3DS Review: Known to many as simply Zelda 64, this is bound to be a 3DS system seller - and rightfully so.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
is unquestionably one of the greatest videogames of all time - if not the greatest in the hearts of every gamer from the late 90s. It's arrival on the N64 in 1998 was met with universal acclaim and the series' successful transition from 2D to 3D confirmed that Nintendo's Zelda franchise would remain at the forefront of game design. Fourteen years later, much of what made this legendary title a smash-hit is also what makes it timeless, and the new version on the 3DS affirms that Ocarina could have been made yesterday and would still have redefined the industry.
For anyone who might have missed the original release, the game's story is not something that you need extensive background in from previous entries in the series to understand. Much like Final Fantasy
, the Zelda series tends to work as a framework for individual stand-alone stories within one unifying world. The players always control the same character, the iconic Link, who in the beginning of Ocarina of Time is a child. Link is taught one new ability or trick at a time and each new piece of knowledge is used to advance to further areas. Sometimes new skills and tools are simply a different swing for Link's sword hand, but more often than not, things like the diving Scale, the Boomerang or the titular Ocarina of Time will make traversing Hyrule that bit more flexible.
The charm of Ocarina is not limited to the strong lead character and his powers, though. From the very beginning, the visual style, the unmistakably Nintendo style music and the instantly familiar controls mean that even the most sceptical players and newcomers can join fans of the series in diving straight into the game. From there, everyone can prepare for the joyous marathon ahead. On the 3DS the graphics have been given a significant upgrade. Textures have been improved all over Hyrule and characters have been re-designed and re-modelled from the ground up. Animations are more fluid than the original version and the sound itself has been given new life since its transition from those old N64 cartridges.
Other new features to the 3DS version include the stunning implementation of the touchscreen. Link's inventory is effortlessly manageable and items of all types can be assigned to buttons of touch screen spaces quickly and on the fly. If you think you'll be using your Slingshot a bit more often than usual for a while, just assign it to a face button, or if you want to keep it handy but not as something you need in a hurry, keep it in one of the touchscreen slots for emergencies. The wealth of options and customisation in this new addition is so fluid and works so well that it's hard to imagine every single game in the future of this system not copying it blatantly. Also new to the 3DS is the gyroscopic aiming function. It's a little tricky to be accurate with, but the idea behind it is intuitive, nonetheless. The most obvious and startling addition is of course the 3D, which at times are so impressive you have to stop and look around. Areas like the classic Lake Hyria and the Zora's Domain are breathtakingly beautiful in 3D and really make the experience that bit more immersive and engaging.
Naturally, as a single-player adventure game with a set story, there is limited replay value, unless you want to collect all of the Skulltula trophies and Heart Containers, but the real point of this game is to experience it and move on, to remember it fondly and someday, like today, come back for another run through its course and become enamoured all over again. There is also the Master Quest mode, which is extremely difficult, but a worthwhile investment if you are looking for more.
It is hard to talk about Ocarina of Time without mentioning the characters involved. Link is trying to stop the King of Thieves, Ganondorf, from taking over the world. To offer any of the major details of the plot in a review would do a great disservice to the new generation yet to experience Ocarina of Time in its full fashion, so I would ask that you simply trust us when we say that it will be one of the most incredible adventures you'll ever undertake in a videogame. Link will mature and grow in many ways as you play through the game, but the game itself seems to do the very same, even more so. The level design grows from a welcoming hand forward to a masterclass in ingenuity and when coupled with the time elements and use of the Ocarina, it becomes clear that what Nintendo have achieved with this game is nothing short of spectacular.