The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D review

One of the greatest games of all time, now even greater-er

GamesRadar+ Verdict


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    smoother visuals

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    Exploring the vastness of Hyrule

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    Handful of minor touches that simplify for the better


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    Some really vague

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    unclear moments

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    Battle system

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    other aspects are '98 relics

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    No gold cart? C'mon

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Well, this is certainlyan easy reviewto 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 fromthis locationin 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

DescriptionRiding 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.
Franchise nameLegend of Zelda
UK franchise nameLegend of Zelda
US censor rating"Everyone 10+"
UK censor rating""
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)
Brett Elston

A fomer Executive Editor at GamesRadar, Brett also contributed content to many other Future gaming publications including Nintendo Power, PC Gamer and Official Xbox Magazine. Brett has worked at Capcom in several senior roles, is an experienced podcaster, and now works as a Senior Manager of Content Communications at PlayStation SIE.