Which Zelda should I play?

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xanadu

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Poll Which Zelda should I play? (245 votes)

Ocarina of time 3DS 33%
Twilight Princess 4%
Skyward Sword 3%
Wind Waker 59%

Last night's Nintendo stream and Zelda trailer really put me in the mood to play a Zelda game. Problem is I'm not sure which one. Since I'm so indecisive, I decided to leave it to a poll. I've started and never finished wind waked or ocarina. Never really played twilight and definitely haven't even touched skyward Sword.

I'll be playing these games on dolphin or my 3ds if that matters to anyone. Thanks duders!

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Hunkulese

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#1  Edited By Hunkulese

Just pick one. They're all fine. Ocarina is probably the worst if you don't have nostalgia for it. Skyward Sword is good, but way, way too long. Motion controls suck so don't play Twilight Princess. I guess you should play Wind Waker.

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liquiddragon

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#2  Edited By liquiddragon

I've only beaten Wind Waker but I can recommend that one. If you're gonna get the Switch, play BotW.

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Shindig

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#3  Edited By Shindig

I've beaten none of them but own Ocarina and Wind Waker.

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Sinusoidal

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Wind Waker

Ocarina of Time, influential for its time as it was, hasn't aged very well. Twilight Princess is just OK. Skyward Sword was a huge disappointment. Breath of the Wild is going to have to be something pretty special to get me back on the 3D Zelda train.

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FrodoBaggins

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Judging by that trailer, BREATH OF THE FREAKING WILD.

But seriously, Wind Waker is awesome.

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kcin

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Twilight Princess isn't bad if you play it on the GameCube. The motion controls are rough, so that problem is gone with Dolphin, which just leaves the lackluster wolf sequences. Otherwise the art design is phenomenal, and the feeling of wonder and scope you look for in a Zelda game are there. Overall, it's either that, or Wind Waker.

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hankrazorbeard

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#7  Edited By hankrazorbeard

The only Zelda game I particularly enjoyed was A Link To The Past. Try that.

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spankingaddict

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You can't really go wrong with any of them .

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deactivated-5b85a38d6c493

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@kcin: Yeah I remember having a good time with Twilight Princess on the GC. Aside from the wolf parts and a real slow start, exploring the world was fun and the dungeons were well made.

I'd also go with Wind Waker over all the other choices.

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thepullquotes

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I've never got into the 3D Zelda's as we didn't have a N64. I'm going to keep an eye on the results of this thread, as I have Ocarina languishing on my 3DS.

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bored_and_agitated

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Wind Waker for sure. My fave is Link to the Past though...

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ArbitraryWater

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Ocarina of Time or Wind Waker are both still fantastic, and you can't really go wrong with either.

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mems1224

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I still believe that OoT is the only good 3d zelda

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Dixavd

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  • If you care about level design, then start with Ocarina of Time.
  • If you care mostly for mechanics and level design, but found it difficult to go back to Ocarina of Time (due to some of it being archaic now as it was so revolutionary), play Twilight Princess - which is very similar in structure to Ocarina of Time, but with refined controls and look.
  • If you care mostly for story, start with Skyward Sword. The fleshed out characterisation of Link, Zelda, the villains in Skyward Sword is something they look to be continuing in Breath of the Wild.
  • If you want the most consistent experience, play Wind Waker. Wind Waker also has the closest structure to a full open world, which is what Breath of the Wild will have.
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Teddie

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I didn't care much for Ocarina, and it was the first Zelda I ever played. I liked Majora's Mask though, so I think less than it ageing badly (which it has, by all means) it was just really dull; exploring the world wasn't fun, and nothing particularly stuck with me. So when I say you shouldn't play Ocarina, know that it's coming from there and not from a gameplay perspective, and you might love it anyway. I can say the same about Twilight Princess, although it sounds like most people find that to be really dull, so maybe that's just not a good Zelda either way.

Obviously my avatar is gonna give away that I'd recommend Wind Waker over all of those, essentially because it had all the charm and sense of adventure I wanted Ocarina to have, while also looking goddamn beautiful the entire time. If you have the option, get the HD version because all the quality of life stuff in that game makes it vastly more enjoyable, especially in the latter half.

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LawGamer

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I love the look of Wind Waker, and wish they'd stuck with it. However, I think in gameplay terms it's by far the worst. The sailing is certainly one of the most tedious things the series has ever done.

Ocarina may not have aged particularly well.

I haven't played the other two.

Do you have access to A Link to the Past? 'Cause that one is the GOAT.

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Justin258

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#17  Edited By Justin258

I have tried to play Ocarina a few times since buying it on the 3DS. Can confirm, that game is kinda boring these days. I understand what it did, when it did it, why it's important, why it's so beloved, and so on and so forth - but if you have no nostalgia for it, I don't think it's your best bet.

Wind Waker is a game I played soon after buying a Wii U last year and that game's really good, but the last third or so got pretty tedious for me. And there aren't that many dungeons. The ones that are there are pretty good, but it just felt like there wasn't much to the game despite spending 20-25 hours playing it. Lots of dicking around and not getting very far. Stylistically and graphically, it's easily the best Zelda game - if you're looking for something that still looks stunning even after all these years, Wind Waker HD is it.

I played Twilight Princess right after playing through Wind Waker and trying to play through Ocarina of Time. I got about 2/3's of the way through before Zelda fatigue finally set in and I just had to step back from those games and haven't gone back to finish it yet. However, I had more fun in the 20 hours I played Twilight Princess than I ever had when playing Wind Waker or Ocarina of Time. It's easy to see why people think this one is so-so and OK - it's basically a refinement of the best ideas from all of the Zeldas that came before it, it's slow-paced as hell, and doesn't really bring much new to the table. But I felt like everything in the game was just masterfully done and brilliantly designed. It doesn't look as good as Wind Waker because the decided to go with more realistic (though still very cartoon-y) figures and proportions, I still think it looks pretty good most of the time. I'd definitely recommend the Gamecube version of Twilight Princess over Wind Waker and Ocarina of Time if you're going to be playing on Dolphin and if you have to play a 3D Zelda game.

I never played Skyward Sword so I can't say anything about that one. I'm going to finish Twilight Princess before Breath of the Wild comes out - hopefully long before, so I can have some time to breathe between Zelda entries.

...all of that said, you mentioned owning a 3DS, so I would actually recommend A Link Between Worlds above any of the 3D games. There's no caveats to this one - no slow pace, no tedious last half, no bullshit. After a (very eventful) hour or so of play, the world opens up, you can get access to all of the major items in the game via renting them, and you can just go to town on exploring, doing quests, doing dungeons, finding little bonus areas, doing the handful of minigames that are there, and so on and so forth. I'm not really a huge Zelda fan, but this one is by far my favorite out of all the Zelda games I've played.

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Ry_Ry

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FrostyRyan

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Play all of those. All amazing games.

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NTM

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#20  Edited By NTM

I just finished Twilight Princess on the Wii U for the first time at the very end of last year, and really liked it a lot. I had only ever gotten half way through it back on the GameCube. You can't really go wrong with that one. I also finished Wind Waker on the Wii U when I got the Wii U a couple of years ago, and again, I had only ever gotten a bit more than half way on the GameCube. Both are good. I am not one to make a fuss of the art direction in Wind Waker. I really think it's a beautiful game, but despite that, I believe I enjoyed Twilight Princess a bit more. Skyward Sword is really a game you should play if you're a fan of Zelda, but I only thought it was 'good', and not great. The motion controls were okay even though I'd rather play it with a gamepad (it would have been nice to see Skyward Sword remastered with controller support), but some of the charm through characters that I love about Zelda was lost in some respect to me. Plus, after the many hours, it takes to complete it, the final boss wasn't exciting, and was actually somewhat frustrating. There's a lot of good quality stuff in the game, but it was disappointing to me. I don't have much to say about Ocarina of Time on the 3DS. I recommend playing any of the Zelda games honestly. It's just about picking one. Perhaps look at the timeline if that at all matters, which means Skyward Sword would be the first to play.

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ajamafalous

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Wind Waker is easily the best of those

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chrispaul92

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I personally prefer Wind Waker among the ones you listed. You should choose Link to the Past.

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fnrslvr

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#23  Edited By fnrslvr

I don't understand people who say the Zelda formula has gotten stale. Zelda could easily be my Call of Duty, i.e. if they pumped out a Zelda at the level of quality of, say, Skyward Sword, every year, I'd be totally satisfied with getting my annual fix. (For that matter, how the hell do people justify playing a new CoD every year? It's fucking vapid shooting with some lazy military shooter plot. Grinding through dungeon puzzles > grinding through mooks with an assault rifle any day.)

All the games you listed are fine.

Skyward Sword got a bunch of shit for being the last "formulaic" Zelda and not shaking up the formula enough (it shook up the formula a little with things like stamina and minor crafting mechanics, but also it got released around the same time as Skyrim, which everyone went nuts over), as well as not having as compelling a "Hyrule field analog" the way Wind Waker has the sea and, well, ever other Zelda has a field. People also found the motion controls hit-and-miss -- what I'll say about that is, there's this issue I had where I would need to do a sudden left-to-right slash, so I'd quickly bring the sword to the left to start the slash, which would register as a right-to-left slash and get me electrocuted or whatever. But those are minor issues to me, you can learn to cope with the motion controls, the dungeons are good (and much of the on-ground overworld stuff plays like more dungeon content), the story and setting are refreshingly different, and the game looks great -- especially if you get it running in HD on the Dolphin emulator.

Twilight Princess is a bit of a mess, and painfully linear: there's nearly nothing to do outside the main quest, and at times the game just won't stop feeding main quest sequences to you. I remember getting done removing the darkness from the castle town/lake areas and escorting the sick Zora and enduring all the cutscenes along the way, and finally coming out building in Kakariko and thinking, "oh good, I can finally go and explore and do what I want", when the fucking ghost of the dead Zora queen showed up to feed more quest to me when I just wanted the main quest to fuck right off. That said, TP has the best dungeons of any Zelda game, the horse stuff is great, the wolf stuff is fine, plenty of cool items and puzzles and epic boss battles and whatnot to be had. Maybe gets a bad rap around here because eight point eight and also because it was seen as the edgelord response to Wind Waker's alleged cartoonyness, but TP is probably the most quintessential 3D Zelda you can play right now.

Wind Waker is beautiful, but I think it's overrated: for how daring the visuals are (at the peak of the GCN/PS2/Xbox console wars and when most gamers were edgelords in their teens/twenties and everyone was fawning over MGS2 and Halo and that E3 Zelda tech demo footage, no less), the dungeons aren't anything special and the story is as much of a rehash of OoT as it could possibly be in this setting, which kinda undermines this claim people like to make that WW is the innovative Zelda. There's fun to be had charting out every square of the map and interacting with the various shenanigans of the townsfolk on some of the islands, which makes it a good exploration/side questy Zelda, but I think the main quest content is weaker than Skyward Sword. (As are the visuals, in my opinion.)

Ocarina of Time is fine. I think it's lost a lot of its spectacle from back in the day (the intro for the King Dodongo battle was this huge "oh shit" moment that's been topped a billion times over by other games since), and I always struggled to replay the game even in the late '90s because it was kinda bland even back then, but the dungeons are pretty strong, especially the adult ones. Honestly, though, this game is probably overshadowed by Twilight Princess in almost every regard today, so maybe just play TP instead?

---

Honestly though, I think the real answer is Majora's Mask. It requires a patient player who can cope with scheduling and time pressure, and it requires you to give up the precious hero power fantasy since your progress keeps getting wiped, but it's the best Zelda ever made in nearly every regard. Best setting, best story, best mechanics, more and better side content than any other Zelda, most difficult, most impactful, easiest game to extract replay value out of (you don't have to give up your progress to replay stuff), most esoteric secrets both in terms of gameplay and worldbuilding, only Zelda to ever include quest failure states, only Zelda to ever have legitimate claim to being an art game.

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DookieRope

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Darksiders. It's the best Zelda game.

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Dan_CiTi

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#25  Edited By Dan_CiTi

Okami, Link Between Words, Link to the Past, Ocarina 3D, The Wind Waker HD, and even Twilight Princess HD are solid places to start. I would go to Link to the Past, then Ocarina 3D, then maybe LBW seeing as how you won't have access to the Wii U versions of TWW and TP.

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Slag

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Wake that Wind brah

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MaKiNbAcoN

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You didn't list A Link to the Past or since you said 3DS, a Link Between Worlds...start there.

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j05nny5

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probablytuna

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Wind Waker forever

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Meptron

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Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link. Under-rated.

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#31  Edited By Cirdain
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#32  Edited By Lv4Monk

Given the open nature of Breath of the Wild I'd throw out NES Zelda, Oracle of Seasons, and Wind Waker. Wind Waker isn't super open, NES Zelda some say TOO open, and Seasons isn't the very greatest but they're all pretty rad and share some of the theming of BotW.

@fnrslvr: No matter your opinion of CoD (I can reduce Zelda down to your CoD criticisms for what it's worth) it's hard not to see how similar the general flow of Zelda games has become. It also hasn't helped that nearly every Zelda manages to be even more handhold-y and tutorialized than the last, reversing what should be the optimal progression. It's become more and more familiar while being more and more a guided experience.

There have been 15 traditional Legend of Zelda games by the way. That's...a LOT for most any formula.

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fnrslvr

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#33  Edited By fnrslvr

@lv4monk:I still don't see why every Zelda applying the same basic skeleton is a deal-breaker. Hell, if Nintendo started annually releasing a Zelda spinoff series in which each game was just a run of 6 or so dungeons played back to back with no overworld or story at all, I'd pay full price at launch for every one of those games, because Zelda dungeons are some of the best gameplay you can get. The Zelda game flow is an excuse to play Zelda content and it needn't be any more complicated than that.

Mind, I'm definitely open to shake-ups and reinventions of the formula, and less guided experiences. These are some of the reasons MM is my favourite Zelda.

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TheManWithNoPlan

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I played every one of those except wind waker, and I'd definitely go with Ocarina. That 3ds version is great, and a wonderful way to experience it for the first time. (like I did)

And seriously, outside the first several hours of Skyward sword, that game is fine. (It was the first Zelda game I ever finished, and although it's maybe a little long, I had a blast playing it. So maybe go for that one after Ocarina :)

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spaced

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#35  Edited By spaced
@fnrslvr said:

only Zelda to ever have legitimate claim to being an art game.

Oh man this is EXACTLY why I love Majora's Mask. Where Twilight Princess tried to be dark and atmospheric, but came off a bit forced and 'edgy', Majora's Mask had crafted an world steeped in a dark history and full of sadness. It's the only Zelda game I can think of where even when you've finished the game, you haven't necessarily solved everyone's problems and saved the realm. You've stopped the Moon, for sure, but the world isn't now suddenly perfect and cured. Its deviation from the classic Hero's tale that governs other Zeldas really gives it something special. 'Cause Termina is fucked yo, and you can only do so much to unfuck it.

But I would also say out of the options provided, Wind Waker or Ocarina would be my picks. Especially on Dolphin where you can crank Wind Waker up to 1080p, Wind Waker looks great, and apart from a realllllyyy slow back end looking for Triforce pieces it's still really fun today. And I would say Ocarina over Twilight just because even though they are incredibly similar and Twilight makes some really nice mechanical improvements, Ocarina (if you can get past the fact it came out in 1998) doesn't force deviation from doing fun dungeons to make you rescue children from the village, or hunt bugs as a wolf, or the myriad other things that Twilight Princess has you do between dungeons.

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Zevvion

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A Link Between Worlds.

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Lv4Monk

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@fnrslvr: It's not about being a deal-breaker, just that repeating a formula so many times lessons the effect it has on someone. I still like Zelda games but a lot of them started to run together to the point where they aren't as exciting anymore.

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Tom_omb

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I recommended Ocarina over Wind Waker only because you say you plan on emulating it on Dolphin. As I understand it that's a GameCube emulator and Wind Waker HD is the version to play.

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