Even the most basic internet search will tell you Ocarina and Link to the Past are among the greatest, most revered games of all time. Princess surpasses them because it does everything they do, plus one. While Ocarina gave us the Z-targeting system, a more mature take on the series and a four-legged friend to traverse the wilderness, Princess bumps them all up a notch. The targeting system keeps combat fast, but a series of new moves gives Link multiple ways of tackling enemies. Stealth kills, headshots and one-hit finishers make Link a more ferocious adventurer than he's ever been before.
The cinematic draw Ocarina wrapped us up in is also bested here. Elaborate cutscenes and beautiful designs bring Princess's world to life, showing more care and thought in one minute than most adventure games accomplish in their entire quest.
You do get a horse, but after transforming into a wolf and gaining magical cat-in-the-hat sidekick Midna's ability to warp all over the map, you won't even need the thing. It's quite clear that the developers wanted players to scour the country of Hyrule, but at their own pace. You can quickly travel the massive, open world with a simple warp, but should you choose to hoof it, you've got a breathtaking realm to explore. Secret caves, hidden items, plentiful minigames... just walking from place to place is an adventure.
Princess further exceeds its ancestors by offering more variation than any other Zelda. A quaint look at farm life kicks it all off, then you're battling monsters on horseback and escorting a flaming carriage back into the safety of Kakariko Village. Before you know it, a giant, faceless bird has your lupine form in its claws and you have to fly it through a narrow, water-filled cavern. Then there's the fishing hole, possibly the most tranquil bit of fishing we've seen in any game, ever. You will be heartbroken that no place quite that beautiful exists in the real world.