Ocarina of Time 3D

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D 3DS Review

The original The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has always been regarded as one of the best, if not absolutely the best, game of all time. Almost thirteen years later, Nintendo has decided to remake the classic, history-making adventure in 3D form for the Nintendo 3DS. The remake isn’t just for kicks either, as this year marks the series’ 25th anniversary and the Ocarina of Time 3D remake is but one of many things Nintendo is doing to mark one of gaming’s most cherished franchises birthdays.

To start off, we’ll hit on what the major change of the game is and that happens to be the graphics and 3D effect. The game may not end up being the prettiest 3DS game. By far. However, the developer (which happens to be Grezzo and NOT solely Nintendo) wanted to keep the graphics and presentation in line with the original as to keep the same feel. What this means is you won’t see completely redone graphics, but the upgrade is still considerable considering almost 13 years have passed. Link finally has hair that looks like hair and facial features and expressions look more up-to-date. The polygon count of the characters have been raised a good bit, but the major characters like Link, Saria, Zelda and Ganon have seen the highest upgrade in not only polygons, but also texture and detail. The over all game itself has seen some new texture work as well, like the grass in Hyrule Field and even the bricks in Hyrule Castle and its town. Speaking of the Hyrule Castle Town and Market, its very nice to see this place come to life with fully-polygonal renders. Remember the original where stepping into the market would show the background, low-texture images and not actual polygonal backgrounds? That has all been changed. In fact, any place where flat, low-texture images of trees or mountains existed to fill backgrounds has all been replaced by fully-rendered, polygonal trees. It’s very nice to see the world look more alive. Even the shops are full of inventory that pop out of the screen in 3D and fill the bazaars. Add on top of this the better particle, lighting and other effects that the 3DS can pull off, and Hyrule has never looked better, especially when playing in 3D mode. Sliding the 3D slider all the way up (for those who can play it that way) will really show off what Miyamoto has always talked about when he mentioned wanting to walk through Hyrule Field in stereoscopic 3D to see the wide expanse of the world. It really is something to see.

Ocarina of Time 3D ScreenshotThe updated graphics also allow for smoother gameplay with a higher frame rate. The original game ran at only 20 fps while this one runs at a solid 30 fps in 3D mode and a fluctuating 60 fps with 3D mode turned off. It doesn’t matter if you play with or without 3D mode, you’ll notice much smoother sword fighting and gameplay in general. On top of this, you have a wider area of view thanks to the 3DS’s upper widescreen display.

Moving away from the graphics, we have the rest of the presentation like the in-game and game selection menus and more. As far as the game selection menus and the title screen go, you won’t notice too much of a change except that the title screen is now a lot brighter, filled with the new textures and definitely more up to date. The game selection menus and similar are all basically the same, except they are now touchscreen-enabled.

The in-game menu has seen the biggest change. The old game had you pressing start for it to pop up and then you scrolled through with the ‘R’ and ‘L’ buttons to each sub menu for your gear, map and more. Now, it’s all a click away. You can still scroll through the menus with ‘L’ and ‘R’, but there is no need to do that if you know exactly which menu you want or need. Simply tap the ‘Gear” or ‘Map” menu and voila, you have yourself there. Speaking of gear, Link can now hold four items instead of three plus his Ocarina is available always on the touchscreen. The other items are mapped as two to the touchscreen and two to the ‘X’ and ‘Y’ buttons. The items mapped to the ‘X’ and ‘Y’ buttons can actually be touched on the touchscreen for use as well, however. The N64 version used the up arrow out of the four yellow ‘C-buttons’ for viewing in first-person and to talk to Navi. Now, that is also it’s own touch button on the touchscreen. The rest of the touchscreen houses all of the things usually resting on the main screen to help clear it up. Things like Link’s life and heart count, magic meter and rupees are all located on the touchscreen.

As far as the rest of the controls go, they are all very much in line with the original except now you can take advantage of the 3DS’s gyroscope and accelerometer for aiming and viewing in first-person view. Don’t worry though, because using the ‘circle pad’ is still an option. The ‘circle pad’ is something that kind of diminishes the game, however. Ocarina of Time really shows that the ‘circle pad’ isn’t perfect and is far from superior from and actual ‘control stick.’ Playing after an hour or getting in longer sword fights will start making your thumb slip from being slick. I think it would have helped if Nintendo would have added some kind of texture to the ‘circle pad’ at the very least. There’s also a small accuracy difference when comparing the two control methods as well, but this isn’t really that bad, it’s mainly the smooth surface of the ‘circle pad’ that gives the game the most issues after some time of playing. And let’s face it, hardly anyone wants to sit down and play a Zelda adventure for 5 to 10 minutes at a time. The other major control scheme introduced to the gaming world by the original game was ‘Z-targeting.’ Now, it’s called ‘L-targeting’ and can still be changed between either ‘switch’ or ‘hold’ like the original. The best thing about the targeting system in the remake version seems to be that the distance for wqhich an enemy stays selected has increased, making it a bit easier to pick off enemies with your slingshot like Keese from farther away.

There really aren’t too many other negatives about the game. Occasionally, there are still some bugs, but from what developer Grezzo has said themselves, they purposely left some of the original bugs in the game for nostalgic purposes. Don’t worry though, no bugs that really effect the game or are considered “cheats” have been left in. This could be a plus or a negative depending on what you feel a remake should be and this feeling would probably be the same about the graphics not being completely overhauled. I’m willing to bet that most will be happy with some of the nostalgia purposely left in tact.

The sound, which was something that was very important in the original considering the game was based around using and playing sound, is top notch in the remake. I’m not too sure if the sound has been redone with an orchestra, and my guess is no, but the sounds are all more full and rich. Each individual note is perfectly recreated to the exact same note as before, but they all just sound more crisp. And this is on tiny, handheld speakers, mind you.

Finally, I’ll just add that the story, side quests and characters are all there and how you’ll remember them, if you played the original. If you don’t know the story, there is basically a little boy named Link who is the only Fairy person who does not have his own fairy. At the beginning of the game, he receives his fairy, Navi, who must then prove himself and grow stronger throughout his quest to save Hyrule, only his quest become much harder than it was supposed to be after completing the first three dungeons. It basically turns into a save-the-world type of story, except in the Zelda world, in Zelda fashion and with some Nintendo twists. The story also explains the creation of Hyrule, the Triforce and some more backstory of certain characters. It’s definitely a must-play for those who haven’t played it. Also, if you haven’t played the original or just find the game tough at times, new Sheikah Stones (not to be confused with Gossip Stones) provide visions of the future to help show what to do next.

For those who have played the original in any of its releases (N64, GameCube, etc.), you’ll be happy to know that there are some new (and old) extras. The GameCube version released with the Master Quest mode and that mode is now available once you complete the original mode first. Besides that, you have your Boss Challenge mode where you can take on each of the nine bosses individually or in a continuous rotation to see how fast you can pull it off. The final reward for doing all of this? Well, you’ll just have to play to find out.

Overall, the game is still number one in my heart and the remake is definitely a better game all around. The nostalgia is still there which is definitely helped by not completely overhauling the graphics, but rather, the graphics better display what we all imagined when dreaming of Link’s Ocarina-based adventure back in 1998. The 3D effect really does add to the game while the new touchscreen controls basically make everything so quick and easy to use (not to mention turn the frustrating Water Temple into something more fun, but still challenging). This game is a definite own for any 3DS owner, and if you don’t have a 3DS yet, this is your reason to pick one up. There’s enough new to get into to warrant a purchase. If it wasn’t for the ‘circle pad’ issues and the fact that playing on a handheld is a little more tiring on the hands, this game would get a perfect score from me.

GGC Score: 9 out of 10

Click here to purchase The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D for Nintendo 3DS.

Music Credits: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time “Bolero of Fire”, “Temple of Time”, “Windmill Hut” – Original Composer: Koji Kondo – Remixer: AmIEviL – Overclocked Remix.org

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