots of small islands and is set way after Ocarina of Time. Instead of the usual 3D art we’ve grown familiar with in games like Majora’s Mask and TP, Wind Waker offers a cel-shaded, cartoon-ized take on these classic characters. You have to rescue Link’s sister, solve the mystery of the flood, and (of course) defeat Ganondorf. Its HD remaster is playable on Wii U, though it was initially released on GameCube in 2002.
#5 Majora’s Mask
The mask and creepy moon have entered meme culture and are absolutely unforgettable. I didn’t get to play this on the console it was intended for, and instead played on an emulator. But that doesn’t erase any of the wonderful memories I made playing this game with my brother. I finally finished it on the Nintendo 3DS (the remaster was released in 2015)! It was initially released for the N64.
I really loved meeting all of the characters and playing through the story. The 3-day time limit was really challenging and kind of stressed me out since, even with the time loops, the threat of the countdown at the bottom of the screen put a lot of pressure on gamers! It was kind of sweet and endearing to see Skull Kid’s actual face–the mask makes him look so sinister. This is another great and legendary game that you should definitely play!
There you go: five of the most awesome, “you should definitely try this!’ games in the LoZ series. I know these are all relatively new, but after 2000 Nintendo did really step up and improve the LoZ series, molding them into what they are today. What do you think?