REVIEW: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS
By Geoff GirardinG-off. Thursday, August 18, 2011 6:38:28 PM
It's no secret that I am a massive fan of the Legend of Zelda. My first real experience with video games was at the age of seven, when I first played Ocarina of Time for the N64. It took me two years to finish the storyline, with six months spent purely on trying to defeat Volvagia. When I was in middle school I would write Wind Waker fanfiction. When I was in high school, I would decode the Hylian language.
Now, at the age of twenty, I have 27 playthroughs of Ocarina under my belt. I have a folder on my hard drive filled with term papers and different theses that I have written - for fun - delving into the psychosis of the Hyrulian lore. My fiancé and I run fictional Twitter accounts as Link and Princess Zelda. We plan on naming one of our daughters Saria. I recently emblazoned my skin with the beauty that is the Triforce. And it is my great pleasure to enjoy the treats that the 25th Anniversary of the Legend of Zelda has to offer us.
It is a joy to play this fantastic title again. Now, let us take a look at this latest remake of a classic.
Ocarina of Time 3DS is identical to the original in every way, and it is completely different in every way. The fantastic thing about it is that it is still the same game that we know and love, but it looks a million times better and it plays a million times better.
I am a guy who is all about gameplay. Give me solid controls and fun puzzles over gorgeous graphics and I am stoked. And I couldn't be happier with the new controls. The control pad feels more natural than the analog stick ever did, and all other buttons fall right int place with where you remember. The only issue I have had was with playing songs on the ocarina. There are no C-buttons this time around, so the buttons had to be changed. This does not fit in with my muscle memory of these songs. It now takes some time to warp around the land, I can't just punch in the Prelude of Light without thinking about it; I have to actually pay attention.
The inventory is absolutely perfect. The Ocarina now has it's own static slot in the corner so it's always available, and now we have four item slots to use. These are labeled X, Y, I, and II. I and II are touch screen slots, and X and Y can be used by pressing the respective buttons. It is is a very comfortable set up, and the button presses are again so natural to the way you hold the system that there is little need to pay attention to your items; you can just press and go. Having the entire inventory at your fingertips is fantastic. There is no more need to pause the game to swap out items, you can simply touch and go. My favorite thing, however, is absolutely using the gyroscope to aim the bow/hookshot/first person view. It's perfect. It is absolutely perfect. And if you're in a spot where you can't wave the 3DS around, you can simply use the circle pad. It's fantastic!
It looks beautiful. The updated graphics and textures are just gorgeous. The game flows perfectly, and everything looks extremely well done and polished. Grass looks like grass. Dirt looks like dirt. The characters have an added depth to them that you can see in their faces that is just fantastic. As Dustin said recently, this is especially evident in Jabu-Jabu's Belly. It really does look like the inside of a giant fish, rather than some abstractly pink and red rooms with tentacles. Everything is just beautiful.
There are three major additions to Ocarina of Time 3DS, and two of them are excellent. The first one is a new mode called Boss Challenge. Once you defeat a boss, you may return to Link's bed and battle them as many times as you want, all in an attempt to have the lowest time. The second, and arguably the most exciting, new feature is the Master Quest. Once you play through the main game once, the Master Quest is unlocked. It is unlike the version that was released for the Gamecube, and it is excellent. The overworld is entirely mirrored. The puzzles in the dungeons, while largely retained from the Gamecube version of Master Quest, feel incredibly new, and incredibly challenging. I hate to admit this, but Inside the Deku Tree gave me trouble. You encounter stronger enemies earlier than before, and they deal at least twice the damage you expect them to. It is an amazing way to breath new life into this 13 year old title. I can say that as frustrating as it is, it leaves me wanting more - just like when I first played it.
However, not all that is new is, well, neat. Two new "Sheikah Stones" now grace Hyrule, one near Link's house and one inside the Temple of Time. If you're stumped, you are able to crawl inside of them and watch little cinematics of where you need to go next. I feel as though this is a silly feature. Millions of children figured out the quest 13 years ago, why make it easier? I understand Nintendo's decision, but I feel as though it is unnecessary. They are completely optional, and I can say that I never even noticed that they were there unless I was looking, so the distaste I have is merely due to extreme fanaticism.
All in all, Ocarina of Time 3DS is an amazing game. I recommend it to everyone I know that owning or is thinking of owning a 3DS. It's what made me buy the system. It has renewed my love for the series, and it is a fantastic way to celebrate 25 years of adventure. Ocarina of Time 3DS has perfected perfection.
Game: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS
Developed by: Nintendo, GREZZO
Release Date: Japan: June 16, 2011, Europe: June 17, 2011, North America: June 19, 2011, Australia: June 30, 2011
Rating: Pegi: 12, ERSB: E10+
Supports WFC: No.
N+ Fantastic new graphics that bring Hyrule to life.
N+ The new controls feel incredibly natural.
N+ Gyroscopic aiming is my new favorite thing, and feels more accurate than the circle pad.
N+ Master Quest is a beast of a challenge, and it's fun.
N+ Boss Challenge is a blast.