After 13 years, the classic Ocarina of Time makes its way to the 3DS; it’s been worth the wait.
The game’s graphics have received a complete overhaul, and the once-flat world of Hyrule now jumps to life. The visuals are, in a word, incredible. However, with the graphics receiving such a beautiful treatment, I am puzzled why the sound design didn’t receive the same loving care. And Navi, the fairy companion to your hero, is just as annoying as ever; her “hey!” and “hello!” and other attention-getting vocalizations sound just as teeth-grindingly irritating as they did 13 years back.
While the visuals were improved, the core gameplay wasn’t touched. There are a few new additions, such as the Sheikah Stones which can give you a short visual hint if you’re stuck on a puzzle or boss. Another item of note is the Boss Gauntlet mode, which allows you to fight all the bosses of the game in a time-trial-style match.
The controls work well, for the most part. The N64 original controller had three buttons for use, whereas the 3DS version only uses two buttons. However, you can re-map certain items to the X and Y buttons, as well as map others to the touchscreen. The touchscreen itself now houses almost all of the game’s UI, freeing up the upper screen for the improved visuals. One control improvement that I quickly grew to like was the gyroscope aiming. For certain actions, you can actually spin the 3DS around you, or up and down, to aim your bow and arrow. This, unexpectedly, made certain parts of the game less frustrating than they had been 13 years ago.
The 3D graphics, at times, truly add to the experience of the game; a first for any of the 3DS games I’ve played so far. Especially the cutscene of the opening of the Temple of Time. Wow. However, for the rest of the game, I tended to play with the 3D off (gotta save on that battery life, hey?). But I’d flip it on for the cutscenes, because they really work phenomenally with the added depth.
If you’re a fan of the original, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how reverently this release treats the original material. If you’re new to the Ocarina of Time experience, you’ve picked a great place to jump on board. Welcome to Hyrule.