The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D review

  • 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!

The 3DS includes a gyroscope and accelerometer, which are fancy terms for “motion control.” What it means for Ocarina is a first-person viewing mode that acts like a pair of Link’s eyes, moving precisely as you do, allowing for precision aiming or 360 degree viewing of the game world. I filmed this example with a Flipcam to give a basic idea of how the function works:

It’s a cool addition, and does make aiming with the Fairy Slingshot or Fairy Bow a tad easier than using the analog slider, but it does involve physically moving the unit around. If you have the space, go for it, it’s a pretty cool effect. If not, regular controls work just fine.

Then there’s the boss rush mode, which allows you to face any boss you’ve already beaten in the main game. Beat them all and you can then engage in a boss battle gauntlet that pits you against the entire roster all in a row – sounds like a great opportunity for 3DS leaderboards, right? Sadly, there’s no such functionality, nor are there any StreetPass features. Why Nintendo let a marquee title like this slip through without using the 3DS key features is beyond me. Seems like a great way to make people aware of ‘em, but whatever.

The 3DS version also includes the Master Quest, a revised and noticeably more difficult “remix” of the main quest. This was available on GameCube, so Nintendo went one step further and flipped the entire thing, such that all lefts are rights (including Link himself, har). This mode is available from the start, and does not have to be unlocked.

As for the literal 3D in the game… well, it looks quite nice in spurts, but my eyes could only take so much. Riding through Hyrule Field or scurrying through the Lost Woods in 3D is a fine treat in small doses, and looks better than most other 3D attempts on the system, but it also happens to look and play great with the 3D turned off.

Is it better than...

Ocarina of Time? Yes, merely because this is everything the original was, plus some. Better graphics, cleaner textures, smoother animations, easier inventory navigation… just about everything that could have been improved (without drastically altering the game) has been. If I were to recommend a version to a brand new gamer, the 3DS version would be it.

Spirit Tracks? Yes, though it’s not entirely fair to compare them. Spirit Tracks builds on the touch-only ideas introduced in Phantom Hourglass, and intentionally strays from the main canon by placing Link on a train, and fighting a bad guy who’s hardly as menacing as Ganon. Ocarina 3DS is the first true handheld 3D Zelda, making it unassailably more robust than any prior edition.

Okamiden? Yes. Not many games try to mimic the Zelda style (Darksiders is the only other that comes to mind) but the original Okami aped it with class and reverence. Okamiden tries to follow suit, but is hindered by lack of hardware power and crushingly boring battles. If Capcom had held Okamiden for 3DS, this might have been a much tougher comparison.

Just for you, Metacritic!

The definitive version of gaming’s most revered and respected adventure. From obvious graphical touches to minor gameplay tweaks, Ocarina 3DS updates an aging classic and makes it presentable to an entirely new generation of adoring fans.

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


  • 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 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

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000