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The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D review

AT A GLANCE
  • Cleaner, smoother visuals
  • Exploring the vastness of Hyrule
  • Handful of minor touches that simplify for the better
  • Some really vague, unclear moments
  • Battle system, other aspects are '98 relics
  • No gold cart? C'mon, guys!

Well, this is certainly an easy review to write. You know Ocarina of Time, the most popular, successful and beloved Zelda game of all time? The one that ushered Nintendo’s million-selling franchise into the third dimension and endeared an entire generation to Link, Ganon and Hyrule? It’s all here, every dungeon, item, secret and Skulltula, now in the palm of your hand. But it’s not a hasty port – this is a thoroughly prettier and smoother experience than the 1998 original, making it the best version of this already legendary experience.

Above: As you can see, Link has received a visual upgrade

Above: It gets better – literally everything received a makeover, adding clarity and detail to previously blurry areas. Notice how you can see Death Mountain from this location in the 3DS version

I recently played through the N64 version of Ocarina of Time just so I’d have a firm understanding of the differences in the 3DS edition. For the most part, everything is identical; the script is largely unchanged, as are item locations and the memorable soundtrack. The major differences, as I’ve already mentioned, are visual. Top to bottom, this is a slick looking game, with more detailed models and more vibrant design than the fuzzy original. Furthermore, Link’s own animations are smoother, making for slightly more lifelike movements. This fluidity extends outside of Link too, so other creatures and NPCs have a tad more spring in their step.


Above: One of the few differences – the Stone of Agony (formerly an N64 Rumble Pak) is now the Shard of Agony, and blinks when secrets are nearby

The improvements don’t end with graphics and animation, however. The entire bottom screen is dedicated to inventory, which was formerly accessed by pausing the game and flipping through four pages of content. Once there, you could assign three items to the N64 or GameCube’s face buttons, meaning any time you needed to change those items (or equip different boots, shields or tunics), you had to pause and flip through all that crap again. Now, the Ocarina has its own dedicated button in the lower left corner – that frees up a slot right away. You can then assign items to the X and Y buttons, plus two additional items in the I and II slots on the touch screen.

This gives you instant access to five pieces of inventory at a given time. This alone speeds up the game considerably, but it also means you can set something like the Iron Boots to said button and simply tap it to equip and un-equip it. This simple act makes the Water Temple a far less irritating slog, as it alleviaties one of the constant gripes about that dungeon.


Above: The Water Temple also has these new color trails that lead you to key points in the dungeon. Helpful, but not babying if you’re concerned about losing your hardcore cred

Finally, a small but extremely welcome alteration is the text display speed; the N64 version plodded along very slowly, and if you hit B to skip proceed faster, it often blasted through the entire conversation instead of just that one dialog box. Now, text moves much faster, getting you in and out of long conversations more quickly. All these touches, both small and large, add up to make this the definitive version of Ocarina of Time… but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect.

More Info

Release date: Jun 19 2011 - 3DS (US)
Available Platforms: 3DS
Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: Nintendo
Franchise: Legend of Zelda
ESRB Rating:
Everyone 10+: Animated Blood, Fantasy Violence, Suggestive Themes

67 comments

  • tayloro1 - September 11, 2011 7:36 a.m.

    I just bought a 3ds for this game alone. I am a huge Ocarina of time fan, got it in 1998 and have enjoyed the game till this day . I still rank it as the greatest game of all time and have probably played the original more than fifty times tr ough. that being said I am truly enjoying the 3ds version greatly and I feel satisfied with my purchase of the remake of the greatest game of all time!
  • joshstoker - June 24, 2011 5:22 a.m.

    @Shinespark & BackwaterRifle: OOT didn't make GR's top 100 games of all time? GR is now officially retarded. Nice to see that GR lets superficiality get in the way of its judgements.
  • joshstoker - June 24, 2011 5:17 a.m.

    The fire and ice arrows were important items? Since when? Don't get me wrong it was nice to have them, but you didn't need them to beat the game, just to complete it 100%. Also aside from the stuff about going back to get the lens of truth. I don't think it was THAT hard to figure things out. At least it wasn't for me back in the day. Also all the people who complain about how hard the water temple is, are just pansies who give up too easily.
  • AceDynamo - June 24, 2011 3:47 a.m.

    WoW!! All you ppl haven't bought a 3ds yet?? I bought it the 1st day it was released and its a very high tech handheld console! DOA on the 3ds is 10xs better than the console version by a long shot!! Stop buying fancy rims, expensive buckets of chicken, half done grill cheese sandwiches and beastiality acts, AND GO BUY UR LAZY FAT ASS a 3ds NOW morons!! Geesh!! Instead of talking about it, be about it ppl!!
  • GameManiac - June 20, 2011 8:33 p.m.

    Damn, I was fully expecting a 10. However, since it got a 9, that means it's on par with Pokemon BW. Does that make it the best game so far for the 3DS (according to GR)?
  • lovinmyps3 - June 20, 2011 8:21 p.m.

    I may get a 3DS specifically for this game.
  • Dadyo238 - June 20, 2011 8:02 p.m.

    I would've gotten this the day it came out, but right now I'm grounded right now so, you know how that works.
  • Gilligan - June 20, 2011 11:55 a.m.

    Pre-ordered my copy weeks ago on play.com. Still hasn't turned up :( Lifelong zelda fan and then this happens!
  • Shforteenteen14 - June 20, 2011 2:29 a.m.

    Haha! All those FAPs and praise and you still gave it a 9? You confuse me sometimes, GR...
  • sirdilznik - June 19, 2011 8:57 p.m.

    Regardless of the score given, this is the definitive version of the greatest game ever made. So yeah.
  • Jaces - June 19, 2011 8:05 p.m.

    I WANT THIS GODDAMN GAME NOW!! But only after the 3DS drops below $200 :)
  • asljirk - June 19, 2011 1:41 p.m.

    I really want to read this review, but as I scrolled down I saw the pic of Castle Town and realized I don't want to lose the joy of experiencing this new look for the first time. Thanks for the review, and I'm sure you did the game justice. Have a nice day :D
  • screwball08247 - June 19, 2011 5:49 a.m.

    I'm getting this. Definitely getting this. Thanks for another fantastic review, Brett!
  • IceHawk79 - June 19, 2011 4:52 a.m.

    It was either this or Duke Nukem. And I think I made my choice. LOZ FTW!
  • BackwaterRifle - June 19, 2011 12:29 a.m.

    @Shinespark OoT did not make GR's Top 100 because it aged poorly. T.P. was used instead because if they were to recommend either OoT or TP to someone who has never played either, they would recommend TP because by today's standards, TP is better than the original OoT. Hope this helps.
  • Shinespark428 - June 18, 2011 9:33 p.m.

    @Sinosaur I see where you're coming from and are making decent points, but NEVER in this article did he compare OoT favoribly to Twilight Princess. Also Twilight Princes made Gamesradar's Top 100 Greatest Games list and Ocarina DIDN'T. So no, he didn't explicitly say he or GR prefered Ocarina, but it was implied.
  • XLGirthMan - June 18, 2011 5:44 p.m.

    I never got very far in the original but I will definitely be picking up a 3DS and this game when I get my paycheck next week. And I'm glad to see that no one can call you any less "hardcore" for playing the new version rather than the original.
  • Rattlehead - June 18, 2011 4:22 p.m.

    I hate all of you
  • philipshaw - June 18, 2011 3:34 p.m.

    This review is spot on Brett, got the game on Thursday (a day before the realse date in the UK) and it's a top notch remake
  • Yeager1122 - June 18, 2011 3:23 p.m.

    Really want this all i need is a 3ds hopefully i stumble across an extra $250 to spend.

Showing 1-20 of 67 comments

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