Yea, I'm just going to say it now. I don't like this game as much as Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess. Oh, it's a fantastic game with some amazing content in it, don't get me wrong, but overall, it just doesn't quite hold up compared to them, and I'll explain why in a bit.
First, I'll mention what I believe Majora's Mask did better than both of those games
#1: The item system.
To me, this is as good as it gets in terms of inventory. You can get up to 6 bottles for starters, which is great. You can get an item called the Chateau Romani, which is by far the best liquid in the game for Link to drink. You can also collect gold dust to use to craft your sword to make it stronger, which is a nice feature, though considering it doesn't give you the strongest sword in the game, which makes it not as impressive. Lastly, you can even use them to collects stuff like eggs, mushrooms and hot spring water too. While I prefer the blue fire, the hot spring water isn't bad.
Other than that, it's the typical Zelda items you can store in bottles.
#2: The side quests.
Yea, I can't deny the side quests in the game are very interesting and engaging. While some can get tedious at times due to how you have to be at certain areas at certain times, it still feels rewarding to help people out, whether it be Romani and her sister from those creepy alien beings, delivering milk into town, helping Kafei find the item he was looking for and reunite with the love of his life, helping the mailman with his deliveries, to even joining the Bomber's to get a notepad and help other people out too. I'm not going to say I enjoyed every single side quest, but I do admit quite a few of them were very immersive.
#3: The masks used to transform into different beings.
Honestly, this is by far one of the best parts of Majora's mask. The ability to turn into a Deku scrub, Goron and even Zora and use their abilities to complete your quests really made your adventure more interesting. And that's not even including the Fierce Deity Mask, which might as be named the game breaker mask. Seriously, the mask is ridiculously OP. Not that I mind since game breaking items can be very fun to use, but still, this one might have been a bit too much. Sure, it balances out somewhat since you can only use it on bosses, but still, to take them down in 20 seconds kinda takes the fun out of them a bit. True, you don't have to use it, but once you have it, why wouldn't you? Who doesn't like kicking butt in a video game? I sure as heck do.
#4: The story and dark/tragic themes of the game.
To me, this story is about as immersive as you can get in a Zelda game. You're in a world where disaster will strike the area in 3 days and it's up to you to try to fix it, coming across characters who have been affected by it, really tugging on your heart strings at times. It makes you want to right the wrongs that vile Majora mask has committed and make him pay for all the atrocities he's committed.
That and who doesn't feel urgency and sadness when the last 6 hours of the day start? That to me just makes you realize time is running out and you better make a decision fast or risk losing everything you've achieved in that 3 day event.
Well, that's all I can think of why this game did better, so now I'll mention what really hindered this game in terms of enjoyability.
#1: Only 4 dungeons.
While not a big issue I suppose, it does strike me as odd this is the only Zelda game with less than 8 dungeons. Usually all of them have 8 dungeons, if not more. For some reason, they only put in 4, which does take some of the fun out of exploring them since it's usually one of the best parts of the game.
#2: You can only confront the Skull kid during the last 6 hours of the 3rd day.
Seriously, what was the point of this? I understand they wanted it to feel more like a dramatic showdown, but still, why couldn't you do it at any time you wanted once you could climb up those stairs? What, would that have really made that much of a difference? Considering Majora's mask can speed up the moon falling at any time as we see after tossing aside the Skull kid, I don't see why not. If nothing else, have it be during the night time periods if they insist on a dark atmosphere.
#3: Your search for Navi was completely pointless.
Yea, I know the ending shows you still looking for her, but the fact they couldn't have the last cutscene reunite with the one individual you were seeking this whole time? What was the point of this? Just an excuse to get Link into Termina? Well, there was plenty of other ways to do it, you know?
#4: No direction on where to go.
This game is absolutely brutal when it comes to knowing where to go. Unlike Ocarina of Time where it gives you helpful hints what you're supposed to do next, THIS game doesn't give you that luxury. It just drops you in Clock Town after getting turned into a Deku scrub and says, "Have fun, buddy! Don't expect any help from me!"
Seriously, how was anyone supposed to know you are to join the Bombers and get a tear so you could unlock a Deku scrub platform to fly up to the Clock? And that's not even including how to get most of the masks either. You are given no direction how you obtain any of the masks. You're just supposed to figure it out on your own. Seriously, what the heck, game? I don't want the game to hold my hand the whole time, but at least give SOME freakin clues on what I'm supposed to do next!
Expecting the player to figure out almost everything on their own is just cruel.
#5: The wretched save feature.
Oh yea, I wasn't about to overlook this. If there is anything that kills the enjoyably of Majora's Mask, it is THIS. The save feature is absolute trash. You can only save two ways, either resetting the game back to Day 1 or with the Owl Statues, which wouldn't have been so bad had it not been for the fact they ONLY save for that time and place. Once your load your save file again, it is completely erased. So, if you forget to save again or someone forbid your game crashes, guess what? You have to restart Day 1 ALL OVER AGAIN from the previous save you used the Ocarina of Time song.
Excuse me, WHAT?! What the heck happened here? The save feature was done so well in Ocarina of Time, so how did it get so broken in Majora's Mask?! Heck, you can't even save in a dungeon like you can in most Zelda games. How absurd is that?! Yea, I've heard it was due to hardware limitations, but still, there is no excuse for this garbage. They could have at least had just one save file and then made it so it saved anywhere to cut down on memory. I know 3 save spots are typical in a Zelda game, but that would have been a better alternative than just having 2 and being subjected to this nonsense.
Yea, I know some will argue it's fixed in the 3DS version, and while that's good to know, it doesn't justify it here. The broken save feature is the #1 reason why Majora's mask was not as enjoyable to me because seriously, games crash at times. It happens, so why punish the player for it with such a horrid save system? I'm sorry, but there are absolutely no excuses for it here.
Overall, Majora's Mask was definitely a one of a kind Zelda game. I definitely can see the gems and heart in it why people love it alot, but it irritates me how they act like it's the best Zelda game ever and yet ignore its many flaws that really hinders its enjoyablity. Yea, I'm not going to act like Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess aren't flawed either and don't have their problems, but Majora's Mask as a whole has way more. Plus, the game isn't even as long once you do know what you're doing. I'd say it's half the adventure Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess offer.
That's not to say the content in Majora's Mask isn't good or even great, because it is very good, but Majora's Mask to me is a game that needed alot more time and effort put into it to truly be rated as the best Zelda game of all time. It sadly was rushed in a sense, so the fact it turned out as good as it did speaks volume of the development team who worked on it.
It's for that reason why I cannot give the game more than a 7 for the original version, 8 at most for the DS version since it did fix the save feature and polish the overall game, but even so, Ocarina of Time IMHO is still better overall. If you don't agree with this, that's your right to. This review is merely my opinion.