|Release: June 19, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: N/A||Fantasy violence, animated blood, suggestive themes|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is widely regarded as one of the best games of all time. Although Nintendo has been criticized in recent years for pandering to a more casual audience, The Legend of Zelda has always been there to keep the hardcore coming back for more. I predict the same sort of following for Ocarina of Time 3D. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the 3DS finally has a killer hit.
It's easy to cynically look at Ocarina of Time 3D as a cheap cash-in to capitalize on poor nostalgic gamers like myself. However, when you see the love that has been put into it, it's hard to really look at it as anything other than the return of an old friend. The game plays and feels the way it did when it was originally released, but the new visuals alone are enough to make this a trip back to Hyrule that you won't ever forget.
Even if you aren't a big fan of 3D, you can still appreciate the care taken with this new version of Ocarina of Time. The game has been lovingly re-mastered, and even with the 3D off, the visuals are just breathtaking. However, it's when you turn the 3D on that the magic happens. The 3D effects add some amazing depth to the world of Hyrule. You can look off at the castle in the distance, watch as chickens cluck in the foreground, and attack enemies in a 3D space that you only imagined you had in the original. The 3D effect in this game adds so much to the original experience that it's worth jumping right back into, no matter whether it has been two or twelve years since you last played Ocarina of Time.
But before we veer too far off into nostalgic territory, let's talk about what is new in Ocarina of Time 3D. The biggest improvement to the gameplay comes in the form of the new 3DS interface. The 3DS' dual-screens work perfectly well here, and this menu scheme feels just as intuitive as the original N64 version. All of the equipment and weapon info has been moved to the bottom screen, which leaves the top screen almost completely un-marred by icons. This is perfect if you want to sit back and enjoy the 3D visuals. The bottom left-hand corner of the top screen shows a simple map, and the right side shows the current function of the action button. The rest of the top screen is completely free to showcase the gorgeously remastered visuals of Ocarina of Time 3D.
It is the bottom screen that holds most of the meat of the new interface. The bottom screen features five equipment slots that you can access with a simple touch of the stylus, as well as a larger map to view and a persistent ocarina equipment slot. Having the ocarina in its own slot is certainly convenient, as you no longer have to fumble through menus and different equipment slots just to play a song.
The streamlined feel of the interface also carries over to the game's new control elements. Though most of the control feels similar to the N64 version (press A to attack), there are a few notable changes. The 3DS' motion control features are used in two very interesting ways. The first is an active camera system that allows you to go into a special "view" mode, during which you can move your DS around to see what Link sees. This feature is very cool, and allows you to get the best view of tough puzzle and dungeon areas. It is also surprisingly intuitive. The other motion control element allows you to aim your slingshot or other ranged weapon in the same way as you would look around. You wouldn't think that moving your DS around to see the virtual world of Hyrule or aim your weapons would be all that useful—after all, you can use the circle pad to aim and move the camera as well—but I felt that the motion control features helped the game feel that much more immersive.