3DS owners finally have a reason to turn their system on.
Regardless of its quality on the Nintendo 3DS, the 1998 release is still widely considered to be one of the very best games ever released. It was 1998’s tour de force—often regarded as the Citizen Kane of video games. The epic tale through Hyrule garnered (very) high critical reception and was ultimately a commercial success, being the highest selling game of 1998 despite being released in late November.
Unsurprisingly, the 3DS remake still manages to play extremely well. Developer Grezzo did a phenomenal job in keeping the feel nearly identical to the original. Characters and enemies, other than generally looking much better and sharper, are truer to the original source material. Dungeon designs have been improved, allowing for sharper textures and more detailed environments. The best example is the revamped Town Market that is now spruced up with geometry rather than pre-rendered backgrounds. The same can be said about interior of buildings, too.
Though aesthetically the game looks much, much better than the original, arguably the gameplay improvements may be the best updates to the game. For example, the Iron and Hover Boots can now be selected as items rather than equipment. This makes completing the later dungeons, like the infamous Water Temple, much easier to manage. The Ocarina, too, has been streamlined to allow you to view songs while playing. The 3DS’s touchscreen allows for 4 items to be used as once, as well as a designated spot for your Ocarina, Navi (Link’s annoying fairy), and the overworld map.
But when all is said and done, you’re still playing a 1998, Nintendo 64 game. Games have evolved since then—they have taken Zelda’s evolutionary gameplay mechanics and updated them for a new generation. The game still uses it’s Z-Targeting system (now as L-Targeting seen in the Wind Waker) for example, but doesn’t feature any sort of camera system (other than defaulting the camera behind Link). It really wasn’t a big deal in 1998 but once you get used to camera controls in today’s games it’s difficult to get used to a game that lacks the ability. It’s quite unfortunate, too, that the d-pad is used for absolutely nothing.
Nonetheless, while playing through Ocarina of Time on my 3DS I could see its evolutionary gameplay mechanics all over the place. The game is littered with mechanics that games have down-right ripped straight from the classic title. It goes to show just how good it was way back in the late 90’s and how well it has aged since then. Sometimes it may be difficult to tell just what to do next but Grezzo managed to put a very clever help system that lets you read what to do next if you’re stuck.
In its general feature-set, Grezzo didn’t add too much over the original. You can go back and fight any boss that you previously encountered but doesn’t feature any leaderboard option. There’s also an option to play the game over again in a mirrored Master Quest mode that ups the overall difficulty level, but is generally the same game with rearranged dungeons.
You might have to wait a little bit to finally get your hands on a completely original 3DS game, but the wait is made a lot easier with the release of Ocarina of Time 3D. Despite the fact that you’re playing what is essentially a 1998 Nintendo 64 game, Grezzo did an amazing job updating its visuals to compensate for the 3DS’s power. Your purchase ultimately hinges on your love for Ocarina of Time. Fans (like me) are all over remakes of classic games but newcomers may not see what the fuss was all about.
Regardless, Ocarina of Time 3D is quite an amazing remake, and one of my very favorite classic remakes of all time. There isn’t one 3DS game to suggest over Ocarina of Time 3D at this very moment. If you have a 3DS already, then you should probably own this game. Easy as that. Now, bring on Majora’s Mask, Grezzo.