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:
2) Puzzle Design:
3) Overworld (exploration):
5) Mini-games and sidequests:
10) Game Balance (puzzle challenge vs. combat challenge vs. economy):
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.
It'd probably have to just be the games themselves. So the main ten would be the most popular ones--the 5 3D Zeldas, LttP, probably LoZ1, LA, ALBW. The last slot might have to be determined by a (singular?) "preliminaries" poll determining the most popular of the less-popular titles: Zelda 2, OoA, OoS, FSA, TMC, PH, ST.
I haven't played the HD one yet (waiting for Mario Kart) but I greatly look forward to it. I think calling it a mix of just the title screen is selling it short though! It seamlessly integrates the Outset (Aryll's) theme, Zelda's Lullabye, and the Hyrule Overture into the song as well, and the whole thing just sounds so rich and mmmmmm. Which I guess still technically makes it a medley of sorts, but those are all-too-rare in Zelda games anyway, if you ask me.
Can you explain to me what you mean by "Flow"? Are you just asking about the pacing?
Pretty much, yeah. Overall and moment-to-moment. Also, a measurement of how well all of the game elements are integrated into a cohesive whole. (So I might hypothetically give Metroid Prime, say, a ONE.)
Yeah yeah I didn't follow the guide. This was easier for me anyway when it came to ranking and you can always reduce the totals down to something out of 5. Also Majora's Mask got a six on some categories because it's that good in those ones. No contest.