Jul 14

Game Review: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (3DS)

These HD remakes lately have been kinda pissing me off. “Tomb Raider” copped one and they used the older looking PS2 builds rather than the superior next gen versions of Legend or 10th Anniversary and “Prince of Persia” just showed that it really was 8 years ago when they were good games. Some do make it through though. “Sly Raccoon Trilogy” was good in that it made the games available for a change. Same thing with the proposed remakes of “Ico” and “Shadow of the Colossus”. So when Nintendo said they were bringing out “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” in HD for 3DS, I did stop to ask “why?”.

Ok, I played the shit out of “Ocarina of Time” on N64. Much love and hatred was had indeed but it seemed strange to me that Nintendo were trying to push a brand new console with a 12 year old game. Sure, Ocarina is always in the top 5 for best video game ever lists everywhere, but you can buy it on the Wii shop for $18 if you don’t still have an N64 with the cartridge any more so it is still a current and available title. So why not just make a brand new Zelda game instead? …. but then I started playing it.

You can not deny perfection. It’s a simple law. Even if you are not an adventure fan (I class Zelda as an adventure, NOT an RPG), you can’t say that Ocarina of Time is a crap game. If you did, all gaming credibility would be lost on those that heard you utter such complete bollox. It’s like saying “that chap Leonardo DaVinci had no imagination what so ever!”. And I understand that there is a whole generation or two of gamers who may not have played Ocarina of Time who don’t understand what the ruckus is about so I’ll break it down for you.

“The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” sees a young orphaned forest elf child, Link (unless you have named him otherwise), realize his potential and is given the unbelievably daunting task of saving the land of Hyrule from the evil Gannondorf by crossing time itself and rescuing the Hyrulian princess Zelda. It may seem a tad simple but the epic-ness of the journey is not. Along the way, you will have to fight or befriend many different characters and explore a huge rich and varied world in order to get to your damsel in distress. As the story progresses, you will need to travel back and forth 7 years in time and the world is a very different place between the two calendars.

As child Link, you are able to use certain abilities that 7 years in the future, or “adult” Link, cannot and vice versa. So there are times where you will have to set up a puzzle or item for adult Link to finish in his time. Certain scenarios change depending on what you do as a child so you really get an amazing feeling that this world is living and breathing. As an adult, you also acquire the services of a noble steed Epona, who becomes invaluable for crossing Hyrule fields in a good time.

Ultimately, the gameplay is a hack and slash adventure game, peppered with awesome and sometimes confusingly off-topic puzzles, where every boss fight and event gives you a new weapon or ability to let you get to that area you just couldn’t reach before. If you played “Darksiders” and thought “wow, this game is really rewarding! How did they figure out that would work that way?”, it’s because they stole everything from this game! The reward system helps to expand an area you may have already gone before and thus, elongates the overall gaming time. Trying to give Ocarina of Time even a ball park figure of gaming hours, is impossible. It can land anywhere from 15 hours to 12 years so don’t go buying this title thinking “oh, I’ll just smash it in a weekend” because, even if you do, you will be missing out on so much. To not stop and smell the roses in Hyrule, you will end up finishing the game with no stories to talk to everyone else about. Like collecting the Poes, or the chickens for the lady in Kakariko, or finding all the Fairy Goddesses or catching that huge ass fish. You’d be standing there going “uh, when did that happen in the game? We are talking about Zelda, right?” and then you look like a right pillick in front of everyone.

For those of you wanting to know the differences between the original and this 3D version, they are mainly small touch ups besides the obvious 3D graphics and touch screen integrated control scheme. Some enemies have different animations, the holes in the ground have rubble around them and aren’t just black circles anymore and the grass textures have had an overhaul. Honestly, I didn’t notice any differences until they were brought to my attention by someone else, even though I was actually looking for any changes. This came across as a good thing afterwards though because it means the additions fit into the game so well that they could be overlooked. The only other difference is in the master quest expansion which is unlocked after the first play through. It’s kinda like a hard mode with much more difficult puzzles and enemies. It’s been released before but this time around, the dungeons have been mirrored so even hardened veterans will find something a tad different.

“The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” is an epic adventure which is still worthy of modern praise and is a “must have” 3DS title. The graphics may not be pushing the console to its limits but the depth of story and richness of the world really has very few equals. This game has been given another life for the same reasons “Halo 1” is getting it’s HD remake, because it’s a true classic: undeniable by hardcore gamers and casual players alike. If you want to relive the glory days of old then there’s plenty of memories to enjoy once more and if you’re a newcomer to the party then here’s your chance to shake hands with video gaming royalty.

– Stubby