It is finally time. This isn’t going to be a long post about why Breath of the Wild is a 6/10 at best, nor will I be complaining at great length about how I’m still disappointed that Age of Calamity runs like a car missing half its engine. I have dusted off the Zelda Amiibos, looked back through my Hyrule Historia and powered up the Wind Waker edition of my WiiU. I am now ready for any backlash.
5 – The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
Every now and then there’s a single smash hit title that will get me to buy a console. When Silent Hill Shattered Memories came out on the Wii, that was the title that finally got me to buy it. I bought a PS4 to play Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and I bought a GameCube to play Wind Waker (it was the Silver edition to) The visual art style of Wind Waker still looks as stunning today as it did then and the HD visuals from the WiiU port are amazing. Sailing across the ocean gives a feeling that can’t be replicated elsewhere. Wind Waker may have some issues with pacing but it pays off in the long run. Each trial is worth finishing and it has the most shockingly brutal and conclusive endings of any Zelda game. There’s a reason its story sequels Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks aren’t about saving the world from Ganon.
4 – The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
Yes it required a GameCube, a copy of the game and ideally all players needed their own GBA and a link cable but once everything was setup correctly it was an absolute blast. As a kid I’d have had no chance of all these items being available but at uni everyone had a GBA of some kind and 3rd party cables were a thing. The SP had come out and was lowering the price of the regular model GBA making Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles and this gem great fun to play with friends. It’s not a great game to play solo and the GBA version of the title is simply not up to scratch (it really does need a TV so you can move your Link back and forth between the GBA and TV) but that singular setup is still one of the best Zelda games ever made. Voting at the end for the best and worst player, taking risks to get the most rupees and adding a mix of competition with cooperative play made it one of a kind.
3 – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Technically Majora’s Mask is a better game but Ocarina of Time will always be the N64 game that I tend to go back to the most. I completed Ocarina of Time the first time around by renting the cartridge from our local rental shop (an off-brand Blockbusters) and every time I’d be surprised to find my save still intact. There has been almost as many ports of Ocarina of Time as there has Sonic 2 and with good reason. The best and most accessible port is the 3DS version with a few additional features but if you don’t mind tinkering there are 4K fan texture mods for the emulated N64 version. There’s even the Master Quest edition on GameCube (which can go for around £40 on eBay these days) but regardless of the version you want to play it should keep you going until the inevitable port to Switch.
2 – Hyrule Warriors
Argue all you like about it being a spin-off. How it’s not canon, how it’s just a musou game with a Zelda coat of paint, How it’s not as good as BOTW, it doesn’t matter to me. I love Hyrule Warriors. It’s the game I ended up playing the most on the WiiU and although it mixes up the Zelda formula; the music, the aesthetics and design are pure Zelda. It was even the first Zelda game to introduce a ‘female Link’ (although calling her Linkle is a bit disappointing) The sheer amount of content and variety is just a delight and although there are Team Ninja aspects to some of the characters, the Omega Force gameplay and systems are fantastic. The only thing stopping me from picking this up again for the Switch is the fact I won’t get anything else done.
1 – Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX
I pre-ordered the Link’s Awakening remaster Amiibo without even blinking and although I’m not a fan of the remaster (it’s a little too clunky for me) the figurine represents the original game perfectly. The original Game Boy title is one of the greatest games ever made and the DX version polishes it to perfection. A unique story, a world map that ties itself together nicely, dungeons that are challenging and designed around the unique items and a soundtrack that is the best of the series. Visually it makes great use of the Game Boy’s limitations and the gameplay is the best in the series. If you have any device that can emulate the Game Boy Color and fancy playing the best Zelda game of all time then pop the DX rom on there and you will have a blast.
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