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Cody Giunta
30 Jun, 2011

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D Review

3DS Review | Truly Legendary.
There was once a boy who was tasked with an epic undertaking - an incredible adventure that criss-crossed the land. He was filled with doubts in his resolve and ability to succeed, but in the end he was able to triumph beyond all expectations. But his mission would not end with childhood and he would find himself taking up an even more arduous quest.

Just as Link found himself with an almost insurmountable objective in saving the land of Hyrule as an adult after childhood experiences, so too does this PALGN reviewer find himself faced with a difficult task of reviewing a game that he had many a good time with as a child, which proved to be one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time. And, indeed, nostalgia is a factor in playing and reviewing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D.

Umm...thanks for the potato?

Umm...thanks for the potato?
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However, Ocarina of Time 3D goes beyond being a simple port of the original, and doesn’t rely on nostalgia to determine its own worth. With cleaned-up visuals, superb use of 3D imagery and an excellent revamp of controls that make the most of the 3DS and its capabilities, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is not only the greatest version of the legendary game to date, it’s also the current stand-out title in the Nintendo 3DS line-up.

For those who remain uninitiated, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is described by many as an action-adventure game with some RPG elements. Taking on the role of Link, you must explore every nook and cranny of the vast land of Hyrule and assist Princess Zelda in thwarting the evil plans of Ganondorf, who desires to rule Hyrule for himself and plunge it into an eternity of darkness. To ultimately defeat Ganon, you will have to charge headlong into many dungeons, obtain items of untold power and might to defeat enemies and reach new areas, as well as traversing time itself.

Faster, Luigi's gaining on us!

Faster, Luigi's gaining on us!
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Though the story of the game remains the same, the way to play it has been shaken up quite a lot. The first key difference is the usage of items on your quest. In the original version of Ocarina of Time, players were restricted to assigning three supporting items to buttons. In Ocarina of Time 3D, however, the use of the touch screen means that you are no longer limited by such a restriction. Items can be assigned to sections of the touchscreen at will, and activating them requires only a simple tap. This is especially useful for items that you may want to switch on and off a lot, such as the infamous iron boots. Even the Ocarina of Time itself is given its own slot apart from the others, so you won't really have to worry about constantly shifting where items are assigned to accommodate the more complex dungeons and battles in the game.

Another key difference in the controls is the use of the first-person camera. Activating it is a simple tap of an icon in the upper left corner of the touchscreen. From here you have two options to control the camera's movement. Firstly, you can use the analogue stick, which is fairly smooth and does a respectable job. The second option, however, is a far more interesting one that truly adds a new dimension to the game. Utilizing the 3DS gyroscope technology, players can physically twist and turn the handheld console to freely look around the game's landscape. On top of this, the same control method can be used to aim Link's first-person items, such as the slingshot or bow and arrow. At first it may seen a bit of a perplexing decision, but thankfully it works brilliantly and really is incredibly intuitive. The calibration of the gyroscope is as such that the perfect level of sensitivity has been attained. This camera control method feels so natural that it easily rivals the setup for Twilight Princess on the Wii. It makes us wonder if the developers of the next Zelda game for the Wii U will somehow adopt a similar control set-up.

Just how does he get everything to stand up like that?

Just how does he get everything to stand up like that?
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There are also two slight gameplay modifications that people will notice. Near Link's home in Kokiri Village and inside the Temple of Time are Sheikah Stones. Link can crawl inside these to receive 'visions' which are essentially hints for upcoming parts of the game. As well as this, the Stone of Agony that Link used in the original version of the game is reborn as the Shard of Agony. Since the 3DS doesn't have rumble support, a sound will instead chime to indicate secrets which are hidden nearby.

Visually speaking, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is a tour de force in terms of both its general style and the use of the 3D technology. The most striking thing is how much cleaner and smoother almost everything in the game looks. The development team wisely decided to maintain the legacy of the game, and thus the layout of all of the areas is the same. However, the entire land of Hyrule and its citizens has been given a glorious new coat of digital paint. Gone are the clipped and pointy edges on the faces of many characters, replaced instead with a curved look that better mimics the concept art that we've seen many times before. Alongside this, the faces of every character seem a lot more expressive this time around, helped with some new light and shade effects. There even seems to be a more vibrant skin tone for everyone, which makes it all the more inviting just to simply look at the cut-scenes. All of the buildings and landscapes have been given similar treatment and mesh well with the new character styles. They look far less blocky than before and are given new levels of detail. Special mention has to be given to way Kakariko Village and the Forest Temple look. Every brick, crack and vine is rendered in a new kind of detail, and most screenshots really don't do the game any justice as it looks far better in motion.

Eep!

Eep!
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By a similar token, the 3D effect is very impressive indeed. There are the typical speech screens that nicely hover above everything, but there is a lot more depth to the game than that. Somethings as simple as travelling on foot is given an new dimension. Navi appears in the immediate foreground, flitting around the screen, while Link strides along the land just ahead, and landscapes pop out in the background. All of the characters that Link interacts with (both NPCs and enemies) are given a similarly respectable depth of movement that is accorded to Link. The boss fights also do well to show off the 3D technology, with the fight against Phantom Ganon revealing just what kind of depth the 3DS is capable of. Even the famous way that Link thrusts newly got items into the air which inexplicably spin is given added visual appeal. Another key improvement in the graphical department is a better sense of collision detection - no longer shall you inexplicably see Link's arm sticking out of a moblin's backside when you strike with your sword.

The music and sound effects from the Nintendo 64 edition of Ocarina of Time are retained here. Strangely enough, it's probably the only element of the game that hasn't received a significant update in this 3D edition. Though this may be of frustration to some, it does make sense in some ways - given the crucial role of music in the game and the use of the Ocarina of Time, it can be seen as an important level of continuity. Even if it is a bit of a nigging annoyance for some, it doesn't come across as so jarring that it diminishes the overwhelming level of quality already present in the game or the upgrades that have taken place.

And the shippers rejoiced...

And the shippers rejoiced...
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The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D can take several dozen hours just to complete the main quest itself, but there are also plenty of things to do once you've finished the main game. All of the collectibles from the original, such as heart containers and gold skulltulas, are retained, but there have also been other things added. Upon completing the game, you will be given access to the Master Quest, similar to the much-heralded edition on the Gamecube. The Master Quest gives you the option to play through the game again, although this time the land of Hyrule is completely mirrored. As well as this, Ocarina of Time 3D features some Boss Attack modes. You can choose to fight against all of the bosses one at a time or in a sequence. Making things more complex, the Master Quest version of the boss battles sees the arenas mirrored, with the bosses themselves given the ability to dish out more damage to Link.

If you've never played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time before then Ocarina of Time 3D is the best way for you to introduce yourself. For a title that is over a decade old, the gameplay holds up remarkably well and there's no denying that it has had a great deal of influence and impact on the industry to this day for many gaming franchises and companies. The updated visuals alone make it a more inviting game for a discerning modern audience than the various other ports over the years. For both novice and experienced player alike, it's clear that not only did a lot of precision and thought go into creating the game all of those years ago, but a great deal of care went into this version to tweak it just enough to feel both fresh and familiar at the same time. However, its appeal doesn't just lie in nostalgia, and its greatness also extends to the efforts that have gone into making the most of the capabilities of the 3DS which future games for the console would be wise to follow. If there is ever a canon of games that every true gamer owes it to themselves to play at least once in their lifetime, then The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is assured a place in its ranks.
The Score
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is a lovingly remade version of a all-time classic, and is currently the best reason to own a Nintendo 3DS.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D Content

Ocarina of Time 3DS trailer
04 May, 2011 Song of time and time again.
Ocarina of Time 3D detailed and dated for PAL
19 Apr, 2011 But where's the Australian date?
10 Comments
2 years ago
Great review Cody, was an entertaining read! icon_y1.gif
2 years ago
PALGN wrote
The second option, however, is a far more interesting one that truly adds a new dimension to the game. Utilizing the 3DS gyroscope technology, players can physically twist and turn the handheld console to freely look around the game's landscape.
It's good that it is an OPTION rather than forced into using the gyro. They obviously thought about this and made allowances for people to play in the plane/train/car etc.
2 years ago
The music was in fact rewritten to mimic the N64 music engine, it's not just the old music /nerd
2 years ago
MUST - PICK THIS - UP - TODAY
2 years ago
Godly game.
2 years ago
Would love to see Super Mario 64 given the same treatment in a 3DS remake...
2 years ago
Just got back from Thailand, picked up my LE copy today but gotta move house now for next 24 hours AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Sounds heavently, nice review too.
2 years ago
Given the loving treatment this version has received, it's a shame the packaging didn't receive the same treatment. Even a collector's edition with gold cart and art book would have been well worth an extra $10.
2 years ago
rankodour wrote
Would love to see Super Mario 64 given the same treatment in a 3DS remake...
It would be nice, but sadly I don't think they will because they already remade it for the DS. It's a shame though; it would control so much better on the 3DS with the analogue nub.
2 years ago
I'd like to mention that the sound DID get a massive upgrade from the N64 version- Mahito Yokota (lead composer of OoT3D) re-wrote most of the music and spiced it up, but Koji Kondo, the composer from the original N64 game, requested that it be as authentic as possible. Yokota then spent months configuring the music to be as similar to the N64 as technologically possible- the 3DS was built very differently, and some of the sounds were impossible to mimic, but he paid remarkable attention to being as authentic to the original as possible.
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