The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
June 16, 2011 (JP)
June 17, 2011 (EU)
June 19, 2011 (NA)
June 30, 2011 (AU)
How do you review a thirteen-year-old game that’s considered by many to be the greatest game of all time even after all these years? Ocarina of Time has been re-released many times since its original release on the N64 all those years ago: twice on the Gamecube (once with its Master Quest variant, and again as part of the Zelda Collector’s Edition) and again on the Wii’s Virtual Console. Now it’s coming again as the first high-profile release for Nintendo’s new 3D handheld. The question is, is it still a great game?
The answer to that is a resounding yes. Ocarina of Time 3D is the first real overhaul of the game, and while there are no new dungeons or items that expand upon the original game, there are still some major improvements here that make it the definitive version of this classic. Plus, this release lets you play OoT on the go. Who ever thought we’d be able to do that when the game first came out?
The first thing you’ll notice about OoT 3D is the graphics, which have received a fairly significant overhaul. Textures are sharper, graphical touches have been added here and there, and the character models (especially for Link, Zelda, and Ganondorf) look superb. Environments have been touched up a lot, especially Hyrule Castle Town, which is now more vibrant and lifelike than ever. The improved textures look much better (though there are some that are still low-res and blurry, if you look hard enough), and graphical details have been added to nearly every environment in the game.
Some of the environments do show Ocarina’s age though. Hyrule Field, the biggest offender, is mostly a large, empty expanse. Enemies are sparse and there’s really not much to do except find a few hidden grottoes. It mostly serves as a transportation hub to get you to the more active environments in the game, such as Kakariko Village and Castle Town.
The 3D effect is easily the best on the system, adding a level of depth that never existed in previous releases, and offering some cool popout effects too (ever had Cucco feathers flying in your face?). It gets in the way sometimes, like when you’re trying to win the shooting gallery or catch Big Poes, but it’s easily disabled for those segments with just a flick of the slider. There’s a slight drop in the framerate when the 3D is enabled, but it’s only noticeable to those who are really sensitive, and the 3D effects are worth the tradeoff.
Improvements to the interface constitute the rest of the major changes to the game, and they’re easily the best part. No longer do you have to go through the infuriating process of scrolling through menu screens to find items – it’s all touch controlled now. The tedium of switching boots every ten seconds in the Water Temple is reduced immensely by the ability to simply toggle the Iron Boots on and off with the press of a button or the touchscreen. The new interface is also much cleaner, though the two touchscreen buttons aren’t that great of a replacement for the third item button lost in the transition to the 3DS.
The 3DS’s circle pad does a fine job of controlling Link and aiming weapons such as the bow and slingshot. The Hookshot has received an upgrade in the form of an improved targeting reticule, which sends out a dynamic red line and larger reticule to assist in aiming the device, rather than just the red dot from the original game. Less useful though is the gyroscopic aiming added in this release, which is overall inferior to analog aiming, not to mention it interferes with the 3D.
In typical fashion, the soundtrack has received minor upgrades, including the addition of an absolutely incredible orchestrated track played during the end credits. The entire soundtrack has been touched up, and overall sounds better than the original, though it still sounds a bit dated by today’s standards, even for a handheld game. It would be nice to see some more orchestrated tracks, but the score itself is still incredible even with the dated technology.
The main quest will take you at least 15 hours, more if you do the game’s many sidequests. Once you finish the main quest, the game unlocks the Master Quest that was originally introduced on the Gamecube OoT bonus disc. This time though, the entire game has been mirrored, enemies do double damage, and dungeons have been changed a bit with new puzzles. It offers a real challenge to be sure, and is a great addition to an already masterful game. There’s also a boss rush mode, which allows you to fight through all the game’s bosses in a gauntlet-style throwdown.
There’s not much else to say about Ocarina of Time 3D. It’s the definitive version of what was arguably already the greatest game of all time, and even though it shows its age, it’s worth buying if you’re still hurting for games on your 3DS. If you’ve already played OoT to death, there’s not much new to see here in terms of content, but it still warrants consideration due to the many graphical and interface improvements, and the inclusion of Master Quest offers a challenge for even the most hardcore of Zelda veterans.
Great 3D effect.
Master Quest included.
It's a portable OoT!
No major changes to the game itself.
Sound can be a bit dated.