The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time has always had a special place in my heart – a matter of fact, Ocarina of Time was the very game that ignited my passion for gaming. Honestly I considered myself fortunate, that the very first game I was able to complete was Ocarina of Time. The feeling and experience of playing the game for the very first time is unique and quite possibly a once in a lifetime experience. The game was a smash hit with critics and holds the highest Metacritic score of any video game in history. It created industry standards such as lock-on and the template for 3D adventure game. I can go on with the many accolades bestowed upon this single title but I shall that save that for another day.
Fast forward to the present, unfortunately Ocarina of time has not aged well. With Nintendo re-releasing Ocarina of time with Wind Waker and on the Wii Virtual Console, the game just doesn’t hold well against modern games. However in collaboration with Grezzo, Nintendo has released a modern version for the 3DS, in the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D.
But the Big question presents itself. Does the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of time succeed in modernisation while remaining faithful to the original?
I was cautiously optimistic about a remake of my most beloved game. Nintendo really needed to tread careful, if this remake ruined what was loved in the original, the Zelda fans won’t easily forgive them. But alterations are needed to appeal to the newer generation of gamers. However, after beating Ocarina of Time 3D not once but twice, any fears I had before the release have surely been put to rest. The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3d is the definitive version, any fan of the original owe them to play this game.
Firstly, the most notably improvement upon the original is the upgrade in the visuals. Grezzo has taken advantage of the extra power of the 3ds and have made improvements to the general aesthetics of the original. The characters are more pleasant to look at. Gone are the days of the sharp edge polygon characters, now permanently replaced with models with smother edges and greater detail. The blurry textures and detail of the environments in the Nintendo 64 version have also welcomely been upgraded. The interiors of building are no longer blurry and the water glistens. With the 3D turned on the game looks even crisper. The 3D works well, adding depth to the environments. The 3D doesn’t add anything exciting to the game, I found myself turning it off for the most part. Overall the general visual design has been improved upon.
Grezzo has been very reverent in preserving the original source. Although the visual aesthetics have been improved the game is still remarkably familiar to the original. Grezzo has only applied improvements and has not dramatically altered any element from the original. The game feels fresh and yet surprisingly familiar.
The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time has one of the greatest soundtracks in a video game. It’s difficult to describe them in words, it probably best if you play the game and listen to the track yourself. I honestly would play the game just
The Game controls are tight and responsive. Character movements are controlled by the circle pad. Actions, climbing and rolling are assigned to the A button and the B button is to attack with your sword. Press L to lock-on and R to shield. Items and weapons are hot keyed to the X and Y button. Since the 3DS lacks the C buttons on the N64 controller, a virtual button is placed on the touchscreen to accommodate for this.
Those who played the original on the Nintendo 64, can relate to the frustration of changing links boots. Players had to press the start menu, scroll over to the gear selection and equip the appropriate boots. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but certain dungeons require to regularly change your boots. The water temple was a major offender, the dungeon forced players to switch to the iron boots to traverse and solve puzzles deep in the depths of the water. Alternating from Iron Boots to the normal boots was tedious and annoying. However, Ocarina of Time 3D has given the players the ability to assign the boots to the X, Y or touch button. The tedious nature of changing boots no longer exists. Although it is a small alteration, it’s these small things that improve the overall experience.
The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D utilizes the gyroscope functionality. In the first person look mode, players can move the 3DS around to look into the game. Projectile weapons such as the slingshot, hookshot and the bow also utilizes the gyroscope functionality. Moving the 3DS around to aim is intuitive and accurate. I found myself using the gyroscope for aiming almost always. However you need to be conscious of the position of the 3DS before aiming. Often when I play the 3DS, I have the console positioned above my head. Therefore when aiming above, I need to raise the 3DS in a higher position. It’s uncomfortable and does get disorientating at times. Having the 3DS levelled with your eye solves avoids such problems. I do not recommend players having the 3D on, when using the Gyroscope, moving the console around disrupts the 3D sweet spot.
The core gameplay elements have remained unchanged. Dungeons make up the bulk of the game. For those unfamiliar with the legend of Zelda Series, dungeons consist of puzzle solving, environmental challenges and enemy slaying. Within each dungeon there is a particular item that needs to be found, which is used to solve puzzles and progress to the temple boss. There is an undeniable satisfaction conquering the dungeons. Players are rewarded with additional heart container to increase health and a new item. These light RPG elements make progression into the game rewarding. With 8 temples altogether, the adventure is very generous. For first timers it will probably take between 15-20 hours.
Apart from the main quests there are other interesting distractions to undertake in Hyrule. There is an assortment of mini games to play, from archery shooting to the fan favourite fishing. For perfectionist there are plenty of items to collect like the all the heart piece and the 100 golden skulltula tokens. Not to be left out, there are additional sidequests to keep players occupied. There is a lot of content packed in this adventure.
Veteran players should not feel left out. The master quest that was included with wind waker makes another appearance here. Master quest is an alternate version of the ocarina of time. In this mode enemies inflict twice the damage; the dungeon puzzles are reworked and much more difficult to solve. In addition the entire game is mirrored. I did get the chance to complete master quest although some puzzles were quite difficult, there is nothing that will make you pull your hair out. Since players start with very little health, the early dungeons were the most difficult. Overall, veteran players should find this alternate adventure refreshing and challenging, giving them an excuse to play this game again.
Ocarina of Time 3D is a love letter to Zelda Fans. This reimagined version stays faithful to original while adding valuable improvements. To new and old gamers, you owe it yourself to play this once in a lifetime game.