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Impressions/review? of Majora's Mask 3DS. From January of this year. This is long and rambley. My sorrys.

Alright, just beat Majora's Mask again. But on 3DS(sorta).

tl;dr: I still think it's better than Ocarina of Time and if you wanted to go back and play an N64 game, Majora's Mask is the one. Also, despite my issues with the port, 3DS is the best version to play for someone new. Oldbies stay away and go back to the N64.

So, this was the first Zelda game I've every played back when the N64 was new and I was but a child. And I still hold it up in pretty high regard. The whole game is just dripping in mood and setting. Constantly having that moon over head, seeing it come closer with each second, having earthquakes increase as the days go by, talking to the townspeople stressing out about something outside of the norm, seeing the main town desolate on the third day, having that music change from whimsy, to urgent to dire and unsure. Love it. Whenever people talk about a "mature" Zelda game, I always think about this game first. And hearing the common complaint about how people had to stop playing the game cause it "stressed them out too much" is a testament to how they NAILED it!

Music is very important to a Zelda game and some of the music is reused from Ocarina of Time but there are good twists here and there to make the game stand out. And the tracks that are original to MM DO STAND OUT. There's one track that it uses often that strikes a eerie, somber tone. Like you're up in the air and falling/floating but you don't know if it's good if you're falling or not. You're just hoping your working towards something positive. So, if you like Ocarina's core music, you won't be TOO disappointed there.

Time is so important to this game. In Ocarina, it was a big part of it's theme, having you go back and forth between times to change one thing so you might have access to a different area or learning/gaining something in the future that helps you in the past. in Majora's Mask, time is a weight on your shoulders. With the clock at the bottom of your screen and a moon inching closer, you always feel that your back is against the wall. To this day, I haven't felt stress like that from a mechanic in a Zelda game quite like that. Also, having everything and everyone run on a looping schedule makes you a bit more invested in the goings-on of the world around you. You become more aware of the habits of the NPCs and can gleam a bit of info about their personalities from it. But, time can be a bit of a hassle too. Certain dungeons can take a while to complete. After you complete said dungeons, there are sometimes things to do in the area around the dungeon but you probably wouldn't have enough time to do it. OR, in order to get to a dungeon, you'd have to do several steps to gains certain items or knowledge in order to access the dungeon in the area but then wouldn't have enough time to do that. So, in both cases, it would mean having to go back to the beginning. But it usually isn't as bad as having to go through all the steps/actions in the first run through. Still would require re-beating a boss again or gathering arrows/faries/etc.

Combat, outside of bosses which are very cool and do a great job making you use the masks for those areas (unless it's the first boss on N64. That one is TOO easy), is okay. Not too much different from OoT. So if you liked it to this day, it should be fine. If you're new, it'll probably be too slow for you. If you're old and are just USED to how things are played today, it'll defientely feel dated. Functional but dated. Also, a common complaint about N64 Zelda is having to constantly go into menus to switch out items and with all of the mask usage, it's WORSE in Majora's Mask. The 3DS version helps a bit with this by giving you an extra input for another item but with so many masks to choose from, it's still a major issue. Also, there are probably way too many masks, since most masks are just used to finish a side quest for a heart piece and do nothing outside of that singular purpose. By that same token, some masks, outside of the transformation masks, are very useful. Bunny Hood for liiiiiiiife.

Characters and world are pretty core to the Zelda experience and Majora's Mask does the best with what it's working with. A town panic stricken and unsure whether to flee, or a royalty hyper focused and unable to find the root cause of a poisoned land, or a sudden onset winter causing a people to shelter in, or an ocean beset with mysterious disaster in the distance, or a land so dead ghosts haunt and little grows. It sets up great character moments. Reusing character models helps cast you in a world that's similar but different enough to put you on edge and with a constant threat looming overhead, you are most quick to empathize with the cast. It feels like the entire land is feeling the same weight as you, with deep regret motivating nearly all the characters. Usually, for one reason or another, they simply just cannot fulfill the task they set out for themselves and they know time is almost over for them. Link really does feel like a tool for good in this game, and no other game I've played yet. There are some "going through the motions" but when you do feel like you help people move on.... until you use the Song of Time and undo it all. For me, the act of resetting all the good only reinforced the desire to complete the main quest, of stopping the Skull Kid. For others, I can see this being a bit discouraging.

Majora's Mask 3D, the 3DS version, is not as solid of an upgrade as Ocarina of Time 3D. Changes to the save system are very welcome but also make the game a bit TOO easy. Once again, touchscreen gives you access to more inputs and also allows to you view the map of your immediate area. This means a bit less menu work. This is still Majora's Mask, however, and with the number of masks to equip, this is still going to be a major issues UNLESS they do a from the ground up remake. Or give the team more than a year. Trading is a bit better since you no longer have to equip an item to present it, it just pops up your inventory and you select what you need. Some minor tweaks to Link's forms can make or break the remaster for people, like Zora swimming being broken up into fast and slow underwater, with the fast REQUIRING you to use magic. Also, bosses have been reworked, now requiring you to beat 2 phases, the first to expose an added bloated eye weakness, the second bash in said weakness. The new weakness keeps with the design of Majora's Mask itself and I kinda liked the variation it added to the conflict. Once again, I can see it not being "true" to the original game, but with Majora's Mask being made in less than a year, the added phases feel better thought out. With the added option of controlling the camera on a second stick, I can easily recommend the 3DS version to new people who haven't played Majora's Mask before. To people have have logged in a bunch of hours already, it's a bit of a harder sell.

Overall, in the grand franchise that is Zelda (and for the ones I've played), Majora's Mask is pretty good so far. I would even argue it's better than Ocarina of time, since the bloat isn't in length but in items. The time constraint really helps to make this Zelda feel different from the other Zeldas and I would even say it's about the right amount of challenge in comparison to Ocarina of Time, which is probably a bit too easy in 2019 standards. Still, it is a game from the 90's and in the early years of 3D video games on consoles. So a brand new player would probably have issues with is major item management issues and it's archaic camera control. Of the Zelda games I've decided to go and play, this one still feels strong and it's mostly through it's setting, restraint, and characters. I would recommend anyone interested to give it a shot. It's a better time than Zelda 1 or 2, that's for sure

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