If you've never played it, Majora's Mask is much more non-linear than any other Zelda game. It's all about exploration and discovery. You repeat the same three days that lead to a moon crashing into the planet and in doing so you slowly gain powers, items, and masks that will help you on the way. You also learn songs on the ocarina that perform all sorts of tasks and change how you interact with the flow of time.
I beat this one a few times as a kid and once even did a 100% run of the game while getting the Fierce Diety Mask at the end. That was a good time. This time around I booted it up the remaster on my 3DS and played through the first half of the game or so.
It's still really fun... if you're in the right mood. Unless you're following a guide you'll find yourself repeating a lot of the content multiple times. If you're in the right mood for exploration and experimentation it can be a really good time as you slowly piece together what to do and how different systems interact. If you're looking for a more driven storyline and progress, which is the mood I find myself in at the moment, it does start to wear thin.
There's also that ever-looming countdown to the end of the third day. I know that stresses some people out to the point where they can't enjoy the game at all.
So, playing through it to around the half way point is about all I want to do in my current mood. I'd rather move on to the next games in the series. But I still need to figure out where to rank this one. In my mind it's so close to Ocarina of Time that it either needs to go immediately above or below it in the rankings. If I were to rank them in order of overall historical importance then obviously I would put Ocarina on top of these two. But, since I'm ranking them in order of how much I'd like to go back and replay them I think Majora's Mask edges it out.
Here's how the rankings are looking:
- A Link to the Past (1991)
- Majora's Mask (2000)
- Ocarina of Time (1998)
- The Legend of Zelda (1987)
- Link's Awakening (1993)
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (1988)