Reviewers and gamers alike, raved about this title upon release in 1998 and many consider it to be the greatest example of a Video Game to date. So when Nintendo showed The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time off and playing on the newly announced 3DS as merely a tech demo, the fans flooded the internet pleading the big N to make it an official re-release and, well, they did.
Presenting The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. It preserves the spirit found in the original release on the Nintendo 64 but has been made better and more accessible. It's undeniably the best game to hit the 3DS yet.
The biggest and most obvious upgrade are the graphics. Nintendo and Grezzo Studios have joint efforts on the updated release and haven't just cranked up the pixels and textures and thrown it onto the market. Environments, character designs and animations have been re-designed from the ground up and everything looks sharper and more colourful than before. For those worried that it's spoilt the original creation, this is actually what Ocarina of Time was supposed to look like. The re-design was based upon the original concept art. However the sheer scale of this project didn't quite get everything right, many textures scattered throughout the huge world haven't seen any change and the odd building is a little jagged too. But these are small niggles and we truly appreciate how much work must have gone into this project.
But essentially this is the exact same game with the same items, same locations, same characters and our same hero Link, who has to save princess Zelda and defeat evil Ganondorf, as he is corrupting the land. Within a few minutes of playing I completely forgot this was a fourteen year old game and treated it as a brand new release. And this is all down to the sheer quality gameplay featured that reminds me of how ahead of it's time it really was. Brilliant puzzles, awesome bosses, an inventive bunch of enemies and fun dungeons, all merge together to deliver one of the most definitive and memorable gaming experiences on a handheld system to date. The genius ideas that run a constant in the game like playing the ocarina, the day and night system and The Temple of Time which keeps everything fresh by advancing Link to the future and returning him to the past.
The inquisitive mind Ocarina of Time encourages, isn't expected in many titles released today. It's a real breath of fresh air and what gaming should be. I have fallen out of love with many video games which try so hard to help you. The feeling of reward you get while roaming around for an hour or so trying to figure out what to do and then suddenly, eureka, is so satisfying. But that's not to say Ocarina of Time 3D doesn't lend a hand when needed, of course you have Navi but she's more annoying than helpful. Sheikah Stones are scattered throughout the game and if you choose to use one Link will climb inside. Visions of the future are accessible in the form of videos, basically showing you what to do and where to go. If you're really stuck this is a nice optional approach.
The controls have been remastered surprisingly well. The bottom touch screen displays a map of the whole world at all times (in addition to a smaller map displaying only your current location on the top screen), in the top left corner Navi can be contacted, bottom left is used to access the Ocarina and right of the map shows you the assigned buttons to items. Technically six items are equipped at any given time, four are triggered via the X, Y, A, B buttons and two are triggered via the touchscreen and this whole setup works well and isn't a frustration. The Joypad is used to move Link around and it's pure bliss. Locking onto enemies and performing attacks isn't at all messy either. I really liked the gyroscope aiming, it's effortlessly intuitive and actually trumps the N64's method. However it ruins the 3D effect.
3D is another new element baked in and it's hit and miss. You have to remember that this was never originally created to be viewed in 3D and it's definitely translated when playing. Some areas are just blurry at times and the 3D has to be switched off for you to enjoy the game. But, most of the time it's pretty great. Depth in rooms is added and objects become more rounded. Cut scenes have been redesigned and have very impressive 3D results too. However the 3D doesn't improve the game much and the interference when using gyro controls is an inconvenience.
Additional extras presented after beating the main game, offer a bit of replay value. The first extra is Master Quest, essentially a hardened campaign and the other extra being completely new, is called Boss Challenge. A mode that allows you to repeatedly play against the bosses but beat your and friends previous best times.
Overall The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D for the Nintendo 3DS is a master piece in video game history. The vastly improved graphics and perfectly preserved gameplay make it a must have purchase for those who have played the title before and new comers.