A couple of months ago I played The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask for the first time. I really enjoyed it. I've had some time to look back and reflect upon it and to think about where it stands within the series. I decided to write a blog where I rank each of the games in order of my least favorite to most favorite. Of course, this is all my personal preference. I think it's important to note that this is how I favor the games, but it doesn't necessarily mean that this is the order of the quality of the games. You'll definitely disagree with my rankings, and that's great! I look forward to hearing all about it in the comments! Oh, and one quick thing to note. This is only for the 3D games, and I count Phantom Hourglass as 2D personally, so don't expect to see that.
I apologize to all of the fans of this game, but I just cannot handle it. I only made it about 4 hours in before I was so fed up with the controls that I quit. Your mileage will vary with motion controls, of course. But it was terrible for me. And unfortunately, the controls weren't my only problem with the game. I hated stamina. I really, truly did. I thought it was an absolutely terrible addition. Then they added the idea of shields breaking. This was just horrendous to me. Ultimately, I found this game to be completely unplayable. It's the only 3D Zelda that I haven't beaten. If ever they make an HD port that reduces (or eliminates) the motion controls, I will absolutely give it another whirl. Oh, and one more thing to mention. I find the art direction to be absolutely horrendous. Everything just looks so washed out. I have no idea if my colorblindness is part of this or not, but I find it very visually unappealing.
7-Link's Crossbow Training
I bet you didn't expect to see this on my list, didja?
This game was a fun little diversion that came packed in with the Wii Zapper. If you don't recall, the Wii Zapper was a ridiculous thing you could put a Wiimote and Nunchuk in and have it work like holding a gun. Kind of. It was really awkward to use. You could buy it for like 20 bucks and LCT came with it. Basically, you are the Link from Twilight Princess except you've got your hands on a crossbow. You go around shooting stuff with it. Aaaaaaand... that's all there is to it. I wasn't very good at it. I didn't play tons of it. The Zapper was super strange to use (you're better off just using the Wiimote as you normally would). I don't think it was even worth what little I paid for it. If there's any 3D Zelda worth skipping it's this one. The only reason it's ranked above Skyward Sword for me is that I didn't find it completely painful to play.
6-Breath of the Wild
I've written about this game before. But here's the short version. BOTW is a fantastic game! There's so much to love! The feeling of freedom and exploration is absolutely breathtaking (heh). It's a gorgeous, vibrant world and there is always something new to discover. The physics and runes are great as well. But I have many problems with it. The biggest thing for me is the weapon degradation. I know some people love it. I absolutely cannot tolerate it. Every single weapon you get is worthless because it breaks after like 10 uses. I also think the dungeons have serious problems and the bosses of the dungeons were garbage. But it's a really interesting direction for the series to go. I think if they were to follow it up with another game (a la Majora's Mask), they could really fine tune all the systems and make something very special.
Note: I played the 3DS version.
This game is wonderful. Termina is arguably the most fully realized world in a Zelda game. So many interesting places and people. Complex characters. Tragic tales. It's a great experience and I'm very glad I finally played it. Oh, and the Stone Tower Temple is probably a top 3 dungeon of all time for Zelda.
I must say that I do have some problems with MM that will keep me from replaying it for a very long time. Most importantly, so much of the game just feels like work. You have to repeat so many tasks and do so many things in very specific orders. It grows very tedious. And I used a strategy guide! I literally cannot fathom playing this game without one. It would be an excruciating experience. Last, this game has the Great Bay Temple. It's tied with the Wind Temple from Wind Waker as the worst dungeon in a 3D Zelda.
Note: I haven't played the HD version.
What a lovely game! It's the grown up Zelda we always wanted! For some reason, this game does get a lot of flack on the internet. I feel that it's undeserved. This game is epic. It has a grand, sweeping tale. It has fantastic characters. It has Midna, the best companion character in any Zelda. It has some of the best dungeons of any game in the series. City in the Sky is so good. I also love the Snowpeak Ruins and the Arbiter's Grounds. The game has some of the best bosses as well. Argorok and the Stallord are just unforgettable. Most significantly, this game graced us with the Double Clawshot, the single best item in any Zelda game. You effectively become Spider-Link and the you are unstoppable. There is no obstacle you cannot overcome with this thing!
It does have a couple of flaws. The most obvious being the slow start. It takes a good 4 hours for the game to really get going. This can make it difficult to go back and replay. And it has the Lakebed Temple, which I don't care for.
Note: I haven't played the HD version.
I've written about this one before as well. This game has the best Link of any entry. He is so expressive! He's a real character, not just a blank slate for us to latch onto. He's brave, in spite of having great fear. His quest is very personal, as he just wants to save his kidnapped sister. The combat is some of the funnest in the series. I love the way you combo attacks. It's also great fun to take weapons from enemies and fight with them. The world here is so beautiful and I love spending time here. I wish there was more to do. Much of the Great Sea feels empty and lifeless. The game could have really benefitted from 1 or 2 more dungeons. But I love what is here. I can't hear the opening theme without wanting to replay it. I am eagerly hoping for a Switch port of WWHD so I can dive back in with ease!
It has problems as well, of course. The Triforce Quest is just dumb filler. But the biggest thing is the Wind Temple. It's so bad. So, so terrible. I didn't enjoy one second of that dungeon. Oh, and Puppet Ganon can is horrid.
2-Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition
Yet another entry I've written about before!
I love this game. I'm sure including it will be controversial (let alone ranking it so highly). But if BOTW counts as a mainline Zelda in spite of being such a drastic departure in formula, then this counts too dammit!
Every Zelda fan owes it to themselves to play this game. They will absolutely find something to love here. It's so much fun to play as all of these different characters from different eras of the timeline. I main Toon Link, as he is the adorablest little guy and he's very powerful. My wife mains Linkle because she is best girl and is arguably the most powerful character in the game. But I love playing as many others. Marin is my second favorite. Ganondorf with his Trident is a delight. Twili Midna is great. I could go on. The combat in this game is insanely fun. Learning the various characters movesets and powers is great. My wife and I have played about 100 hours of this and we will surely play more in the future. Everyone, play this game! Buy this game! Buy a copy for your friends! Make them play it! It's worth it!
1-Ocarina of Time
I mean, really, what other game could I have picked? I've written about it before, stated that it's my favorite game on the N64, and even declared it my favorite game of all time. I love this game. I very strongly urge to watch the video I embedded above this paragraph. It is a truly insightful discussion of the story of Ocarina of Time. In spite of having beaten the game at least a dozen times, there's much I didn't catch before watching this.
I love OOT. It was the first game I ever played that felt like a living, breathing world. I love the music, the dungeons, the characters, the sidequests, the time travel, and so much more. Of course this game is not above criticism. There are ways the game could be improved. But it is so wonderful as-is. I adore it. Of course, it's worth mentioning that it's one of the most innovative 3D titles ever made. Practically any 3rd person 3D game takes at least some inspiration from it on some level.
But enough about me! What do you think? What did I get wrong? How do you rank the series? Share with us!