It’s been a long time coming but the time is here. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D has arrived on the Nintendo 3DS and you truly shouldn’t be reading this review due to the fact that you should be out purchasing the game or saving Hyrule right now.
3DS owners may feel like this is the first quality title Nintendo has offered, or maybe you think it’s just a rehash of an old title. While I won’t argue opinions here, I’ll tell you one thing: “You’re wrong.”
Whether you’ve played ‘Zelda 64′ or not, the “Ocarina of Time 3D” is something you should own. It’s an adventure unlike no other and its quality was outstanding when it first launched 4,593 days ago and it’s even more astounding in its new 3D glory.
If you’re unfamiliar with the game it’s an action-adventure title with brilliant puzzles, although not usually complicated they can intrigue your mind at times. You play the role of Link, a young Hylian boy raised by the Kokiri and deemed to save the world of Hyrule from the evil wizard, Ganondorf. Cliché? Maybe it is but it’s also completely acceptable when it’s done properly. With the help of Princess Zelda and many other friends throughout Hyrule, you must guide Link through the lengthy task of defeating Ganondorf.
Gameplay is the key to making a great game, and Shigeru Miyamoto is an expert in this department. The Ocarina of Time is a masterpiece and offers a perfect blend of action and adventure, while mixing things up with puzzle elements in both dungeons and in some areas of the overworld. Puzzles often entail block-pushing, hitting switches and maneuvering to new areas quickly, and of course using the in-game ocarina to gain access to certain areas and times.
The pacing is perfect and you’ll constantly feel like you’re progressing and upgrading your abilities in the game as you’ll earn and discover new items, pieces of heart to increase your life, and you’ll gain access to new areas all the time. Ocarina the Time isn’t really a difficult game, but you can find yourself walking in circles when you’re in the dungeons, and it takes some time to memorize the layout, and to recognize what you have to do in each one to reach the end. Each of the dungeons will have a boss including famous creatures from past Legend of Zelda games including Gohma and Dodongo, and each one will also have a unique pattern of attack that you’ll have to learn to figure out their weakness. Upon defeating a boss, you’ll have earned one more item that will help you reach Ganondorf and destroy him.
For those of you who have played Ocarina of Time countless times, you’re probably wondering what’s new. You might have heard that the Master Quest is included in the 3DS version, and that’s true. Not sure what that is? It’s a reworked version of Ocarina of Time and it features a mirrored world, reworked dungeons with new enemy locations, puzzles, and increased difficulty level. If you want the same magic of the game you played in 1998, but want it to be a little more challenging, this is the mode to play. Keep in mind you’ll need to complete the main game to unlock this mode, so you’ve got some work ahead of you. On top of that you’ll also find a new “Boss Challenge” mode which allows you to fight any of the games’ bosses at any time, either one at a time, or in a survival match without any breaks – practice makes perfect!
The main quest can be tackled in approximately 15-20 hours if you know exactly what you’re doing. However, if you add in all the side quests which include obtaining the BigGoron Sword, collecting heart pieces, skulltula spider tokens, and more and you’ve got yourself a 30+ hour adventure… and that’s not taking the Master Quest into consideration. If you’re looking for a title with a considerable amount of gameplay and high quality design, this is it.
The biggest change that will affect all players will be the new controls, catered to the Nintendo 3DS and its touchscreen capabilities. The Nintendo 64 controller used the four C-buttons to map items in the original, but now you can use the 3DS touchscreen for all item management. You can map items to A & B, plus two touchscreen-only buttons listed as I and II. Having the secondary screen on the 3DS is great for its touchscreen, but also for helping to clear up the HUD on your main screen where you’ll be playing the game. You map items such as Deku Sticks and Bombs to your face buttons using the touchscreen, and use them easily as you move around in the game. It’s extremely easy to change mapped items and use them at any time using your thumbs, and at no time do you really require the stylus.
Using the Gyro sensors in the Nintendo 3DS, you can actually view the world around you from Links’ point of view by moving your 3DS up, down, left or right and the camera moves along with you. Another cool feature using these sensors comes into play when using your key items such as the slingshot and bow & arrow. Moving the 3DS around can actually be used to aim your shots adding a deeper sense of realism to the game. It’s not a requirement though, and if you want to keep things to the buttons it’s your choice, however it does work quite well.
Still wondering about the graphics, too? If you’re anything like me, you may have seen a trailer on TV, or in a local game shop but you’re not seeing a big upgrade from what it used to look like 13 years ago. Put your mind at ease because the 3D upgrade looks stunning, even if you’re playing in 2D. Textures have been improved, and more polygons have been added to give the new version a very smooth appearance and it’s extremely rich in colour too. It’s a downright beautiful upgrade, but you can’t really tell without playing it on the 3DS itself. If you want to see it with your own eyes, visit the 3DS e-Shop and download the trailer for the game and see how well it runs.
The soundtrack was composed by the legendary Koji Kondo and it remains as one of the best videogame soundtracks to date. With a multitude of pieces to accompany every area and action in the game, the Ocarina the Time has one of the most memorable soundtracks in history. You’ll notice that the music and sound effects, most notably the Ocarina playback, sounds much more crisp and clear in this release. From the simple piano opening theme to the magical sounds of the Hyrule Field theme, there’s nothing but quality that I can best define as ‘ear-coitus’… and yes, I do watch The Big Bang Theory.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was one of the few titles that scored many perfect 10’s in reviews when it originally released, and I can’t find anything that’s wrong with this version either. Sure I’m a very biased Zelda fan, I admit that, but the Ocarina of Time is a fantastic title with little to no room for improvement at this point. Maybe I’ll change my tune when Mr. Miyamoto sends me a 2012 Nintendo Virtual Boy and a copy of the OoT developed to play in a true virtual world along with my very own replica Master Sword and Hylian Shield… I can see that making things a little more enjoyable.
In the case of ‘Zelda 3D’, the improved visuals and sound combined with the hours of entertaining gameplay make the Ocarina of Time 3D a must-own title for all 3DS owners, and it’s also a strong incentive to pick up the handheld if you haven’t done so.
The controls have made a fantastic transition to the 3DS through the help of its touchscreen and gyro sensors, and still gives you the option to play with buttons too.
Smooth character models and rich looking enviroments make the Ocarina of Time 3D feel like an entirely new experience.
This could very well be Koji Kondo's best work, and you'll love every sound effect to instrumental piece you come across.