Back in 1998 Nintendo released the fifth game in their Legend of Zelda series, Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 64. It was the first game in the series to be 3D and it opened up the world of Hyrule to players. Let’s skip forward now to 2011; as you can expect a lot changed in gaming over these years – graphics vastly improved and story was much more important – but Ocarina of Time stood the test of time and was re-released on the Nintendo 3DS as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D.
Set in the land of Hyrule, Ocarina of Time follows the story of a young boy named Link. Link is having a recurring dream of a strange man kidnapping a girl from Hyrule Castle, though awakens just as the man rides off. Link awakens in his house in the Kokiri Forest where he lives. Navi the fairy finds Link and takes him to the Great Deku Tree, the protector of the Kokiri people, and is informed that it is his destiny to stand up against great evil and to restore peace to Hyrule. With this in mind Link journeys across Hyrule to try and restore peace to the land.
People who have played the game will realise I have missed out parts of the story. This is purely to avoid spoilers and to avoid ruining a brilliant experience.
Ocarina of Time‘s story can last a good thirty hours depending on how you play it; if you play the game without doing any side-quests or obtaining collectibles you will have a shorter game, whereas if you do these quests you will have a considerably longer game time.
Whilst the story in Ocarina of Time is brilliant it is heavily text based unlike current games being released but this really doesn’t distract from the gameplay. The game has a strong story which has interesting characters and a few excellent twists and turns in the plot, whilst keeping it simple and engaging.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time features various gameplay mechanics which make it an enjoyable experience. Fighting, Exploring and the Time Travel mechanic are the three most important gameplay pieces and I feel they should all be talked about in appropriate detail.
We all love a good battle don’t we? Ocarina of Time makes you feel epic no matter if you are facing against a dungeon boss or a standard enemy. Fighting uses the L-Target feature which is not as confusing as it may sound! Simply hit the ‘L’ button on your 3DS and you will target an enemy and stay locked onto them. This feature is great as it allows you to perform attacks more efficiently without missing enemies as often. Link has a variety of weapons available to him which can be used when fighting, these are; Swords (including the Master Sword), Bow and Arrows and a Boomerang to name a few. Swords are very simple to use, simply hit ‘B’ and you will perform a swing attack or hit ‘A’ to perform a lunge. The most effective way to fight in game is definitely with a sword but sometimes enemies will not take damage from just a sword.
Bow and Arrows are a standard weapon in the Legend of Zelda franchise appearing in every game to date. The Bow can have magic assigned to it (Light, Fire or Ice) and each magic causes different effects. Fire and Ice can burn or freeze objects and enemies in the world. This is incredibly useful for solving puzzles but at the same time getting rid of enemies. Light magic is used against bosses throughout the game due to its strong effect on evil (or darkness). The Bow and Arrow is a tool which you will never feel is un-needed as it is a key puzzle solving and fighting piece of equipment.
Finally the boomerang. The boomerang is an item used by Young Link (more on the Young/Adult Link scenario shortly) which has a similar use to the Bow and Arrows. It doesn’t tend to do as much damage as the Bow and Arrow but it does swing back round, allowing not one but two hits on enemies.
Exploring is another key part of Ocarina of Time which is what you will be doing when you aren’t fighting enemies. Exploring can consist of exploring the land of Hyrule or exploring Dungeons, so let’s start off with Dungeons as they are a fairly big part of the Legend of Zelda series.
Dungeons are scattered throughout the land of Hyrule for Link to explore with each containing a key story item at the end. Each dungeon follows a similar layout; Find a Map, Compass, Boss Key and New Key Item whilst fighting a Mini Dungeon Boss and the Dungeon Boss itself. Dungeons start off being easy to venture through without many difficult puzzles to very challenging. Ocarina of Time doesn’t rank up the difficulty too fast though, with each dungeon being but not too challenging.
Exploring the land of Hyrule is also extremely satisfying. You can choose to walk on foot through the land or hop on your faithful steed Epona for faster exploring. The land of Hyrule has many collectibles to find and side-quests to complete, whilst at the same time is fun to explore due to how beautifully designed it is. Every inch of Hyrule looks great and as you explore you will appreciate the fictional land of Hyrule Nintendo have created.
Now the key aspect of Ocarina of Time: Time travel! I didn’t talk about this in the story segment but it does play a role in the story somewhat, though I will leave you to find out how on your own. The Time Travel mechanic is used mainly to solve puzzles and side quests related to the collectibles. After a certain point in the game you will gain the ability to travel between Young Link and Adult Link, both having different abilities. Young Link is not able to use a shield (it’s a tad too heavy for the poor lad) so he ducks under it for protection, whereas Adult Link can easily use a shield to block attacks whilst fighting. Another big difference is with which weapons they may use. Adult Link can use the Master Sword and the Bow and Arrows whilst Young Link is stuck with his boomerang and Kokiri Sword.
Whilst this paragraph will be mainly on the graphical changes from the Nintendo 64 release to the Nintendo 3DS release, I felt it was extremely appropriate to include. For those who have never played the original this probably won’t really be a big deal to you, but it will interest those who played Ocarina of Time when it first hit shelves. Graphically the game looks beautiful. I mean it really has gone a long way since 1998, with everything looking smooth and as we would expect from a current Nintendo 3DS title. Sadly there are some obvious signs of age with some textures (you will notice in some dungeons) but these are usually nothing major. Though is this a worthy purchase if you have already played the Nintendo 64 release? Whilst I’ll talk about that more at the end I would say it is definitely worth playing again for the gorgeous graphical updates that have taken place.
The Legend of Zelda is a series which is known for its beautiful soundtrack, and Ocarina of Time has many songs which you will fall in love with. One part of Ocarina of Time 3D that I was disappointed with was that the music was not orchestrated for the remake. You may wonder why I thought this was a problem… well hear me out. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was released the same year as Ocarina of Time 3D and included a fully orchestrated soundtrack. With this announcement I hoped that Ocarina of Time 3D may feature an orchestrated soundtrack, though either way the music still sounds beautiful throughout your epic quest across Hyrule.
The Positives and Negatives
+ Beautiful soundtrack – I don’t think there is a single track which will let you down.
+ Gorgeous graphics – The land of Hyrule has never looked so good!
+ Great increase in difficulty – The game slowly ranks up the difficulty making it challenging but fun.
+ Includes the Master Quest mode – Though this does have to be unlocked by completing the game once.
+ Interesting and challenging puzzles throughout.
– Lighter and more colourful – Whilst this is good visually it does bring down the ‘dark’ tone the game has.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has been rated the best game of all time, but is this really true? Can one game truly be ‘the best game’? Ocarina of Time was the first game in the Legend of Zelda series to bring us the beautiful 3D land of Hyrule, brilliant plot and great gameplay all in one. It is ironic also that a game based on time travel has lasted the test of time so well, being over 10 years since its original release on the Nintendo 64. If you’ve played the game before, Ocarina of Time 3D is still a worthy purchase as a first time hand held experience and a gorgeous update to the games graphics. For first timers to the Legend of Zelda series or just Ocarina of Time; this is a great game to start with and definitely one you should experience – actually let me correct myself – it isn’t just a great game… it is a masterpiece in gaming history.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.