Few series in video gaming history have as many entries as The Legend of Zelda. Due to the series’ varied and splitting timeline, each game feels completely unique in its characters, world, and even gameplay.


Over the years there, have been over 25 Zelda games made, most of which are high quality adventures. They’re often quite hefty titles with tons of side quests, challenges, and collectibles for players to seek out. Due to this, there are a lot of big challenges in the games that feel amazing to overcome, and can even give gamers a sense of emotional release when they do. Every title in the series has these, but some are legends of their own.

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7/7 Obtaining Biggoron’s Sword

Ocarina of Time - Biggoron Sword

While the Master Sword is Link’s most iconic weapon, several Zelda games offer the player alternative weapons which are technically more powerful, usually in exchange for less reliability. Biggoron’s Sword is easily one of the most well known. It originally appears as the purchasable ‘giant’s sword,’ but is easily breakable. In order to have it permanently, it must be forged by Biggoron himself.

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The forging of the sword is an entire side quest of its own in Ocarina of Time, requiring lots of travel and timed challenges that can be hard to overcome without a guide. Once it’s finally complete though, the sword can trivialize a lot of fights. It feels just as powerful as the long process to get it promises, making it all worth the effort.

6/7 Finishing a Silent Realm

Link holding a Sacred Tear in one of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword's Sacred Realms

While Skyward Sword made a few missteps in its execution of new gameplay mechanics, it often excels in tone and presentation, including its beautiful art. In the latter half of the game, Link’s quest to forge the Master Sword forces him to encounter possibly the most tonally terrifying part of the series: the silent realms.

These secluded challenges are completely devoid of normal enemies and NPCs, who are replaced instead by wandering guardians and collectible sacred tears. One wrong move sends the usually quiet realms into a frenzy as the guardians chase Link down relentlessly. Finally clinching a victory in the face of this ruthless assault is a massive relief.

5/7 A Perfect Majora’s Mask Run

zelda-majora's-mask-switch-online-lag-cutscene

To this day, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask offers up one of the most unique gameplay experiences in gaming. Based around a repeating 3-day cycle, most progress is reset whenever Link has to travel back to the first day, including side quests and story progress.

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While it is impossible to complete everything in one single cycle, every cycle dedicated to one task or the other is worthwhile. Whether it be the quest for the ‘gilded sword,’ reuniting Anju and Kafei, or making the arrangements necessary to stop the moon’s crash, every 3-day task feels amazing to finally complete.

4/7 Killing a Lynel

zelda link lynel concept art from breath of the wild

Of the many changes changes that Breath of the Wild made made to the Zelda formula, one of the most talked about is its changes to the series’ combat. While tough enemies were more than present in the other games, the sudden impermanence of weapons and reliance on timed dodges made things much more difficult.

BOTW’s incarnation of the Lynel seems purposely built to help players explore the openings these systems provide. With sky-high HP values, devastating damage, and more moves than any other regular enemy in the game, Lynels are a constant obstacle. They feel amazing to finally overcome for the first time, and are perfect for when players need to vent their frustrations in-game.

3/7 Killing a Guardian

A Guardian charging a laser blast in Breath of the Wild

This bears a lot of similarities to the feeling of killing a Lynel, but the presence of both entries here is just a testament to the quality of BOTW’s combat challenges. All throughout the game, guardians appear almost like horror monsters. They stalk the destroyed land of Hyrule, eyes forever searching for Link. Once they spot him, the music shifts into a panicked tune, and they attempt to run down and blast him to pieces.

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Whether by learning the time-sensitive laser parry or pouring an entire inventory’s worth of weapons into them, finally seeing a Guardian explode feels like being the final survivor in a slasher flick.

2/7 Beating Ganon

Ganondorf fighting Link and Zelda from the video game The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

Ganon and his human form Ganondorf are the main antagonists for almost every Zelda game. Even if some new foe like Zant or Yuga takes the stage for a while, they often give way to a Ganon fight eventually. Due to this, most games present Ganon as their final challenge, meaning beating him is necessary for beating the game itself.

Let it not be said that Ganon makes it easy. Whether it’s his trident-wielding form from the top-down Zelda games, or his imposing form from the 3D Zeldas, he’s always got some new trick to keep experienced players guessing. Defeating him is the climax of the game, and there’s no cathartic rush greater than saving Hyrule.

1/7 Hearing the Puzzle Jingle

zelda-breath-wild-dungeon-shrine

It’s a small moment, but one that is shared by all main series Zelda titles and most spin-offs, adding to its power over Zelda fans. Zelda is a series known for puzzles big and small, and from the very beginning, completion of these puzzles has rewarded players with a simple jingle.

While seemingly insignificant in the grand scheme of things, the jingle becomes an instant and satisfying confirmation of success. Especially after pounding one’s head against a particularly tricky puzzle, finally getting those 4 notes to play is a direct and unwavering dopamine hit.

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