The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has long been considered an all time great game, with accolades such as "greatest game ever" being thrown its way countless times. Now, years later, Zelda's first 3D outing returns, ironically enhanced for the new definition of 3D. But 13 years on, does Ocarina of Time still feel as magical as it once did?
Ocarina of Time 3D is split into two sections. You initially play as young Link before travelling through time to play as grownup Link to battle the villain Ganondorf as he tries to acquire power from a magical relic called the Triforce. In all you're looking at a good 30 hours worth of content, many more if you divulge in the many side objectives and additional modes available on completion. It's a massive game that you can lose yourself in entirely.
As young Link you follow a slowly paced and strictly linear path, talking to NPCs, learning the mechanics and exploring a handful of dungeons. It's essentially an extended tutorial that introduces you to the land of Hyrul. As grownup Link, things open up considerably and allow you to explore the land at will over a much longer timeframe and through many more dungeons with a much darker atmosphere. Throughout your adventure the dungeons are the primary focus and their design seldom fails to impress. The layouts are creative, the intelligent puzzles are taxing and rewarding, and the boss encounters are hugely imaginative. If you're unfamiliar with Zelda and specifically Ocarina of Time, then prepare to be blown away by the sheer quality of it all. Ocarina of Time gained critical acclaim for good reason and even by today's standards it's still impressive.
With Ocarina of Time begin such a loved classic, the question of what additions the 3D version would get - besides the obvious - is a valid one, and fans will be over the moon by the improvements. The 3D visuals are effective and subtle, helping immerse you in the experience to an unprecedented degree. You really must see it to believe it. There are no gimmicks in sight, just an increased sense of depth that appropriately makes the world feel bigger. It really does look great and shows off the hardware brilliantly. If you prefer to turn the 3D off however, you'll be treated to crisper images and a slight improvement to framerate. Either way the visuals look impressive and yet still don't push the hardware anywhere near its limit, although you can't help but notice some less than smooth animations for some of Zelda's new moves and the occasional low quality texture. Ocarina of Time 3D is an enhanced port not a fully fledged remake after all.
The interface has also been tweaked to compliment the 3DS and lessen the burden of switching gear. Equipment can now be changed in real time via the touch screen rather than through menus, and pulling up tunes to play on the ocarina can also be done in the same manner. Additionally, the 3DS gyroscope can be used to aim your bow and play certain mini games, and it's surprisingly useful. In fact, thanks to its 1:1 accuracy and speed, it actually beats using the analogue stick. Not being able to fully control the camera is still a slight issue but you can reset it behind Link with the press of a button.
Otherwise, Ocarina of Time 3D is very much the same classic from the N64 albeit with the inclusion of the Master Quest mode - an increased difficulty mode that switches up the layout of the dungeons - and a new Boss Rush mode which allows you to battle against the many bosses in your own time. Along with the originals essence however, comes a slight burden of age. Hand holding is kept to a minimum with a fair share of baffling puzzles and not knowing where to go next. The addition of help videos aid new comers but only with the most general of hints. No voice acting is present other than grunts from NPCs, and the text script and cinematics show their age in their delivery, but it a charming way. It's the remnants of an older design philosophy, one that set the benchmark years ago which modern titles have learned from. In the end though, these add up to nothing more than minor nitpicks and take nothing away from an otherwise exceptional game.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is a wonderful title that invokes the very best of both the RPG and adventure genres, incorporating exploration, puzzles, narrative and platforming into a extensive and splendidly formed package. It is, without question the best title currently available on the platform and has been lovingly tweaked to compliment it. 3DS owners, this is a must buy!
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