No, no, no, let’s be just a little bit fair about all of this. It’s not as easy of a call as we might be tempted to say. We all know that, subjectively and objectively, there’s one particular title that popped in our heads the moment we read this title. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give the rest of the titles a chance. The best Zelda game, just like “the best any kind of game,” is a crossroad of factors and influences.
Image Courtesy of Nintendo
Is Ocarina Of Time the best Zelda game both from a critical perspective and from the perspective of the player? Who knows? Trailing close behind it are titles such as A Link To The Past, Majora’s Mask, or The Wind Waker, all of which have the chance to turn tops and lists around. Can they actually do it? Let’s find out.
Majora’s Mask is probably not a smart choice for anyone wishing to dive into the realm of Legend of Zelda for the very first time and the reason is pretty obvious – it’s not exactly the best representative of the franchise. But fret not, this is a good thing… kind of. Well, no it is.
The game was released post Ocarina of Time, when Nintendo had already opened the door for novel and unique things thanks to the new engine previously launched. And this is exactly what they did. Nintendo created a game that was new, unique, and slightly weird. This is the only way to talk about a game that had a plot revolving around an evil Moon about to crash into the world mixed with elements of ponder on parallel dimensions, impeding death, and the flow of time.
The Wind Waker
Standing pretty much at the opposite end of the aforementioned entry in the franchise, we have The Wind Waker. Released in 2002, it had fans of Zelda on the edge of their seats as they tried to figure out whether they loved it or hated it. Rumor has it that a consensus has yet to be reached on this one.
Overall, however, it’s easy to see that the passing of time didn’t affect The Wind Waker much. It’s by the far the most childlike and colorful game in the series, having given players one of the most expressive and lovable versions of Link so far and some of the most memorably beautiful graphics of any Zelda game.
A Link To The Past
This is the one entry that is constantly clashing with the apparent obvious number one choice. And who can blame us? Before A Link To The Past, there was nothing. The first Zelda is as forgettable as it gets and the second one is just so confusing it became one of those things fans don’t want to talk about and like to pretend never happened.
A Link To The Past was the game that introduced the successful formula that all Zelda games from then on would follow. It had a plot, it gave Link his purpose, his weapons, and it gave players all the chickens to stab in the world.
So, then… Can either of these games surpass the first entry we’re all waiting for?
WINNER: Ocarina Of Time
Sadly, no. Subjectively, maybe. We don’t expect you to agree if you happen to have some stronger emotional ties to other entries. But from a critical standpoint, Ocarina Of Time is not just the best Zelda game, but also one of the best games of all time.
It has all the right things going on for it: novel graphics, an excellent plot, great characters, and an incredibly memorable soundtrack. Even though, in some instances, it’s a rehash of the formula established by A Link To The Past, it’s the small alterations and bonus additions that managed to boost it to the top of the list.