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Zelda shootout! [roundtable]
 
So I have a pet theory, regarding the wildly schismatic nature of the Zelda fanbase: People probably aren't disagreeing on the relative qualities of each game. My theory is that they just have different priorities, so they prefer different entries. I mean, is ANYONE going to say that Wind Waker has better puzzles than Twilight Princess?

So let's rank every Zelda game (that we've played) in these key categories:

1) Combat:

2) Puzzle Design:

3) Overworld (exploration):

4) Dungeons:

5) Mini-games and sidequests:

6) Controls:

7) Graphics:

8) Music:

9) Economy:

10) Game Balance (puzzle challenge vs. combat challenge vs. economy):

11) Flow:

12) Length (Too short, Just right, Overstayed it's welcome):

13) Story (and characters):

14) Overall Grade:

If I missed any key categories, let me know. I'm thinking we can assign a score of 1 to 5 for each (5 being the highest). If you desire, you can explain your rating briefly.

Keep in mind, the 1 to 5 scale I'm suggesting is RELATIVE to other Zeldas, not all other games. So a 1 means that it would be among the worst in that category in the Zelda series. 5 means one of the best. I'm going to use .5s for the overall grade, too, but only for the overall grade.

And you don't have to do them all at once. Feel free to tackle one or two at a time. Then, at the end, maybe some statistics nerd (*cough*Zero*cough*) can compile the results and check the deviation in each category, or whatever.

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Posted: 05/03/14, 16:22:16  - Edited by 
 on: 05/03/14, 16:36:02
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Pokefreak911 said:
More people need to play Four Swords Adventures.
I'm one of those people. If only the game wasn't so rare. And so hard to set up multiplayer.


I'll go T-Bun style and compare each game on each category. And since I played a whole lot of these in the same 3-4 year period (on the same system, no less...thanks 3DS!), I won't bother with "for its time" and just compare totally on current merits.



1) Combat (Fun, Difficulty Level):

5: SS
5: LBW
5: Xbow
4: TP
4: LoZ
4: MC
3: WW
3: MM
3: LttP
3: OoT
2: OoS
2: OoA
2: LAdx



2) Puzzle Design (Fun, Difficulty Level):

5: SS
4: TP
3: MM
3: OoA
3: LBW
3: LttP
3: OoT
2: MC
2: LAdx
2: OoS
2: WW
1: LoZ
1: Xbow

3) Overworld (exploration):

5: LoZ
5: LBW
4: LAdx
4: TP
4: LttP
3: MC
3: WW
3: OoT
3: SS
2: MM
2: OoA
2: OoS
1: Xbow


4) Dungeons:

5: SS
5: LBW
4: LttP
4: TP
4: LoZ
3: MC
3: OoA
3: MM
3: LAdx
3: OoS
2: OoT
2: WW
1: Xbow


5) Mini-games and sidequests:

5: MM
4: LBW
4: SS
3: TP
3: LttP
3: WW
3: OoT
2: OoS
2: OoA
2: LAdx
2: MC
1: LoZ
1: Xbow


6) Controls:

5: LBW
4: SS
4: Xbow
4: WW
3: TP
3: MM
3: OoT
3: LttP
2: MC
2: LAdx
2: OoS
2: OoA
2: LoZ


7) Graphics:

5: WW
5: LBW
5: SS
4: MC
4: Xbow
4: TP
4: LttP
3: LAdx
3: OoA
3: OoS
2: OoT
2: MM
2: LoZ


8) Music:

5: WW
5: OoT
4: SS
4: LBW
4: LttP
3: LAdx
3: MC
3: TP
3: MM
3: Xbow
3: OoA
3: OoS
2: LoZ


9) Economy:

3: LBW
3: SS
2: LoZ
2: TP
2: MM
2: OoT
2: LttP
2: LAdx
2: MC
2: OoS
2: OoA
1: WW
0: Xbow


10) Game Balance (puzzle challenge vs. combat challenge vs. economy):

5: LBW
5: SS
4: LttP
4: TP
4: MC
4: OoT
3: MM
3: LAdx
3: OoA
3: OoS
2: LoZ
2: WW
1: Xbow


11) Flow:

5: LBW
4: LttP
4: LAdx
4: LoZ
3: Xbow
3: MC
3: OoS
3: OoA
3: OoT
2: TP
2: SS
2: WW
2: MM


12) Length (Too short, Just right, Overstayed it's welcome):

Just right
SS -- 45 hours
LoZ -- 15 hours
LAdx -- 16 hours
MC -- 19 hours
OoS -- 17 hours
OoA -- 19 hours (with combined endgame)
LttP
OoT

Too short
LBW -- 19 hours (not that it was unfulfilling, but I wanted MOOOOOOOOOORE)
Xbow -- 1 hour

Overstayed its welcome
TP -- 45 hours (some bloated dungeons)
WW (Triforce quest was so fluff)
MM (Sidequests sometimes felt like chores)


13) Story (and characters):

5: MM
5: LAdx
4: WW
3: TP
3: SS
3: LBW
2: OoT
2: MC
2: LttP
2: OoS
2: OoA
1: LoZ
1: Xbow


14) Overall Grade:

5: LBW
5: SS
4: LttP
4: LAdx
3: LoZ
3: TP
3: MC
3: WW
3: MM
2: OoT
2: OoA
2: OoS
1: Xbow
Posted: 05/03/14, 20:38:04
Okay, since I'm ranking, I'm just going to list the Zelda games in each category rather than rating them all with a number score. It's too difficult to come up with a consistent rating for each of 17 games, IMO.


Anand said:
If I missed any key categories, let me know.

I typically like to include categories for Lore, Items (particularly item originality/creativity), Item Usage (whether the items are one-and-done or whether they have a greater variety of usage), Partner (since so many of the games have partners; though most of the games without partners would rank higher than those with because I typically prefer not having a partner in Zelda), and Difficulty (not just what is hardest, but which game's difficulty I most enjoy; though I guess Game Balance kind of covers this to some extent perhaps) However, to save on time I won't add in those categories right now. I also tend to separate story and characters since they do different things for me, separate overworld and exploration, and separate mini-games and sidequests.


1) Combat:
1. SS
2. AoL
3. TMC
4. TP
5. TWW
6. MM
7. OoT
8. ALttP = OoS = OoA = FSA = ALBW
13. LA = FS
15. PH = ST
17. LoZ


2) Puzzle Design: (this is subject to change; I remember which games I think are the best at puzzles and which I think are the worst, but I'm just guessing for many of the games in the middle)

1. ST
2. PH
3?. TMC
4?. TP
5?. OoT
6?. MM
7?. SS
8?. ALBW
9?. ALttP
10?. TWW
11?. OoA
12?. OoS
13?. LA
14. AoL
15. FSA
16. FS
17. LoZ


3) Overworld (exploration): (if I was ranking overworld and exploration separately, some of these games would be in different places; for example, the exploration in PH was one of my favorite aspects about that game, but its overworld isn't as impressive as those I've ranked ahead of it below)

1. LoZ
2. TMC
3. TP
4. OoT
5. TWW
6. PH
7. MM
8. ALBW
9. ALttP
10. OoA
11. OoS
12. LA
13. AoL
14. SS
15. ST
16 .FSA
17. FS

4) Dungeons:

Okay, I'm going to take a break right there for now. I'll come back and work on this some more later, as Anand suggested in the OP.

5) Mini-games and sidequests:

6) Controls:

7) Graphics:

8) Music:

9) Economy:

10) Game Balance (puzzle challenge vs. combat challenge vs. economy):

11) Flow:

12) Length (Too short, Just right, Overstayed it's welcome):

13) Story (and characters):

14) Overall Grade:

1. TMC
2. TP
3. MM
4. ALBW
5. OoT
6. ALttP
7. SS
8. TWW
9. AoL
10. OoA
11. OoS
12. LA
13. PH
14. ST
15. LoZ
16. FSA
17. FS


@Anand Can you explain to me what you mean by "Flow"? Are you just asking about the pacing?
Posted: 05/03/14, 23:38:58
Whaaat, Tim?

Legend of Zelda has precision stab-stab-stab attacks. You can turn on a dime in that game. If you whiff in Ocarina of Time (or any 3D) game, you're open for attack. "Then don't miss," but you NEVER miss on the NES.
Posted: 05/04/14, 00:10:15
Ocarina of Time had an overworld?
You mean that pathetically barren spit of land connecting everything with Lon Lon ranch just crammed in the middle is supposed to be that games excuse for an overworld?

Mind= blown
Posted: 05/04/14, 00:11:30
@pokepal148 & everyone else

Isn't everything that isn't a dungeon part of the overworld? This would include the way to Zora's Domain, Death Mountain, Gerudo stuff, etc. I really don't know what people wanted in the middle of Hyrule Field (an F'n Ferris Wheel?? WHAT??), but good gravy. Making it bigger/longer to gallop across doesn't make it better. Twilight Princess had a huge "overworld," and it didn't enhance anything. It made you go "UGH, WHEN CAN I WARP?"
Posted: 05/04/14, 00:17:29
@Mr_Mustache

I'd say that everything that is outside and not a dungeon/town is part of the overworld.
Posted: 05/04/14, 00:21:09
Mr_Mustache said:
@pokepal148 & everyone else

Isn't everything that isn't a dungeon part of the overworld?

That would be the rational and consistent way of looking at it. But no, we must punish the game for loading between areas! (Although that doesn't make sense either because the original Zelda is divided too but no one suggests that the over world in that game is only the area outside the cave with the sword).
Posted: 05/04/14, 00:21:44  - Edited by 
 on: 05/04/14, 00:22:23
@V_s
@Jargon

Right? Isn't "overworld" -- by definition -- "non-dungeon/town" stuff? Thats what I always thought..
(Including Legend of Zelda. "Enter a door, no longer overworld.")
Posted: 05/04/14, 00:25:41
That's an interesting theory. I'm eager to see how this turns out.

I'm not taking "for its time" into account at all. This is about what I think of the games today.

1) Combat:
Legend of Zelda: 3
Adventure of Link: 5
Link to the Past: 4
Link's Awakening: 3
Ocarina of Time: 5
Majora's Mask: 5
Oracle of Seasons: 3
Oracle of Ages: 3
Wind Waker: 5
Four Swords: 3
Four Swords Adventures: 3
Minish Cap: 3
Twilight Princess: 3
Phantom Hourglass: 2
Spirit Tracks: 3
Skyward Sword: 5
Link Between Worlds: 3

2) Puzzle Design:

Legend of Zelda: 1
Adventure of Link: 2
Link to the Past: 3
Link's Awakening: 3
Ocarina of Time: 5
Majora's Mask: 5
Oracle of Seasons: 2
Oracle of Ages: 3
Wind Waker: 4
Four Swords: 2
Four Swords Adventures: 1
Minish Cap: 4
Twilight Princess: 3
Phantom Hourglass: 1
Spirit Tracks: 4
Skyward Sword: 5
Link Between Worlds: 4

3) Overworld (exploration):

Legend of Zelda: 2 (I don't like the complete lack of direction and trial and error nature of discovery)
Adventure of Link: 2
Link to the Past: 4
Link's Awakening: 3
Ocarina of Time: 4
Majora's Mask: 5
Oracle of Seasons: 3
Oracle of Ages: 3
Wind Waker: 5 (So much to see)
Four Swords: 1 (There isn't one)
Four Swords Adventures: 1 (There isn't one)
Minish Cap: 3
Twilight Princess: 2
Phantom Hourglass: 1
Spirit Tracks: 4
Skyward Sword: 3
Link Between Worlds: 3

4) Dungeons:
Legend of Zelda: 2
Adventure of Link: 4
Link to the Past: 4
Link's Awakening: 2
Ocarina of Time: 5 (A ton of variety in themes)
Majora's Mask: 5 (Not a bad one in the bunch)
Oracle of Seasons: 2
Oracle of Ages: 2
Wind Waker: 4
Four Swords: 2
Four Swords Adventures: 2
Minish Cap: 4 (Well rounded in terms of quality)
Twilight Princess: 3
Phantom Hourglass: 1
Spirit Tracks: 4
Skyward Sword: 5
Link Between Worlds: 5

5) Mini-games and sidequests:
Legend of Zelda: 1
Adventure of Link: 1
Link to the Past: 3
Link's Awakening: 3
Ocarina of Time: 4
Majora's Mask: 5 (So many sidequests!)
Oracle of Seasons: 3
Oracle of Ages: 3
Wind Waker: 4
Four Swords: 1
Four Swords Adventures: 1
Minish Cap: 2
Twilight Princess: 3
Phantom Hourglass: 3
Spirit Tracks: 4
Skyward Sword: 4
Link Between Worlds: 3

6) Controls:
Legend of Zelda: 2
Adventure of Link: 4
Link to the Past: 4
Link's Awakening: 3
Ocarina of Time: 5
Majora's Mask: 5
Oracle of Seasons: 3
Oracle of Ages: 3
Wind Waker: 5
Four Swords: 3
Four Swords Adventures: 3
Minish Cap: 3
Twilight Princess: 3
Phantom Hourglass: 3
Spirit Tracks: 4
Skyward Sword: 5 (Again, no issue)
Link Between Worlds:4

7) Graphics [I consider this to include visual/aesthetic design]:
Legend of Zelda: 2
Adventure of Link: 2
Link to the Past: 3
Link's Awakening: 2
Ocarina of Time: 4 (It's kind of hard to explain, but I like the art style and colors used in the N64 Zeldas)
Majora's Mask: 5
Oracle of Seasons: 3
Oracle of Ages: 3
Wind Waker: 5 (These graphics don't age)
Four Swords: 2
Four Swords Adventures: 2
Minish Cap: 4
Twilight Princess: 2
Phantom Hourglass: 3
Spirit Tracks: 4 (I'm tempted to give this a 5 based on visual design alone)
Skyward Sword: 5
Link Between Worlds: 4

8) Music:
Legend of Zelda: 2
Adventure of Link: 3
Link to the Past: 3
Link's Awakening: 3
Ocarina of Time: 4
Majora's Mask: 4
Oracle of Seasons: 3
Oracle of Ages: 3
Wind Waker: 5
Four Swords: 1
Four Swords Adventures: 1
Minish Cap: 4
Twilight Princess: 3
Phantom Hourglass: 1 (Linebeck's theme is good. That's pretty much it.)
Spirit Tracks: 5
Skyward Sword: 4
Link Between Worlds: 3

9) Economy:
Legend of Zelda: 4
Adventure of Link: N/A
Link to the Past: 3
Link's Awakening: 3
Ocarina of Time: 4
Majora's Mask: 4
Oracle of Seasons: 2
Oracle of Ages: 2
Wind Waker: 3
Four Swords: N/A
Four Swords Adventures: N/A
Minish Cap: 3
Twilight Princess: 2
Phantom Hourglass: 2
Spirit Tracks: 4
Skyward Sword: 5 (There are a lot of compelling things to buy, you can't afford all of it, and you can hunt Goddess Cubes for cash)
Link Between Worlds: 3

10) Game Balance (puzzle challenge vs. combat challenge vs. economy):
Legend of Zelda: 3
Adventure of Link: 4
Link to the Past: 3
Link's Awakening: 3
Ocarina of Time: 4
Majora's Mask: 5
Oracle of Seasons: 2
Oracle of Ages: 2
Wind Waker: 4
Four Swords: 2
Four Swords Adventures: 2
Minish Cap: 3
Twilight Princess: 4
Phantom Hourglass: 2
Spirit Tracks: 5
Skyward Sword: 5
Link Between Worlds: 3

11) Flow:
Legend of Zelda: 2
Adventure of Link: 3
Link to the Past: 4
Link's Awakening: 3
Ocarina of Time: 4
Majora's Mask: 4
Oracle of Seasons: 2
Oracle of Ages: 3
Wind Waker: 4
Four Swords: 3
Four Swords Adventures: 4
Minish Cap: 4
Twilight Princess: 3
Phantom Hourglass: 3
Spirit Tracks: 4
Skyward Sword: 5
Link Between Worlds: 4

12) Length (Too short, Just right, Overstayed it's welcome):
Legend of Zelda: 5
Adventure of Link: 5
Link to the Past: 5
Link's Awakening: 3
Ocarina of Time: 4
Majora's Mask: 5 (Majora's Mask is as long as you want it to be)
Oracle of Seasons: 3
Oracle of Ages: 3
Wind Waker: 4
Four Swords: 4
Four Swords Adventures: 1
Minish Cap: 4
Twilight Princess: 4
Phantom Hourglass: 4
Spirit Tracks: 4
Skyward Sword: 4
Link Between Worlds: 5 (Zelda games generally feel just right in terms of length, with few exceptions)

13) Story (and characters):
Legend of Zelda: 1
Adventure of Link: 1
Link to the Past: 2
Link's Awakening: 4 (A nice change of setting with a surprising twist and charming characters)
Ocarina of Time: 4
Majora's Mask: 5
Oracle of Seasons: 3
Oracle of Ages: 3
Wind Waker: 5
Four Swords: 1
Four Swords Adventures: 2
Minish Cap: 3
Twilight Princess: 2
Phantom Hourglass: 2
Spirit Tracks: 4
Skyward Sword: 5
Link Between Worlds: 3

14) Overall Grade:
Legend of Zelda: 2
Adventure of Link: 4 (Part of a 3-way tie for my favorite NES game)
Link to the Past: 4.5
Link's Awakening: 3
Ocarina of Time: 5
Majora's Mask: 5
Oracle of Seasons: 2.5
Oracle of Ages: 2.5
Wind Waker: 5
Four Swords: 1.5
Four Swords Adventures: 1
Minish Cap: 4
Twilight Princess: 3
Phantom Hourglass: 1
Spirit Tracks: 4.5 (Might be the most underappreciated Zelda. Even AoL has some vocal fans- myself included. The same can't be said for ST)
Skyward Sword: 5
Link Between Worlds: 4.5
Posted: 05/04/14, 06:35:50  - Edited by 
 on: 05/07/14, 03:58:02
Eh, the ranking thing is pretty hard. I'll list the games that I feel were the best in each category.

1) Combat:

Twilight Princess

2) Puzzle Design:

Spirit Tracks

3) Overworld (exploration):

Link's Awakening

4) Dungeons:

Twilight Princess

5) Mini-games and sidequests:

Majora's Mask

6) Controls:

A Link Between Worlds

7) Graphics:

Twilight Princess

8) Music:

A Link Between Worlds

9) Economy:

Link's Awakening

10) Game Balance (puzzle challenge vs. combat challenge vs. economy):

Majora's Mask

11) Flow:

Link's Awakening

12) Length (Too short, Just right, Overstayed it's welcome):

4 Swords (too short)

Link's Awakening (Just right)

Skyward Sword (Overstayed welcome)

13) Story (and characters):

Majora's Mask

14) Overall Grade:

Minish Cap idk, lol
Posted: 05/04/14, 06:47:25  - Edited by 
 on: 05/04/14, 06:48:10
@Mr_Mustache

You're restricted. Stabbing forward only.

OoT you can backflip, you can sidestep, you can jump attack, you have a sword arc (vertical or horizontal), you got a spin attack.

C'mon. How is this even a discussion?
Posted: 05/04/14, 06:51:54
@Shadowlink

Yea, you can do all those things but that doesn't make it fun. It's all basically for show.
Posted: 05/04/14, 06:55:19
@Jargon

I dunno, doing that stuff is pretty fun.
Posted: 05/04/14, 07:17:27
@Jargon

Not at all. Try a 3-heart run and then tell me that.
Posted: 05/04/14, 07:45:18
You don't have a ton of movement options in Zelda 1, but you have everything you need. There's an elegance in its simple moveset since the game is built around it and none of the enemies are way too agile for Link's skills. Just about all of Link's items are incorporated really well into the combat as well*, which I can't say for every Zelda game.

*Except for the bait, of course.
Posted: 05/04/14, 08:24:01
@GameDadGrant Me too.

1) Combat: Skyward Sword for sure. Sword fights = sooooooo fun.

2) Puzzle Design: Link to the Past

3) Overworld (exploration): Link to the Past

4) Dungeons: Link to the Past

5) Mini-games and sidequests: These are really two different things, but Majora's Mask for sidequests and um... forget which one had the best mini-games. Maybe Twilight Princess?

6) Controls: Skyward Sword though they were hit or miss at times but still loved them overall.

7) Graphics: Tough call. Probably Wind Waker although I'm not sure that I fully appreciated them at the time.

8) Music: Link to the Past

9) Economy: ??? Not totally sure what this means. If it just means like best use of money and buying things and such... well, I forget.

10) Game Balance (puzzle challenge vs. combat challenge vs. economy): Link to the Past

11) Flow: Link to the Past

12) Length (Too short, Just right, Overstayed it's welcome): Link to the Past

13) Story (and characters): Hmm, tough call. Maybe Majora's Mask.

14) Overall Grade: Link to the Past = 10/10.
Posted: 05/04/14, 08:40:40
I am also just listing my favorites in each category... because ain't nobody got time for this.

1) Combat: Skyward Sword

2) Puzzle Design: Link's Awakening

3) Overworld (exploration): LTTP

4) Dungeons: LTTP

5) Mini-games and sidequests: Majora's Mask (though this category doesn't personally appeal to me)

6) Controls: A Link Between Worlds for 2D, Skyward Sword for 3D. Yup, cheating.

7) Graphics: Wind Waker

8) Music: Ocarina of Time

9) Economy: Skyward Sword

10) Game Balance (puzzle challenge vs. combat challenge vs. economy): LTTP

11) Flow: LTTP

12) Length (Too short, Just right, Overstayed it's welcome): Ocarina of Time

13) Story (and characters): Majora's Mask

14) Overall Grade: LTTP
Posted: 05/04/14, 11:40:14  - Edited by 
 on: 05/04/14, 12:19:03
@TriforceBun
I've always really enjoyed both of the Four Swords games in single player though, whereas they are looked down upon for being lackluster. People play them and then try to rank them amongst all the other 2d Zelda games which is unfair.


Gonna sit down tomorrow and do this. Gonna rank each game on their own merits however, and not how they compare to each other.
Posted: 05/04/14, 12:19:10
@Shadowlink

I've been beating the game without dying since I was 13 and never needed to do any of that. If that stuff only matters when you invent an arbitrary challenge, then that's a failing. But I won't even grant you that because basically all the enemies in that game are best defeated if you go on the extreme offensive, so I'm willing to bet I could do a 3 heart run without using it.
Posted: 05/04/14, 16:34:44
@Jargon

If you're not using it against the Iron Knuckles, then you must be taking a ton of damage. And I seriously doubt you could pull off a 3-Heart challenge without it. Just Ganon alone would wipe the floor with you.
Posted: 05/04/14, 16:51:46
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