|Dev: Nintendo EAD, Grezzo|
|Release: February 13, 2015|
|Screen Resolution: N/A||Animated Blood, Fantasy Violence, Suggestive Themes|
I feel I must make a confession here. I typically abhor games that attempt to lock me into a schedule. An onscreen clock sends me into a panic. My heart lived in my throat throughout Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, even after finding a Japanese guide to ensure I didn't muck things up too badly. The time limit in the original The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is the reason why I picked up a Virtual Console copy for my Wii, then never actually played the game. I was afraid to fail.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D assuages that fear. There's still that element of "miss it and you'll feel the world's ending," but the game goes out of its way to make you feel as comfortable as possible with that limit. The Inverted Song of Time slows time down and is a lifesaver for beginners, while the Song of Double Time is great for people who know what they're doing and want to skip ahead to any hour. The Bomber's Notebook lets someone set alarms for when events happen, to ensure you're ready to take part. The Song of Soaring takes you from one Owl Statue to another. The clock may be ticking, but don't let that dissuade you. You can do it.
It isn't only about improved, altered, or even some new gameplay elements like the fishing holes. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D is a joy because of its improved appearance and audio. For those who care about such things, it now runs at 30FPS. More importantly, there are improved character models, environments, and textures. It looks like a whole new game. Rest assured that the Mask Salesman and Skull Kid are still two of the most unnerving characters you will meet, with disjointed movements and halting animations that set you on edge.
I believe I appreciated all of this more because I was playing on a New 3DS XL. While I firmly believe Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate should be the true poster child for this new technology, this remake shows it off admirably as well. The circle nub is a fantastic means of getting a better view of Termina or stealing a glimpse at that forboding moon. The Super Stable 3D allows you to go into first person perspective segments and still have the depth necessary to gauge distance effectively. The detail is amazing.
Unfortunately, I did notice a slight dip in quality. I played almost entirely in 3D, and if there's an area with a lot of enemies and details and 3D is on, then there is some very minor slowdown. It isn't terribly detrimental and doesn't last long—just until Link reaches a new area or the 3D is turned off, but people who are expecting perfection throughout should be aware of this minor kink.
Tiny 3D hitches aside, this is an incredible game that manages to both feel and not feel like a traditional installment in the series. It's so different, dark, and unconventional, which serves only to draw a player in more. There's an edge to the game, and the twisted tales it tells make Link and this world seem more engaging. The Legend of Zelda is often about the struggle between light and dark, but here it seems more critical and emotional.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is a must play game now, even more so than it was when it first launched. This experimental installment in the series is a boundary-expanding triumph. It challenges people's perception of Link's adventures and action RPGs in general. The time limit makes things feel more real, and the masks make the game more compelling. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D may deal with dark matters, but it will light up your life.
Date: February 23, 2015