Ocarina of Time is one of those games that has passed me by over the past 10 years. I never got round to playing it on the N64 and I even downloaded it on the Wii’s Virtual Console and it’s been sitting there ever since unplayed. I suppose you’ll also scoff when I say I’ve never seen any of the Godfather movies and refuse to watch School of Rock. I’m just not interested. In fact, I’ve never really got fully into any of the proper console Zelda games and have actually preferred the various versions on the Gameboy Advance and DS with its top-down gameplay or more recently riding about on a big choo-choo train in Spirit Tracks.
Ocarina of Time 3D is therefore a chance to play this title that’s widely considered one of the best games ever made and actually play it properly in transit between locations in my busy real-world schedule. Can I also let it be known that I’m also not playing the game with the 3D setting switched on? For a start it makes me see double and makes my eyes water but there are also some fundamental gameplay issues as to why I don’t want it switched on which I’ll come to later.
So, for anyone who doesn’t know the premise of the game, you play as Link and are given a mission by Princess Zelda to stop the man with evil eyes Ganondorf from getting hold of the Triforce which would give him untold power and make him do really evil things like poke puppies in the eyes with sticks (I lied about the last bit). And so you leave the safety of the forest and go on a quest around open world locations and also in some very well designed dungeons that will really make you think and use your reflexes as you progress. Anyone who knows the Zelda series will know the mechanic of exploring dungeons. Usually you have to kill all the bad things in a room, stand on a switch, light all the torches in a room or do something else even more fiendish to open the pathway forward. Even though your fairy Navi will give you the occasional hint and you can also consult a sacred stone that will give you video flash forwards of what you need to do, you may hit some brick walls and have to consult a FAQ or two if you don’t want to spend hours barking up the wrong proverbial tree. If you have time and patience that’s not a problem but modern games seem to give you more of a hint nowadays (does this means games are getting less hardcore and I’m getting soft in my old age? Probably).
Combat is as tight as it’s always been. You can lock-on to an enemy with the left trigger and then circle it, dash about and swipe at it with your sword. You can also use bombs, your catapult and a shield to attack and keep you safe. You can even switch the view into first person mode to aim and look about which is where one of the 3D clashing issues comes in. If you own a DS you’ll know you have to hit a ‘sweet spot’ in order to get a perfect 3D image. The game uses the gyroscope inside the 3DS as well as the analogue stick if you want to look about in this mode but unless you move the 3DS about as if you’re playing Face Raiders you completely lose what you’re looking and aiming at. Fine if you’re alone in your home but you will look a bit mental on the bus. Hence the 3D is switched off and only on occasionally for me out of curiosity.
The game also looks better than it ever has. I actually fired up the N64 version on the Wii to see the difference and it’s remarkable how much better it looks. Everything is more detailed from characters to locations and there are even a few new animations in there for good measure. And that’s not the only extra. When you’ve finished the game you can then play Master Quest mode which features remixed dungeons and tougher enemies. Of course in the normal game as well there are plenty of side quests to go on which reward you in all manners from earning extra heart containers to new shields and more powerful swords and armour. This game really is massive and keeps on giving.
In fact, Ocarina of Time 3D is the first game out on the 3DS I’ve really been able to get my teeth stuck into. Sure there have been some quality fighting games to play but nothing with a narrative which makes me want to pick up and play it whenever I get the opportunity.
Without a doubt this is currently the best game on the Nintendo 3DS and a reason to buy the handheld. Anyone who says the 3DS is just a DS with 3D is wrong. Ocarina of Time simply couldn’t run on a DS and it’s not even pushing what it can do to the full. Ocarina of Time 3D gets an almost perfect 9 out of 10.
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