|Dev: Nintendo EAD, Grezzo|
|Release: February 13, 2015|
|Screen Resolution: N/A||Animated Blood, Fantasy Violence, Suggestive Themes|
by Jenni Lada
I've played more The Legend of Zelda games in the last five years than I have in the 32 years I've been alive. I'd like to chalk it up to an influx of amazing 3DS, DS, Wii, and Wii U installments, but it's really something else that started this trend. I went from being someone who paid little attention to Link's every adventure to eagerly anticipating all installments, and it's all because of Nintendo's remakes. When I played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, my first time with the game, a switch was flicked. It started something and drove me to consume as many recent releases as possible.
However, as much as this new-found appreciation for an acclaimed series delights me, it's only over the past few days that I feel like I've gotten something wonderful out of becoming a member of this fandom. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D is a standout game, and even though I know from research that it wasn't appreciated in its own time, it's clearly a masterpiece. This isn't only a good Legend of Zelda game, it's an exemplary game in every respect.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D takes place immediately after Ocarina of Time. Navi left Link's side after that adventure, and he goes on a journey to find her or, failing that, closure. This leads him to Termina, where misfortune quickly befalls the boy. An imp in a mask, known as Skull Kid, steals Epona and his Ocarina. Link gives chase, which infuriates the imp. He transforms the hero into a Deku Scrub child and takes off. However, he leaves one of his sidekicks, a fairy named Tatl, behind. Tatl is a classic tsundere (who hides her affection for others behind a tough front), and agrees to accompany and aid Link so she can be reunited with her brother, Tael.
The duo find themselves in Clock Town, where a Happy Mask Salesman immediately greets Link. He'll restore his form if Link returns with his Ocarina, but also expects the hero to recover the stolen Majora's Mask as well. It, doesn't go too well. Link's human form is restored, but the Skull Kid still possesses the mask and is using it to bring the moon down to crush Termina.
What follows is an adventure that mostly follows the traditional The Legend of Zelda formula. Link journeys throughout the land, going into dungeons to defeat bosses, awaken giants, and eventually save the beings that will help him stop the Skull Kid for good. Hacking and slashing through enemies is a requirement, as is a healthy dose of puzzle solving and being in the right place at the right time. Picking up and playing is even made easier by a plethora of Owl Statues placed in the most important areas.
Also, masks. Majora's Mask isn't the only facade in the game. Link can acquire and don a number of fake faces. Some are game changing, allowing Link to take on new forms with additional abilities. Others grant a new ability while worn or make it possible to complete a side quest. All of them are part of a delightful and unique mechanic that truly makes the game stand out.
Of the 24 masks that can be accumulated in Majora's Mask, it's the four transformative ones that benefit the most from this remake. I had to go back and play a bit of my previous version of the game to confirm for myself, but each one is easier to use than it was in the original version. In the case of the Deku Mask, you gain an improved reticule and can see where you'll land after taking flight. The Goron is slightly faster, curling up and attacking quicker than before. The Zora's swimming speed has decreased, making the swimming motions flow more naturally.
Masks are only one of the game's unique elements. The passage of time is just as important. The moon will fall on Termina after three days. The three days prior, an on-screen HUD display shows exactly what time and day it is. There is a never a moment where you don't know exactly how close Link is to the end.