34 Reviews

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

A Link to the Past

It's N64's greatest gift. Zelda: Ocarina of Time has been called, as Nintendo's television blitz rudely informed us during Corrie this weekend, "a masterpiece" (Edge), "pure undiluted genius" (GamesMaster) and, in the pre-skyscraper-advert magazine format of this very website, "the best game ever".

But let's face it, after years of technical and artistic advancement - plus a lot of lager - whenever this classic's been mentioned, we've probably been looking back with more than a morsel of nostalgia.

Or have we? Could it be that the game that wrote the rule book for open-world action games still casts its Miyamoto magic 12 years, two home consoles and three 3D series instalments after its release? After all, it and still holds the all-time crown on Metacritic with a stonking 99% score.

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Having spent more than a week fixated with the remastered 3DS Director's Cut, we think we have the answer: we've fallen in love with Ocarina all over again...

HERO OF TIME
Ocarina of Time 3D is brilliant. We love it. Lots. If you're one of the seven people involved in the hobby of gaming not equated with Link's time travelling adventure, you'll love it too - and covet the envy of all those who've previously seen the credits roll.

It feels a bit unfair to pour praise on a title so incredibly accomplished that even George Lucas would have trouble buggering up an update, but it's surprising how successful the 3DS version has turned out. Especially considering, as red-circled above, Ocarina has been succeeded three times by its own maker.

Let's be honest; Twilight Princess has the most inventive, surprising dungeons, Wind Waker holds a charm and sense of exploration beyond what was capable in 1998, while Majora's Mask's impressive persistent world surely would've improved the 64-biit opener. But somehow, Ocarina is still king.

When we picked up the N64 controller on that busy release day in December '98, the technical aspects - the framerate, blocky character models and robust game engine - never crossed our mind as we quickly became utterly engrossed by the memorable characters, deep, puzzling dungeons, massive boss fights and numerous sub-games.

All the elements for a pure, complete and (more importantly since) gimmick-free Zelda adventure are there: an origin story involving a boy, a princess and a mental bloke from the desert about to mess up a fantasy dynasty. A mythical Tri-Force, parallel game worlds and six sages hidden in the forest, on a mountain and over a vast river.

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We still remember galloping through the desert on our noble steed Epona, navigating the eerie mazes of the Lost Woods, and fiddling with Link's awesome gadgets to make it to the intimidating boss fight in one piece.

The magic moments N64 veterans cherish dearly return with newfound clarity on 3ds; that drama when Link first gazes on the vast expanse of Hyrule field (though it feels more snug these days), the catchy, magical melodies and the puzzles they solve, and the emotion when Link first tip-toes from the Temple of Time to see his childhood stomping ground in ruins...

Ocarina of Time is, even with the subsequent genre advancements by both third-parties and the Zelda series itself, all of Nintendo's creativity enriched in a single, series-defining quest.

A LINK TO THE PAST
For fans of the original the 3DS update has been intricately updated by Japanese developer Grezzo, with caverns that previously looked like blurrly, polygonal holes transformed into flaming, lava-filled beauties, in a colourful, charismatic and - pleasingly - immensely faithful update to the original art. The 3D effect arguably looks better in some environments than others (interiors look particularly striking), but returning adventurers will surely adore rediscovering the world of rock-eating Gorons and angry chickens all over again.

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