Review: The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D

How do you approach reviewing a game like Ocarina of Time? How do you review a game so universally acclaimed by critics and loved by fans? If you’ve been gaming for any length of time then certainly you’ve heard the crazy amounts of praise the original game has received, and rightly so, it brought an already beloved series into a new dimension and set many a standard still used for 3D games. But with that in mind I don’t want this review to be nothing but praise for the original, or the mechanics which are still entirely intact in this remake. Instead I’d like the concentrate on the new aspects that GREZZO has added. Because really, how do you improve on what is, to this day, the most critically acclaimed game ever?

Well, the biggest and most obvious change is the visual overhaul. Just looking at screenshots it wouldn’t be odd to take one look at it and say it looks just like the original, but that’d be the nostalgia talking. Take a look at some side by sides, the 3DS version looks better in almost every aspect, especially character models and the Market Area. If you played the original N64 game then surely you remember the Market and Temple of Time areas being horribly prerendered JPEGs which looked like shit, even back in the day. The areas are no longer prerendered but still hold onto the feel of the original, something that’s important for areas as vibrant as Castle Town.

There are, however, some holdover flat textures, fences, vines, and the like that just seem plain lazy to leave in and look even worse in 3D. While everything else pops, the flat textures stick out like sore thumbs. On the bright side, the rest of the 3D implementation is spectacular. Towns look wonderful, with dungeons and smaller areas looking fantastic, but it’s the more open places like Kakiriko Village and Hyrule Field that really benefit from the added depth, giving a greater sense of distance. If you’re looking to improve your 3D rendering skills, consider visiting for some useful tips and resources. Overall, the effect is used well, but I did experience some minor ghosting, which was hard to get rid of even with slider adjustment and positioning myself at varying distances from the screen. This being my first 3DS game, I’m unsure if this is due to the specific game, the system, or both.

Other changes made to the game include the controls. While this is mostly just due to the 3DS having a far superior button layout to the N64 controller, being able to use items on X and Y instead of the hard to reach C buttons makes the game feel easier to handle, as does the 3DS’s circle pad. While the original N64 was the first console to include an analog stick it’s of pretty poor quality and precision in comparison to those we’re used to nowadays, a problem fixed with the 3DS. Other useful changes to the controls include two additional item slots assigned to two touch screen buttons. They’re handy for the items you don’t use a lot while allowing you to keep them at the ready, unlike the original where you had to go through a fairly cumbersome menu system.

The game also includes gyro controls that can be used whenever you’re aiming in first-person such as with the bow, hookshot or slingshot. While it’s fun to use the first couple of times it can be a nuisance when you’re playing in an area where you don’t have the freedom of motion necessary to use it and it obviously breaks the 3D as the area in which it works is pretty small. Luckily it’s simple to turn off in the options menu.

Other than the graphics overhaul and control changes very little else has changed. At its core this is still the Ocarina you remember from 13 years ago or, if you were too young to have played it when it came out, this is still the same Ocarina that you’ve no doubt heard so much praise for, which is really how it should be. While many games from the transitional period between 2D and 3D are horrible to play nowadays, Zelda still holds up. It controls far better than it ever has, it looks far better than it ever has and, both due to its quality and the general lack of 3DS software, it’s a game that every 3DS owner should buy.

Developer: GREZZO/Nintendo

Genre: Adventure/Action with a fair amount of puzzles

Time: 20 – 30 hours depending on your experience with Zelda games and the amount of side stuff you intend to do. Finding all the pieces of heart or Gold Skulltullas can add at least a couple hours on top of that.

Gripes: Ghosting when using 3D, music is still MIDI, not orchestral. Flat textures are just plain ugly, really stick out when using the 3D.

Get it for the: Still fantastic gameplay, now in portable form. Improved controls and graphics.