The Nintendo 3DS’ library is stocked full of some of Nintendo’s best titles and doesn’t just include titles developed for the 3DS but, through the virtual console, most major titles in Nintendo’s franchises like the Legend of Zelda, allowing gamers to experience classics on a modern handheld like the 3DS. Out of the bevvy of Zelda titles available on the 3DS however, one stands out from the rest and that’s Ocarina of Time. Now Nintendo are choosing to give you even more of a reason to pick up this classic by rereleasing it in the form of The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D.
What’s left to be said about a game that’s received countless accolades won the hearts of millions of gamers and practically defined the 3D action adventure genre on consoles? Well, a surprising amount. In Nintendo’s rerelease of a classic the company has managed to reinvigorate the game with crisp new graphics which make the game feel bright and inviting. Despite being nearly 20 years old the game’s storyline is compelling and at times absolutely enchanting. The atmosphere of the game’s dungeons and temples varies from mystifying to oppressive and always manages to keep the player fully involved and motivated to keep exploring.
Apart from the game’s appearance and tone the gameplay shines too, despite its age. The controls are responsive and the Z-targeting system while occasionally frustrating is largely intuitive and easy to use. The puzzles are the star of this game’s systems though, always managing to keep the player curious enough to keep exploring new approaches to a puzzle while still being challenging and satisfying to beat. A welcome addition to the gameplay are the motion controls which let you aim your bow by aiming your 3DS, among other things, and are not only easier to use than the classic controls from the N64 but are also more fun. One of the game’s best features is its boss battles which, while challenging (sometimes very challenging) are always fair and leave you feeling that instantly recognisable sense of satisfaction that comes with bringing down a creature many times your size through careful dodging, blocking and careful swinging of your sword and shooting of your bow. The 3DS version adds the ability to replay these bosses by revisiting Kokiri Forest which lends further replayability and lets you play through some of the game’s best moments again without starting a new adventure.
In some ways, the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is unable to escape the fact that it is a product of the early days of 3D development on consoles and while the game’s environments look fine for a game of its time, the emptiness of the world stands in stark contrast to the open worlds we see today. Exploring the game’s various environments, whether it’s Kokiri Forest or Hyrule fields, you’re unlikely to come across much of substance, unless that something is directly related to the main storyline of the game.
The gameplay, structurally doesn’t differ much from other instalments in the Legend of Zelda series. A silent hero is thrust into a quest to gather items, clear dungeons and solve puzzles to battle the evil of Ganondorf and secure the fate of Hyrule. The way in which the players tackle dungeons is in many ways similar to both earlier entries in the series like a Link to the Past and later entries such as Skyward Sword, as such, players who have played other entries in the series should feel familiar regardless of when they first started playing the Legend of Zelda series. That isn’t to say that the game feels stale or that it doesn’t innovate.
From the musical score to the puzzle design to the story the game feels cohesive, thematically and gameplay wise. All these aspects of the game are masterfully crafted and you’ll likely find yourself stopping just to listen to the magical compositions which form the soundtrack to Link’s adventure or to take in the sights of the rolling plains of Hyrule fields.
While players who have played ocarina of Time on N64 won’t find huge amounts of new content in this version, it’s safe to say that it’s a game which lends itself to being replayed as I’m sure most who have played it would agree and this version of the game is perhaps the best one available. Between the updated graphics and controls the Legend of Zelda 3DS is the definitive way to play this classic adventure which has enthralled and enchanted legions of fans for almost 20 years.