1. Breath of the Wild
2. A Link to the Past + Link Between Worlds
3. Ocarina of Time
4. Majora’s Mask
5. Adventure of Link
I am not sure I like the other Zelda games. My least favourite is Twilight Princess or Wind Walter only because they epitomize what I dislike about 3D Zelda: long and convoluted find the needle in the haystack “puzzles” and locking critical path progress behind this BS.
Breath of the Wild and Link to the Past are the only two games I will pick up and play without hesitation.
While I do love Link to the Past, I find it too short to be satisfying to play from start to finish. Link Between Worlds fixes that to some extent, but lacks some of the masterful brushstrokes of the original; particularly the intro is not as impactful. I also find Ocarina of Time more satisfying, but the dungeons are much less fun than Link to the Past. I also don’t like how much slower the game feels.
Breath of the Wild is my #1 by a distant margin. I find the game as fun to play as Link to the Past - despite having a FAR more vast world, I always feel like I am A. Doing something that progresses in a meaningful way, or B. Doing something I want to do - which is major for me because I find that LTTP is a game that had me doing stuff I wanted to do rather than HAVING to do, and it wasn’t until Breath of the Wild that I got this feeling back again and to a VASTLY greater degree. Additionally, there is no Zelda game that I find anywhere near as satisfying to progress in. It adds dimensions and expands significantly on existing ones.
To put it into perspective: Link to the Past is ~10 hours and I feel it is not long enough to spend in such a wonderful world. Ocarina of Time is about ~25 hours and it felt a little too long. Wind Waker ~35 hours and felt much too long. I spent 300+ hours in Breath of the Wild and was ready for even more. It manages to be a significantly bigger game than other 3D Zeldas and doesn’t have that tedious progression feeling that they do - probably because there’s not really anything you’re forced to do; there’s a minimum you have to do, but there is a VAST amount of choice to fill that minimum requirement; and from that point you wan do as much or as little as you wish. That, IMO, is the massive edge Breath of the Wild has on the other Zelda games. It is not merely a 3D Zelda game, but THE game that fulfills what us oldtime fans of the original Zelda game wanted to see in 3D.
To put it another way: Ocarina of Time was amazing for its achievement, but wasn’t what I was hoping for when I imagined a 3D Zelda. Breath of the Wild is that 3D Zelda game I was looking forward to decades ago. The first one that succeeded in the vision. I am expecting better games in the future, but I can hardly imagine a game making such a large impression as Breath of the Wild did. It’s not merely my favourite Zelda game, but my favourite game in existence.
I describe myself as a little dose of toxic masculinity.