I simply cannot imagine sitting here and wasting your time by writing a review of The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. Originally released in November of 1998 for the Nintendo 64, the game was a stunning achievement, a mythologically great title which anyone with anything remotely resembling a yen for adventure games ought to play. The game has been rereleased several times including for the GameCube and the Wii and I have played it in every iteration.
It should come as no surprise then that when the game was announced in a brand-spanking new 3D version for the 3DS I praised the saints that a review copy would be (with any luck) appearing in my hot little hands ahead of the release date. People, it’s Ocarina of Time—I distinctly remember during its original release hearing someone else play it through the wall at my girlfriend’s apartment as I was in the middle of it myself, and knowing which part of the game they were at by the music—there was no way I wasn’t going to be playing the game on the 3DS.
Nintendo will be quick to tell you about the improvements this game has over the original release. It has the “Master Quest,” which, it’s true, wasn’t in the original release but isn’t exactly new either. It has graphical changes, and it would have to being that the original title was designed with a single screen in mind (plus, you know the 3D bits). It also has hint movies playable from Sheikah Stones, which are… well, they can be viewed in one of two ways. The hint movies are either something you’re not really going to care one way or the other about (and, let’s face it, it’s easier to find a walkthrough of the title online than find a stone to cheat with). Or, you’ll see the hint movies as one of the great dumbing-downs of a title ever. If you follow that line of thought, you’ll note that the game was released nearly 13 years ago and wonder if people have grown significantly more stupid over that time period so that what was discernible before is now shrouded forever in a veil of mystery. Me, I just find it odd that anyone would tout the addition of in-game hint movies for the rerelease of a 13-year-old game.
Okay, what you probably really want to know about the new release is the 3D-ness of it all. That’s easy enough to discuss – after a couple of hours of playing the game, I turned the 3D off and never looked back. The game looks better without the 3D and some of the motion control additions to the title render the 3D more of a hindrance than a help. You see, when you do stuff like shoot your slingshot, if you don’t have the target lock on the game wants you to turn the 3DS so as to turn the slingshot. Awesome idea. I honestly love that idea. What I don’t love is turning the 3DS with the 3D turned on because there is no way on god’s green earth that I will be able to move the device and remain in the sweet spot. If I’m shooting the slingshot in my first-person view with the 3D turned on, I’m going to see a fuzzy image and I’m not going to be happy (and it’s a massive waste of Deku seeds trying to hit something from a blurry screen, you end up having to go out to look for more or buying more and it’s simply too frustrating).
As for the remapping of buttons and use of the touchscreen, on the whole it works rather well. There are a couple of odd combinations which require you to press a shoulder button while moving the circle pad and using the touchscreen… a notoriously difficult task for us lefties if the shoulder button in question is the left one (and it is). Even so, it’s nothing you can’t get used to.
In the end though, here’s the real takeaway message – this is The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, if for some reason you haven’t played it yet, buy a copy. Buy it for the 3DS, buy it for your Wii, buy it on whatever system you want to sit in front of for hours on end, because once you start playing, you’re going to want to sit in front of it for hours on end. There are side quests and the main quest, a good Zelda story, great music, and huge amount of fun to be had.
The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Violence. This game can also be found on: GameCube, Wii, and N64.