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The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D Review

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On 06/23/2011 at 09:45 PM by Chessa DiMola

Updated graphics and refined gameplay breathe new life into the classic masterpiece.

Veterans and newcomers alike should absolutely pick up this remake.

In my twenty-three years of gaming, no other title has had more of an impact on me than The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. My first playthrough was a magical twenty-hour experience that I’ll never forget, and one that will forever hold a special place in my heart. But the real beauty of Ocarina of Time, is that my story isn’t unique. It defined a generation for gamers all around the world, which is why many regard it to this day as the best video game experience ever created. Now, the epic tale of a boy and his fairy returns to the gaming world, bringing with it beautifully updated graphics, vast animation improvements, a hint system, and the same whimsical charm that hooked players over a decade ago.

Since my original playthrough I have gone back to the game several times, which allows me to confidently say that Ocarina of Time 3D needs to be experienced by all. Sure, I had my doubts about how far the cleaned-up graphics could really go in making the game better, but trust me, they go a long way. For the first time, Hyrule and all of its endearing characters are transformed from choppy polygonal forms to detailed, vibrantly colored 3D people and places. Everything looks phenomenal, and for a moment, you’ll get back that excited feeling first awakened during your initial play through.

In addition to rejuvenated graphics, Link’s animations, as well as others, have been drastically improved, making his movements much smoother than they were. Also, while the added beauty from the 3D is nice, the extra “wow” effect has some technical usage as well. Namely, the elimination of any depth perception issues that were present in the other versions.

At this point, it goes without saying that Ocarina of Time is a wondrous experience with gameplay that has rarely been rivaled, but coming back to it, it’s far from perfect. Not being ones too proud to admit their mistakes, Nintendo has taken steps to alleviate a few smaller issues with the title that have been voiced by fans over the years.

One of the biggest improvements concerns the menu system, which was at one point a bit irritating to navigate. Everyone who’s played the game remembers having to constantly go in and out of the menus to switch between desired equipped weapons and (most obnoxiously) put on and take off certain wearable items (iron boots anyone?). To resolve this problem Nintendo has done a few things, the first of which is having a menu system that is always open on the touch screen. From here, players can just tap between the three subsections (Gear, Map, Items) and quickly see an object or organize their inventory. As far as the inventory goes, there are now four spaces allotted for equipment, objects, and spells, resolving the need for constant entering and exiting of the menu.

Another really nice menu feature allows players to view their learned songs while playing the ocarina. That way they don’t have to memorize the notes for one tune in particular, leave the menu, and hope they play it right in order to avoid going back for a refresher.

Thankfully, Nintendo has also realized that some of the more tedious and ambiguous task solving can become a bit trying at times. To alleviate this, Sheikah Stones have been added and scattered throughout Hyrule. These stones resemble the Gossip Stones (remember those rocks that only told you the time until you received the Mask of Truth?), but feature a small slot for young Link to crawl into at the bottom. They allow players to “look into the future”, and give them clues split up by topic that range from things to do/find in Hyrule field, to help within a dungeon. Since the game can be a bit stingy with hints at certain points, the Sheikah Stones are a great addition, especially for those on their first playthrough.

Despite considering Ocarina of Time to be one of my all-time favorite games, I can’t ignore that the game, even in its cleaned up state, is still full of issues; most of which can be blamed on outdated dungeon design. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled with this remake, I just really wish that Nintendo had spent a bit more time on certain parts of the game to make them more tolerable. More specifically, I am referring to a lack of direction in many of the later dungeons, and though the Sheikah stones alleviate some of these issues, there’s no better help than tweaking the dungeons themselves. I’m not saying to change them per se, but some better guidance, something other than, "here’s a map and a compass, you figure out where to go," would have been greatly appreciated… especially in the Water Temple.

At this point, there’s nothing else to say really. As a gamer, if you’ve played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, you know what you are getting yourself into in terms of gameplay. So, the question at this point is, should veterans (who probably own the game more than once at this point) buy the 3DS version and spend another twenty-hours of their lives playing it? Honestly, truthfully, and wholeheartedly, the answer is “yes.” It’s a breathtaking remake of the original, one that is unchanged enough to be familiar and comforting, yet carefully tweaked in (most of) the right places to feel like the first time all over again.

Oh yes, one more thing. For anyone who has yet to play Ocarina of Time, there are no more excuses. Go out, purchase the game, and be treated to one of the most beautiful and intriguing games to ever grace the gaming world.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



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