In the pantheon of video game characters, few are more recognizable than Link. His green tunic has become iconic, as has the Master Sword, which he uses to destroy evil throughout numerous virtual lands. He’s popular enough to have crossed over into a number of other games, from Super Smash Bros. to Super Mario Maker to Soulcalibur. He’s also not just one person.
In 2023, Polygon is embarking on a Zeldathon. Join us on our journey through The Legend of Zelda series, from the original 1986 game to the release of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and beyond.
Most games in the Zelda franchise introduce a new Link. While many of the details stay largely the same (heroic nature, usually some form of green tunic, silent protagonist), each is their own discrete iteration with unique traits and personality quirks. (It gets complicated, but that’s the general gist of it.)
With so many variations of this beloved character, the Links lend themselves to ranking, and there’s a pressing question that has not been addressed when it comes to our hero: Which ones would be a good hang? We’re not concerned about how powerful each Link is, or which is most heroic — we just want to figure out what the vibes are like with each of them. Using an extremely scientific method to parse through each Link’s in-game mannerisms, personal histories, and general vibes, we’re detailing both the best and worst versions of Link to spend time with.
The five best Links to hang with
5. Four Swords Adventures Link
Splitting into four separate doppelgängers is the main mechanical conceit in Four Swords Adventures, and it’s also key to this Link’s vibes. It could get pretty hectic rolling with that many of one person, and it’s hard not to accuse them of being “self-absorbed” with the whole choreographed formations deal. But it also means you have a full crew for any sort of group event, and you will never need to hire a moving company ever again (you just need to pay for some Lon Lon Milk for all of them). It’s a little transactional, but this Link is a good hang.
4. Twilight Princess Link
Twilight Princess Link contains multitudes. He’s a salt-of-the-earth ranch hand, which could be good for a bonfire night or simple country living. But as we know, he’s also got a wild side to him that can manifest in unexpected ways. Namely, he turns into a literal wolf. You never quite know what you’re going to get with this Link, and that unpredictability could be a deal breaker for some. But the range of social functions in which this Link can be comfortable? He’s a chameleon worth taking along.
3. Oracle of Seasons/Ages Link
As the single iteration of Link who has appeared in the most games (Capcom’s Oracle games, Link’s Awakening, and Link to the Past), you’ll be getting a worldly explorer here. That means you’re going to get good stories, even if he could devolve into that person who thinks they know the answers to every problem facing the world because they’ve traveled. The big draw here is the powers gained in the Oracle games. Hate winter? Link can turn it to summer. Did something embarrassing at the bar last night? Link can rewind that for you. The vibes are good on this Link, but make sure that all the power doesn’t go to his head.
2. Skyward Sword Link
The first chronological Link benefits from his setting. Everyone on Skyloft seems pretty mellow, for the most part, and having a friend with a giant bird that you can ride would be incredible. He’s incredibly loyal to his friend Zelda, so he’s probably going to be a loyal friend to you, too. He does help establish a monarchy system in Hyrule at the end of the game, which is not a great look. But his friendly and laid-back vibes still elevate him into good-hang territory.
1. Wind Waker/Phantom Hourglass Link
Bar none, this is the Link that’s the best hang. Besides possessing a particularly strong sense of adventure that will always lead to a good story, this Link has pizazz. He is the sassiest of all Links, and you just know he’ll have something funny to say (through facial expressions and expressive body language, of course) about any situation. His crew is also a bunch of jolly pirates, so hanging with this Link means hanging with people who are just as fun as he is. He’s also a boat guy, and years of watching Below Deck confirms that this means he’s down to party no matter what.
The five worst Links to hang with
5. Minish Cap Link
This Link could be a good hang. He really could. He’s got a whimsical sense about him, and a clear appreciation for the beauty and sanctity of nature. But sometimes a person’s vibes are ruined by the company they keep. In this case, we need to talk about the titular Minish Cap, Ezlo. He’s a loudmouth and has the nasty habit of interrupting the peaceful moments you could be sharing with Link in nature. It’s not really his fault, but his friends ruin this Link’s appeal.
4. Spirit Tracks Link
Spirit Tracks Link is something of a mixed bag. He’s got charm and is pretty expressive, so you’re going to get a good reaction out of your jokes and stories. He’s also an engineer, which can really go either way: a chill dude who knows how to fix things, or a hobbyist who is a little too into their hobby and it’s the only thing they ever want to do. Since this Link is also a certified Train Guy, the second option seems more likely. Therefore, he is a bad hang.
3. The Legend of Zelda Link
This Link is the original, so maybe we do need to show him some respect. But do you really want to spend time with someone who spends so much time in caves? (Unless you’re into spelunking — then go wild.) Also, it’s hard to trust anyone who takes weapons from old men inside said caves.
2. Breath of the Wild Link
Yes, Breath of the Wild is one of the best games ever made. But this Link does not have the best vibes. He’s been on ice for 100 years, so it would be like hanging out with someone from 1923: novel in theory, but supremely awkward in practice. And while having the ability to sustain himself off the land is nice, it feels like he’d give off “doomsday prepper” and “rock-climbing bro” vibes. Also, you just know that this guy smells horrific.
1. Ocarina of Time/Majora’s Mask Link
This is perhaps the most iconic version of Link, responsible for catapulting The Legend of Zelda’s popularity into what it is today with the series’ move into the 3D space. He would also be a disastrously bad hang. This Link grew up in a tree raised by forest people who never stop being children, so social skills are out the window. There’s no chance for him to learn either, as he’s then frozen in time for seven years, which screams man-child vibes. And no matter where he goes, he’s got an annoying babysitter who won’t stop bothering you. Hard pass.
Worst non-canon garbage hang
1. CD-i Link
Getting run through by the Master Sword would be a better time than spending a second with this dweeb.