There's no greater feeling in a Legend of Zelda game than when you first step out onto Hyrule Field, is there? It's the moment when the games shake off the training wheels and let's you loose in the world of Hyrule, free to go in whichever direction you like.
Where on earth do you start? What's that settlement over there? Oh god, why are skeletons sprouting from the ground? Whether you're galloping with Epona or simply slogging it in your trusty brown boots, cruising around Hyrule Field truly encapsulates the adventurous spirit of the Zelda series.
As with any recurring location or feature in video games, however, there are those that do it better than others. Today we're taking a look at which Hyrule Field is the cream of the crop, which one has perhaps gone to seed, and all the rest in between. And if you disagree with our picks, there's a poll at the bottom for you to have your say.
Before we begin, how do we define 'Hyrule Field'? Should it be limited to an actual named location within the wider world of Hyrule? Or is it simply a section of the Hyrule map which might constitute a 'field'? For the purposes of this list, we've gone with the former, so the following entries are all locations that are actually called 'Hyrule Field' in their respective games.
So without further ado, let's begin with... Termina? Okay, then.
Cheeky Bonus! - The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (Termina Field)
So, according to our own rules, we can't rank Termina Field here because it's very plainly not a Hyrule Field. But we couldn't very well run down this list of Zelda's most famous grasslands without mentioning this one, could we?
Termina Field feels about as different from Ocarina of Time's Hyrule Field as you can possibly get. Its circular layout, with Clock Town serving as the region's focal point, feels almost overwhelming to new players starting off on their journey; where on earth are you supposed to go first? It reignited a sense of adventure that Ocarina so gracefully nailed the first time round, but now with an added sense of mystery.
We have to give a special shout-out to the Termina Field theme, too. After an almost identical introduction to Hyrule Field's theme in Ocarina, it launches into the classic Zelda overworld theme that was absent from its predecessor, a romping tune that long-time fans absolutely adore, but with some added menace and whimsy that could only be associated with Majora's Mask. We love it.
Okay, then. Time to return to Hyrule...
#6 - Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
Something had to come last, right?
Hyrule Field appears as a stage in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (and in fact, you can check it out for yourself in the free eShop demo). The reason it appears at the bottom of our list is simply due to the fact that Hyrule Warriors places a lot more emphasis on combat and enemy count at the detriment of the environment.
While the stage does look quite nice, it's still not on the same level as Breath of the Wild, and given the structure of the game, you're unable to fully explore the environment as much as you'd probably like. The level of interaction is also toned down significantly; yes, you can still cut down trees, but it just doesn't feel the same.
We still like it, mind — just not as much as the others.
#5 - Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition
Compared to its depiction in Age of Calamity, Hyrule Warriors showcases a Hyrule Field that is arguably more interesting than its successor. Rather than being based on another game, this location is wholly unique and feels like a kind of mash-up of every Hyrule Field we've seen so far. Stylistically, it's probably closest to the Hyrule Field seen in Twilight Princess, albeit with deeper colours and an altogether grimmer atmosphere.
Yes, it's a bit lacking in environmental detail; the luscious grass seen in Age of Calamity is obviously not present here. But nevertheless, there's definitely something unique about this version of Hyrule Field that we've not seen elsewhere. We'd love to see it return in a mainline Zelda game.
#4 - The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Twilight Princess took the general concept of Hyrule Field in Ocarina of Time and made everything bigger.
Rather than being confined to just one area, the location is spread across three provinces: Lanayru, Eldin, and Faron. Due to its hefty size, it really felt like it was built with Epona in mind, with Twilight Princess putting great emphasis on horseback combat (remember that incredible announcement trailer?).
One could argue that Nintendo made this version of Hyrule Field a bit too big, with not enough to keep players engaged (and you'd be right), but it does successfully recapture some of that magic of riding across vast landscapes against one of the best theme tunes in the entire franchise.
#3 - The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
The Minish Cap is an absolutely beautiful game, so of course the Hyrule Field showcased here is a real visual treat. It's split into two sections — the North and South — with Hyrule Town in between and Link's own home located in the south region.
As pretty as it looks, however, it's not a particularly large region, and can't quite pack the same punch as its 3D counterparts. Given that it's also one of the first areas you'll visit in the game, it's also devoid of any real threat of challenge, with Red Octorocks being the only enemies you'll come across.
But man, it really looks pretty, doesn't it?
#2: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Breath of the Wild's Hyrule Field is a pretty dangerous place. Granted, there are monsters in every iteration of the location, but here, you'll come face-to-face with not only Bokoblins and other standard beasties, but also a whole bunch of Guardians.
It's designed to ward the player off from heading straight for Hyrule Castle, and while it's definitely possible to make your way there at the start of the game, it won't be easy. Needless to say, you won't have a lot of time here to really take in the scenery before a Guardian decides to blast you with its laser beam, and this is mainly why it doesn't come out on top in our list, despite its visual splendour.
Based on what we've seen so far, we can't imagine Tears of the Kingdom will go to particularly great lengths to make Hyrule Field a more pleasant environment to visit (in fact, we'd wager the area will have even more monsters to contend with), but it's still a very beautiful location, regardless.
#1 - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
For anyone who played Ocarina of Time back in 1998, nothing can really compare to walking out onto Hyrule Field for the first time, after a short lecture from Kaepora Gaebora. Seeing such a wide open space at a time when 3D console gaming was still in its relative infancy was simply mind-blowing.
By today's standards, the field admittedly looks a bit bare, with few trees and structures to add visual variety, but that doesn't matter — . Whether you're heading to Lon Lon Ranch in the centre of the field, Gerudo Valley to the West, or Kakariko Village to the East, there's an unrivalled sense of freedom and adventure that frankly hasn't been felt in quite the same way until Breath of the Wild arrived nearly 20 years later. And that music...
It's still the king in our books, and it's going to take something truly magical to knock it off its throne.
Those are our picks for the best versions of Hyrule Field in The Legend of Zelda franchise. But what do you think, dear readers? Do you think we've gotten it completely wrong? Be sure to vote in the poll below and let us know in the comments which one you think is the best.
This is one area where I feel like it's kind of impossible to make a case for anything other than Breath of the Wild, seeing as having interesting outdoor environments was kind of it's whole thing, whereas in OoT, Hyrule Field is basically just an empty expanse you have to cross back and forth over a bunch of times.
Picked BotW, but Termina Field would have taken second place. Felt like a big step up in interesting nooks and crannies from OoT.
I'd actually take most versions of Hyrule Field over the one in OoT. It's so... empty. Majora's Mask actually holds up way better in that respect, with its much denser overworld.
Anyway, BotW's overworld is really unmatched in gaming, and that obviously applies to this specific region as well.
Ocarina of Time’s field has not aged gracefully at all compared to the others. Sure, it was impressive for the time, but nowadays it’s hard to say it’s better than something like BOTW’s
Every single time I break out into the open world/Hyrule Field in a Zelda game, it's always feels fresh and magical. That's when the game really feels like it begins (everything before is just prologue).
Voted for BOTW because can’t realistically go for anything else given the level of that version. Though my personal favorite “world map” remains Link to the Past’s Light and Dark Worlds.
Oh no! You forgot about Hyrule Field in Four Swords Adventures!
It even features Malon and Talon and Riding horses.
I would probably say Termina, as you could roll about it as a Goron.
More importantly, I've just re-watched that Legend of Zelda 2004 trailer. They have never again done anything as cool as that, have they?
I choose Ocarina of time Hyrule field.
Kind of an obtuse definition since the first three games and technically Wind Waker have fields of Hyrule very much in the same spirit of those mentioned. Anyway, of the choices presented Ocarina is the best for making concise use of its space with all those little secret grottos and later the big poe hunting. It also has the best music, I love the little collection of themes that play incidentally depending on where you are and the time of day.
Twilight Princess is by far the worst with a segmented field, lame theme, and massive expanses of nothing or tedious battles.
Finished Link to the Past SNES not too long ago, and otherwise just started the NES original. Have a long long way to go.
BotW is by far the emptiest and the most boring overworld of them all.. Barely any interactions or pieces of lore to be found, just running around for the millionth korok or the 100th shrine.. It's just not a fun open world at all - Dragon Age Inquisition, Hogwarts Legacy and even Witcher 3 did this far better.
The other open areas - like Ocarina of Time - were more enjoyable BECAUSE they were smaller.. and more fulfilling to boot
I like Majora's Mask or Twilight Princess beteter, with a central town. You cross less empty expanse and have a hub to operate from.
Can’t wait till you rank Link‘s caps.
Breath Of The Wild doesn’t have its own section of the game called the Hyrule Field or something, the fields are just part of the massive, sprawling world. To this day, they are absolutely beautiful looking, and that lost memory cutscene where Zelda is admiring the flowers in the fields and then forces Link to eat a live frog is a really well done cutscene, showing the beauty of the grasslands in that game.
Rank all he spooky graveyards in the Zelda series
I made a research and I saw that EVERY Zelda game has at least one tombstone. Even the ones I though do not have any "morbid" things.
As for the grassy fields ... the BotW one is pretty great!
@PtM Have they ranked each design of the Master Sword, even though most of them look the same?
I’ll go with ocarina of time here for its awesome soundtrack and it’s a shorter trek to each dungeon, which is my very favorite part of each Zelda game. Breath of the wild seems to be the favorite here but I’m thinking it didn’t have an awesome overworld tracked and lacked the dungeons of oot or twilight princess. It had more to see and do but I liked the quick upbeat trek thru oot’s field to the next dungeons.
OoT Hyrule Field is almost just a hub for you to choose which area of the game you want to access (before warp songs). I thought it was nice they added some secrets here and there but nothing big. Hunting big poes was probably the most memorable and most annoying activity set on OoT Hyrule Fields
Only Ocarina of Time feels like the true Hyrule Field. The others are all Central Hyrule or Eldin Province or something. And the "classic Zelda overworld theme" will always be the Termina Field theme to me.
Blimey, Nintendo Life staff have finished playing Kirby's Return to Dreamland already it seems.
Look at that poll result... incredibly, BotW took top spot. Who could have seen that coming?
If you take the nostalgia lens off, there is no contest. C'mon, NL.
I am confused as to why you forgot to include ALttP?
Ocarina's field is small, it's boring, there's hardly any enemies in it, and it's boxed in. I picked Twilight Princess. There's lots of hidden nooks and goodies, enemies to run over with my trusty horse, golden bugs to catch, and poes to hunt.
BOTW is easily first. I'll never forget the feeling Ocarina gave me, but in hindsight its very sparse. Termina Field is really cool - it should be second to BOTW.
The Minish Cap, it's so colorful, vibrant and baked in sunlight
Minish would HAVE to win
I went with Twilight Princess. The music is sublime, all the hidden little things, bug hunting. Mostly the music, I can even picture it right now
Overlooked aspect of Ocarina Hyrule field is the poes coming out at night.
As often in these articles, it's a bit skewed towards nostalgia.
I understand that OoT Hyrule field was a major moment in the series, an awe-inspiring moment in a gamer's life (It was for me), maybe even significant in gaming history in general, but compared to some of the others on its own merits... It's a vast, mostly empty plain connecting the areas where interesting stuff happens.
I could roam around Breath of the Wild's fields all day:
Grass swaying in the breeze.
Plucky minimalistic music
Soothing environmental sounds.
It's all so very peaceful in a land that is haunted by impending doom. Plus, it's full of environmental storytelling.
There's absolutely no way that Ocarina of Time's Hyrule Field is better than the Hyrule Field in Twilight Princess, much less take the #1 slot. TP took what was great about OOT and made it better, Hyrule Field included.
It just feels more alive and dynamic than the barebones Hyrule Field that we got in OOT, with plenty of nooks and crannies to explore. All OOT's Hyrule Field had was a couple of secret grottos.
Heck, even BOTW's Hyrule Field felt more alive and dynamic than OOT's, also with plenty of nooks and crannies to explore. But I still prefer TP's, as it strikes a nice balance between OOT and BOTW.
Video game representations of nature always remind me that the power of nature and its beauty enrich the soul and ground us xxxx
Fun fact: the hold music when you call into Nintendo is the Hyrule field theme from Ocarina of Time.
Spot on. Ocarina does it best. Expansive enough to not feel constrained, but small enough not to be a tedious slog every time you want to cross it. It’s spooky and haunting at night and a relaxing countryside walk in the sun during the day.
That said, I always play the Redux patch now which makes young Link run very fast when he has the bunny ear mask equipped so he races across Hyrule Field in no time! 😅
One of my favourite things to do in LoZ is cut the grass. I like cutting the grass in Hyrule Field. Pretty sure I can expect to cut some grass in Tears of the Kingdom too, I’ll enjoy that
Will always be Ocarina for me. It was there first, at the time there had been nothing like it (for me at least). I'll never be able to recreate that leap again, it was genuinely magical. Yes it's technically not as good BOTW, but the impact it made at the time was much greater.
I went with Twilight Princess, because of the theme. The overall design gives off the vibe of going off into an adventure around the Kingdom of Hyrule.
I think link to the past is my favorite actually, it doesn’t have the theme I like as well or the day/night cycle or Epona but there was a whole lot more going on and creatures to fight. The dark world changes between worlds was really cool in both games as well but I think link to the past was more interesting in that regard. Ganon’s influence on the world was far stronger and twisted as you had far more unfriendly faces and enemies plus some of the environments were switched around a great deal more.
How you could compare Ocarina of time hyrule with the giant Botw hyrule 🤔
OoT and BotW are my absolute favorite Zeldas, but Hyrule Field is the weakest part of OoT. Sure it was magical the very first time you had to cross it, and again when you got Epona, but in every playthrough since it's just a blank area you have to cross to get from Point A to Point B. The only thing it has over BotW's version is the theme.
I'd also even argue that TP's Hyrule Field is far better than OoT's, there's so much more to do and discover (Caves! Bridges! Horseback fights! Pterodactyl things!) and the theme, despite not being the highest quality available at the time, was still epic.
After Twilight Princess, going back to Ocarina of Time's tiny, kind of barren version of Hyrule Field feels almost claustrophobic. Yeah, it was groundbreaking at its time, but that time passed long ago and it's one of the elements of OoT that has not aged well at all.
I started to say Twilight Princess's but then I thought about it and decided I just like the music. The area itself is mostly just a vast open span of nothing that's a chore to run back and forth around and is pretty much just as big as it is to bloat the runtime of the game.
Kind of the same reason I'd never say BotW. Tend to find the more horizontal areas of the game pretty universally tedious since there aren't really a lot of methods (until you get the Master Cycle Zero anyway) to navigate them quickly given how much the vertical space renders horses more trouble than they're worth.
Putting Hyrule field from OoT over TP is such a nostalgia bias... Yes, it was revolutionary for the time, but it ain't better as TP was an intentional upgrade, makes the whole ranking messed up IMO. And I won't even mention BoTW.
Definitely BotW, but that's not really fair as you're basically including the whole game. Twilight Princess is also fairly solid. OoT has...nothing in it?
Fair point, but in my opinion it's exactly the opposite haha. Because BOTW is so extremely big and open, I personally feel a more compact and handcrafted Hyrule field has been more memorable to me.
@BrianJL Good point RE: the main "hub" being in the center in Majora being part of what makes Termina Field feel less like a connective area you just have to get through versus Ocarina (also helps that there's just a lot more stuff in it).
If Hyrule Castle town had been in the center of Hyrule Field in OoT instead of Lon Lon Ranch, it'd probably feel much less like essentially just a bunch of flat roads that you need to take to get to the actual place you need to get.
BotW had the least bare, largest, most picturesque, interesting, involving, and non-section loading Hyrule Field I've ever seen. It's literally the Hyrule Field I had always wanted ever since Ocarina of Time. At least for 3D anyway.
The hype is real and unescapable.
WHAT LMAO how could you even say that botw doesn't have the best hyrule field its an open world game. Ocarinas is so empty blinded by nostalgia
@Mauzuri I couldn't disagree with you more. Yes, there arent notes scattered conveniently around every corner of BOTW's world for you to read, but the game excels at environmental storytelling and atmosphere. Also, the fact that even the smallest spot on the map has something for you to do is heavily impressive.
I have finished Inquisition and 100% Witcher 3 and can confidently say that their open world design is atrocious. Thank f*** I didnt have to explore 90% of Witcher 3's oceans to get a good grasp of the game.
Inquisition is the biggest offender of massive plains with nothing to do. The desert maps almost felt like a parody. It was painful to run around and explore. Doesn't help that the notes in Inquisition were a bore to read when compared to Origins, for example. Hope in 4 they learn this lesson.
I want to say botw, but there is still something about the simplicity of ocarina of times hyrule.
Less is more as they say
@Mbawa You are in luck. They did that with an article right above these comments.
@TheBigBlue But BotW does have a separate location called Hyrule Field.
I like OoT’s compactness, the random walls & fences, and certainly all those underground caverns.
I believe TP in comparison had relatively less stuff in its field.
Age of calamity for me the entire feel suit more hyrulefield, alot great soundtrack, combat , more like War , Very good cutscene story. spend it 250 hours on this game
I actually always hated Hyrule Field in OoT; starting way back on my pre-ordered gold cartridge. It has just always felt like a basic hub with off-shoots to the different areas where I would find dungeons. And not having the original LoZ theme really rubbed me the wrong way (even if I now love that over world theme and it's playing in my head right now). To me TWILIGHT PRINCESS nails the concept best; with BotW a very close second.
Can we all just take a moment to think about taking our first steps in a new Zelda game in just 2 1/2 months?! I am so pumped for a new adventure!
They probably won't learn their lesson, unfortunately. Most people that worked on DA:O have left Bioware, remember? Thanks for being respectful, by the way. Most people would've chewed me out for my opinion haha.
That begs the question for me personally though: Why couldn't I get into BotW's open world game? I just get... bored of it.I never had this issue in any of the games I mentioned (Aside from the stupid desert in Inquisition, which I agree is just flatout dead boring) Everytime I start BotW up, I play for like 15 minutes running around before I close it again. I just find it odd, since I love Zelda and I love open world games..
hyrule field was basicly the only reason for me to buy a N64. I remember i visited a friend and he want to show me Ocarina of time, the game started and link was running arround on hyrule field in the middle of a thunderstorm, i can't rememeber any magical momebt between this and playing breath of the wild for the first time.
still my favorite zelda game remains breath of the wild, can't imagine any game will be better then this. i realy felt i was in nature, the next zelda game can only feel more dissapointing, it has to be.
These rankings become somewhat predictable. General consensus is OoT is the best Zelda Game, closely followe by BotW, so every time an aspect of Zelda is ranked, these two end up on places 1 and 2 (okay: except maybe for dungeons, but BotW does not really have dungeons).
My ranking would be (not counting Age of Calamity since it's the same location as Breath of the Wild even if with some differences):
1. Minish Cap (exactly because it's more compact and also the balance between man-made and natual makes it feel like an actually lived-in place while retaining enough wildness, not to mention how colorful it is like @ComfyAko said);
2. Breath of the Wild (when it comes to a mostly wild one nothing beats it so I have to give it to it despite my preferences);
3. Twilight Princess (way too vast for my taste, but at least it has some variety and does something with its vastness, especially with that iconic moment);
4. Hyrule Warriors (like its compactness, but it's relatively bare if I recall correctly);
5. Ocarina of Time (relatively vast and especially bare so everything I dislike about the other ones).
Shoutout to Majora's Mask indeed, Termina Field is among my favorite Zelda overworld thanks to it being compact, full of stuff to do and quite varied thanks to it leading to four completely different regions!
blaming other people's nostalgia for your own lack of perspective is silly. there are no right answers here, folks. rush isn't better than the Beatles simply because they know more chords, or play more notes, right? both are fantastic, same category, different paradigm.
ocarina of time was an unbelievable experience, and if you weren't there for it, then you don't get to have that experience! that's okay, you had your own, and you'll carry those forward. you'll know how special those games are, whatever they are. but you arent more correct for not having that experience with OoT and preferring a newer game. just my opinion. 👍✌️
EDIT - and if you did have that experience, and still prefer a newer game, obv that's fine too. ☺️ I don't even know where I'm at tbh, I think maybe ALTTP is my favorite? 🤔
So gross to see BoTW winning. I'd have to say 90% of people who voted that clearly were not a kid when OoT came out.
Hell OoTs open world has MORE to do than BoTW somehow.
I love Ocarina of Time as much as the next person... but errr.... I might put that particular Hyrule Fields at the very bottom. It's a vast empty space with nothing of particular interest to keep your visual focus. Enemies pop up occasionally, sure, but it's boring to both look at and traverse. I'm genuinely surprised you put it at number 1. And don't get me wrong, this isn't me ***** on N64 graphics, because I LOVE Termina Field, that ***** works. OoT Hyrule Fields is weak at best.
@theModestMouse It's bizarro world in these comments. People saying OOT had nothing to do while praising BOTW where you'd spend 20 minutes at a time wandering from place to place without a single interesting thing happening.
To all five people and their alternate accounts voting for Twilight Princess: Why are you doing this?
@RappinRootbeer I actually agree with that criticism of BoTW in general: too much time spent scrambling over terrain and engaging in repetitive enemy combat versus actually making game progress - but in this case if you're just considering "central Hyrule" as the area analogous to OoT's Hyrule Field, there's just objectively way more to do in BoTW. There are four shrines, a tower, three Hinoxes, and two stone taluses. Also multiple recovered memories to be found, horse stables, etc.
In OoT outside of a couple fairy grottos there's not really much to do other than cross it to go from point A to point B. I guess if you really like Big Poe hunting that probably colors your appreciation of the field in OoT, I always found that to be tedious and annoying, personally. Especially as kid Link, there's nothing to do except roll across it and then get stuck with it being night and wait around fighting/avoiding Stalfos until the castle gate opens.
I find the 2d Zelda games have the best overworlds that doesn't feel empty and overly big without a booming civilization.
Would love to see what botw overworld looked like before calamity but even with that its easily better than OoTs overworld, come on.
Edit: wish I could of picked Termina, just didnt notice it, especially since it makes no sense on this list. Of any of the zelda 3d overworlds Termina was the most memorable.
I feel like the 2D Zeldas are a lot better than Ocarina of Time.
Why isn't Link to the Past offered.
Tap here to load 71 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...