The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time holds a special place in many a gamers hearts. It's innovative and fine-tuned gameplay was supplemented by gorgeous visuals (for the time), a breathtaking soundtrack, and a surprisingly interesting story. Now, after 12 years of it's release, Nintendo and Grezzo released Ocarina of Time 3D for the Nintendo 3DS. Being a devoted fan of the Zelda franchise, I rushed out and purchased the game day one, even ordering the Soundtrack off of Club Nintendo's website. Has it held up well over the ages? Let's find out.
Ocarina of Time is best described as an Action game with a large focus on exploration and puzzle solving, along with some mild RPG elements. You control the hero Link as he rushes to save the land of Hyrule from the lord of all evil, Ganondorf. His quest involves him going all over the land, exploring dungeons and fighting numerous foes. I could explain more, but I would prefer to focus on the quality of the remake. If you want to know more about Ocarina of Time, I would suggest looking at a review of the original game.
Now, the 3DS remake's main draw is of course the graphical updates. Nintendo and Grezzo gave Hyrule and all of it's inhabitants a huge facelift, and it's a definite improvement over the N64 original. Characters now closely resemble their interpretations from the official artwork, and the environments are noticeably more detailed. Unfortunately, while the environments do look better than the 64 version, they still look a little underwhelming. The mountains still look a little on the blocky side and Hyrule field feels a little too sparse. Nintendo and Grezzo could have used a little more of the 3DS's processing power to clean up the environments a bit, but the game overall still looks quite nice.
The 3D effect is among the most effective yet. The depth really shows when travelling across Hyrule field, and the in-game cutscenes are given a nice new enhancement to their cinematic flair. In actuality, I really hate to turn the 3D effect off (to better utilize the gyroscope aiming and conserve battery life) because Ocarina of Time 3D just looks that much better with it.
One disappointment with Ocarina of Time 3D is the sound. Not that the soundtrack is bad or anything, far from it actually. I would go as far to say that Ocarina of Time has one of the best soundtracks in the franchise, but it's disappointing to find that Nintendo and Grezzo didn't remix it. It's forgivable, seeing how the music is still incredible in it's current form, but if they went through the trouble to enhance the visuals, why not the awesome music? Oh well, at least they included a incredible orchestrated melody at the end credits. A nice reward for completing the game.
Speaking of rewards, you also get a mirrored version of the Master Quest version if you complete the original. Basically it's Ocarina of Time Plus. The dungeons have been changed significantly, with items completely switched around and new enemies added in. The game has been completely flipped as well, and it's suitably disorienting. The nicest part of Master Quest (in my humble opinion) is the difficulty boost. I have found Ocarina of Time to be a somewhat easy game, one that I can breeze through in about 10 hours, but this version adds a nice challenge, namely an increased enemy count in dungeons, that and all enemies and obstacles do double the damage. It's a really nice addition, and definitely a worthy quest to any Zelda veteran.
And seeing how Nintendo has to appeal to the casual market as well, they added in something called Sheikah Stones. They act as a guide, giving the player hints on how to find and solve dungeons. However, these are just general hints. If you want to find everything about the game, such as heart pieces and Golden Skulltulas, you'll have to use your own intuition (or a walkthrough, either way). I see it helping out younger and newer Zelda fans, but I found it to be useless (then again, I know Ocarina of Time forwards and backwards).
Also added was a bit of motion control. By physically moving your 3DS system when aiming a bow, hookshot, etc., you can aim them using the gyroscope. It seems gimmicky at first, but it's usefulness knows no limits. It feels more natural and allows you to react faster than the analog nub, making some tricky situations much easier to resolve.
Other that Master Quest, updated visuals, and the motion aiming, this is virtually the exact same game you played back in 1998. Nintendo and Grezzo even added in glitches and bugs from the original game. It seems that the developers were trying to respectfully recreate a classic game and introduce it to a new audience, but you are essentially paying 40 dollars for a game that you can get for around 10 dollars on the Wii's Virtual Console service. It was worth it for me, because I love this game dearly and wanted to play it on the road, but for some, it may not be enough. That being said, there are people who never played Ocarina of Time before, and if that's true for you, then buy this game ASAP. Ocarina of Time 3D is the ultimate version of a game that's truly of the best ever created, but the 40 dollar price tag may seem a little too high for some. But as it stands with the 3DS library, this is probably the best you are going to get.
+ Game still holds up very well since it's release
+ Graphics given a good facelift, 3D is effective.
+ Soundtrack as epic as ever.
+ Sheikah Stones are a nice touch for beginners.
+ Master Quest is a worthy challenge.
+ Gyroscope aiming is precise and useful.
- Not a lot of new content, seems pricey.
- Soundtrack could have used an update.
- Some parts of the visuals don't look so hot.
OVERALL: ***8.5 out of 10***