The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is Nintendo’s attempt to bolster a Nintendo 3DS software line-up seemingly running out of steam, but does a 13 year old N64 adventure really have what it takes to impress modern players?
Grab your sword and shield and join us in our The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D review as we prepare to find out.
When devoted gamers discuss the very finest titles in the history of the medium, you can bet that amongst the classic names you’ll find The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Originally released on Nintendo’s N64 console way back in 1998, this action adventure is widely regarded as one of the greatest pieces of entertainment software ever conceived – which is why you should be very excited indeed about this shiny new 3DS remake.
Ocarina of Time was the first Zelda instalment to make the leap into three dimensions, but despite this, it still manages to feel fresh and innovative more than a decade after its inception – possibly even more so than recent entries in the lineage such as the Wii-based Twilight Princess and Spirit Tracks on the DS.
There’s a pureness to the action, with classic Zelda items and characters being given additional depth and complexity thanks to move from 2D sprites to 3D polygons.
Speaking of which, Nintendo has given the entire game a fresh lick of paint to bring it up to modern handheld visual standards. Character models have been drastically re-rendered, offering more detail and expression than ever before. The environments have undergone a similar transformation, with many of the locations that were simply pre-rendered backdrops in the N64 original now being presented in true 3D.
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When you consider that Ocarina of Time was never intended to be played in autostereoscopic 3D, the game makes sterling use of the 3DS’ unique display. The vast environments (The acres and acres of Hyrule Field) have a striking degree of depth, and the way in which dust particles seem to float in the foreground is genuinely alluring. Another neat touch is the ability to control the first-person camera using the 3DS’ accelerometer. Alongside Pilotwings Resort, this is possibly the most effective use of the console’s power we’ve yet witnessed.
The plot is possibly the least surprising part of the entire package, featuring the typical tale of a plucky young hero verses malevolent bad guy – with the simpering Princess Zelda stuck firmly in the middle – but the time-travelling element does at least add a dash of originality. Switching between child and adult Link was a revelation back in 1998, and we’re pleased to report that it has lost none of its power to impress even after all these years.
Neither has the overall gameplay, but then this isn’t regarded as the finest Zelda instalment for nothing. The extensive quest will take you through a wide range of radically different locations and is sure to keep you enraptured for countless hours, and the savvy manner in which special items and weapons are drip-fed to the player keeps every new dungeon feeling fresh and exciting.
Some will argue that no game is ever truly perfect, and as hard as it may be to imagine, the same can be said of the original Zelda Ocarina of Time. Thankfully, Ninty has taken the Nintendo 3DS remake as an opportunity to rectify one of the more annoying elements of the title, by allowing you to quickly switch items using the console’s touch screen, thus saving you from having to drop into a separate menu.
If you want to explore every nook and cranny in Ocarina of Time then you can expect the main game to last you weeks. However, when you finally defeat the dastardly Ganondorf the challenge isn’t entirely over.
Also included on the cart is the Master Quest mode, which was previously seen in the limited edition GameCube Zelda Collector’s Edition disc. This boasts rearranged dungeons, but this time they have a unique mirrored layout which effectively makes the whole thing feel startlingly new. In addition to this, there’s an unlockable Boss Challenge mode which pits you against all of the game’s guardians in a highly demanding test of endurance.
Even if you’re played the original game to death, there’s no doubt whatsoever that it’s well worth experiencing again on the 3DS. This is truly classic stuff and simply never grows old – from the moment the camera pans around Kokiri Forest during the game’s opening sequence to the first time you ride upon the back of your trusty horse Epona, you cannot help but be totally and utterly enthralled by this timeless piece of software.
With the 3DS currently struggling to prove its worth to a gaming public that is slowly transitioning from DS to iPhone and iPad, Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D illustrates beyond all doubt that Nintendo offers a level of depth, enjoyment and unmitigated gaming bliss that simply cannot be acquired anywhere else.
If you own a Nintendo 3DS then you need to own this remarkable game, and if you don’t then we heartily recommend you invest in one sharpish.