Hyrule Town Square

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Caldwin

Lifer
Citizen
I'm going to start things off by ranking every single Zelda game I've ever played because...why not? I feel like doing some typing.

The Legend of Zelda (NES)
Still a classic. I still enjoy going back to this every once in a while. It doesn't hold your hand at all. You're set on a map, given two buttons two work with and off you go. I can still play this over and over again. On the downside, it is a short game. I can play it in 2-3 days. I've played it so many times, I still have all but maybe 2-3 of the dungeons memorized. So it's one of the smaller Zelda games.
--A+

Zelda II The Adventure of Link
Now here there's a few things that come into play. This did a lot of things right. Magic meter, spells, levels, sword fighting. In so many ways, it is a very good game. But on the original cartridge version, you get a game over, you lose all your exp points. 1-Up Dolls and point bags do not respawn after a game over. You just lose them. And at the end of the game going to the Great Palace, you need those extra lives. In a series where you always restart at the beginning of a dungeon, it also doesn't help things that in this game you start at the very beginning after a game over. They also put Death Mountain (arguably one of the hardest parts of the game) very near the beginning. That's a hell of a difficulty spike. But later releases are helped by Save States. Save states are a huge consideration.
--Original Cartridge C
--Later releases with save states B+

Zelda: A Link to the Past
This is everything the original Zelda was only better. Better map, better sword fights, better puzzles, better graphics, better enemies. This is a classic in every way. Even the graphics have aged extremely well. I honestly can't think of anything bad about this game.
-- S tier

Zelda: Links Awakening
Sure it's a gameboy game. But it's a great gameboy game. It's awesome because you can actually go swordless. The story with Marin is bittersweet. It's just such a sweet story that even for a gameboy game, it's just awesome. And having a Switch remaster that's very faithful to the original..it's a must play
-- Gameboy A++
-- Switch Remaster S

Oracle Games
These are good. But I did run into a brick wall on both of these. So keep in mind this is my personal opinion on games I couldn't even nearly finish. I had fun with the parts I was able to play, but having run into those brick walls...
-- B

Ocarina of time
Okay, this is painful. I love this game. If not for this game, I would have gotten out of gaming altogether after the SNES. This game is what helped me meet someone who has been my best friend since college. I have so many personal reasons that make this the top of S tier games. It built the Zelda universe more than any other Zelda. It intruduced Ganon's human form, the Gerudo, Zora (as we know them now), Gorans. It introduced so much to the mythology. But to be totally honest, it simply has not aged well. Graphics on the N64 is painfully headache inducing. And while the 3DS alleviates this, it's just hard to say anything but that it simply has not aged well.
-- N64 S- (and I hate myself for scoring it that low)
-- 3DS S

Majora's Mask
I love the Mask transformations. If they brought back mask transformations, I would absolutely love to play that game. Unfortunately, the time limiting factor really does put a huge damper on the game play. Imagine, you've spent hours on a dungeon. It's been nerve wracking but you're finally near the end. You're at the boss door and...oops! Time to play the ocarina and return to the first day. I got this on the 3DS too. But I just could never play through it again. Especially that couple's mask quest...I just can't. It's a huge thing, sure I had fun playing it the first time, but do I have any inclination to ever play it again? Unfortunately, no. I can't bring myself to pick this up again. I had a lot of fun mechanics. But in the end, I just can't go back to it.
-- B

Wind Waker
When this first came out, I was one of the neigh sayers. What the heck is with those graphics. This isn't my Zelda. Except that it was. It was Zelda in every way that was important. Once I actually started playing it, I loved it. Would I go back and play it again? I absolutely have. I played Game Cube twice and the HD remake once. Yes the ocean is empty and boring until you're able to teleport. And yes it take a while before you can get that teleportation ability. But even at that, this game is so much fun. I love the story. I love the play style. And I'm just going to say it, I love the graphics.
-- S

Four Swords Adventures
Fun game. Even single player I made it through and had fun with it. But it felt very much like a side game. Official timeline that has this featured in it notwithstanding, I just feel this odd disconnect between this and the rest of the series. It's fun, but just doesn't quite measure up to what I look for in a Zelda game.
-- B

Minish Cap
I loved it. I played it to completion. I loved the shrink feature. I loved the Kinstones. Ezlo was okay. It is a very solid Zelda. Unfortunately, it's one of those I had fun while playing, but never really cared to go back to after I was done. I even have a hard time coming up with concrete memories of this game other than it was fun and I played it. So...average? And keep in mind, an average Zelda game would still be considered kick ass if it were any other series.
-- C+

Twilight Princess
Thus far I believe it's still the only Zelda with a T rating. This is the art style I was looking for since Ocarina of Time. I've played it on Game Cube, Wii and Wii U. Zant's hand is the only thing that made me not finish it on Wii U. Zant's Hand is absolutely the only thing I find infuriating about this game. Everything is spot on perfect. Even Midna, the "fairy guide" was a character I absolutely came to love with all my heart.
-- S

Phantom Hourglass
I like some of the functionality they gave the touch screen. That's honestly the only thing I can say in favor of this game. And the thing that made it so unbearable for me? That hugging Temple that you have to visit over and over and over again. Sure there's shortcuts later on. But too little too late. It's just too tedious. I absolutely could not like this game.
-- F

Spirit Tracks
Slightly better than Phantom Hourglass. They took the pain out of revisiting the same temple over and over again. I actually did enjoy this...more than its predecessor at least. I ran into a brick wall. But this was allright, especially compared to Phantom Hourglass. It's nowhere near my favorite Zelda, but it isn't the worst.
-- D

Skyward Sword
Well, I did a play through on Wii and a Playthrough on Switch. The Switch improved the graphics. But while sharing the right stick with camera control and sword swinging is a welcome and vast improvement over the waggle controls of the Wii, it's still not the best ever controls in a Zelda game. There's only so much they could do making an inherently motion control game into a standard controller game. It does have its good points. Especially on the Switch, the graphics are really good. I love the relationship between Zelda and Link. The environment is colorful and fun. But the controls, repeated fights with the Imprissoned, the tear medallion sections...this is not Zelda's finest hour.
-- C+

Link Between Worlds
This is so loaded with nostalgia going back to Link to the Past. The map is instantly recognizable. But it's also a game that plays with your expectations. I also love that you can buy/rent items starting from the very beginning. The first 8-bit game was very much go anywhere do anything. But there was still very much an intended order of how to do things. Here...there is no intended order. You can do things in any order you want. And it's glorious.
-- A++

Breath of the Wild
If you haven't played this...for hugs sake go play this. I actually have played this twice: once on the Wii U, once on the Switch. Go anywhere, do anything...heck, if you're good enough, you can go straight to Ganon as soon as you leave the great plateau. This is the best Zelda game EVER. Like seriously, before Breath of the Wild, the closest any game ever came to overtaking Ocarina of Time was Twilight Princess...and I stubbornly held that one down at a close number 2 so that Ocarina could stay number 1. This game right here...it decisively dethroned Ocarina of Time. And I do not say that lightly. Breath of the Wild is the...best...Zelda game...EVER.
-- S+
 

CoffeeHorse

*sip*
Staff member
Council of Elders
Citizen
I never finished A Link to the Past. I wanted to because I keep hearing how beloved that one is but there was one point in one dungeon where I just could not figure out what I needed to do to make the thing advance. I felt like I'd done everything I could in every room but nothing was happening.

The only other one that I've played but not finished is Phantom Hourglass. I was in that same dungeon for the millionth time and I just stopped cold because I realized I wasn't having any fun at all. I actually bought Spirit Tracks but my copy is still in the plastic wrap. I wanted to believe it was going to be better but when it came time to open it up and try it, I just couldn't even open it. Phantom Hourglass sucked that bad. I just wanted normal controls again.

Majora's Mask is the most frustrating game I ever loved. Running out of time right at the end of a dungeon is maddening. Normally I hate that. I don't enjoy frustrating games. I just want to play. But Majora's Mask hit differently. This is blasphemy but I played it way more times than OOT. I'd play it again. It's a masterpiece. It's a game that forces you to see what will happen if you fail, and every time you have to warp back to day 1 it just makes the end seem more and more hopelessly unstoppable, until you stop it.
 

Caldwin

Lifer
Citizen
Do you remember what dungeon was giving you such a problem in A Link to the Past? Maybe I could give some pointers?

I did play Spirit Tracks and it is better than Phantom Hourglass. But it's still an easy pass.

Majora's Mask...I enjoyed it while I was playing it. I got all the masks including Fierce Diety. I could probably even go back to that save file and mess around a bit. But playing from the start...I just can't bring myself to do it.
 

CoffeeHorse

*sip*
Staff member
Council of Elders
Citizen
Well I scoured the wiki and I still have no earthly idea where I got stuck in A Link to the Past. It's been too long. I know it was somewhere in the Dark World, but none of these dungeons are jumping out at me as the one.

If Majora's Mask were any other game I don't know if I could do it either. It should be too much frustration to knowingly sign up for. I just love Termina that much.
 

Sabrblade

Continuity Nutcase
Citizen
Four Swords Adventures
Fun game. Even single player I made it through and had fun with it. But it felt very much like a side game. Official timeline that has this featured in it notwithstanding, I just feel this odd disconnect between this and the rest of the series.
That oddness of that game with the rest of the timeline is precisely why I subscribe, more or less, to this timeline made by LoruleanHistorian rather than the Historia/Encyclopedia ones:

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Majora's Mask...I enjoyed it while I was playing it. I got all the masks including Fierce Diety.
Speaking of which, the mystery of that mask may have finally been solved.

Like, legitimately, not some "ancient Terminian god" fanfiction:

 
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Wing

Cursed Punweaver
Citizen
-Link to the Past
One that took me a lot of time to get into, my first attempts on an SNES copy never got terribly far while I was younger. Later on, however, I came into a copy of the GBA port after much more experience with the series and had a much better time. (Also, easier internet access.) Probably has my favorite gear set across the series.
B+, excellent mechanics but the story's pretty basic overall - though it has some excellent small, poignant moments.

-Link's Awakening
Another one that I ran into roadblocks with as a youth, but was always fascinated by that there was so much going on in a Game Boy game, at least prior to Pokemon happening. Bounced off of it several times, eventually fumbled into spoilers on the internet, never bothered finishing it until the announcement came about the Switch remake, then I sat down and got through it. Very good, and very sobering and melancholy, even if you know what's coming.
GB version: A-, docked for frustrating recurring messages
SW version: S, platonic ideal of cozy and comfy to just sit down and get lost in a simple game.

-Oracles
Similar to LttP and LA, ran into walls with these while young, but I've not gone back to them just yet. The connectivity feature expanding stuff is a bit intimidating, but I should probably at least grab them off the 3DS eshop before it gets Ol' Yeller'd.

-Ocarina of Time
My first real cognizant experience with the series, and my first N64 game, so there's a lot of nostalgia touchstones for me. I definitely spent the time exploring the game the way the devs probably intended BotW to be explored, just fascinated by it. The story didn't really resonate with me at the time, because I was young and dumb, but it's a favorite in retrospect, especially in connection with Majora.
B, much as I love it and that nostalgia is strong, trying to go back to it is ROUGH, even the 3DS version.

-Majora's Mask
Absolute master class in punching your players in the feelings and leaving things open-ended so they spend years tearing each other apart over interpretations and theories. Could not imagine playing this without a guide, though, I would lose my mind.
A, even with more mechanical frustrations than Ocarina, the story and the atmosphere do some obscene heavy lifting to make up for it.

-Wind Waker
Ehhh...s'alright? Love the art style, but I sure only ever played it once.
C, looks good, Tetra got robbed. HD version completely ruins the look though.

-Minish Cap
Wind Waker style again, in your pocket! A sassy helper character that isn't as abrasive as Tatl! Fun, weird equipment items! Lots of little secrets to dig up with the Kinstones! A really rad final boss that isn't a Ganon fakeout!
A+, not super mind-blowing but still excellent.

-Twilight Princess
Ehhhhhhhhh... Character designs are good but holy shit this game suffered so much from coming out in the wake of everyone losing their minds over that one E3 demo video and the game trend of REAL IS BROWN and so much bloom. So many boring/useless/wasted potential dungeon items. However, it did give us Midna, Zant, and punched Ocarina fans' feelings right in the jimmies with Hero's Shade, so I gotta give it credit for that.
C, super duper mixed bag.

-Phantom Hourglass
I feel it gets too much flak, it's just doing what handheld Zeldas do best, and that's trying weird shit. Ocean King temple does drag on tho, but I'll gladly endure it for making sailing actually fun. Sadly, once again, Tetra gets robbed.
B-, for all my defending I still only played it once.

-Breath of the Wild
This was really well-done, and I can admire the intentions of a lot of it, and the way that it's bucking the series formula, but sadly a lot of that was not for me. Just a complicated relationship with the game on all fronts. Hopefully we get a bit of dialing back a bit with the sequel, but I'm not holding my breath.
B-, I still did most everything save for hunting all the korok seeds, tho.

-Hyrule Warriors
Loved the idea of this but the sheer amount of everything going on at once kept me from going in too far, need to get back to it.

-Age of Calamity
Absolutely loved this, a nice little stepping stone into the genre by paring down some of the sensory overload. Loved that it's basically a fix-it AU game like Eyes of Heaven is to JJBA. It's just delightful all around and in completing the story stuff, I only ran into a handful of frustrating gameplay bits and that was more on my skill level/situation management than the game's fault.
S, A little bit surreal that the people that make the horny fighty volleyball games treat Zelda better in this game than Nintendo has in BotW and the most recent sequel trailer. :p
 

CoffeeHorse

*sip*
Staff member
Council of Elders
Citizen
You know what I love about Wind Waker? I never got stuck on any dungeon. I don't know if they genuinely dumbed it down or if the dungeon designs are just better somehow, but it worked for me.

I get why someone would not want to replay that one. It does have tedious parts, including most of the overworld exploration which sure seems like Zelda gone horribly wrong. I know I'm signing myself up for that when I replay it. But I also know I am not signing up to get stuck in a dungeon feeling like I've done everything there is to do in every room but nothing is happening WHAT DO I DO?
 

Wing

Cursed Punweaver
Citizen
Yeah, for all my frustrations that I remember with the overworld stuff, I don't remember having any big issues with Wind Waker's actual dungeons.
 

CoffeeHorse

*sip*
Staff member
Council of Elders
Citizen
Something went right there. Wind Waker's dungeons don't feel too short or anything. They still do all the proper Zelda dungeon things. But to me they feel exceptionally intuitive and enjoyable. I like them in a way I don't feel that I like other Zelda dungeons.

Maybe it's just the boring overworld travel turning the dungeons into happy places. I don't know.
 

Sabrblade

Continuity Nutcase
Citizen
My favorites are still the Majora's Mask dungeons. Sure, there was only four, but the way each was specialized to a certain mask (or in the Stone Tower Temple's case, all three masks) was brilliant.
 

CoffeeHorse

*sip*
Staff member
Council of Elders
Citizen
As much as I praise Majora's Mask, its dungeons don't click with me at all. Maybe I'd appreciate them more if I wasn't in a hurry, but it is the game's fault that I was in a hurry.
 

Cradok

New member
Citizen
I wanted to like BotW so much, and a lot of it I did, but too many things just kept shoving back at me. Grinding for Rupees, the cooking interface, having to find four hundred damn Koroks to increase your inventory size... but the thing that basically made me stop playing as soon as Gannon was dead was the weapon degradation, it just made everything a tedious slog, no fun at all. It's such a shame, because I loved the world, and the shrines that don't use motion controls, and so much else... but I can't get into it, because I'm always foraging for the next weapon to break after six swings.
 

Caldwin

Lifer
Citizen
I have a huge Amiibo collection, so decent weapons and items were never a problem. Even without the Amiibo though, I'm constantly finding at least decent weapons in the wild. Personally, it was never a big issue for me. And I'm still running into a bunch of koroks long after having everything upgraded. So that always felt like even less of an issue tbh.
 

Daith

Active member
Citizen
Yeah having the Amiibo collection was a decent way to cheat in weapons when you needed. Though when you got those rare drops It's like "Do I want to use this cool weapon, or do I have enough space in my house to put it up on a plaque?" And I realized the clothing section eventually runs out of space too eventually.
 

Exatron

Kaiser Dragon
Citizen
I love the game overall. I do hate the inventory management part of it though. I'm way too much of a completionist for my own good. I hate that there aren't quite enough inventory slots to hold every single piece of armor. And I loathe the fact that you likewise can't built a complete collection of all the different weapon types.

The choice between either being able to have a great weapon or use that great weapon will always drive me nuts. I have a whole array of weapons that are just for show, while I basically use the Master Sword for everything. I'd love to go to town on some enemies with my max-damage Savage Lynel Sword, but then I'd be immediately wanting to reload my save to preserve it.

The main thing I really ask for is some sort of repair mechanic that doesn't rely on glitches. Add that and some additional inventory slots and I'd have no real complaints.
 
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