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10 Most Disappointing Moments In Zelda Games

VOICE OVER: Johnny Reynolds WRITTEN BY: Johnny Reynolds
Even a franchise as wonderful as "The Legend of Zelda" has some disappointing moments. For this list, we'll be looking at "Zelda" moments that definitely left us feeling a bit underwhelmed. To be included, there had to be some expectations built up, whether in the game itself or within the series as a whole. Our list includes the Triforce Quest from "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker" (2003), the Giant's Knife from "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time" (1998), the Zora form from "The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D" (2015), and more!
Transcript
Script written by Johnny Reynolds

Even a franchise as wonderful as "The Legend of Zelda" has some disappointing moments. For this list, we’ll be looking at "Zelda" moments that definitely left us feeling a bit underwhelmed. To be included, there had to be some expectations built up, whether in the game itself or within the series as a whole. Our list includes the Triforce Quest from "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker" (2003), the Giant's Knife from "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time" (1998), the Zora form from "The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D" (2015), and more! What do you think is the most disappointing moment in the franchise’s history? Air your grievances in the comments below!

The Giant’s Knife

“The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” (1998)

Getting a more powerful weapon is usually grounds for celebration in a “Zelda” game. Usually. Inside Goron City, Link comes across the blacksmith, Medigoron, by blowing up the walls blocking his shop. If Link is an adult, he can purchase a brand new sword for 200 Rupees. The Giant’s Knife is fairly powerful, but that doesn’t really matter as it will break after a few uses. Many likely now know to skip this swindle, given the sidequest that earns you the unbreakable Biggoron’s Sword. But it’s a big letdown on a first playthrough, especially if Medigoron teases you with it if you find him as a kid first.

Exploring the Sky

“The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” (2011)

We don’t mean to beat a dead horse. Plenty of people have voiced their disappointment over “Skyward Sword’s” overworld. But the fact remains it’s pretty empty compared to those in past games. There isn’t much to do; even its treasure chests, instead of being locked behind puzzles or enemies, are obtained just by hitting a Goddess Cube with a Skyward Strike and going to its location. Skyloft itself is bursting with color and energy, and its citizens offer lively sidequests. But outside of it and the Lumpy Pumpkin, the sky is home to drab pieces of rock and some not-so-great minigames. This is how we got the open-world, secret-stuffed “Breath of the Wild.”

Hestu’s Gift

“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” (2017)

In many “Zelda” games, collecting all of something usually gets you a pretty neat reward. Collecting 100 Gold Skulltulas in “Ocarina of Time” earns you unlimited money, so for “Breath of the Wild,” we were all expecting something big for gathering all 900 Korok seeds. Perhaps a one-of-a-kind weapon or some magical enhancement. But no, for your hard work and dedication, Hestu gives you a golden piece of crap. Sure, you upgrade your inventory with every seed trade-in, but at a certain point that loses its worth. And this item just sits uselessly in your inventory, smelling bad.

The Zora Form

“The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D” (2015)

One of the most unique aspects of “Majora’s Mask,” of which there are many, is Link’s ability to transform into other races. Each brings interesting gameplay mechanics, such as the Zora’s dolphin-like swimming. Swimming through the Great Bay with grace and speed made this form a ton of fun to play. Unfortunately, when Nintendo released the 3DS remake, it made some big changes. The Zora’s standard speed was significantly decreased, only increasing and giving you the option to leap from the water while using his magical barrier mechanic. While this was likely implemented to make sharp turns easier, using magic simply to get your speed up is too high a cost. And it made the Zora a lot less fun to play.

Dark Beast Ganon

“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” (2017)

Ganon’s impact on the Hyrule of “Breath of the Wild” is terribly significant. So when it came time to vanquish him, we walked into the castle with our heads held high and our inventory stocked. The first phase, Calamity Ganon, is a fun challenge even if the Divine Beasts do knock off half his health bar. However, the second phase of Dark Beast Ganon is remarkably underwhelming. His size is intimidating, but considering Link gets a horse and Zelda’s magic holds him in place, the dark beast isn’t actually that menacing. His attacks are easily dodged and he goes down after a handful of light arrows. It isn’t the worst fight in the game, but we were expecting to work a bit harder.

Chamber Dungeons

“The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” (2019)

“Super Mario Maker” had everyone’s heads spinning at the possibilities for applying a similar formula to other franchises. So when Nintendo announced that the 2019 “Link’s Awakening” remake would have a dungeon-building mode, we were jumping with excitement. But that excitement quickly turned to disappointment when we found out its shortcomings. You can only use rooms and enemies from this specific game, which makes sense. But the only way to share your creations with your friends is to save them to an Amiibo. Nintendo has often struggled with online functionality within its games. But an Amiibo hindrance in a mode that could have thrived online made it almost not worth trying.

The Triforce Quest

“The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker” (2003)

Getting a piece of the legendary Triforce should have been a momentous occasion. But for this GameCube entry, it was a tedious slog. Players first had to track down eight charts hidden around the sea. Then you’d have to pay Tingle around 400 Rupees each to decipher them. And if you didn’t have the dough, you’d be grinding for money. After all that, you’d still have to track down the actual Triforce pieces. Sailing back and forth across the great sea was not the grand quest we expected for this mythical artifact. And it ground the game’s momentum to a halt. Thankfully, it was shortened quite a bit in the HD remake.

Tentalus

“The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” (2011)

While it doesn’t reach the awful heights of three fights with The Imprisoned, Tentalus’ battle is definitely a disappointment. And maybe we wouldn’t be as harsh if not for the terrific build-up. In the Sandship’s final room, tentacles begin to tear through the floor and walls as Link must make a quick escape. Walking out onto the decimated deck during an intense storm, we expected a horrific beast to greet us. Instead, it was an oversized mash-up of Mike Wazowski and his girlfriend Celia. Aside from the laughably bad design, Tentalus’ fight isn’t that fun. Most of it amounts to a lot of sword waggling as you cut through its endless amount of tentacles.

The Opening

“The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess” (2006)

The opening of a “Zelda” game is an important moment. How will Link be whisked off on his adventure this time? But with “Twilight Princess,” it was less of a whisk and more of lazy stroll. While the Ordon Village citizens are engaging, running various errands before the story actually begins certainly isn’t. Link must herd goats, fetch a missing cradle, find a missing cat and go fishing. All before anything remotely interesting happens. We appreciate a slow burn up to a conflict. But it should still intrigue us, not make us yawn.

Before we get to our final pick, here’s our single dishonorable mention:

Getting a Rupoor, Various

Because Why Would You Give Us a Rupee That Makes Us Lose Money!?

Villain Swap Outs

Various

One of the most disappointing elements found across “Zelda” is its tendency to swap out villains for bigger bads towards the end of the game. Some are more forgiving than others: Agahnim is an alter ego of Ganon in “A Link to the Past.” And though Majora’s Mask uses Skull Kid as a puppet, its heinous actions are still performed through him. But other instances make a fascinating antagonist much weaker. Ghirahim is unnervingly eccentric before Demise makes his last-minute appearance. The most unfortunate example is Zant from “Twilight Princess,” whose compelling descent from imposing to unhinged is interrupted by yet another Ganondorf appearance. Regardless of which game it happens in, it usually feels like a lazy misdirect.
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