on December 16, 2011
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, is truly a special game. It is one of those rare treats in an artistic medium for which the universal praise and superlatives are entirely true no matter what angle you look at it from. Very few would argue against Ocarina of Time's greatness, or its lasting impact on the industry as a whole, and the fact remains that even after all these years since its release, it still reigns supreme as the world record holder for highest rated game in history. To attempt to remake such a classic masterpiece is a very daunting task indeed, but developer Grezzo, under Nintendo's watchful eye, did just that. The question is, is the remake worthy of the original's name? In short, yes, yes it is. This, to me, is the shining example of what remakes should be, but allow me to go into greater detail to explain why I think this.
Full Disclosure: The Legend of Zelda series is my favorite franchise in video games (a hobby I consider my favorite pastime). It is no stretch to say that Ocarina could very well be the greatest video game ever made thus far in the relatively young entertainment medium. The incredibly epic story of good versus evil, the compelling characters, the masterful gameplay, the beautiful art design, the iconic music, the sheer variety and amount of excellent content, the majesty and mystery of exploring the massive (at the time of its release, anyway) world of Hyrule, Ocarina had it all, and honestly, it still does. You could play this today in its original format and despite its age, you'd still get a masterpiece (as evident by its popularity on the Wii Virtual Console). I make no apologies for my belief in these statements, and I stand by them. Obviously, when considering how to rate a remake, you first have to consider the backbone of the package by analyzing the original works being remade. Ocarina 3D has one of the best games ever to work with, so no problems here. Second, you have to consider what work went into the game to qualify it as a "remake" AND if it benefits the original work enough to warrant a remake treatment. How does Ocarina of Time 3D fare in that regard?
Back in 1998, Ocarina of Time was groundbreaking in many ways as a 3D adventure game, but one of the most striking examples of this were in its visuals. If you play the original today, you'll obviously notice Ocarina has aged pretty horribly, despite the timeless art design, gameplay, music, story, etc. Graphically, Ocarina needed a facelift, and this 3DS remake does just that masterfully. From character models/animations to structures to textures, literally everything was remade from the ground up visually. Grezzo's goal in remaking the visuals was to finally channel the exact art design that was originally conceived, seen through the original official concept/promotional art for the game. That been said, rather than being the detailed, adult graphic novel style of Twilight Princess, OoT3D is more like a vibrant, colorful stylized comic book/anime. Is that bad? By no means! It's more a matter of taste. Personally, I think this game is absolutely gorgeous! The 3DS is essentially a portable Gamecube in terms of graphical capabilities, so imagine that kind of power channeling the original epic concept and promotional art for Ocarina and you have a pretty good idea what you're looking at here. If you don't think the difference between the original and this is much, I dare you to say so after looking at videos and screenshots of them side-by-side. Yes, in terms of visuals, Grezzo nailed it with this remake! To play Ocarina with the visuals it was always intended to have before but couldn't because of hardware limitations is reason enough alone to warrant a purchase, but that's not all Ocarina 3D has going for it visually.
Another visual treatment that this remake got was one that only the 3DS could offer: 3-D (duh). In all honesty, this is one of the better examples of stereoscopic 3-D on the 3DS. I actually found myself playing the game with the 3-D slider all the way up most of the time, and viewed it as an essential aspect to the experience, something I did not expect going into it. That 3-D effect really lent this feeling of organic life to the game, and helped Hyrule truly feel like a living, breathing world. As gimmicky as that all may sound, it's very true in this game's case. Nintendo did a great job making this a showpiece for the 3DS' three-dimensional capabilities. The only problem I ever encountered in this area was image ghosting in places where there was very high contrast, but that's more of a criticism of the 3DS' screen system and not this game.
Koji Kondo's work as the main composer in Ocarina of Time is unrivaled in terms of iconic, brilliant music in a game. To this day, Ocarina's music is required listening for any fan of Nintendo, Zelda, video games, you name it. That been said, they did not rock the boat when handling the soundtrack for this game. The music was remastered, but plays pretty much unaltered in any way from the original (per Kondo's request). It's fun to take in the sound/music design in this game, as the original was pretty groundbreaking in this way. For example, the Hyrule field theme would change in pace and instrumentation depending on circumstances, which is something we take for granted today, but back then it was amazing. It is still impressive today. Grezzo's treatment of the audio was extremely respectful, upgrading and refining without altering, and as a massive fan of Zelda, that is exactly what I wanted.
The controls are as intuitive and satisfying as ever, and in some areas may actually be better than the good ol' N64 "pitchfork" set-up, which always worked so well. The lower touchscreen on the 3DS is utilized to great effect, making looking at the map, changing equipment and gear, changing the view to first-person, talking to Navi, using two of four item slots, and playing the Ocarina, all smoother and more accessible. Otherwise, the action buttons are masterfully mapped on the 3DS' button layout, no complaints there. I DID find my hand cramping after extended play due to the button placement for z-targeting and shield usage, but that's more criticism of the slick, compact 3DS itself. This 3DS hand grip helped *immensely* in that way (and if you have a 3DS XL, then I highly recommend this grip). You also have the option to use the 3DS' gyroscopic capabilities to aim things like your bow that feels really good to use, but that often means losing the 3-D effect, so there is a trade-off there.
To summarize, this remake is, in my opinion, the best version of one of the best video games ever made. It makes substantial upgrades to the original in its visuals, 3-D implementation, audio remastering, controls, as well as the inclusion of the Master Quest (a game that plays the same as the original, except that it is mirrored and the temples/dungeons are very different and much harder, as a challenge to Ocarina veterans). The fact that this new portable version of one of the most revered games ever channels the spirit of the original so perfectly while still feeling brand new again is pretty amazing. In my opinion, that is everything a remake should be, and is exponentially better than the hideously lazy cash grab opportunities that comprise most remake/rerelease/port efforts, but in all honesty, this isn't really a "remake." No, it's more of a respectful refinement. You can tell that the developers were constantly cognizant of the massive shoes of the original, and so refined all that had aged and respectfully left untouched all that makes this game so timeless, and timeless it most certainly is. It is just as good now as it was all those years ago, and is a game that would be worth buying the 3DS for alone. Yes, Ocarina of Time is indeed one of the greatest games ever made, but here's what you maybe didn't expect: Ocarina of Time 3D actually refines and revitalizes this timeless masterpiece. Buy it, save the beautiful kingdom of Hyrule once again, and become the destined Hero of Time.
on June 19, 2011
In the field of motion pictures, a generally accepted norm for "greatest film ever made" seems to be Orson Welles' classic
"Citizen Kane." Because games are a relatively young medium compared to cinema, it was only until about 14 years ago that
a contender for "greatest game ever made" stepped forth. To this day, many consider it to be the birthing place of 3D conventions
that are still used quite frequently. That game is "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time", and on the 25'th anniversary of the
Zelda franchise, Nintendo has given it a facelift on it's newest handheld, the 3DS. Diehard fans of the original (raises hand)
and newcomers alike are about to astounded by the results.
For the virgins in the audience, "Ocarina of Time" follows Link, a young boy who lives in the Kokiri Forest, a place where children frolic about with fairy companions. But a peaceful game this is not, for the patriarch of the forest, The Great Deku Tree, summons the boy before him and reveals that he has a much bigger life ahead of him than previously expected. Before he passes on, the tree sends Link on a quest that will span vast distances, and transcend the very fabric of time itself. This quest will determine the future of Hyrule, for if the young warrior fails, the land which is home to thousands will be plunged into an eternity of nightmares by Ganondorf, known by many as the King of Evil.
With this plot, the stage is set for a journey of epic proportions. Back in the Nintendo 64 era, a game of this scope was unheard of, and revolutionized what we expected from interactive entertainment forever. But does it hold up by today's harsh standards? With what Nintendo has done, it not only holds up, but still exceeds a good 90% of what we see on the market in 2011. For a game made over a decade ago, that's no easy feat.
Of course, to do this, the developers had to perform cosmetic surgery on the whole experience. The first, most noticeable change is the fact that the graphics have been rebuilt entirely. Gone are the blocky sprites we saw so many years ago; every character, even the vast multitude of NPCs, are positively teeming with life, moving with fluid gestures we never thought capable from the game. That attention has also been given to the many locales the player will be visiting, with every town, dungeon and field popping off of the screen. These are the most impressive graphics out there on the 3DS right now, and without a doubt the most novel use of it's 3D capabilities. When plugged into a wall, playing with the 3D turned on is highly recommended, for it will provide an experience that simply must be seen to be appreciated.
But a simple graphical overhaul just wouldn't be enough for a game with admittedly antiquated mechanics, which is why "OoT 3D" makes brilliant use of the system's dual screens. The new gameplay eliminates having to shift through four different menus on one pause screen, allocating all item and equipment management to the bottom touch screen. The abilities to equip four items at once, to shuffle through equipment at a breakneck pace, and no longer having to equip the Ocarina are all welcome changes to the game. Also welcome is the gyroscope in the 3DS, meaning that you can now aim items such as the hookshot and bow with your own hands. This kind of interactivity beats even the Wii Remote aiming present in "Twilight Princess", and after engaging in it, you'll find it hard going back to the old method.
Some things shouldn't be touched when modifying the classics, though; just look at what Spielberg did to "E.T." One of the most beloved things about "OoT" is Koji Kondo's chill-inducing soundtrack, and diehards will pleased to know that it remains entirely intact in this remake. While it would've been nice to see some kind of orchestral rearrangement of the score, the nostalgia nerd in all of us will feel right at home with these tunes.
Extras, like the Master Quest and boss gauntlet, are really just icing on the cake. This is a killer version of a killer game, and perhaps now the strongest reason to own a 3DS. This writer cannot emphasize enough on how absolutely phenomenal this game is, and in the end, it's up to you to take the first step on your journey to save Hyrule, whether it's your first or five-hundreth.
Do you have what it takes?
Overall: A+ (Superb)
on June 20, 2011
I have played the original and every iteration after. This version is truely unique. It's not the stunning remastered graphics, because on the gamecube they changed textures and that did little to change much. It's not the easier to manage control scheme, because the game has spaned 3 consoles before this with 2 control schemes (c-stick ocarina was NOT fun). It's the feeling of the game that's really new. I've played before, hundreds of times, and this is game feels like the first.
You can tell that those who worked on this have played as much as any other player who's had it since the beginning. From the big changes (like switching from a boomerang puzzle to a bomb puzzle in the Gohma larva room), to the ever so slight (like moving the grated north wall of the first basement room over 1 foot, so you can't collect the skulltula token while jump slashing off the edge and thus have to regular jump)(or like how all the logs on the top floor are all the same length instead of being different). Some glitches are fixed (like the Humping Skulltula in the plateform room), and overall the game plays exactly like it used to.
I am extremely pleased with this game, and I couldn't have been happier that they took the time to actually look into every detail regardless of how small. The years of waiting where worth it.
The legend has been reborn, and that legend is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
on June 20, 2011
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is arguably the greatest video game ever made. Even when running on the Nintendo 64's very limited hardware, it captured the imagination and the hearts of gamers everywhere. Now, this masterpiece has been given a facelift and very impressive 3D remastering for the Nintendo 3DS. Suffice it to say that this is the first game for the 3DS that is worth buying a console over.
The story, dungeons and game progression have remained unchanged for this release, so if you're a Zelda purist you'll be happy to know that everything in the original game is intact. The difference is in the graphics quality. It's clear that Nintendo went through some lengths to fulfill the original vision they had for the N64 version. The result is a game that looks brand new. I never played the original version, but playing through the 3DS version I honestly can't picture this ever being on the N64. The faces look MUCH improved, the textures are more realistic and the colors are vibrant and eye-popping. The 3D effect is jaw-dropping beautiful. If possible, this game needs to be played with the 3D slider all the way up. Particles gently float in and out of the screen, distance is really clearly discernable (especially running around Hyrule Field), and enemies freely pop in and out at you as well. This is now the best use of 3D on this new console. And since we now have a second screen to work with, the HUD has been completely removed from the main screen. Your life bar, equipped weapons and items and the map are all on the lower touchscreen, leaving the 3D screen free to only display the glorious 3D graphics. Switching items is as simply as touching them on the lower screen. There are also optional motion controls available for looking around in first-person view, where you move the 3DS around to look at things. If this is not your cup of tea, you can always revert to analog control from the settings menu.
This remake is simply marvelous. I knew Nintendo had spruced up the game, but I was very pleasantly surprised at just how vast an improvement it really is. While the game may still be a bit difficult for casual gamers (especially the mirrored Master Quest that unlocks upon finishing the main game), serious gamers who own a 3DS are doing themselves a disservice if they don't buy this game! The best video game ever made has officially gotten even better.
on September 13, 2015
I thought it was bizarre that retailers were offering it brand new for only a few dollars over the original MSRP of $40 again, since it's been OOP for quite some time here in the US - and most second-hand shops want $50-60 for it used.
I went ahead and ordered anyway as I wanted it brand new. What I got seems to be a Canadian import - with everything in both English & French. The game itself apparently is playable in both languages as well - as there is a small box on the cover art - next to the shield that says this. I did want this mostly as a Zelda collector item, so it's not quite what I expected or wanted, but I'm still happy with it.
on May 29, 2014
I guess I am not your average gamer. I am 62 and retired. My daughter recommended Zelda a Link Between Worlds. I inadvertently got this one. She feared I would be frustrated. I dove into this game with a Wiki Guide. I have completed the game, and found it Brilliant. It was designed very well and the visual effects were awesome. It was tough for me, but I beat the final boss. I loved the challenges and the skills to complete the game.
on September 16, 2012
I am past 40 and I bought this one for my kids based on its glowing reviews. It had been a while since I actually played significantly, and although I enjoy a little gaming from time to time, I am not a hard-core gamer.
I find that everything the most positive reviews have stated in this page so far is true for me: I tried it on the 3Ds I bought for my kids on the flight back home and -wow-.
The 3Ds screen is pretty and all but even played with the 3D slider on "off" the game is absolutely great
- The graphics are simply stunning, even in 2D; all the more in 3D. The detail, the textures, the impressive design of the faces, the ambiances - nearly everything is beautiful.
- The music is great and it plays an important role in the game itself, as you learn a few tunes along the way and trigger events by playing them back (on the 3Ds buttons) at the right place and time. I caught myself humming or whistling some of these more often than I dare admit. My son too, on his saxophone.
- The world to explore is very broad and detailed, with lots of side quests and fun.
- The story is a little on the complicated and linear side but nothing dramatic and in the end who cares?
- The difficulty is reasonable, all with some ways to get hints from inside the game through some precognition stones, which saved my day a number of times when I got stuck.
- Very good balance of discovery, adventure, problem solving and fight. It's a game where it pays to be nice to people, and it's a game that forgives a lot of mistakes.
All in all, I was a little weary to hand that to my kids because of the influence of cartoon violence (as a life choice they do not have access to TV) but the mix of problem solving, discovery, learning to dare wander in the dark etc. makes it probably the greatest game I have seen so far, and this is not just because of the 3D or the technical perfection of the game.
I read a review stating this was the first game making it worth buying a 3DS. I don't know the other games that much but for this one I agree.
on November 21, 2013
Having played through the Ocarina of Time on the N64 many, many years ago...I was expecting to be disappointed by this rendition. Call it mild pessimism, or a lack of faith in remakes, but I did not expect to be blown away like this! This game still holds up in every way and it looks incredibly impressive (and current gen) on my 3DSXL. The gameplay is still top-notch, the storyline and pacing is perfectly balanced, and now I can nerd out to Bolero of Fire with headset on. I can't say enough good things about this game...so instead I'm ending my review to go play some more.
on June 21, 2011
I've been a Zelda fan since the first game came out for NES. "Ocarina of Time" is one of the best games in the series. It's tied with "A Link to the Past" for my favorite.
This game is the sole reason I bought a 3DS, and I am NOT disappointed. The graphics have a slight improvement over N64 version with a higher framerate. The colors are brighter and more defined. The touchscreen is useful for quickly equipping weapons without opening the menu. Also the additional item buttons on the touchscreen are nice.
The movement/gyro sensors make targeting better than ever. It seemed like a gimmick at first to physically move the DS to adjust the view for shooting with the slingshot (for example) or viewing an area in first person, but I find myself using it every time. The only downside is it requires turning the 3D off because it loses its focus if you don't stare into the screen dead-on. I find myself leaving the 3D off for this game anyways. I prefer the look and gameplay in 2D, even though the 3D looks great.
I haven't finished the game yet, but I can't wait to play the master quest! I played it on the gamecube port and it was definitely challenging. I am pleased they included it for the 3DS version. Overall I will give this game 5 stars. It's gameplay, sound, graphics, story, and replayability are stellar. I recommend everybody with a 3DS go buy this game NOW.
on June 29, 2011
Ocarina of Time is commonly thought of as the best video game ever made. The 3DS remake did not need to do anything more than add a 3D effect and call it a day. Thankfully, the game's graphics have gone through a significant update, and there are a few other bits here and there that enhance an already incredible game. But is it worth $40?
Plot and Graphics
Epic stories are usually told with hours of cut-scenes and page sof dialogue. Ocarina of Time is beautiful in its simplicity. You never stop playing for more than two minutes, but the story scenes are humorous, intelligent, and very straightforward. You'll care about the people of Hyrule, because although they're simple, they are never cliche.
Graphically speaking, the game keeps its original style, but everything has a fresh coat of paint and a bucket of new polygons. Knee-high grass, which used to be a solid rectangle with blurred textures, is now made of individuals blades and flowers. Rocks that used to be flat like painted cardboard are now done in the same three dimensions as Link and Zelda. Everything is retro--but its graphics are clearly modern, though not best-in-class.
Concerning the "3D" effect, it made everything in Hyrule more vivid and interesting to look at. I personally play with it off because using the gyroscope to aim the bow and arrow makes it difficult to keep your eyes at the right angle for the effect to work.
Music is the lifeblood of Ocarina of Time, not only because the entire game revolves around playing a instrument, but also because every area and action is perfectly associated with a sound or song. The connection is deep enough that simply hearing an area's music is enough to trigger memories of previous explorations, and explosion effects signal perfectly when a bomb has gone off. The unity of gameplay and music is something must simply be experienced.
Much like the presentation, the game itself it refreshingly simple. You aren't led on a leash from objective to objective, every level isn't a forced epic battle, and the puzzles don't make you want to tear out your hair (or if you're thinking clearly, the developer's hair), but aren't patronizingly easy.
After a brief introduction, you'll quickly get into the rhythm of roaming Hyrule Field, finding out how to enter a dungeon (usually by appeasing a NPC), and then solving the clever puzzles and defeating the bosses in the dungeons. The puzzles are not too difficult, and the dungeons themselves are shorter than in Twilight Princess, but they certainly challenge players. It's a testament to the quality of their design that 13 years later they don't feel like relics.
For players who really need more challenge, a Master Quest is offered that remixes the dungeons to be more difficult, but I haven't had a chance to play it.
If you own a 3DS, buy this game. If you have never played Ocarina of Time, this is the best version of the game to start out with. The real question is whether or not you should buy a 3DS, not this game. The line-up of games for the fall of 2011 is absolutely incredible, with Mario Kart, Super Mario 3D, Metal Gear Solid, Kid Icarus, Resident Evil (two games from that series), Paper Mario, and Star Fox all coming before Christmas, with Kingdom Hearts, Heroes of Ruin, Assassin's Creed, and a bunch of other games bound for 2012. The 3DS has an amazing line-up coming within 6 months, but The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is here now, and it's perfect use of sound, amazing game design, and updated graphics make a great case for purchasing a 3DS sooner than later.
Replay Value: 9