The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is without a doubt one of the greatest games ever made. Even after 13 years the games magical story, challenging puzzles, lovable characters and beautiful soundtrack are enough to challenge most (if not all!) game releases today. Perhaps this is why mere mention of a 3D port managed to turn so many heads at last years E3.. Either way, there’s no doubt that this is the 3DS title everyone has been waiting for, as Nintendo bring back the land of Hyrule for a whole new generation of gamers.
Ocarina of Time 3D sees Nintendo’s original masterpiece return with the addition of enhanced 3D visuals, remapped dungeons and various additional game features such as Master Quest mode. The way Nintendo have only made minor additions and changes to the game is great, as it means all of the original games original successes, such as its story, remain untarnished. A story which for those of you unfamiliar with the game, sees a forest raised fairy boy named ‘Link’ set off on an epic quest to save Hyrule, solving puzzles and battling his way through a range of dungeons. Link must travel between ages in order to obtain the full power required to defeat the evil Lord Ganondorf and save the Princess Zelda.
As mentioned the games visuals have received a bit of a make-over and are not greatly improved, with pretty much all of the games textures now smoothed over, enhancing the games overall 3D feel. This whole make-over is perhaps most notable with the games characters, who not stand out even bolder amongst the games increasingly vibrant (well.. not so much when working through dark dungeons!) level design.
Naturally these enhanced textures stand out best when the device is used in full 3D, as Ocarina of Time makes prime use of the devices native capabilities, adding a great overall sense of depth to the game! For me personally, the most notable 3D use came when finding an item, as the discovered item literally dives out of the screen whilst Link holds it. The same effect can be seen with fairy trails and sparks when playing through, unfortunately I didn’t find 3D in these as noticeable as I did with the item discovery.
As well as the games obvious 3D usage Ocarina of Time 3D also makes great use of the devices gyroscope. When firing arrows, launching your hookshot, or just having a general peek about the place, players are able to control where the the camera aims by moving the device in real space. This is an amazing feature that adds to the overall immersion of the game, whilst giving added precision to ranged attacks. I personally found tht after a while you get a bit too used to it all and eventually find yourself.. waving a 3DS about in public.. Though, there’s no need to worry, as the game also allows players worried about public embarrassment to direct the cameras aim using the joystick.
Now, many people may remember how easy it was to hit unintended notes when playing the Ocarina on N64 or Gamecube…. Fortunately Nintendo have managed to prevent this slight aggrivation with the 3DS release as controls are now streamlined to work with the device, as each note has been assigned a different button making it much easier to mash out your serenades, ballads and lullabies. You might even end up thinking you can really play! But not really… Though you can keep better record of how songs are played, as Ocarina of Time has a built in song sheet when using playing the instrument. This is great as it prevents the lengthy process of opening menus, and selecting items again as you forget notes.
As many gamers will know, music has always played a central role to the Zelda series, with short melodies like the ocarina tunes controlling many key features in the game environment. The soundtracks in Zelda games are no exception this musical focus, especially so in Ocarina of Time, which featues one of the most Iconic gaming soundtracks of all time. For many people merely hearing ocarina melodies such as eponas song and Zelda’s lullaby are enough take them back to Hyrule plains. This doesn’t look ready to change with Ocarina of Time 3D either, as it maintains all of the games original score, in a nice remastered format that fits perfectly with each environment!
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D also sports some additional features which complement the games story, including the Master Quest version that first made its debut a few years back on Gamecube. Including Master Quest was a great decision on Nintendo’s behalf as it adds that extra challenge for hardened players. The one downside to its incorporation is that you need to complete the original story first.. making the normal version like a driving test for the big world! That’s right. Link is a car.
On top of Master Quest, the game also sports a nice little boss battle feature, which lets you revisit any boss battle. In this mode you can battle away to your hearts content, possibly even competing against yourself in a time run if you’re that crazy! The battle feature lets you face off against bosses you’ve defeated one after another, overall making for a nice little break feature when you want to escape a dungeon and get a change of scenery without leaving the couch!
All of these features come together nicely to show how well Nintendo has placed consideration into how the game will port to a handheld console, as anyone unfamilar with the original could easily be deceived into thinking it was originally made for the 3DS console with no prior existence.
Overall the game is a great improvement on the original, whilst maintaining all of its original successes. The face that such an iconic game is back to be enjoyed by a whole new generation of gamers is also great, as the legend quite literally lives on.