Legend of Zelda (The), Ocarina of Time 3D (Nintendo 3DS) - Review by Chris



After a rocky start, the 3DS is now beginning to see some big hitting software slowly but surely trickle its way out into market for gamers to get their hands on. Perhaps the biggest of those, and the one which most 3DS owners have been waiting for, is Nintendo and Grezzo's remake of one of the greatest games of all time, the 13 year old Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. And with spruced up graphics and a few notable inclusions to the package, Ocarina of Time effortlessly shows why it has become a timeless classic worthy of your attention once again.


Ocarina of Time 3D remains exactly as it was in the original in terms of story and gameplay, with Nintendo clearly noting that the quality of experience that existed in the original is still good enough for today's gamers. The game follows Link, a young child who has been living in Kokiri Forest under the watch of the Great Deku Tree after being abandoned, as he uncovers a plot by the evil Ganondorf, king of the Gerudo thieves, to take over Hyrule and gain control of the sacred Triforce. As Link, it's up to you to head out into the world, both as a child and as an adult by travelling ahead in time, and track down the necessary items and people to help you become the Hero of Time and put a stop to Ganondorf's evil plans, as well as saving Princess Zelda, before it's too late. As stated, the story is exactly the same and apart from some of the dialogue feeling a little stilted now, it's still an engrossing plot.

As an action adventure title, you'll travel the land of Hyrule going from area to area in the hope of encountering some plot progression, all the while working your way through dungeons to put a dent in Ganondorf's plans. Ocarina of Time is widely regarded as the game which provided the template for all modern action adventure titles incorporating dungeons and being able to play through them again, or for the first time, courtesy of the 3DS allows you to see how well put together the dungeons are. Incorporating combat and puzzles into an enclosed and themed setting, for newcomers the dungeons on display may be a little on the daunting side as things have remained unchanged from their original outing but rather than appearing insurmountable in their difficulty, it is the ingenuity of their layout that makes them a stern test for any gamer and they certainly keep you on your toes, guessing about what awaits in the next room. Similarly, due to the time travelling aspect of the game, some dungeons will ask you to complete certain sections as a child and have you come back later as an adult to finish them off. It makes for fantastic variance in dungeons, showing how unique each one really is and even 13 years on, they still play out remarkably well in this remake.

Items also play a huge part in the Zelda games and here, the brevity of the items on display really runs the gambit, from the traditional bow to a hammer and a lens allowing you to see hidden objects or passageways, with each one seeing significant amount of usage throughout the entire adventure, be it through use of a single item in a dungeon or through combining the use of multiple items to uncover secrets. And these items aren't simply doled out through the dungeons, with some only becoming available if you take part in the game's many side quests which acts as a fantastic and worthwhile aside to the main adventure. Most important of these is of course the ocarina, allowing you to manipulate various things through play such as the weather or the ability to call up Epona, your horse, or even to teleport to locations. Each item still feels remarkably fresh and unique even today and act as a testament to the quality of the items chosen for inclusion.

The major new feature included in the game is a version of the Super Guide, here taking the form of Sheikah Stones found within certain locations. Just like the Super Guide in the likes of New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Super Mario Galaxy 2, here the Sheikah Stones allow you to see hints about where it is you'll need to head next and what you'll need to do, with these being presented in the form of visions. For first time players of the game, it's a great inclusion because the story can at times be obtuse about what it is asking of you.

With completion of the main adventure, which can take you upwards of 25 hours if you intend to experience everything that Hyrule has to offer in its side quests, you'll unlock two additional modes for play. Firstly, there's the Master Quest option, originally included on the bonus disc with the Gamecube's Wind Waker title. The difference this time around is that not only do you receive a much more difficult experience in comparison to the standard adventure, but you'll also be playing through it as a mirrored experience adding an additional layer of difficulty to the proceedings as you try to overcome your ingrained sense of direction and get used to locations and items being positioned on the opposing side. Secondly, you'll unlock a Boss Mode, allowing you to take on the game's bosses all over again against the clock to see how fast you can complete them. Some form of online leaderboards here would have been nice but even without them, it still provides some extra play time to an already extensive and enjoyable experience and further shows the care and attention which has been put in to make this much more than a mere cash-in attempt.


Despite some initial worries, the 3DS ably handles the control requirements of the game with ease, with the circle pad making for a smooth experience when it comes to moving Link around and the face and shoulder buttons doing their jobs exactly as you'd expect, although due to the narrow nature of the shoulder buttons it can feel a little awkward keeping the lock-on targeting and your shield up at the same time and playing the ocarina this time around doesn't quite have the same feel to it even though it works well. With the lack of a C stick, or C buttons, the added X and Y buttons house two item choices while two extra slots in the top and bottom right of the touch screen allow you to hot link up to a total four items for easy access throughout the game.

Touch screen functionality has been worked in to streamline the entire menu experience which was cumbersome to say the least in the original, especially when it came to the Water Temple. Now, tabs for Gear, Map and Items, along with the ocarina, allow for quick and easy access for changing items, gear or for checking your location on the overall map in the overworld or in a dungeon to see where you're going next. The lessened burden of item management as a result of the touch screen controls is a serious plus point that means you can focus fully on the gaming experience without being dragged out of it due to spending too much time in menus and it definitely improves the experience of completing the oft dreaded Water Temple.


For a remake, a considerable amount of work has been put in to bring the game's graphics in line with today's offerings and despite what any nostalgic feelings might say, the new improved visuals look superb on the 3DS' screen. The improved character models and animations for the main cast of characters, such as both young and adult Link's walking, all look superb and come as close as Nintendo could possibly get to recreating their concept artwork with 3D visuals. The supporting cast you'll encounter elsewhere aren't quite up to the same standard, still looking a little on the angular side in comparison, but they've received enough of an upgrade to fit in with the new visuals with clearer textures making things much crisper.

Locations have also received a significant overhaul, with the pre-rendered settings in Hyrule Town now being replaced by true 3D visuals which look superb and add to the atmosphere of the setting. Improved texture and design work have ensured that the overall style of the original is retained while also ensuring it looks incredibly modern and that joy you encountered when stepping onto Hyrule Field for the first time returns as a result of the face lift.

The amount of care which has done into the visual presentation is truly commendable as at no point have the developers lost sight of the style of the original, but rather they've played to it and improved the look in every way, with improved lighting effects that better suit the changing time and scenery of the game and a more solid frame rate throughout, although there are still rare occasions when it dips a little.


The audio is one part of the package which hasn't been touched in anyway, or at least in any way that's noticeable. But that really isn't an issue because 13 years on, the game's soundtrack is still as memorable and as enjoyable to listen to coming out of the 3DS' speakers as it was coming out of a TV sound system, although the tracks do sound that little bit crisper. Sound effects have similarly seen a sprucing up in that department as well to feel more modern in their clarity and Navi's incessant nagging audio loops continue to grate. It's a fantastic aural experience from start to finish and shows how well composed the game was and still is to be held in such high regard.

Special features

The 3D effect is put to great use throughout the entirety of the game, adding a true sense of depth to the experience that is definitely helpful in many instances and certainly makes Hyrule Field and its subsidiary areas feel that bit more grandiose. As such, it's perhaps the only game on the console at the moment that you'll want to experience from start to finish in 3D because of how impressive it looks and where other games have taken a frame rate knock when using the effect, Ocarina of Time 3D holds steady throughout the experience with it. No StreetPass or SpotPass functions are incorporated but fantastic use is made of the gyroscopic capabilities for aiming weapons and looking around and it feels much smoother and more natural than the circle pad controls and you'll find yourself at times using it even when you normally would opt for the standard setup.

Final comments

The mark of a truly great game is its ability to remain relevant and impressive years later and Ocarina of Time 3D proves exactly why it is one of the greatest games ever. The gameplay holds up remarkably well, showing exactly why it became the template for all action adventure titles that followed, with great dungeons, side quests, items and locations gelling together to give an incredibly fulfilling 25 hour plus adventure. The new visuals definitely give the game a much needed face lift and further help to accentuate the fantastic art direction of the game and the inclusion of the mirrored Master Quest and Boss Mode ensures that the game is undoubtedly the must buy title for all 3DS owners.

Pro: Gameplay and story remains as engrossing as ever, upgraded visuals look fantastic, 3D effect is the best on the console, Water temple isn't nearly as bad this time around
Con: Still some frame rate issues, circle pad controls for bow/hookshot are a little slow
Final score: 9.5


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Boxart of Legend of Zelda (The), Ocarina of Time 3D (Nintendo 3DS)
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Genre: Adventure
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo