High 5: Experience Link’s most legendary adventures


“The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom,” the highly anticipated latest installment of the Zelda series, will be released May 12. The Zelda series changed the world of video games with its first title, “The Legend of Zelda,” the first game with open-structure play. Since its 1986 debut, the Zelda series has produced 20-plus additional games and continues to revolutionize the gaming industry to this day. 

Here are my top five picks for the best games within the Zelda series.


  ‘Majora’s Mask’



“Majora’s Mask,” released in 2002, is known as the darkest Zelda game. The foreboding atmosphere and unique gameplay make this game truly unforgettable. Link becomes lost in the lands of Termina, a strange parallel realm to Hyrule. This world is threatened by Majora, a powerful deity confined to a mask and worn by an imp child. The moon is falling at Majora’s behest and will destroy Termina in three days’ time. Link is able to time travel to the beginning of the three-day cycle, allowing him unlimited time to figure out how to stop the moon from falling but also trapping him in a time loop. 

Throughout the three-day cycle, Termina’s residents shift between several stages of grief as they come to accept their oncoming doom. Majora’s Mask was a major departure from the often bright and cheerful stories seen previously in the series. While previous games did have heavy moments, no other game has had such a heavy overall theme. The time loop offers an extremely unique game structure, and the mysterious lands of Termina create a profound sense of adventure.

 For these reasons, I rank “Majora’s Mask” as the best game in the Zelda series so far, although I do have hopes that the upcoming game, “Tears of the Kingdom”, will surpass it.


‘Breath of the Wild’



“Breath of the Wild,” released in 2017, was the first truly open-world Zelda game. The player has complete freedom in exploring the kingdom of Hyrule and even has the option to go to the final fight right after the tutorial phase.

In this game, Link wakes up on an isolated plateau without a single memory. From the plateau, he is able to see Hyrule Castle in the distance under siege by a monster known as Calamity Ganon. Link soon discovers that he has been asleep for 100 years recovering from a fatal injury while Princess Zelda has been holding back the Calamity and awaiting his return. Link must explore the vast world of Hyrule in search of his lost memories and piece together the events of a century past to discover what went wrong in his previous attempt to vanquish Calamity.

This game is the only Zelda game where Link fails to defeat the great evil threatening the lands of Hyrule, featuring a story about redemption. The story’s themes and the enormous open world earn it this spot on the list.


  ‘Link’s Awakening’



“Link’s Awakening”, released in 1993, was limited by the technology of its time, but the story’s themes more than make up for it. Link is lost at sea and washes up on the shores of the mysterious island of Koholint as a deity named the Windfish slumbers at the peak of Koholint’s mountain. Link’s quest is to wake up the Windfish using magical instruments he collects as he beats dungeons and defeats the “nightmares,” monsters plaguing the Windfish’s sleep.

By the end of the game, it is revealed that Koholint Island is merely a part of the Windfish’s dream and Link has been trapped within the dream since the start. By waking the Windfish, Link will have to say goodbye to all of the friends he’s made on the island and acknowledge that these people he’d grown to love were imaginary. This game was arguably the first time a Zelda game had a deeper plot. The previous games in the series were almost exclusively action based. 


  ‘Twilight Princess’



Released in 2006, “Twlight Princess” was a departure from the usual art style of the previous Zelda games, which had been limited to a cartoonish look by the technology of their time. “Twilight Princess” was the first game in the series with a more mature art style.

In this game, Link is dragged into the middle of a war between light and darkness. While traversing the dark realm, Link is limited to a wolf form and is forced to ally himself with a mysterious imp. He must save not only the kingdom of Hyrule but the Twilight realm as well. The dark atmosphere, compelling characters and the novelty of Link’s wolf form earn this game its spot on the list.


  ‘Ocarina of Time’


Released in 1998, “Ocarina of Time” was the first ever Zelda game using 3D graphics. In this game, the main character, Link, starts off as a young boy but must time travel to the future to fulfill his destiny as the Hero of Time and save the kingdom of Hyrule. He is able to travel backward and forward through time, becoming a child or an adult as needed to progress in his journey. 

It features a phenomenal soundtrack, unique dungeons and interesting gameplay. This game is a fan favorite with it being many fans’ introduction to the Zelda series.