The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
: Nintendo, Grezzo
: Nintendo 3DS
: June 19, 2011
One of the most critically acclaimed games of all time makes its way to Nintendo’s newest handheld peripheral, the Nintendo 3DS. With the original Ocarina of Time now about thirteen years old, how does it fare in the current generation of games? I’ll just say it- quite well. Anyone who played the original in 1998 could tell you the same thing. “Hey! Listen!”- let’s break down the 3D edition of Ocarina of Time in this review.
Again if you’re one of the gamers who played Ocarina of Time when it originally released on the Nintendo 64, the game’s story should be imbedded into your memory, but for those who may have forgot and for those who are new to the game, here’s what’s going on:
In the peaceful land of the Hyrule Kingdom, destiny is waiting to unfold. A dark and treacherous presence looms just beyond the horizon, but with it is a glimmer of hope. In the secluded Kokiri forest lives a boy, a boy, who unlike his kin, is without a fairy. For years he has been teased by the other forest children, that he is somehow different than the others. Link, the boy without a fairy, is soon to find out what his destiny has in store for him.
Just beyond the forest village is the guardian of the Kokiri, the Great Deku Tree. The dark and evil presence has swept over the guardian, trying to take the sacred treasure that is protected by the Deku Tree. Unable to take what it wants, the darkness casts a fatal spell upon the Great Deku Tree. Sensing that his time is growing rapidly short, the Great Deku Tree calls for a fairy, Navi, and instructs her to find the hero who will rid Hyrule of the darkness that threatens to enshroud the kingdom.
Navi summons Link and they return to speak with the Great Deku Tree. The source of evil that attacked the Great Deku Tree was none other than the King of Evil, Ganondorf. Ganondorf seeks to enter the Sacred Realm, the point at which the Goddesses, Din, Nayru, and Farore, left the land after creating it together. In their leave, they left behind an incredible source of their power, the Triforce, which is composed of three triangles. One represents Courage, a second represents Wisdom, and the third represents Power. Possessing even one of the components of the Triforce amplifies the power of an individual, yet uniting all three pieces as one will allow a person to make a wish. Ganondorf, being a power hungry man, surely does not have Hyrule Kingdom’s interests at heart.
Link must adventure through the land of Hyrule to collect what Ganondorf desires before he does. Not only must Link travel during the present, but through time. A grim future is in Hyrule’s past as Link soon finds out, but there is still a chance for these wrong doings to be rectified. With the help of Princess Zelda, the Seven Sages, and the Ocarina of Time, Link will solidify his title as the Hero of Time.
Ocarina of Time 3D may be a remake of the original Nintendo 64 game, but it’s hardly the same looking game it was thirteen years ago. Gone are the sharp edged polygons of the old game’s character models, and they’ve been replaced with smoother representations in their stead. There’s plenty more detail to be seen in the 3D edition of the game. Being a veteran of the original game, I noticed new graphical improvements, some subtle and some very noticeable, throughout the game. Consider the Temple of Time, for example, in the Nintendo 64 version the temple was basically all gray, all concrete, with no sunlight except for the room that housed the Master Sword. Now in the 3DS version, the Temple of Time’s main chamber displays Romanesque pillars and the walls are adorned with windows, and the chamber is bathed in the sunlight that passes through them. It’s just additions like these that add a foreboding sense of hope, that light still shines through in a dark time, which amplifies the emotions of the game.
The 3D feature works very well with the game. Distant locations you see as you travel through Hyrule field look further away than they actually do with 3D enabled. Boss names, dungeon names, and virtually every location you visit will display their names popping into the foreground as you explore. It even appears that Navi, the fairy, flutters in your face as you play. Fireflies in the Kokiri forest fly in all directions, both in the foreground and background, the 3D feature is just amazing. Even if you only play with 3D on for a few moments, you have to experience Ocarina of Time with this feature.
Though Ocarina of Time 3D got a graphical face lift, the sounds and music you heard on the Nintendo 64 version of the game are pretty much the same, which is not bad at all. If you were hoping that the remake would touch up the game’s soundtrack like its graphics, that’s not the case. Yet the Ocarina of Time soundtrack is just as beautiful and memorable as it’s always been. Koji Kondo’s compositions will have you nostalgic, especially if you haven’t played the game in years. When playing the Ocarina of Time, you might notice a slight difference in sound, more than likely a trained ear can pick up on the slight differences.
Everyone’s favorite fairy, Navi, will no doubt try to get your attention with as many details as possible. “Hey!”, “Listen!”, “Look out!”, “Link!” or is it “Look”?... yup, just as you remember them, all included for your adventure in 3D.
Ocarina of Time 3D is just like your typical Zelda game, if you’re newer to the franchise that is. Link will have to explore dungeons, find treasures from within, solve puzzles, and defeat the bosses at the end of each dungeon. As a child, Link must search for the sacred jewels that act as keys to open the Door of Time within the Temple of Time. As an adult, Link will have to venture to the Forest, Fire, Water, Shadow, and Spirit Temples to awaken the Sages. By awakening the Sages they add their power to Link’s, which is the only way to defeat Ganondorf in the end.
Combat is easy to control as it was in the original game. What used to be referred to as “Z-targeting”, is now called “L-targeting”, so pressing the left shoulder button locks onto your closest enemy, and you may strafe around them, jump toward, back flip away from, and hack and slash at them with your sword.
Throughout Link’s adventures he will also meet friends and foes. It would be important to find the locations of the Great Fairy Fountains, so that Link is rewarded with magical spells, to increase overall magic power, and to gain a health boost. Link will also come across the mysterious Sheik, who teaches Link valuable songs to play on the Ocarina of Time.
Though gameplay is not always restricted to beating a dungeon and moving on to the next, you will also come to times in the game where you must search for an appropriate item before you can progress further into the game. This means branching arcs that require you to think and explore outside of regular gameplay. Use this time to also earn pieces of Heart, which pay off when you come across stronger enemies and bosses.
Remember how time consuming it would be to pull up the inventory menu and equip or un-equip items, such as the iron boots? The 3DS is a perfect resolution to that feature. At first you could only equip three items at a time, including your sword. Now in the 3DS edition, you can carry as many as five items. All your equipment, items, and maps can be navigated using the bottom screen, all with a touch of your finger. The good thing is that you don’t have to pause the game to manage your inventory, it’s all instantaneous.
The 3DS also features a built-in gyroscope that uses your motion to perform actions within the game. This was one of my favorite features in the game, and was a great improvement over the original game’s camera. A part of exploring in Ocarina of Time means to look around your surroundings. Tapping on the “eye” icon on the bottom screen of the 3DS enables a first-person mode that allows you to observe your surroundings with complete freedom. While standing you can hold your 3DS and move in any direction you please, you can make a full body turn and the game will let you look in that direction. It’s an amazing feature and helpful feature, especially in the Phantom Ganon fight, if you know what I mean. Weapons that require you to shift into first-person view, such as the hook shot, bow and arrow, and sling shot, can be controlled the same way. Still, if the gyroscope feature is not to your liking, you can always switch to the traditional method of in-game observation.
New to Ocarina of Time 3D is a hint stone, or Sheikah Stone. This is very useful for new players of the game, or for gamers who may have forgotten where to go next in their adventure. At any time you can visit this stone to receive guidance by watching a brief video on where to go next. It’s perfect for when you’re lost and don’t know where to go. Though you should know these stones are only found in two places of the game, outside Link’s house, and within the Temple of Time. The easiest way to travel to these is by horse, or by playing Minuet of Forest, or Prelude of Light, respectively to warp near those locations.
Ocarina of Time, to me, was already a game that had good replay value back in 1998. There was still plenty more to do after finishing the game. Going for a relaxing time fishing at Lake Hylia was always fun, but for those who want more there’s always the mini-quests. Bottle collecting, poe collecting, and hunting down all the masks from the Happy Mask Shop return in this edition of the game. For gamers who wish to add more to their arsenal, there’s always the long but rewarding mission to acquire the Biggoron’s Sword.
After finishing the game a first time, the player can unlock the Master Quest. The Master Quest is a mirrored version of Ocarina of Time. Enemies come in greater numbers and they’re stronger than the normal game’s difficulty. Puzzles within dungeons are solved differently, which encourages you to think about the brain teaser you’re facing. If that wasn’t tricky enough you also have to deal with alternate dungeon layouts. It’s the ultimate challenge for any fan of Ocarina of Time and it’s fantastic that it’s included in the 3D edition of the game. That’s practically two game’s in one.
Then there’s Boss Challenge. This was a feature that I wish was in the original Ocarina of Time, and I’m glad to see it here. Have you ever wanted to go back and face the bosses, but without having to explore the temple again? The Boss Challenge allows you to face any boss of your choice, and you can also choose to face each boss in consecutive order. To do this, you must visit Link’s house and check the bed area.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was and still is referred to as a masterpiece in gaming. It’s true that the game has aged well to this day. To see its return in a well made restructure is a great testament to what the game stands for to many gamers who enjoyed it the first time in 1998. It’s certainly a visual treat on Nintendo 3DS. Whether you’re a new Zelda fan or a Zelda fan of the past, I would highly recommend that you join Link on one of his greatest adventures. This is one 3DS title that you should not be left without. If you’re still contemplating purchasing a Nintendo 3DS, this game is the one that makes the purchase worth it. Please do yourself a favor and bring home The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D today.