It’s been a few months since I broke down and purchased a 3DS, but it only dawned on me yesterday that while I have played through The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, I’ve yet to give my full impressions of the title. Well, Zelda is still going through its wonderful 25th anniversary, so now would be as good a time as any to write up a little review. So, once more into the stream of time we go? Yes, let’s!
Currently the 3DS’ flagship title, Ocarina of Time 3D is my favorite game of all time remade with a graphical update, some tweaks to make controls simplified, and overall the addition of 3D. How can any of that not sound like a winner?
I’ll start with the graphics, since I’m pretty sure that no one needs a refresher course on the story here (Link must save Zelda and by extension also Hyrule from the evils of Ganondorf, there, happy?). Of all the things to get caught up in, I am genuinely surprised that the graphics ended up being my biggest purchase justifier. I’m just not a graphics person, I can’t be when I support Nintendo for so long and so adamantly, but I can’t help and just stare at the screen, seeing how the landscapes I grew up with have been carefully retouched to include smoother textures, more detailed features, and overall improvements.
For example, the ivy in the game used to be flat to the background as it was simply a bit of wallpaper to add detail and let you know that the wall was climbable. However, in the 3D remake, the ivy pops off of surfaces. Plus, and I may be mistaken, I think Link climbs faster this time around. Maybe I’m just way off?
While the graphics became more powerful, the soundtrack was left entirely unaltered, save for a recomposition of the credits theme right at the end for the sake of the remake’s extra credits. I don’t quite know what to think of this. On the one hand, it’s nice that the original tracks were able to stand for themselves and show that they’ve withstood the ages as excellent songs. On the other hand, I’m a huge fan of revamped soundtracks and wouldn’t have minded the update to the sound one bit. Oh well, at least the music didn’t suffer at all, but wouldn’t it have been great to have something akin to Overclocked Remix’s excellent recomposed Street Fighter II soundtrack but for Ocarina of Time?
The controls though…well those didn’t suffer either. Everything is just about how you remember it with the touch screen only adding where necessary, not replacing what isn’t broken (thankfully). Now, instead of having three active item slots, you have four. Two of those are touch-based, which are definitely less responsive than the buttons, but letting them act as an item that doesn’t require constant use, like Deku sticks or the trading quest item, just shows their practicality.
Along with the touch screen comes some shifting around of the menus, so now the Ocarina is firmly located in the lower left of the screen and boots are no longer part of the equipment screen but rather actual items, allowing you to quickly take them off or put them back on with a single button press instead of navigating the pause menus. It speeds up the Water Temple a whole hell of a lot and for that I’m at least appreciative.
I will say this about the Ocarina playing though: Getting used to the new button layout will take a lot of time. I played Ocarina of Time on the N64 and then again on the GameCube, but here the buttons seem to be shifted 90 degrees. It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s somewhat frustrating to have to relearn the Ocarina after all these years of being a pro.
But does the game justify the need for 3D? The majority of reviews online tend to suggest that the 3D is a wasted feature that needs to be promptly switched off the second the game is loaded up. As I’m somehow immune to the “sickening effects” of the 3D, somehow, I left it on the entire game. As a result, those lovely graphics exploded even more into my face and rocked my socks harder than expected. Yes the 3D feature works and it is amazing. I didn’t feel like it was a gimmick and I didn’t feel it did anything except make the game look even more amazing. Full recommendation there.
However, I’m not so blind to nostalgia that I can’t see some flaws in both the remake and the original game. Replaying it now, I’ve gotta say, the bosses are so incredibly easy that it’s ridiculous. Perhaps I’ve just grown so used to them, but I didn’t once face a challenge here. I’m proud to say that I don’t have a single death recorded throughout the game, but I am a bit bothered that the death counter has been removed, so I can’t even prove it.
The game is beyond simple at its core. There’s little mystery and while you can explore here and there, the incentive to do so isn’t very high other than collecting rupees, a currency that loss all meaning about halfway through the game, and Gold Skulltulas, which ultimately reward you with the worst 100% complete gift ever of maxing out your rupees (which as I just said loses all meaning halfway through the game).
But, all of this is coming from someone who’s played the original game more than any other game. I know where everything is, I know how to defeat every enemy and boss, and I know exactly what’s going to happen next in the plot. I’m at an advantage and a disadvantage at the same time.
Thankfully for me there’s one part of Ocarina of Time 3D that I haven’t experienced yet: The Master Quest. Upon completion of the game, the Master Quest is unlocked, also known as the harder version of the game with a mirrored world and rearranged dungeons. I’ve never played the Master Quest before, and I didn’t particularly feel like purchasing the GameCube version since I already owned the Anniversary Collection, which includes a GameCube version of Ocarina of Time. The sad part is that you’re forced to play through the entire game to unlock the Master Quest, meaning that while I’ll play it eventually, I don’t have the energy to restart the game immediately from the beginning.
Honestly, I would really have loved some more content for longtime players such as a new dungeon or a new weapon or a new minigame or something. It’s nowhere near an aspect that’d push me away, as I was entertained the entire time and enjoying myself, but after getting all the Heart Pieces, upgrades, and beating the game, I was just sort of hit with a hollow feeling.
When it comes right down to it, Ocarina of Time 3D is worth every cent purely for the graphical update and the 3D functionality. The improved menu system only further adds to the title. Basically, if you’ve never played Ocarina of Time before for some reason, now is the absolute best time, and if you’ve played it as many times as I have but need an excuse to go through it one last time, here’s your chance.
But that’s of course just me. What have you guys thought of the remake? Did you love it or would you have preferred to pass? Leave a comment and let your voice be heard. Meanwhile, I have a Master Quest that needs my attention. Now if only we could get Majora’s Mask onto the 3DS…