Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D is worthy to be called a remake of one of the land marks in video game history.
It's 13 years later now, and it is surprising on how well the game still holds up nowadays, with only a few, big improvements.
Some might even say Ocarina doesn't even need an update to be a success now in 2011, because it's that good. However, updates are welcome, and Nintendo didn't stay away from giving this game a fresh new feeling to it.
First on, Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D is totally identical to the original Ocarina of Time game design wise. It's still the same over world, with the same dungeons, areas, side quests, puzzles, art design, and more. Though some might wish to see at least a bit of extra content in the story mode, it's nice to see how faithful this remake stays to ts original.
However, the game fortunately gets a graphical update in this remake, and the conclusion is great. The graphics look beautiful. The textures are more crispy, the environments are more detailed and characters and animations look also a hole lot better. However, the game still sticks close to the looks of its original. The design stayed just like it was in Oot, and the characters also still have the same look to them like they had back then in 1998. But like mentioned, thanks to the updated graphics they look more detailed and better, and their animations are also mostly improved, though there are some dated animations still to be spotted, the characters still have rough edges and look a bit blocky, and some of the face expressions of Link or other characters do look pretty laughable.
Still, all in all the game contains pretty memorable characters along the way.
However, the graphics aren't totally perfect. Some areas look better than others, and though most of the time you'll enjoy looking at the environments, you will spot here and there again some pretty ugly textures. It's somewhat uneven at the worst.
Of course this game is on the 3DS and has the 3D in its title, so that means its also playable in stereoscopic 3D. And yes, there is definitive a benefit on using the 3D. The games has a great sense of depth with the 3D turned on and the game feels even more a life with the 3D effect. It really adds to the experience. Seeing Hyrule in 3D is amazing, or encountering one of these epic bosses in 3D is just as awesome.
The 3D effect and the graphical update are the two most significant improvements, but the game has lots more.
One of those improvements is the menu system, that is now laid out on the touchscreen. This makes it way easier and comfortable to choose between your items, pick Links equipments and look at dungeon maps. This time though you only have 2 face buttons to use items, X and Y to be specific, because the other 2 face buttons, A and B, are for sword slashing and specific actions. There is also place for 2 items on the touchscreen, and to use them you have to tap on them. Using items by touching the touchscreen doesn't feel quite as good as using items by pressing a face button, but it works just fine. And for that, using the menu this time around is way faster and easier.
Another feature this game adds is the gyroscope control, where you can move your system around to aim at enemies with a weapon like the bow or slingshot. Or you can also use the gyro scope for looking around the environments when you are in first person view.
It definitely works and feels good, but this also forces you to get out of the 3D sweat spot if you aren't careful, and that does strain your eyes a bit. Luckily, you aren't forced to use the gyro scope for aiming or looking around in first person view, the circle pad works just as well. But, when turning off the 3D effect it is pleasing to use the gyro scope.
And talking about controls generally, controlling Link with the circle pad feels a little bit less loose than in the original. The camera is also a bit better, though it still likes to sometimes get in your way, especially during combat, but more on that later.
Another extra are the shiekah stones that help you by letting visions appear. Those visions show a little cut scene on what is to do next. It does it in a clever way, it doesn't tell you exactly what to do so you'll have to think about what they just showed you, but it does help when you're stuck.
A last improvement is the water temple, that isn't half as annoying as it originally was. That's partly because of the touchscreen menu, and partly because there are now color hints on the doors that lead to the room with the water level switch.
But even with all these improvements, Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D still feels very familiar to its original. Like mentioned before it has the same dungeons, puzzles, side quests and more, and don't think it has aged till now.
Wondering around Hyrule, mastering side quests is still a lot of fun, but the dungeons are what take the cake. Even nowadays they are still masterly clever designed and taking on each huge temple is really satisfying. The gameplay in Zelda Ocarina of Time is still incredibly good nowadays.
Fighting with Link is also still really fun. Slicing up enemies is still really satisfying and Link fights like a real sword fighter. Sword to sword fights with enemies like the skeletons in particular are really fun, and the lock on system makes sure that you keep track of your enemy where ever he goes most of the time.
Though seriously, not always. Sometimes, especially when more enemies fill the room, it can freak a bit out at times, when it doesn't lock on to the nearest enemy and makes really weird choices. This gets especially annoying because the camera likes to drive you nuts, getting stuck more often than it should or picking awkward camera angles. The lock on system is still for the most part pretty decent, but in particular the lock on system is open for an improvement.
And speaking about the camera, yeah, it can annoy at times. Mostly during combat but sometimes even other wise the camera can pick bad angles or get stuck.
Unfortunately, the lock on system and camera do get problematic in boss battles as well, but rarely, and its the only thing you could use against these incredible boss fights. Middle boss fights are cool, but the end bosses are incredible. Thanks to the updated graphics and 3D effect, the bosses in Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D have never looked that awesome. And the 3D especially lets these battles be even more epic than they were in the original Ocarina of Time. Despite these boss battles being now 11 years old, it's rare to battle such epic and satisfying bosses like those in Ocarina of Time.
What shouldn't have stayed from Ocarina of Time is the cheap save system that puts you always back to Links house once you turned the game of, even if you have saved it. That provides a lot more extra walking than you would have to when you could just start off the game from the point you saved it the last time. This also kills several minutes of your gaming time unnecessarily. And, in the temples, if you lose against a boss, you have to get through the whole temple again only to battle against the boss another time, even if you have saved the game right before the boss door. And if you had any fairies or other heal medicines that you have used during the fight, well it's all gone and you are only left with 3 hearts, and that can become kinda frustrating.
Another niggle the game has though is that especially in bosses like the end boss of Jabu Jabu's belly or Ganondorf himself, slowdowns significantly interrupt the flow of the gameplay sometimes. That happens mostly in the game when there is too much going on, and although it is a minor gripe more or the less, it can disturb at times. But to be honest, those slowdowns appear rarely.
Besides the main mode there is also master quest that lets you play through the whole adventure again, but this time it's mirrored and the enemy layout is different so that the game is more challenging. The enemies are now a lot more powerful as well, it's way harder to survive in master quest. It's sure there to challenge even the most dedicated Zelda veterans, though you have to play through the normal quest before you'll be able to play master quest.
And then there is a boss challenge mode where you can battle all of the bosses you've already beaten again, and after beating all bosses at least once, you are able to play through all bosses in one play through, trying to take as little time as possible. It's definitely time for a Zelda game to have the feature that you are able to battle against all bosses another time after you have beaten them already, without having to start the main story mode from beginning again. And because the boss battles of OoT are so awesome, this boss challenge mode is definitely worth a bit of your time.
These extra modes combined with the main story mode and the new updates make for the most complete Zelda game yet. Though there is still place for improvements, what Nintendo has done with this remake is impressive. There are rare parts of Ocarina of Time that have aged until now, but for the most part, Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D delivers without a doubt. It's the nostalgic mixed with the improvements that make for such a special game. Zelda Ocarina of Time deserved a remake, and here it is, as the best 3DS game to date. This is a love letter to every Zelda fan, and new comers especially should pick this game up right now.
+ has some significant updates, while still sticking very close to the original
+ Hyrule is huge and alive
+ fun side quests
+ amusing, cleverly designed puzzles and huge, exciting temples
+ incredibly epic and satisfying boss battles
+ beautiful graphics for the most part
+ 3D makes the game feel totally fresh again
+ amazing soundtrack even nowadays
+ hint stones are a great option for those who find them self stuck
+ master quest and boss challenge mode are a great addition
- camera likes to annoy you at times, mostly during combat
- lock on system doesn't always make good choices and can get a bit aggravating at times
- bad save system
- some pretty ugly textures here and there again
- a few slowdowns appear sometimes when there is too much going on
Review Score: 8.5/10