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Ranking 3D Zelda Titles, Worst to Best

With the release of Tears of the Kingdom vastly approaching, I thought that it would be fitting if we ranked all the current 3D Zelda titles, from worst to best!

raking 3d zelda tiltes worst to best

Now disclaimer, this is just a personal list, meaning that this does not wholly reflect the opinions of the zelda fanbase. I also want to add that despite what the title may say, I personally don’t feel like there are any bad Zelda titles here, just ones that I’ve enjoyed more than others. There is one rule however, HD remakes won’t be considered separately for this list, instead will be mentioned alongside the original.

#6 Skyward Sword
ranking zleda titles worst to best

Starting off weak, is Skyward Sword for the Wii. When this game was released, I was looking forward to it. I had purchased the special edition version that came with the golden wii remote and soundtrack, so I was really hoping to invest my time into this game, however, I was left feeling so disappointed. The Wii motion controls weren’t as seamless as I was led to believe, the story was bland and I wasn’t a massive fan of the art style, it was like Nintendo were trying to mesh the cell shading together with realism and it just came out looking rather cheap, instead of characteristic!

Sure, there were a few good moments in this game, like climbing up the spider’s thread with cursed bokoblins and just Ghirahim was amazing, but this was outweighed by boring dungeon levels, temperamental controls and so-so graphics.

It could have been redeemed when they re-released it for the Nintendo Switch a year ago, by implementing a better control scheme, however they managed to somehow make it seem worse. Honestly, I’m just going to ignore that this game even exists!

#5 Majora’s Mask
ranking zelda titles worst to best

I have a love-hate relationship with this game. Set in the land of Termina, the game continues after the events of Ocarina of Time. This time child Link is searching for Navi, when he comes across Skull KId, who under the influence of the Majora’s Mask, turns Link into a Deku Shrub and has called for the moon to come crashing down on the land of Termina in three days!

It is up to Link to traverse across Termina, unravelling the chaos that the Skull Kid has inflicted by helping with several side quests and completing four main dungeons to awaken the Guardian Deities. The only catch is you have to complete this within a three day cycle. Resulting in the player having to control and manipulate time to suit their needs.

Although this game can be a little frustrating with the three day cycle, it’s a very dark addition to the series that sometimes goes unnoticed. I recommend playing this on the 3DS, as the updated interface is a little more helpful for those approaching this game for the first time.

#4 Ocarina of Time
ranking zelda titles worst to best

Initially released in 1998 for the Nintendo 64, this game sees Link travel across the land of Hyrule to stop Ganon from taking control of the power of the triforce. This game focuses quite heavily on time travel, where you can’t progress certain story arcs unless you travel forward or backwards in time.

Let’s face it, Ocarina of Time is a masterpiece! With its bold fantasy-like graphics combined with exciting, fresh gameplay and a time-altering storyline, it really injected a sense of freshness into the franchise and propelled it into the beloved series that it is today. I personally believe that without the success of Ocarina of TIme, we wouldn’t have the Zelda series that we have today! The success of this game paved a way for the franchise that was yet to come and ever since then tweaked on what Ocarina of Time accomplished at the time.

Thankfully, the 3DS version that was released in 2011 improved on the interface for allowing for more slots to be assigned for items and making it easier to equip said items through the touch screen. Also the graphics had been greatly enhanced, making for an impactful dive into the world of Hyrule once more. If you still have this handheld, I highly recommend playing this version instead of the original!

#3 Twilight Princess
ranking zelda worst to best

Ranking third is Twilight Princess, which initially saw its release for both the Gamecube and Wii in 2006! Deemed the darker, more adult, Zelda title of the franchise, Twilight Princess sees Link navigate the perils of Hyrule that’s fallen under the haze of Twilight. Thanks to his new ability of transforming into a wolf, combined with arguably one of the best side-kicks in the franchise, Midna, you can tackle many dungeons and side quests from a different angle.

Graphically, this game is rather unique. It combines realism with a cartoony art style, which can be quite endearing to some fans but may look jarring to others. Graphics aside, the game embellishes on strong gameplay mechanics, allowing Link to not only tackle situations as a wolf but also upgrade his move set by training with the deceased hero of time!

If you’re looking for something that expands on the Ocarina of TIme then Twilight Princess is the game for you. It’s packed full of references to games of the past whilst also creating long lasting, impactful memories. How could anyone forget the complete unhinged fight with Zant?

#2 Wind Waker
ranking 3d zelda tiles worst to best

The hate that was initially thrown towards Wind Waker is completely unjustified. Plenty of people complained about the cartoony, cell shaded graphics and the fact that you travel a lot by the sea, instead of horseback, quoting the sea as barren and uninteresting, however no-one complained about the dullness of Hyrule Field in the previous other games too?

The Wind Waker takes place one hundred years after the events of the Ocarina of Time, when the Kingdom of Hyrule had been submerged beneath the sea by the Gods who had no choice but to stop Ganon from seeking the power of the Triforce for himself. Due to this, not many people recall the legend of the hero of time or Hyrule for that matter, instead people from various islands are preoccupied with the influx of monsters suddenly emerging and the numerous kidnappings of young girls!

This is where Link comes in, a ten year old boy who is celebrating his birthday, when his sister suddenly gets kidnapped and his adventure begins by trying to rescue her. Twenty years later, this game still holds up. Compared to the other games mentioned, the art style has aged very well and the controls are still tight and responsive.

Although the HD remake for the WIi U may be the easiest way to get it, I think that the game looks too bright and garish compared to the original Gamecube version, but that’s for you to decide.

#1 Breath of the Wild
ranking 3d zelda titles worst to best

This may be a typical entry on this list, however this game greatly improved on a series that I feared was becoming quite stagnant. After the disappointment of Skyward Sword, I was left craving a decent Zelda title and I felt like I got that. Released in 2017 for both the Wii U and the Switch, this game literally breathes life into the franchise by completely overhauling everything we knew of the current series.

In this game, Link awakens after 100 years in a deep sleep, noticing that the Kingdom of Hyrule has been completely taken over by calamity Ganon! With little to no memory of who he was or the events that lead to this, Link must try to recall his past whilst trying to save Princess Zelda and the Kingdom of Hyrule!

Unlike the previous games, the player has almost complete control over how they approach the game, allowing for a completely unique experience every time! Players can choose to tackle shrines and enemies, whatever way they want to and just explore. This is now my third playthrough and I’m still getting that thrill I had when I first played this. Honestly this game makes for some exciting yet cozy gameplay!

That’s all the 3D Zelda titles ranked from worst to best. Will the highly anticipated Tears of the KIngdom become my new favourite? I guess we'll just have to wait!


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