Reboots, remakes and HD collections are all the craze right now so it was only a matter of time before Nintendo reached into the vault and delivered one of their own. Nintendo is not shy about rehashing old franchises; in fact, they do it on an annual basis, but actual entire remakes are a rarity from the company. Ocarina of Time is considered by some as the best Zelda game ever created, as well as one of the best games ever made. That said, the big N has brought Link back with a graphical makeover, 3D support and, of course, everything that made it a classic in the first place.
It is hard to believe, but Ocarina is actually over a decade old. Originally released in 1998 for the Nintendo 64, this adventure of Link was definitely one for the ages. Developer Grezzo has faithfully recreated every asset in the game with fantastic new visuals and 3D effects. At first glance you may not think it looks all that different from the original, but I can promise you, it is leaps and bounds above it. That is the funny thing about remakes. What we remember classic games looking like and what the actual visuals are entirely different creatures. Usually, these remakes clean up the visuals just enough to make us think that is what it looked like then. One quick screen comparison will show you that the difference between the 3DS version and the original is truly night and day.
The visuals are not the only thing that has been upgraded for this re-mastered release. The first big addition is the inclusion of touch screen controls. This allows you to map items more easily to your quick select, making navigation of certain dungeons much more comfortable. I am looking at you Water Temple. The game also offers up a boss rush mode where you can fight them from the main menu with a timer.
Once you complete the game, you can also go back and undertake the Master Quest as a bonus. This new version also throws in some helpful tutorials on some of the puzzles in case you get stuck. There is a nice chunk of content here, plus it has likely been a while since most of us played the original; and remembering how good it was is half the fun.
The control of the game has been streamlined with a few other features as well. Z-targeting can now be activated with just a quick tap of the left trigger as opposed to holding it down. You can also aim using the gyroscope of the system. At first it is disorienting, but after time it becomes more and more intuitive and actually more accurate when aiming the bow and hookshot.
If you have to pick apart things about the game that don’t quite mesh, most of them stem from the original game. For starters, Navi returns and is as annoying as ever. Although she doesn’t interrupt you quite as often, she still feels for your safety by informing you to take a break every 15-20 minutes. The Z-targeting is also fickle, at best. There were times that I would definitely have issues connecting with attacks as the game claimed I was locked on, but somehow seemingly I wasn’t. These are minor issues, and only ones I bring up to inform you of all the aspects. Still, what we have here is the definitive version of one of the best games ever made.
There are few games that truly define “classic” in this day and age, and Ocarina of Time is one of them. The Zelda series has always been a trendsetter, but this is easily top tier when it comes to innovating the genre. Writing a review of this game felt weird to me. I can’t imagine anyone who owns a 3DS not wanting to instantly pick this game up as soon as it was announced. One of the true classics remade with improved visuals and portability is an instant recipe for a good time. Still, if you have any doubts squash them now. Ocarina of Time is one of the best games ever made, and easily the best 3DS game currently available.
Review copy provided by publisher.